Drinking and driving don’t mix. Unless the drinks are driven to you by a mobile bar, the high-octane trend making the rounds on the special events circuit. With Piaggio Apes dispensing Aperol spritzes, retrofitted campers curating cocktails and converted horse trailers coursing with craft beer and wine, potent potables have never been so portable.
Their popularity has accelerated as weddings, corporate affairs and other shindigs shift gears from traditional venues to unconventional locales like barns and baseball fields. Customizable, they can be jacked up for grown-up guzzlers, roll alcohol-free, or both, like at a recent toddler’s birthday party featuring themed tipples for frazzled parents and Italian sodas and juices for the kiddos.
Due to Virginia ABC laws, hosts have to supply the “adult beverages,” but these creative entrepreneurs, working in tandem with you or your caterer, will rev up the party with most everything else. Even motif-matching signs and strung lights. As the owner of one of these turbocharged drinks trolleys told us, “This adds a layer of cool to the festivities.” So if you’re seeking that je ne sais “quaff ” your guests will be talking about long after the party’s over, check out these movers and shakers…
Rosie The Vintage Bar Cart
This pert, imported Piaggio Ape (a three-wheel adaptation of sibling Vespa scooter; in Italian vespa means wasp, ape means bee), ordered from Get Cozy, doesn’t rack up miles residing at the Tides Inn in Irvington, but she embodies her motto “Let the good times roll” by adding buzz to on-property revels with rosé wine, rosé cider beer and more. Like the grande dame waterfront resort, she’s a classic.
When COVID-19 caused weddings to dry up, Terrin Pitrone turned her refurbished 1966 Shasta camper-cum-roaming bar into a food truck peddling waffle sandwiches and smoothies. Now it can be either, mutually exclusive (catch the food truck summer weekends at Cullipher Farm Market). Collaborating with local businesses, such as Three Ships Coffee Roasters, fuels Pitrone’s ingenuity, and her inclusive, thrifted eclectic glassware means you can have a “green” affair without plasticware.
For the widest range of vintage vehicles: Get Cozy. Richmond-native Rachel Lintvet pioneered bars-on-wheels locally after she and her husband, a wine distributor, noticed them gaining traction in Europe. From mid-century caravans to prosecco/microbrew mini-trucks, they boast up to seven taps. Food, too. Headquartered in Northern Virginia, Lintvet services Coastal Virginia with special fondness (“We lived in Chesapeake when our first child was born…”). Three years ago she began franchising; Cozy now covers more than a dozen states including Hawaii.
How cute is it that law school grad Robbie Bradshaw tends bar and is studying for the bar? Almost as cute as the renovated horse trailer he debuted in January with co-owner Taylor Warren. “The whole aesthetic is Taylor,” he says, highlighting its pop-up, photo- shoot-ready, pillow-strewn bench. Bookings have included private events and the Virginia Arts Festival. Barring booze, “one-price” quotes include cups, straws, “everything else.” We’ll clink to that.
Coastal Cocktail Carts
Sarah Campbell and Alexander Ellis spiffed up a rusted horse trailer (pictured, right), outfitting it with a two-tap draft bar system, and launched their business spanning Virginia Beach to New Kent in June. Along with signature packages, they offer an à la “cart” menu (including lawn games!) to suit any bash. Most important, the Peninsula-based couple can genuinely relate to the pressure of planning a wedding. They’re getting hitched next year.