DIY: The Bar Cart

Shortly after Lisa matched to residency in Boston in March 2014, we realized we needed to address our furniture problem. Although I was 27 and she was 25, neither of us had nice furniture. We were trapped in that awkward period after college where spending money on furniture is an absolutely terrible idea for two reasons: 1) it’s extraordinarily expensive, and 2) once you have furniture, you’re suddenly less mobile—not exactly an appealing idea for anyone in Gen X.

Around this time, I had been following an online magazine/blog geared towards young men called Primer and casually had been bookmarking ideas from a series of posts called the intentional apartment since I knew we would be moving. One post Lisa and I both particularly liked was Andrew Snavely’s DIY bar cart post.

Here is our final result:

The final product, crooked growler lamp and all!
The final product, crooked growler lamp and all!

Next—the best part—stocking your cart. Below are a few suggestions for stocking your bar cart with essentials. I compiled this list using Faith Towers’ Primer magazine post as well as my own research mostly using a book Lisa bought me last year: The Ultimate Bar Book: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Cocktails by Mittie Hellmich, which I would describe as the definitive tome on cocktails.

This list is not intended to be exhaustive. We don’t personally own every item; the idea is to work towards this. Cheers!


  • Bourbon (ideally small-batch bourbon)
  • Brandy (ideally French brandy)- Hennessy, Rémy Martin, Martell, Courvoisier
  • Blended Whiskey (such as Canadian Whiskey)
  • Blended Scotch (unless you prefer sipping a single-malt)
  • Gin- London Dry’s: Beefeater, Tanqueray, or BoodlesNewer Gins: Hendrick’s (our personal favorite)
  • Tequila (ideally 100% agave)
  • Vodka
  • Light Rum– Bacardi


  • Apricot brandy
  • Cointreau (or other orange liqueur)
  • Créme de cacao (white & dark)
  • Créme de menthe
  • Kahlúa (or other coffee liqueur)
  • Pernod (or other anise-flavored liqueur)
  • Other liqueurs, according to your cocktail preferences (such as amaretto, créme de cassis, chambord, Frangelico, sambuca)


In all fairness, this DIY project turned out nicely. For less than $50 USD we successfully made a nice industrial-looking bar cart. Our one complaint, the floor underlayment on the bottom shelf blocks the path of the bottom-most bolts, which means we had to go without them; this affects the sturdiness of the whole rig, but if you’re willing to put up with that, it’s a cheap solution and a nice weekend project (of course, you don’t need the floor underlayment, but I think it adds something). The bright red color helps make the cart a focal point of our living space, but you could easily paint it another color. Finally, the nice thing about having a bar cart is that it allows us the flexibility to wheel around our liquor collection—for example, onto our first floor balcony the next time we have a soi·rée at our Cambridge crib.

How about you? What DIY apartment hacks have you created with a tight budget and a little ingenuity?

Bummer, no space.
Bummer, no space.
Collective sigh.
What could have been…















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