The ambition is to pursue that quest to its end, and not to give up for the first Swedish decoration store you may know. If you can find that unique match with your personality and interior, it will be a “happily ever after”. To that end, we have a method. Meeting with passionate experts and “connoisseurs” is always a smart move.
First, let us take you to the so-parisian flea market of Saint-Ouen, nestled at one of the north gates of Paris. There, we have a meeting with Aurélia Thevenin, merchant and certified expert for Art and Design of the XXth century. Obviously, she will provide the good taste…
Aurelia, what is for you the perfect vintage homebar?
The perfect barcart in my mind is metal or wood, steady, convenient to move around and goes with removable trays so you can serve your guests. Compact, it should still offer enough space to mix a cocktail.
Note: A wooden barcart from the 60’s, found at the flea market, Vernaison market The models that I find covering all these requirements are from Matthieu Mategot, a French designer from the 50’s whose creations stand as the “haute couture” of perforated or folded steel. Even though some interesting pieces were also done by Jacques Adnet but they appear not to be as convenient to use.
Note: Matthieu Mategot’s bar cart, in Aurélia’s shop at the flea market, Biron market
What are the most original or unique homebars you have seen or sold so far?
Originality is a strong reason to admire the work of Mr Mategot. The lines are pure but still playfull and poetic, and the whole piece is reliable and well balanced. And yes I plead guilty as charged… I’m a huge fan !
And some of my buyers are as well. I remember that Saudi customer who had a crush on a rare model. As I shared my concern about the shipping of such piece he responded: “Don’t you worry Madame, I’m so crazy about that cart that it will be shipped on a private jet!”
Talk about doing things with style…
Is a vintage homebar have to be genuinely vintage or it may be a reedition or an original creation?
From my perspective, it has to be vintage, or a creation. I’m not a pro of re-issued models.
When it comes to re-issued models, the business gains what art and creativity are losing.
What is your top 3 addresses?
Marché Biron, Marché Serpette, Marché Paul Bert. – Author’s note: all three are located in the flea-market of Saint Ouen – But it would be a shame to come here and not to visit all the markets around.
Note: Pictures taken both at Biron & Vernaison markets.
Our last question, what are the traps to avoid when looking for the perfect vintage homebar?
Well, you need to look for the flaws. Be thorough when checking the structure and weldings. The wheels, the original ones preferably, must be strong, roll smoothly, and offer a good stability.
And ask for details on your invoice as you purchase, such as the the time of making, the designer, any reworking done in the past. And last but not least, follow your heart!
Thanks to Aurelia, we have now a better chance to crown our interior with the perfect vintage homebar.
Note: Aurélia and her husband, Lawrence who also works at the flea market
So let’s take another step and find some jewels to fit such a crown.Our next meeting takes us to Sebastien Oguic, a French bar tender who masters the art of making cocktails spectacular in every way. After a start in London in 2001, Sebastien has since been awarded twice the world champion in flair bartending.
Note: Sebastien at Le Hibou, a famous cocktail bar in St Germain des Près.
Hello Sebastien, we have found the perfect vintage homebar to complete our home decoration. We need now to gear it up with the right choice of glasses and a proper set of barware. Could you point us in the right direction?
For the glassware, Libbey (Author’s note: https://retail.libbey.com) has a nice collection. You can find every kind of glass you want. Really good value for money.
For the bar tools, I would also recommend www.laboutiquedubarman.fr. You can find everything there. Quality is good and prices are reasonable.
Then, if you are willing to invest more, you could go for Japanese barware. These are very beautiful tools, with high quality. It is a fancy way to accessorize your homebar.
The stage is all set for a great session of homemade cocktails. Are there any ground rules you can share with us to choose the right assortment of drinks and ingredients?
If we are talking homebar, there is no rule except yours. But of course it’s always useful to have the basics. It is like a backbone to your creativity.
You can’t be serious about making cocktails if you don’t have the following 3 alcohols: vodka, gin, and rum. You can also add some bourbon for a wider range of flavors. My favorites could be Absolute, Hendricks and Havana Club.
On the sweet side, you need to have sugar. Crystal, Cassonade or simple syrup (you can make your own easy with half water, half sugar). You may also have flavored syrup.
Monin is one of the bests brand, with a variety of 150 different flavors. Personally I like pink grapefruit, passion fruit, raspberry and blackcurrant, indeed they are easy to work with.
Other Liquors, such as Cointreau or Saint Germain (elderflower liquor) are very important too. I really think that making cocktails at home is a perfect moment to experience new liquors and extand your knowledge.To bring freshness, colors and textures to your drinks, you have to call on Mother Nature. Above all, lemons and limes. Then get seasonal fruits and herbs. My favorites would be berries. Cucumber is also very interesting to work with. Orange and grapefruit for the zest and fresh mint, basil and rosemary for herbs.
At one point, you will need Mixers. Sodas for instance are good to add some bubbles! Soda water, ginger ale and tonic are the basics. I am not a big fan of bottled juice, but if you have to use some, prefer apple, pineapple or cranberry.
You can also add some bitter to twist both taste and color, like Angostura, curacao or bitter truth.
Now you just need a lot of ice and you favorite guests!
Author Elodie Leone
Photo Valerie Labadie