Why Aussies are turning their homes into cool bars

 

Future social restrictions won't rain on Australia's parade, if the latest interiors trend is anything to go by.

The drinks trolley and purpose-built home bar are back in vogue, as Australians look to classic design items to deliver style to the humble house party post-pandemic.

According to Harvey Norman's Vesna Vasilevski, the resurgent popularity of Mad Men-style cocktail carts reflects changing attitudes to gathering.

Shane Warne's sleek basement bar at 15 Newbay Cres, Brighton, is one of the home's luxe highlights. The property is currently on the market.
Shane Warne's sleek basement bar at 15 Newbay Cres, Brighton, is one of the home's luxe highlights. The property is currently on the market.

"In a world pre-COVID-19, a night out meant meeting friends at a bar," Ms Vasilevski said. "Restaurants may be slowly opening their doors and increasing capacities but the opportunity to sit directly at the bar doesn't feel (possible yet). If you're interested in experimenting with your own cocktails, it's a way to bring the bar into your own home."

As with cocktail mixology, the possibilities are endless.

From the slick bar in Shane Warne's former uber bachelor pad in Melbourne's Brighton - which he sold for around $5.5m in December - to an Art Deco gilt trolley on wheels, there is a sipping station to suit all.

"Think about how much space you have to work with, and how much storage and surface area you're going to need," Ms Vasilevski said.

Enjoy the Mad Men experience in your own home. Picture: Supplied
Enjoy the Mad Men experience in your own home. Picture: Supplied

"Perhaps room for a few accessories - think ice buckets or stir sticks."

Principal at interior styling firm Turner & Roberts, Cassandra Turner said the current fashion for carts is reminiscent of their 1950s heyday.

"Most of us won't be installing the old mid-century dry bar, but its more glamorous sidekick the bar cart is a simple, fun inclusion bringing old-school elegance and a sense of theatre to a home.

"I definitely expect to see more of these popping up in homes everywhere," Ms Turner said.

Indeed, Nick Bell's eponymous architecture firm recently had a bar added to a home brief, part of what he describes as a greater interest in creating defined spaces post-COVID.

Gin collector Jacqui Walshe with her collection. Picture: Jeremy Piper.
Gin collector Jacqui Walshe with her collection. Picture: Jeremy Piper.

"Instead of fixing drinks on the kitchen bench, we are looking to elevate this ritual, creating a sense of entertainment around it to increase the pleasure of being at home and also sharing this with friends," he said.

"It's about creating some fun and giving us options to maximise the enjoyment of our living spaces."

If you're starting small, backyard bartenders should consider size and mobility appropriate to their needs.

Shane Warne will drink to that. Picture: Instagram.
Shane Warne will drink to that. Picture: Instagram.

If budget permits, look for design details that make a stylish statement, delivering extra bang for buck. Harvey Norman's current range, for example, includes acrylic, metal and rattan options across a range of price points and Insta-inspo abounds.

Take your home’s space and overall aesthetic into account when searching for the perfect cocktail cart. Picture: Harvey Norman./supplied.
Take your home’s space and overall aesthetic into account when searching for the perfect cocktail cart. Picture: Harvey Norman./supplied.

For avid gin collector Jacqui Walshe, spinning her trolley's wheels from guest to guest makes eased restrictions more memorable.

"I don't have a good bar set up but we move the trolley to wherever we've got people seated. It's a bit unexpected," she said.

A tourism industry leader, Ms Walshe's role previously took her overseas 15 times a year, as well as around Australia, enabling her to build a collection of international and domestic gins rivalling most inner-city bars and hotels.

Don’t miss our new look At Home magazine with your newspaper this Saturday February 13.
Don’t miss our new look At Home magazine with your newspaper this Saturday February 13.

A gift from her husband, the trolley and its two trays of mementos and gifts - bottles of gin from travels past - hold extra meaning these days.

"There's a little bit of nostalgia associated with it now," Ms Walshe said.

"When I have had people around, it's definitely provoked an opportunity to reminisce about where these have come from.

Austin Powers knows a good at-home bar when he sees one. Picture: Supplied
Austin Powers knows a good at-home bar when he sees one. Picture: Supplied

"It becomes a home event - which gin would you like to try, from which area - and you can tell a few of those stories and the trolley means it's all captured in one. You've got a particular, central focal point for the conversation and the flow. It's an opportunity to make the most of whatever your circumstances are."

For more on the latest home trends, tips and advice visit At Home online.

 

 

 

Originally published as Why Aussies are turning their homes into cool bars



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