Bartender is one of my favorite OS X utilities. It is a menubar app to contain other menubar apps in its own menubar. I can confirm it’s not some kind of Inception. As I wrote in my original look at the beta version:
Bartender lets you organize your menubar apps while retaining the functionalities they come with. The app automatically finds third-party apps running in the menubar; it allows you to completely hide them, or show them in the Bartender bar. If you choose the latter option, your menubar apps will stil remain fully working with popover windows and keyboard shortcuts.
If you tried the app while it was in beta and abandoned it because it didn’t support system icons, now’s the time to check it out again. Bartender 1.0, released earlier this week, comes with full support for system icons that you can customize individually. It also supports the Notification Center icon if you’re on Mountain Lion. Items can be manually rearranged if you, say, want to keep Spotlight in the main menubar, but Notification Center on the rightmost side of Bartender’s bar.
There’s a good selection of keyboard shortcuts, too. You can create hotkeys to show the full menubar or the Bartender bar; you can also customize the appearance of Bartender’s icon, its position, or its autohide settings. Menubar apps with interface elements, such as Fantastical, Currencies or Take Five, usually work out of the box even inside Bartender, but you can apply a fix if they’re not working. Alternatively, you can choose to show those apps in the main menubar for a few seconds when they receive activity – for instance, when Sparrow’s icon is highlighted for an incoming message.
Bartender is a great utility to hide menubar items you don’t use often but still want to keep running. Get the app here for $15 – there’s also a four-week free trial available.