The Soho House Effect: the Revival of the Drinks Trolley

Once deemed old fashioned, drinks trolleys have officially made a comeback. Their renaissance has been helped considerably by their appearance in the Soho House group hotels – placing a drinks trolley in individual rooms is a nice touch and who doesn’t like having their own personal ‘cocktail station’?!

Photo courtesy of Soho House

And it’s not just Soho House that have been getting in on the action. The ever-so-chic hotel The Laslett, in Notting Hill, has a pretty well-stocked drinks trolley proudly displayed too. Not only this, but you can find drinks trolleys of all shapes and sizes at elite venues such as the Bulgari Hotel, The Connaught, Duke’s Bar and the infamous Negroni Trolley at Mayfair’s Cartizze. They are a practical and flexible addition to a boutique hotel/bar environment,enhanced by their spectacular stylishness and the elegant use of materials such as brass, chrome, glass and marble. It is not difficult to see why they are such a popular accessory to imbibing.

Drinks trolley at The Laslett, Notting Hill
The Negroni Trolley at Cartizze, Mayfair
Drinks trolley at the Bulgari Hotel bar

But don’t think for one moment that drinks trolleys solely belong in hotel environs! Take a quick perusal of Pinterest to see for yourself that they are the latest home accessory for pretty much any interior. In fact, in 2016 Pinterest reported that searches for ‘bar cart/trolley’ jumped by 40% in just six months and sales of trolleys were up 173 per cent in the year by June 2016. And the trend continues into 2017, as we have seen articles published by the Evening Standard, Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, Gourmet Traveller Magazine and The Drinks Business that all report on the unrelenting ‘coolness’ of drinks trolleys and where you can find one of your own. That much, we too, can help with.

Selection of drinks trolleys from Pinterest
Drinks Trolleys and Nicholas Wells Antiques

However, at Nicholas Wells Antiques we are not interested in the modern reproductions, the forgotten heroes of  drink trolley design are what fascinates us. The original trend setters of the early twentieth century, whose attention to detail was impeccable – even the smallest components, such as the screws, were custom made by hand, are the real stars. The early bar carts by French design houses Maison Jansen, Bagues and the slightly later Aldo Tura, with his famous lacquered velum trolleys and cocktail tables, exhibit a quality of construction and finish that remain exquisite examples of design today. Modern pieces are too often void of any ornament, joined with clumsy welding and sprayed with gold colour paints – they simply will not stand the test of time. Our motto, courtesy of Vivienne Westwood, is ‘Buy Less, Choose well’.

Pair of Maison Jansen Polished Brass Bar Carts
Pair of Maison Jansen Polished Brass Bar Carts
French Mid Century Polished Brass Circular Bar Cart Drinks Trolley
French Mid Century Polished Brass Circular Bar Cart Drinks Trolley
Round Drinks Trolley : French Mid Century Polished Brass Circular Bar Cart
Rare Design Round Drinks Trolley : French Mid Century Polished Brass Circular Bar Cart
Soho House Mid-Century Polished Brass Drinks Trolley
Mid Century American Bell Cocktail Shaker
Asprey Bell Shaped Cocktail Shaker


But let us leave you with the Soho House guide to curating the perfect drinks trolley, so that you can create your very own sensational ‘cocktail station’:


Alexandra Kate