By Kim Cook Associated Press
Home beer and spirit-making have become popular hobbies. Bars and beverage stores feature a growing variety of artisanal spirits and craft brews. Cocktail parties are back in vogue.
And retailers are responding to all this imbibing by offering furniture, barware and accessories with cosmopolitan flair. All you need are a few invitations, snacks and some good music for the party to begin.
Let’s pop the cork on what’s new.
“Nowadays, entertaining does not have to mean having a glitzy full bar. Bar carts have become more delicate, refined, and smaller in scale, so you can tuck them into a corner of a room or blend them in with the rest of the furniture,” Veranda magazine’s market editor Catherine Lee Davis said.
West Elm’s Parker slim-profile cart in acorn-stained walnut veneer with brass rail trim has a mid-century vibe. The walnut-stained Dodson cart features a flip-down front concealing a mirror-lined interior with plenty of storage.
Gent Supply Co., www.gentsupplyco.com, has a natty collection of coasters, glassware and flasks printed with illustrations of turn-of-the-century gentlemen duelers, narwhals, anchors, and animals dressed in distinguished garb.
Artist Richard E. Bishop, www.richardebishop.com, known for wildlife etchings in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, has his work on an array of bar glasses and decanters. Ducks, trout, foxes and horses set a “country house” tone.
A punchbowl that rests in the clutches of an octopus and a sculpted shell held by a delicate coral stand are part of an aluminum barware collection at Z Gallerie, www.zgallerie.com. There’s also a faux crocodile service tray in rich eggplant, studded with silver rivets, that makes a sophisticated statement. Silver cocktail picks and stir sticks topped with airplanes evoke the Second World War. And a mirrored sign with phrases like “Stirred” and “Straight Up” printed in a gold retro font would make great wall art.
JC Penney, www.jcp.com, has a whimsical yet elegant wine decanter from Michael Graves Design that features his signature bird as a built-in aerator.
Homegoods, www.homegoods.com, has hammered metal cocktail shakers with handy drink recipes printed on the side.
New York artist Aymie Switzer’s laser-etched cedar coasters depict neighborhood maps of many major cities, including Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco.
Coasters recycled from old tires are stamped by Los Angeles artists with different graphic number fonts. And Colorado designer David Rasmussen’s black walnut stemware is distinctive and beautiful. All at www. uncommongoods.com.