Winter brings (we hope) many opportunities for hosting and toasting. Between the glassware (cider mugs, champagne flutes, the punchbowl unearthed once a year) and spirits to fill it, the bar can get busy. Tom Cianfichi, co-owner of Hazelnut on Magazine Street, is a fan of sleek bar setups. “I love a bar that is as good looking as it is functional,” he says. Here are his tips, and a few of ours, for ensuring your beverage area has everything you need for entertaining beautifully this winter — and nothing you don’t. 

Bar Belle

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Art of the cart

If you don’t have a wet bar or large beverage service space, or you need a satellite drink station for a gathering, the bar cart is ideal. Models come in every style and size, for indoor and outdoor use, so you can have cocktails at your fingertips anywhere. Carts can also provide handy stations for serving a signature drink or themed cocktail. Pull it all together with a floral or botanical accent.

Bar Belle

Less is more

“It’s best to keep the look uncluttered,” says Cianfichi, though he makes exceptions for “useful extras that also express personality and style” like monogrammed cocktail napkins, glass stirrers and a bowl for nuts or garnishes. To keep things streamlined, limit the bar display to components you’re serving on a given occasion. 

Bar Belle

By the batch

If you don’t want to mix drinks during the party or have guests make their own, preparing a pitcher of your favorite cocktail can simplify the serving and keep the bar free of shakers, strainers and jiggers. Just set out the appropriate serving glasses and garnishes, and your work is done. 

Bar Belle

Nice ice

A handsome ice bucket and serving tongs are a must for any bar setup, and there are many options for getting fancy with ice shapes (like large spheres or cubes for serving with spirits in a lowball glass).

Bar Belle

Try a tray

“A lacquered bar tray is a perfect way to corral your favorite cocktail glasses and the tools you routinely use to make your signature drinks,” says Cianfichi. Use a tray to group related items, like the glassware and fixings for a particular cocktail, or to wrangle small elements like bitters, bowls of cut fruit, napkins, and stirrers. The right tray can also highlight the beauty of eye-catching glassware or spirit bottles.