Cult Of Mac’s Awesome 2012 Advent Calendar: Day 20 – Bartender

Cult Of Mac’s Awesome 2012 Advent Calendar: Day 20 – Bartender

One of the better Yuletide traditions is the venerable holiday Advent Calendar, in which each day of December leading up to Christmas is marked off on a special calendar by opening its corresponding door to find a small gift, toy or chocolate squirreled away inside.

This year, we here at Cult of Mac decided we wanted to give our readers their very own Apple-themed advent calendar, filled with the year’s best apps, gadgets, stories and other curios. So each day in December, we’re going to lovingly peel back the door on the Cult of Mac 2012 Advent Calendar to reveal another delicious morsel, something really special that came out this year that we think every one of you should enjoy.

Day 20 is upon us as the end of the world draws near, and today we’re recognizing a handy menubar app for the Mac called Bartender.

I tend to operate in the midst of life’s daily clutter, but I’m always trying to balance my tendency towards chaos with new solutions for simplifying and streamlining my workflow.

As someone who installs a lot of apps and utilities on my Mac, my menubar tends to get packed with all kinds of icons I barely interact with. And the downside is that there’s no real way to hide them besides on an app-by-app basis. An easy way to keep my menubar clean? Sign me up!

Cult Of Mac’s Awesome 2012 Advent Calendar: Day 20 – Bartender

Bartender is a lightweight menubar app that… uh… manages your Mac’s menubar. It sounds redundant, but it actually works.

Designed and developed by Surtees Studios, Bartender transforms your menubar into a fully customizable workspace. You can hide the apps you need to run but don’t want to see lining the top of your screen. So you could theoretically have a dozen menubar apps running and have only one visible icon for Bartender itself. When you click Bartender’s ellipsis icon (which is customizable too), a panel of all the running menubar apps you’ve hidden appears. You can also set a keyboard shortcut for quicker access.

Bartender gets smarter with the ability to only show another app for a time when it updates. So something like the Sparrow or Tweetbot menubar icon would only appear for a brief moment when you get a new email or mention. Another frustrating issue that Bartender solves is the ability to reorder all menubar icons however you see fit. For some reason, you’ve always been able to drag around third-party icons, but not Apple’s stock menubar stuff, like the time and Spotlight.

If you want to have a completely naked menubar, Bartender can even hide itself. Menubarception?

Bartender is available for free with a 4-week trial, and it will eventually cost you $15. Check it out on the app’s website. I don’t know how I ever lived without out.

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  • Mystakill

    I picked this one up during MacHeist 4 several months back. While I’ve found it useful for moving some rarely-used items off of my menubar, it’s hardly indispensable enough to just its $15 price-tag; $5 would be more reasonable.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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