Elsie’s Restyled Cocktail Cart

Elsie's Bar Cart (via A Beautiful Mess)Hi friends! I have been working on this cocktail cart for the past month, and it’s been a super fun! I started out with a (very beat up) industrial style cart from a flea market. BeforeHere’s what it looked like before. It was covered in paint from its previous owner. I scraped the paint off and then used Kilz Odorless Interior Oil Based Primer as a base coat. Next, I spray painted the entire card with Rust-Oleum Spray Paint in “Fern”. I used several coats of spray paint and let it dry completely.ReStyled Bar Cart via A Beautiful Mess BlogI am so happy with how the cart turned out! Since then I have been collecting and stocking the cart. I started with a list of cocktail recipes I wanted to be able to make for dinner parties, then added a few just-for-fun ingredients for recipes I had never tried before. A fun assortment of spirits!Here are a few of my personal tips (read: opinions) for stocking your cocktail cart. First of all, I only buy stuff I like. I know some people would say it’s important to gather up a well-rounded collection, but I disagree. We keep stuff we like, and we try things we’ve never tried. This makes sure we’re able to offer cocktails we’re really good at! You put more effort into things you like, you know? We’re fans of bourbon-based drinks, so we collect more bourbon and less of the stuff we don’t love. I like drinks that are not too syrupy with a base of liquor and club soda, so we always keep that around. For an “easy” drink that pretty much everyone likes we keep different liquors that can be mixed with ginger ale. Simple! Stock up on bittersStock up on bitters! They are inexpensive and really add a lot to cocktails. Don’t be afraid to try the ones with weird names, either. I’ve never met a bitter that I didn’t like.  Try something newTry something new! When I am shopping at the wine center I always grab at least one bottle I’ve never heard of before. Some of these are suggestions that friends gave me via Instagram. (thank you!!) The root liquor was one of our favorite random buys. We make homemade “root beer” inspired drinks with it all the time. I think with any hobby it’s important not to get stuck in a rut, so be sure to try something adventurous once in a while! Keep fun mixings in stockKeep fun mixings in stock. I try to always keep fun season ingredients around. Lately, I’ve been trying lots of drink ideas with rosemary and honey. Jeremy is obsessed with anything maple flavored. It’s also good to keep fresh fruits around for sangria-type drinks, or just garnishes. Collect assorted glasswareCollect assorted glassware. When we were registering for our wedding I realized it wasn’t important to me to have huge sets of matching glassware. I mean, how often would we actually be hosting a dinner with 10 people drinking a martini? For this reason, I collect random glassware. I usually buy 4 pieces or so when I find a set I like. We have a huge variety without much issue of where to store things!

Thanks for taking a peek at my new cocktail cart! Please feel free to leave tips, suggestions and recipes in the comments. I’m really excited to try new things. xoxo. Elsie

  • This is lovely! Do you know by chance where you got your taller tumblers that are on the cart? Or what they’re called? I’m going to search on etsy! Thank you!

  • Really cute! I am now on the look out for a cart to restyle for our new home! Right now we have ours in a cabinet but it makes it difficult to make a variety of drinks while entertaining.

  • Oh, my! I caught this cart on your post re: the revamped table and was meaning to ask about it! I love this! My place is small, and so all the open whiskey bottles, wine etc end up being stored in a not so fabulous way. I can’t wait to find a cart and do this for our little nest! You guys are so freekin creative…thanks for sharing!!

  • This is such a great idea! You should check out The PDT Cocktail Book. It has great recipes and is how I was introduced to St. Germain.

  • I’m so glad you posted this! I’ve been wanting to get a bar cart and this one is super cute. I’m definitely going to have to keep an eye out for one, so I can beautify it myself!


  • I love it!!!
    Great idea …I also do some small DIY with an old items I am buying on the flea markets.
    You can have a look at my blog to see the stuff I did so far 🙂

    Karolina xx


  • A well stocked bar cart is where it’s at! We love making cocktails and I have to say I try never to be without St Germain- an elderflower liquor (so nice in the summer) or Winter Pimms (great with warm apple juice).

    Looking forward to reading some of your recipes and ideas…. Happy cocktail making!

    x Elena @ Randomly Happy

  • You did such an amazing job redoing this cart, Elsie! It looks absolutely wonderful!

    xx Ivana
    Macarons and Pearls

  • These are great tips! And your cart looks so lovely!


  • Your cart is gorgeous! I love the colour! We recently discover syrups and we add them to the craziest cocktails ! 😉 My fave is and always will be Piña Colada!! It’s kind of tacky, I know!

  • I love the drinks trolley, it’s a great idea looks stunning with your eclectic mix of glasses. x

  • Amanda,
    Yes, the oil based primer helps your paint to adhere and makes your top coat much more sturdy. I do it on everything that I don’t sand. xoxo

  • love this! we have a cosco cart in out kitchen. similar style, I like the paint color you chose!

  • LOVE. I have my eye on a beat-up old wooden trolley cart that I want to make into a bar cart. I was thinking of painting it navy, but maybe green is the answer…

  • is this some sort of tip? to use oil based primer before spray painting??

  • This is one of my most favourite posts! I have been looking for a tray table to store alcohol in my apartment, but if I come across an antique then I will look into painting it white with a fluorescent pink stripe down the middle.

  • I love how it turned out! oohh, that’s my kind of cart!


  • Happy to see Hendrick’s gin front and center! It is our favorite gin. Darlene and Jim

  • Beautiful. Would love to see more mixed drink recipes on ABM. Especially ones made w/ bourbon.

  • Ohhh,this looks really cute and I love this green tone…
    But the most sweetest thing are your striped straws!I love them!I`m looking for similar ones but didn`t had luck yet…
    If you like champagne,I recommend you this one,which I really do love: Add some fruit syrup to your glass with champagne (I like peach syrup) and then put a strawberry,a raspberry or any other piece of fruit in it.It`s delicious!


  • One of my favorite fun bottles of liquor to have on hand is St. Germaine. It’s a really delicious & sweet elder flower liquor. It mixes great with sparkling and white wine. Plus the St. Germaine website has lots of drink recipes to try. Great bar cart! Now I want one!

  • ◄-l-o-v-e-►
    perfect timing as we all prepare for holiday gatherings.
    and that’s the most adorable picture of you!

  • What a lovely job you did here! My favourite cocktail is definitely a classic G&T with lime.

  • This looks absolutely perfect!!! Turned out so pretty! I can’t believe it looked so scary when you first got it! I’ve been searching high and low for something to turn into a bar cart…no luck yet 🙂 Love the added touches with the flowers!

  • The cart looks amazing! I was inspired by the one you previously restyled and got crafty myself: http://fightoff-yourdemons.blogspot.com/2012/11/diy-liquor-cart-restyle.html

    Thanks for all the inspiration around here!

  • Just love this and totally agree on having the cocktail ingredients for what you love not you SHOULD have! I saw the St.Germain and Hendricks, these are two we keep at all times for one of our favorite cucumber based drinks called Love & Happiness!

  • Your cart turned out really well 🙂 I’d love one, but I think I might get tempted to have cocktails all the time… my favourites are Mojitos with LOADS of mint, and Black Russians. xx


  • This is the best blog EVER! I really love that table, i think i will start looking for one! 😉
    – http://etvaeldaftanker.blogspot.dk/

  • Elsie I had a question about your flowers in the jars are they real? I live in the desert and flowers do not grow here and the ones at the shop are extremely high since their all imported from France. I love flowers but I want some that are not real but look real..

    Love your cart even though I do not drink for those of us who do not we could still use it as a coffee/tea bar I think 🙂

  • Oh my goodness this is amazing! I love it – it’s every cocktail-loving girl’s dream!

  • Love the cocktail cart, you did a great job on that! Now I want to mix and drink cocktails too…

    Xoxo, Femke

  • I absolutely love this. I never drink, but damn I would love to have a fancy little cocktail cart like this in my home!

  • So glad to see you’re stocked with St. Germain. The St. Germain website has some great ides for recipes – I personally think it pairs best with lemon or lime flavors.

    Would love to get the recipe for the rootbeer cocktails!

  • I love the color of the cart! I like finding things and remaking them into something that I love.


  • Q: I would LOVE to know what bitters are and what bourbon is?

    A: bitters do contain alcohol, but you only use a few splashes so it’s not very significant. They add a lot of flavor to drinks. I started buying them because a lot of recipes call for them and now I can’t make a drink without one. 🙂 Hope that helps!

    Bourbon is just another word for american whiskey. But I like all kinds of whiskey… Jameson, flavored stuff, cheap stuff etc. There is a lot of choose from so if it’s your first time to try it maybe try a flavored one like honey or maple. XO!

  • what exactly are bitters? do they just add flavors, or are they also alcoholic? beautiful cart though, such a neat collection.

  • Hi
    I sugest doing a post of styles you can do with short hair, because I have short hair and don’t have mutch to do with it. I LOVE your blog. My favorite part is part is that you are posting all the time, and theirs always new posts to enjoy!

  • This is such a fun bar cart. I definitely agree, stocking alcohol you don’t like seems wasteful to me.

    Xo, Kelsey


  • This is really beautiful and inspiring. Love the decoration (and your outfit in that photo!)

  • LOVE the cart!

    For Jeremy – I just discovered that Crown Royal has come out with a maple whiskey. TOTALLY DELISH! The boyfriend & I just mix it with Coke (or Vanilla Coke), and it’s like drinking pancakes (in a super tasty, not gross sorta way). <3!

  • It looks great and I love the colour you chose. Will be keeping an eye out tomorrow at the flea market for a cart!

  • Beautiful cart! Why haven’t I thought about going to the flea market for one?! Great find!

  • It’s so nice to see something get a new lease of life! Great tips too. Aztec chocolate bitters sounds interesting. xo


  • Did you need to do anything to the wheels of the cart? Or did you leave them as was?


  • Gorgeous cart re-do!

    My husband’s boss got him a bottle of delicious red wine as a thanks for a favour recently. Since that, we’ve purchased a few different bottles of wine. My husband and I just enjoy trying out new ones. We always buy one thing we’re not familiar with and we actually judge it on whether or not we think the taste will suit us AND we also go by the design. We don’t know too much about wine so we thought it’d be a fun way to get started.

    I would LOVE to know what bitters are, what bourbon is (oh god, don’t kill me!) I don’t really know what a lot of liquors or other types of liquor-related things are… Could anyone share? 🙂

    • OMG!!! If you are not sure of bourbon, start with Jack Daniels, by all means. I used to manage a bar and it is a ‘great basic’ but not cheap but not out of site either. It makes you look good by serving it. I mix with diet coke, but that is just me. Some want ginger ale, club soda or regular coke. I find that regular coke makes the drink too sweet. Add a garnish of lime slice on the side of the glass and you are good to go.

  • Great bar… I will definitely redo mine…

    Have a great weekend!!!



  • I really love this. The color is great, I’m inspired to do something like this with a old microwave cart I have. Thanks for sharing!!


  • I’m totally a dummy about this cocktail mixing thingy. But your cocktail cart and bottles on it look fabulous. Great to have a mini bar at home, right? 🙂

    • Go to a good book store and buy a great bartenders book. Most are small and you can keep them on your cart or in a drawer and once you read and learn the basic drinks to make, you will feel comfortable making them for friends. You can also “talk” drinks with people so they think you are an expert. Good luck.

  • This is really great inspiration! I’m currently re-doing my entire apartment and this has left me feeling super inspired.

  • I was just looking for liquor cart inspiration this morning! I love this so much. I’m thinking about repurposing a similar one. I want to have a functional/beautiful place for our liquor/glasses. Thank you!

  • For a metal cart like yours, you might end up trying some non-slip shelf liner paper. Unless, of course, your cart is just staying parked where it is. If you hunt around, there’s some fun patterned stuff out there. It would also keep the paint from scratching over time. You can cut the liner so that there’s still a border of green showing off the paint color on the shelf.
    Just an idea.

  • What a great before and after. I love the way it turned out.


  • this is sooo great! im very impressed.


  • Hey Elsie:)
    I saw the bombay gin there and that you mentioned Rosemary based drinks and wondered if you tried this recipe! Simmer the Rosemary in pink lemonade to infuse it. Allow it to cool, remove the sprigs and add some gin(I think I used 11/2 gin in lemonade concentrate with the 3 things of water-hope you get what I mean)…and YUM! serve with Rosemary garnish and a lemon wedge-so pretty and it’s really good when you blend it like a slushie! Enjoy:)

  • We must be cocktail twins. I also believe that you shouldn’t buy things you don’t like, so our apartment is stocked with wine, whiskey and gin (I don’t know much about bitters though). Love the Cabin Fever! It’s so good.

  • Oo coolness, I had an idea of renewing some stuff like that. Old ‘version’ also looks cool!
    and how cool is that honey bottle :3

  • really cute and the color is lovely!

    p.s love your skirt!


  • this is beautiful! my husband and i finished restyling our midcentury barcart in october. ours is a bright turquoise, and i love it!

    you can see before photos here:

    and a couple afters here (i still need to do a whole post about the project!):

    last week we got fun little silicone mustache drink charms you can stick on your glass, and i’m little by little gaining some fun vintage drinkware, cocktail napkins, and accessories. i’m in serious need of some julep cups! thanks for always having such pretty inspirations.

  • ooh, if you see any winter pimms your side of the world then it’s great with hot apple juice as a winter warming drink!

  • I love your cart! The colour is quite unusual but looks absolutely great.

    Elisa – Wandering Minds fashion

  • I think all of your tips are really smart! I too love bourbon based drinks and only keep on hand what I know well enough to make for a guest or to tell a guest about.

  • Oh honey Jack Daniels, how I love thee. That mixed with ginger ale or ginger beer is heavenly! I’m also in love with vodka, lime cordial and ginger beer (Moscow Mule).

    Your cart and collection is enviable! 😀

  • I just love that you refer to this as ‘a hobby’!! At 38wks pregnant I am salivating at these pics. I’ve been sniffing limes and dreaming of cocktails for months! Feeling very inspired to stock up our cabinet!

  • Very beautiful! Great idea for a post, Elsie. I never would’ve thought to write about something like this!

  • I’m really impressed by the cart make-over! It looks unrecognisable. Well done.


  • Looks great and thanks for the tips! I’m definitely going to do something similar when I move. I love the idea of trying something new as well :)!

  • I love this! I’ve been on the hunt for an inexpensive cart that I could fix up. So far, no luck. But I can’t wait to restyle it when I do!

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