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In honor of the season 6 premiere of Mad Men this Sunday, co-founder of global design company Teroforma, Andrew Hellman, shares his top tips and essentials for creating a retro bar that would even bring a smile to Don Draper‘s lofty (yet attractive) face. So, grab a whiskey on the rocks and take notes. Oh, it’s only 10 a.m.? Who’s counting.

Mad Men Season 6Photo credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC

Style a Retro Bar at HGTV's Design BlogDesign by Emily Henderson

First, you must have an easy-to-access bar.

Style a Retro Bar Cart at HGTV's Design BlogDesign by Emily Henderson

To create the ultimate bar within arm’s length, first try utilizing pieces of furniture in your home, like a dining room buffet or a living room side table, Andrew suggests. “If you want to go the extra step, scour websites like Etsy, eBay or local flea markets and thrift stores for inexpensive era-reflective finds,” he says.

Style a Retro Bar at HGTV's Design BlogDesign by Brian Patrick Flynn

Style a Retro Bar at HGTV's Design BlogDesign by Emily Henderson

Fill your bar with retro glassware of all varieties. 

Retro Bar Glassware at HGTV's Design BlogThe Brandy Glass, Teroforma | Ekke Small Tumblers, Teroforma

“Neat, on the rocks or cocktail format a la Old Fashioned (Don Draper’s drink of choice), quality whiskey tumblers should have some mass and a heavy bottom,” Andrew says.

Retro Bar Glassware and Tray at HGTV's Design BlogThe Martini Glass, Teroforma

“The martini glass is an essential element of any refined bar, specifically for serving martinis, gimlets and other old-school cocktails.” Classic Cocktail Recipes >>

Make sure you have all the necessary tools and accessories to concoct the best cocktails.

Retro Bar Accessories at HGTV's Design Blog

An essential element of any sophisticated bar is a pitcher and stirrer set and decanter. “Get a decanter and pour the way big boys do,” Andrew says. “But be careful with older decanters, especially crystal; these decanters often contain lead which will seep into the whiskey over time,” he says. “The amount of time in a glass for drinking is absolutely OK, but long-term storage in a leaded container can be toxic to the whiskey and more importantly, to your health.”

Stock your bar with top-shelf spirits.

In the 1960s, the drinks were hard, and gin, whiskey (scotch, bourbon, rye) and vodka were king. Stock your shelves with plenty of these, and keep a few bottles of high-grade single malt stowed for big occasions. Guide to Stocking Your Bar >>

8 Responses

  1. kristinfrombliss says:

    We have a bar cart and just love it. I love the Mad Men inspired looks :) xo Kristin

  2. Miriam C. says:

    The blue retro glasses are great.

  3. kittylu says:

    I love the peony wallpaper behind the gold bar cart – where can I find it?

  4. Marcie says:

    Anything retro is a big ol' YES!

  5. Lili_HGTV says:

    Man they look good holding cocktails.

  6. south47th says:

    Been a huge fan of Bar Carts for decades, especially 'Mobile' ones. It's a beautiful thing to liven up my Bar Cart with vintage spirit accessories, have it rolled into the bathroom, lively libations prepared and served to me while I soak in the tub. Ahhhhhh <3

  7. south47th says:

    They look good holding anything!

Kayla KittsKayla is a special projects editor at HGTV.com and a co-editor-in-chief for Design Happens. Kayla is an overbearing cat mom with a love for vintage-modern furniture, artisan cocktails, organizing all...


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