Party Time: Who’s For a Cocktail?

It’s one of those things that seemed as if it might be fad, hung around long enough to classify as a trend and is now so firmly back on the interiors radar that it’s pitching to be a new classic. Yes it’s the drinks trolley. Suddenly no well-dressed home is without one and every client I visit asks me where to source one and where they should put it when I’ve found it.


These days it’s an essential cool bit of kit rather a bit Abigail’s party and let’s be honest, when good old Marks & Spencer start stocking them then it’s truly arrived in the mainstream. This is the Webster, which was the standout piece from their Autumn Winter 2017 collection, and which they shipped over to The Mad House for the day along with a bunch of accessories for me to photograph. I wrote a piece for their style and living section on the secret to a great cocktail party.

Obviously a drinks trolley or cabinet is a good start to a good party. I have a rather kitsch trolley that I found in the junk shop at the end of the road, and I don’t really have it dressed for drinks. It has a tray and a couple of glasses on it on the the bottom shelf but more often than not the top is just a repository for books that have overflowed from elsewhere.

But if you have a cabinet you can keep the doors closed and dress the top – as seen below – and then keep all the paraphernalia inside. There is something so utterly decadent and glamorous about owning a drinks cabinet don’t you think?

These days I’m not much of a cocktail drinker, although I love all the gear, and if you know someone who owns a cabinet or full blown bar you’re set for easy Christmas presents for life. A cocktail shaker here, a couple of nice glasses and a bottle of something nicer there. Ice cube trays and stirrers, coasters and then ice buckets. It’s an endless list.

And failing else it’s just a great piece of storage. And who doesn’t need more of that? Right are we in the mood yet? I sense the madness has already started …. invitations are arriving and the shopping has begun. Every year I swear I won’t start till December but it’s unavoidable really. Still one for mother, one for me, one for him, one for me, one for etc…. it could be worse. I might just park myself by the drinks trolley and do it all online…


Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. We are so lucky. My parents didn’t need their drinks cabinet anymore so I put my hand up for first dibs. It is a beautiful wood one, lined with mirrors inside and glass shelves. A pull out tray to make the drinks on and an extra cupboard underneath to store the extra bottles. Truly lovely and all visitors admire it. If you have room for one it’s a great piece of furniture.

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