10 best bar trolleys

Serve drinks in style and bring the party to your guests

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The Independent Online

Drinks trolleys are making a comeback, with an upsurge in those of us taking pride in entertaining at home. Originally the epitome of domestic style and taste in the Fifties and Sixties, TV series like Mad Men have left people aching for the glamour of the era, and something unusual for the home. Mobile furniture on the whole is proving popular too: if you’re not a fan of the retro style, you might be taken by the adaptability of trolleys as a vital bit of extra storage in a small space. 

1. Studio drinks trolley: £135, Oliver Bonas

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A colourful take on the trend, this fun and compact drinks trolley is an ideal cocktail station for dinner parties. The two shelves are finished in high gloss enamel in contrasting shades of cream and apricot; an angular black metal frame ties the two together. The top shelf has a rail that also serves as a handle. Some assembly of this trolley is required. 

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2. Urban Outfitters antique storage trolley: £290, Urban Outfitters

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Recalling a more elegant age, this antique-style trolley from Urban Outfitters has mirrored oval shelves and gold fretwork detailing. There’s a generous gap between the two shelves, making the bottom one handy for storing tall bottles, and the top an easy height for mixing drinks. The curved handle is a subtle extension of the back legs. 

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3. Kaymet folding trolley: £362.50, Clippings

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South London-based Kaymet has been making folding trolleys since the 1960s, when it tasked itself with finding new uses for metal forming machines after the Second World War. With a range of trays and frames in coloured anodised aluminium, there’s one to suit every interior. The nifty folding action makes them ideal for small living spaces.  

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4. La Redoute small rollout trolley: £65, La Redoute

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La Redoute’s acacia-wood trolley is compact, making it a useful addition around the kitchen or dining room. It’s also smart enough to serve drinks on and works particularly well for wheeling outdoors for parties and meals alfresco. The three shelves are small but handy; the lowest one incorporates a three-bottle rack. It only has a front pair of wheels.

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5. House Doctor big trolley table: £389, Wild Swans 

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Given its size and price, we’d say this is less of a drinks trolley and more a portable piece of furniture. But that’s the advantage of having one around the home; it’s flexible and easily moved as your space and needs change. House Doctor’s minimalist version has two glass shelves in a black frame, and would work particularly well in the bathroom. 

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6. Kenzi bar trolley: £279, Swoon Editions

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This luxurious trolley harks back to the Art Deco era, combining a marble top shelf with a smoked glass lower one. The angled iron frame is finished in antique gold by master makers in Jaipur. At 45cm deep and 81cm wide, it could easily make an elegant occasional table for the living room, doubling up as a drinks trolley when occasion calls. 

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7. Block table: £144.40, Skandium

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The block table is possibly the most versatile on the list – its friendly looks and range of colours mean it could fit in as serving trolley or bedside table, and would make itself useful in the kitchen or study too. The two shelves are steel trays making spills easier to contain. The ash legs extend up to become handles, and the wheels are oversized making it easy to manoeuvre. 

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8. Mid-century bar cart: £349, West Elm

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West Elm’s bar cart looks like it’s been wheeled right out of Don Draper’s office. The mid-century styling is more than just a nod to the Fifties and Sixties aesthetic, with walnut-veneer surfaces, rounded legs and spherical castors. Both shelves can accommodate a range of serveware, snacks and drinks. The brass-finished rails keep things from tipping out. 

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9. Vindalsö outdoor trolley: £80, Ikea

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Designed to provide extra storage outdoors, IKEA’s trolley is made of rust-proof aluminium and has rubber covered wheels that make it easy to move around on hard surfaces. The combination of stained eucalyptus wood shelves and handle with white powder-coated frame is a modern take on the retro trolley. 

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10. Gubi Mategot trolley: £492.15, Utility Design

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Where many pieces imitate the mid-century style of the drinks trolley, this is the real thing. Originally designed by Mathieu Matégot in 1953, it is a refined take on the trolley that still looks good today. Tubular metal holds the perforated steel shelves together, the lower of which has a newspaper holder built in. It is made to order, and takes two to three weeks to deliver. 

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Verdict

A showstopper like Oliver Bonas’ Studio drinks trolley makes a fun centrepiece at parties and dinners without being overly retro. Skandium’s Block table makes itself useful in numerous ways, and is small enough to move around the home easily as you need it.

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