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The Globe Bar - A Liquor Cabinet with Distinction

Updated on June 11, 2014

What is a globe bar?

A globe bar is a type of liquor cabinet that also acts as a decorative piece when not in use. Under the elusive guise of many different names such as a globe drink cabinet, globe liquor holder or hidden globe trolley, it can often be very hard finding information on these beautifully functional conversation pieces. In addition to being a convenient storage location for your liquor, a high quality globe bar is an elegant decorative furnishing for your home.

Benefits of Buying a Globe Bar

Extra storage space

The hidden compartment within a globe bar lets you store a variety of items, with modern variations including a chilled fridge and even an ice bucket. The ability to store your bar-ware safely and attractively within the globe frees up space around the house, especially when kitchens and dining rooms are often already quite overcrowded with the choice of appliances available today. Depending on the type of globe bar you own, many varieties are attached to a trolley that gives you even more space, as opposed to the more traditional variations that are free-standing. Decanters and glassware can easily fit upon the trolley allowing you to mix or serve drinks to those around you. The free-standing models more often than not have a shelf below the globe itself that can be used to hold books or magazines, or simply for any extra bar-ware you happen own.

The Globe Bar as a Conversation Piece

It's not everyday that you see a globe bar, and the effect of one on guests in your home is markedly different from that of say, a coffee table. Remarkable enough as it is already, the many differing styles of maps used on the globe can spur conversations of travel and holidays. For those interested in mythology or adventure, the globes are often replicas of 16th-18th century nautical maps, complete with sea monsters, strange place names and beautifully detailed ships. Art aficionados may also take interest on the artwork that can adorn the inside of the globe when it's open, ranging from classic Italian masterpieces to more mythological aspects of the nautical and exploration world.

Unique home d├ęcor

Bar globes have a charm to them unlike many other pieces of house furniture, and instantly add character to the room. Available in a range of different colours depending on the type of wood it was made from, they can compliment your current furniture or become a stand out piece of decoration if you so choose. They make great additions to any nautical themed houses or for rooms such as a home office, library or sitting room.

If you manage to find an actual vintage or antique globe bar, I'll say this now. Congratulations! You now own an amazingly unique piece of home furniture that will last for years to come. If you're like the rest of us on the other hand, and are searching for a new bar globe or replica model, you're still in luck. Most new bar globes I've seen are of high quality and stay true to the design and aesthetics of the traditional models.

Where can I buy a globe bar?

Auction houses

If you're looking for the best vintage or antique globe bars available to you, then going to an auction house will net you the best results. That is, if there are any globe bars to begin with. As they're such a rare and sought after home furnishing, people aren't willing to part with them, and are often out of the price range for most. I've found much better results going to a city auction house rather than your local ones, as their held less frequently and usually have a much larger variety of items to bid on. A good option is also keeping abreast of any antique or vintage auctions being held, most likely 6-8 per year, and you might have some better luck finding a true antique or vintage globe bar.

Antique fairs such as 'Olympia Fair', are great places to find furnishings for your home such as a bar globe
Antique fairs such as 'Olympia Fair', are great places to find furnishings for your home such as a bar globe | Source

Antique Fairs

Many cities often host antique fairs, and hold a high chance of finding yourself a vintage or antique globe bar for sale. At antique fairs you can also learn a great deal about taking care of your furniture, how to tell if furniture is really antique or vintage and other topics relating to these. Antique fairs are also great for buying new replica globe bars, with prices ranging from around $200 to the highest I've seen so far at around $8000. You also have a great opportunity to learn more about the globe bar you're buying and whether it comes with any warranty or not. Plus they're a great place to find other things you might have been searching for!


With such a range of choices available online, you'd be mad not to do some research beforehand. Usually online auction houses will provide a fair amount of photos to accompany each listing, which will give you a fair indication of the quality and type of globe bars available to you. A great feature with buying them online is that you can have them shipped to your house to almost anywhere in the world, which instantly fixes the shortage problem you may face if you're searching locally. Searching online also gives you the largest range available, and often at much reduced prices than traditional auction houses and fairs because they don't have to pay licencing and seller fees and other such costs that make it more expensive for you. I've written an article to help with some tips for buying globe bars online here, Where Can I Buy A Replica Globe Bar?

Things To Be Aware of When Looking to Buy a Globe Bar

Avoid low quality

Avoid low quality globe bars, as they're much more prone to breaking and will end up looking quite tacky if it's made of plastic as opposed to a beautiful wood. Very cheap globe bars will often have a very bad varnish and finish on them, meaning if they get water on them from say, condensation from a glass, the stain may run and leave circle blotches on your globe bar. The cheapest of the small globe bars without a stand, meant to be placed on a desk, that I've seen, cost around $45 so anything cheaper than that should really send some red warning flags up.

Check the craftsmanship

If you've bought a so called vintage or antique globe bar, and it's not verified as such, you can save yourself some money by doing some quick quality checks yourself. As wood ages, it slowly shrinks, so what would've been perfectly round when it was first built may now be a little bit warped or joints that would've fit flush may now have recessed slightly for example. The carvings within the wood itself is also very important. The detailing typical of the 16th-18th globes on the stands or trolleys are what is referred to now as 'old world' and involves very elaborate and beautiful designs carved into the wood.

The wood itself is also a good indication as to whether it's a piece typical of the era. Artisans at the time didn't use particleboard, and often used natural joints to make their pieces of furniture so if you're globe bar looks as if it's made of hundreds of glued and nailed parts of wood, it most likely isn't an antique. Remember that these are just guidelines, and furniture is never built the same every time. If you're still unsure as to the authenticity, and you're only seeking true antiques or vintage bar globes, pay for someone to come validate it's authenticity for you and find out for certain.

Don't be afraid to buy online

There are plenty of websites dedicated to providing furniture online, and usually at much reduced prices. I've bought 3 or 4 pieces of furniture myself online and haven't had a problem to date. Most auction sites will have feedback that you'll be able to browse through to get a general idea of the quality and service provided, and like with anything you buy, make sure you understand any returns services they offer and whether they have warranty or not. Also don't forget to factor in shipping, but for furniture, most online retailers will wait until they have a group of items heading your direction to save freight costs for you. The savings offered by online furniture shopping are quite generous at times so don't discard them straight away just because you haven't had any experience with it before. If you do need more tips, I've written an article, which you can read here that details buying globe bars online, Where Can I Buy A Replica Globe Bar?

You can find a great variety of globe bars online, at very reasonable prices!

In summary

Globe bars are a unique and interesting home furnishing that's sure to incite conversation and add a touch of character to any room in the house. Ensuring your barware and liquor is hidden means your kitchen or living room is tidier, and with some globe bars having a trolley built in, becomes a mobile dry bar which you can mix and serve drinks upon. As with any purchase, make sure you understand what you're buying and if there's any warranty or returns policy available and do your research before you go looking around!

What are your thoughts on globe bars?

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    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 5 years ago from Orange County, California

      I had a friend who owned one of these globe bars. It was gorgeous!

    • jamessteadman profile image

      James Steadman 5 years ago from Brisbane

      It's a relatively affordable luxury and they really are amazing pieces. I'm actually in the process of moving house and I'm selling my tiny old desk globe bar for (hopefully) a beautiful wood replica with a stand. I actually wrote this hub today so I don't forget my own advice when I go searching!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      I've always loved these- I'd love to see them put to alternative uses, too! One need not limit the globe to booze only XD

    • jamessteadman profile image

      James Steadman 5 years ago from Brisbane

      Of course not! Anything you're trying to hide from nosy guests or children could be secretly stored there with them none the wiser, or I suppose if you really needed some more storage space, you could put all kinds of things in there.

    • profile image

      Skip 16 months ago

      we bought a globe bar in Rimini,Italy ,at the factory. (1970)Don,t know if they still make them.

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