If you’re thinking of buying a nautical bar globe, there are some things that you should be aware of. I’ll talk about these aspect later.
Even though there is no such official classification, I like to group antique reproduction globe bars and world globes into 4 category types: terrestrial (also called earth globes or geographical globes), celestial (also astronomical globes or armillary spheres), nautical (also maritime globes) and decorative.
Terrestrial globe bars display a map Earth or other planetary body and relate to the planet’s topography. Celestial ones show the heavens and the positions of the stars in the sky (they do not include the sun, moon or planets because the positions of these bodies vary relative to those of the stars). Nautical bar globes depict the seas and oceans. And the purpose of decorative globe drinks cabinets is self-explanatory – to look pretty.
This post covers antique reproduction nautical bar cabinets and not those with a current nautical chart. One of the differences between a vintage replica nautical globe liquor cabinet and a terrestrial bar globe (a difference that many would consider to be a favorable one) is that the map on a nautical one can be more pleasing to look at, particularly for children, because it often portrays sea monsters, zodiac signs and other drawings that are not found on earth globes. (Yes, children can have bar globes too, there’s nothing stopping you from filling a globe bar cabinet with soda, water or other non-alcoholic drinks!)
A nautical drinks cabinet is also a wonderful gift for boaters, sailors, and anyone who is a lover of the water. It can also be a godsend when trying to find a gift for a maritime memorabilia collector who has his or her share of the usual nautical gifts: anchors, steering wheels and model ships.
One thing not many people know is that nautical globe bars are almost always made in China, as opposed to their Italian counterparts. Zoffoli is actually the only Italian manufacturer still in business that makes bar globes, and all of theirs, even the modern ones, have terrestrial maps.
Italian globe bar furniture is made by hand and the maps are carefully reproduced by qualified cartographers. This is not the case with nautical bar globes. The quality of the mass-produced Chinese globe bars is often sub-par. Since bar globes can open to reveal a storage area for liquor and stemware inside, the map on the sphere has a seam running along the middle, of course. In my experience the biggest complaint by customers who purchase nautical globe bars is that when the globe sphere is closed the northern and southern hemispheres often do not line up.
So if you are considering the purchase of a world globe bar cabinet, know that “nautical bar globe” is another way of saying “bar globe made in China.”