Any home bartender worth their salt rim knows the value of high-quality barware. If you’re looking to expand your collection, begin the hunt at these professional-approved shops, which are treasure troves of vintage bar accessories.
Coveting an antique bar trolley? Lusting after a designer cocktail shaker? If you’ve stocked up on some exceptional spirits – but don’t yet have the tools to match – this is your cue to embark on a quest for beautiful, vintage bar accessories. From hidden-away second-hand shops to bimonthly antique fairs, these five shopping destinations are sure to turn up all kinds of treasures.
(Prefer to do your shopping digitally? We’d also recommend visiting Cocktail Shakers or Cocktail Kingdom for both modern and retro finds. And don’t overlook good old Ebay, which offers up its own share of treasures!)
Sunbury Antiques Market
Given that Sunbury Antiques Market is billed as the largest and longest-running such market in the country, there’s little wonder that there’s plenty of beautiful, vintage bar accessories to be had here. Held at the Kempton Park Racecourse, the bimonthly market can host upwards of 700 traders at a time. The stock is ever-changing and, as sellers hail from across the UK and elsewhere in Europe, you’re always promised a wide selection. If you can bear the early start, arrive when the market opens at 6:30 for first pick.
Bartenders have tipped us off about this stylish address out East, located just off of Brick Lane. Artist-run, the vintage shop-cum-art-studio features both retro pieces and contemporary housewares (not to mention an admirable coffee shop). Inside are some of the quirkiest bar accessories to be found in London, from chunky stoneware mugs (ideal for hot toddies) to neon-trimmed bar stools and kitschy pineapple-printed coasters. Lovers of the colourful and off-kilter, this is your shop.
The Old Cinema
Just around the corner from Sipsmith’s Chiswick HQ is the aptly named Old Cinema: once a 19th-century movie theatre, the venue now specialises in antiques. The vintage bar accessories on hand range from flower-printed 1960s cocktail shakers to sets of French Art Deco cocktail glasses – even Victorian wine coasters. If you’re after something elegant and eye-catching, this is an excellent starting point.
The Vintage Trader
The Vintage Trader has long been a favourite amongst bartenders in-the-know, thanks to its excellently curated selection of antiques. Drinks trolleys are one of the shop’s particular specialities: think mid-century brass pieces that are as statement-making as they are functional. (Is it any surprise that we’re particularly covetous of this swan-necked number?) Though The Vintage Trader is primarily an online retailer, treasure-seekers can call ahead and pop down to its headquarters near Gatwick, located in a country house.
The Tom Dixon Collection at Heal’s
British designer Tom Dixon is a favourite amongst London’s restaurateurs and bar owners. For a bit of his creative vision in your own home, pay a visit to Heal’s, which has collaborated with the designer on a number of striking pieces. His brass-licked glasses – available as low balls and high balls – would make any cocktail look impressive. Home bartenders can also invest in a decanter, bottle opener and Champagne bucket to round out their kit.