Thursday, September 08, 2011

Come for Drinks

Doesn't the photo above look inviting? I love the way in which this drinks table was arranged with a gracious plenty of everything: liquor, glassware, ice, drink garnishes, and cocktail nibbles. I wish that I could remember from which issue of Veranda this image came. Regardless, I think that a drinks table as elaborate as this one is best suited for a party (or a magazine photograph!) But for everyday use, a smaller drinks table in a library or drawing room is always nice for impromptu gatherings or a solitary drink while reading. If the table is placed near a fireplace, even better.

In an Indian noblewoman's London flat designed by Nicky Haslam.

In a far corner of the living room in a Faubourg Saint-Germain house.

In Blenheim Palace underneath a 1963 portrait of the 11th Duke of Marlborough.

In a niche in Madeleine Castaing's salon at Maison de Lèves.

In the lush red salon of a home in Paris.

In the London living room of decorator Anthony Denney.

In a glamorous New Orleans salon decorated by Nicky Haslam.

In the library at Clandeboye, County Down, Ireland.

Image #1 from Veranda; #2 from Interiors by Min Hogg and Wendy Harrop; #3 from The Finest Houses Of Paris by Christiane de Nicolay-Mazery; #4 from Vanity Fair, June 2011, Jonathan Becker photographer; #5 and #6 from French Interiors: The Art of Elegance by Christiane de Nicolay-Masery; #7 from The Best in European Decoration; #8 from Sheer Opulence by Nicholas Haslam; #9 from The Irish Country House by the Knight of Glin and James Peill.


  1. In that first photo I am more interested in the table itself than in the liquor and bar-ware on top--I wish I could get a closer look at the table.

    As a non-drinker, it would never occur to me to make a display of alcoholic beverages, but your photo-essay shows how these drinks are intrinsically and historically tied in with the idea of an elegant lifestyle.

  2. So true! There is something so wonderful and welcoming about everyone being able to help themselves and I love the collected look of all the different bar tools and ingredients!

    xo Allison

  3. We are also posting about a tres chic bar set-up today! :)

  4. I agree with you Jennifer. The first picture looks VERY inviting!

  5. During my month at the Attingham Summer School years ago, one of the few of the literally thousand plus shots that did not take was the drinks table at Chatsworth. The Duchess was giving us a tour of the private quarters and I just could not pass the opportunity to record the best example I had ever seen. Located in the wide, windowed hall outside the main sitting room with faded blue damask walls, one of the most memorable features was a huge lemon which the butler had begun to peel in a spiral and left on a silver plate in anticipation of her refreshment after we left that afternoon.

  6. I love the idea of a drinks table that's always on view! It just says: when you're ready to relax and let your hair down, the scene is set for you! Whether it's the homeowner alone or with guests, the drinks table suggests that relaxation and joie de vivre are part of life (as they should be!) Walking past the table during the day provides a reminder of good things to come later.

    I agree, also, that non-alcoholic beverages should be part of the mix, but I think that in today's society, most hosts recognize this. The drinks table can incorporate whatever you and your guests like to consume. It's an invitation to enjoy life!

  7. First of all Jennifer, thank you for saying Drinks Table not Bar.
    A bar is what Dean Martin stands behind while mixing up a drink for himself or another member of the Ratpack. I've never understood the notion of a bar in a private house. It's tacky.
    Secondly thank you for the shot of Anthony Denney's London flat. He is much referenced in biographies of the cookery author Elizabeth David, so seeing evidence of his taste was instructive and a rare treat.
    Lastly, I think that the drinks table which made the
    deepest impression at a tender age was seen on the
    pages of David Hicks's book living with taste. He took no pains to disguise bottles of soda or tonic, nor was there a single pretentious decanter. What you saw was what you got, labels included. Naturally, it helped to have the entire thing set in a ravishingly beautiful room!

  8. Toby- Hicks' drinks set up was the first to inspire me as well; in fact, I believe that I've shown it before on my blog. Not bothering to hide the Schweppes label was refreshing!

  9. For each one of these, I would have to say, "I'll be right over" to even the slightest hint of an invitation!
    Any good host always makes sure to have excellent non-alcoholic drinks available and easily accessible.
    Great post! --Valerie

  10. Great topic. Bunny Williams also has a fabulous (huge) drinks table in her "barn." Also Miles Redd.

    What non-alcoholic drinks could you display besides soda??


  11. Cara, I might have Pom juice and sparkling water available. Also, I always have Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup at the ready to mix with soda water.