I have one rule when it comes to testing a bar or wine tool. I should be able to use it after a drink or two. I think this is a sensible rule and one I put into play on several buying trips.
As a Texas-based buyer, the big homewares market at the Dallas Market Center is my “local” haunt (if you consider a four-hour drive from Houston local, but it’s closer than Atlanta). Anyways, it’s a great event and around three in the afternoon the showrooms roll out the wine bottles and margarita machines. No doubt to draw in us buyers and make us giddy about their wares. This ploy does work on me. I’ve added more than one oddball line to our collection while under the influence.
But never did I add a bar or wine tool that I regret. Anytime I needed to bolster our wine and bar collection, I visited those showrooms at the end of the day, had a lovely drink or two while chatting with my sales rep — then got serious. If I had to fiddle with it to make it work — forget it.
Following are my Top Faves from the bar accessory lines we carried, and a few from lines that we didn’t for various reasons, but I use myself (another buyer perk — test samples). Every bottle opener gizmo, aerator whatzit, and bottle stopper gadget below passed my two-drink rule. Plus the ice buckets and bar drinkware are all made from durable, party-friendly materials like plastic or stainless steel. Worry-free dining and partying, that’s my motto.
Bar Tools & Wine Gear
There are many fancy bottle openers on the market, but when the lever-action gear breaks and the batteries go out, where does that leave you? Grabbing an old standard, that’s where — and those are what pass my two-drink rule. After bottle openers that actually work, my second favorite Bar Tool Fave is the Wine Saver by Vac-u-Vin. I’ve had my original set for years and it’s still going strong. A few other tools made the list for their simplicity and usefulness. The whiskey stones are my newest addition and yes, they work with wine — but I use a plastic wine glass. I’d be careful swirling them in a Riedel stem.
Ice Buckets, Wine Buckets & Party Tubs
We carried most of the ice and wine buckets below for over a decade. These acrylic wine buckets and tubs by Prodyne are beautiful and great for weddings and special events, we sold thousands to party planners over the years. If you’re shopping around for an everyday ice bucket, you really can’t go wrong with OGGI’s insulated stainless steel bucket with lid and built-in scoop holder, I’ve used mine for years.
Great Bar Glasses
We stocked a wide variety of bar glasses over the years, most were plastic but we handled some durable tempered and annealed glass styles, too. We still carry two of our all-time best-selling plastic barware lines — Americana and Ultra. With simple, clean lines and a glass-like finish, both are virtually indestructible and very well priced. In fact, they’re some of the best plastic drinkware values (if not THE best) on the market.
I also have several Top Faves from barware lines we no longer carry, but I still heartily recommend. Note, The G.E.T. and Libby brands listed below are made for foodservice use and sold by the case – but they’re a great deal if you need 12+ glasses.
Americana Unbreakable Plastic Glasses
Ultra Stackable Plastic Glasses