Us Brits famously and frequently love to pop round to our local for a glass or two of our favourite tipple, a game of darts or pool, and to set the world to rights with the other patrons. Plans have been hatched and history made in our humble alehouses. In short, it’s a cornerstone of British culture.
These days, however, many of us are feeling the financial pinch from this pastime – you can easily pay the shop price of a bottle of wine for a single glass! And, to add insult to injury, many of our favourite haunts are being renovated from cosy country pubs to characterless and – let’s not deny it – pretentious wine bars.
But what if you had to go no further than your own back garden for that cheeky pint? What if said cheeky pint cost you a fraction of the price and the last orders bell chimed only when you were good and ready?
If any of the above sounds appealing, then this article is for you.
The simple solution?
Build a pub
Building a pub or bar in your backyard is not a new concept, but it is becoming increasingly more popular, largely because of the reasons specified above.
Perhaps this has been on your mind for a while but you’ve been put off by worries of cost, the size of your garden, or the complexities of construction of your own personal pub.
But fear not: There really is an option for anyone wanting to make this dream a reality, no matter how modest your budget or space.
This article will show you how you can turn your decking into a destination, fill your patio with patrons, and impress your guests with your new-found bartending skills.
So where do you start?
Choose your garden pub aesthetic
There are a few things to consider when choosing the style of garden pub or bar you want to build.
Obviously cost and space will be the first aspect to decide on, but after that, it’s a good idea to decide whether you want this feature to be a permanent or temporary one.
Aside from that, when it comes to design, the sky really is the limit. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices (or beer) flowing.
1. The pop-up pub
This is the ideal option if you don’t want to build a permanent structure. The main advantage here is being able to pop your pub up as and when you need it. Perfect for parties and surprise celebrations, this option allows you to put it up and pack it down with ease.
Wooden pallets are a perfect building material for this type of pub. They are light to move around and easy to store.
Simply fashion the wooden pallets into your makeshift bar – think lemonade stand but with alcohol!
This is a quick, cheap, easy set-up and which you can decorate to create its own special charm.
2. The renovated pub
With the kids off to university, that treehouse or old wooden Wendy house is probably starting to look a bit silly. But, with a bit of imagination, a lick of paint, and a good selection of your favourite cask ales you can quickly renovate your kids’ old play area to an adults-only den.
With the structure readymade for you, your job largely comes down to decorating. Fairy lights are a brilliant solution for lighting, especially as they can be battery powered meaning you don’t need to trail ugly extension cords through your garden to see what you’re drinking in the evening.
Rugs, large pillows, and blankets are also a great way to spruce up your pub pad – not to mention making it super cosy on chillier evenings.
3. The beach bar
Whether you have one leftover from when the kids were little or you build one just for this purpose, a sandpit is easily transformed into a summer beach bar.
This is a versatile option allowing you to decide whether to use the pop up design or build a year round structure.
With this theme, you can really go all out and get creative, furnishing your pub with deck chairs, beach umbrellas, inflatable toys, nautical decorations, and more.
While you’re at it, why not upcycle old buckets and spades into plant pots to tie your beach theme seamlessly together with the rest of your garden.
4. The pizza pub
For those among you who are really looking to pack in the wow-factor, then including a pizza oven in your garden pub is a sure fire way to do just that.
This personal pub demands a fair bit of preparation. The pizza oven is fairly permanent structure, so you need to make sure you find the perfect spot for it.
For the oven itself you will require bricks, cement, a good selection of tools, and a chimney. Plant pots can actually be repurposed instead using of a store-bought chimney
Although the oven takes about an hour to reach the required temperature, once it does you will be cooking pizzas in all of 60 seconds. What’s more, it’ll also keep you warm and cosy on those colder evenings!
Cheers to that!
5. The bar and grill
If building a pizza oven is a little out of your comfort zone but you still want your garden pub to serve tasty food, then why not splash out on a decent barbeque?
With barbecuing being a favourite British pastime, this option is perfect for the summer months.
Serve ice cold beers and cocktails with delicious burgers and hot dogs, and before you know it your mates will be begging you to host every summer gathering and party.
Purchasing some proper beer kegs will make the bar feel even more authentic or, if you really want to impress your guests, why not brew your very own beer?
6. The decked-out decking
For those of you less concerned with budget, this option is guaranteed to blow your guests away.
By turning your decking or patio into a fully functioning bar and kitchen – with an oven, fridge, sink and other appliances – this really will be a place of pure luxury.
We recommend making sure the actual kitchen area is covered so you can enjoy this space whatever the weather and the peace of mind of knowing your appliances are safe from the elements.
This is a wonderful option for those who tend to host larger parties. It will make cooking up delicious food and serving beautifully chilled drinks a breeze.
7. The man (or woman) cave
This garden pub is ideal for those of you who want a snug little hiding place where you can have a quiet drink whatever the weather.
All you need is a garden shed, and as many creature comforts as you can fit into it. Think lazy-boy chairs, books and magazines, and, most importantly, a minibar stocked with all your favourite tipples.
If you are able to hook up some electricity to your drinking den then hey presto – you’ve got music, gaming systems, and ambient lighting. Perfection.
The only downside to this option is that once you go in, you’re probably going to struggle to find a good enough reason to leave!
8. The wall-mounted bar
Our final pub option is absolutely ideal for the more modest-sized gardens and patios.
All you need is a sturdy piece of wood hinged to a wall that can be folded down when you need it and then folded back up so it’s out of the way while not in use.
This is a great way to enjoy a drink al fresco without having to compromise on space. Combine this with a few folded chairs and you have the perfect collapsible garden pub.
How to personalise your pub
The great thing about all the options above is that you can mix and match ideas to create your dream drinking hole.
But once you have chosen and built your design, how do you make it yours?
9. Decorating your garden pub
This is arguably the most enjoyable part of the self-built garden pub process, and there are loads of nifty ways to elevate your bespoke bar to the next level.
If you want to keep things traditional, why not include a dartboard or a pool table? You could even go so far as to fit in a fruit machine or a jukebox!
If, on the other hand, you want a more quirky or personal design, now is the time to let your imagination run wild. Repurpose old wooden beer barrels for tables, have a browse in antique shops for curiosities that suit the theme of your bar, install coloured lanterns to create the perfect ambience – you can be as simple or as extravagant as you desire!
10. Entertaining guests in your garden pub
No pub is complete without entertainment, and there are loads of ways to take your establishment from fine to fabulous.
A pub quiz or a poker tournament are two simple ways to create instant entertainment with minimal effort, and a perfect way to get to know your neighbours better and see more of your friends.
If you’ve got the space and means to do so then why not put up a screen and host your own outdoor cinema or air live football!
Factoring in music is also a great way to keep the atmosphere buzzing. Whether you set up a sound system or crack out your guitar and jam for your guests, your garden pub is sure to be the talk of the town.
11. Stocking your garden pub
Regardless of your garden pub’s design and style, it’s certainly not a pub without the drinks!
Whether you stock up on a few crates of beer from the supermarket or fly in the fanciest champagne from France, the drinks will ultimately be the main attraction.
Why not impress your guests by creating your very own cocktail list, or hosting an evening of wine or beer tasting? Or give your pub a trendy flare by upcycling jam jars or glass milk bottles as alternatives to using pint and cocktail glasses.
If you aren’t able to – or don’t wish to – install an actual fridge then a large cooling box will work a treat, ensuring the drinks you serve are perfectly chilled, not to mention in an environmentally friendly fashion.
The grand opening
You’ve designed and built your very own garden pub, you’ve decorated it in just the style you wanted and you’ve stocked it with all your favourite beverages, so what’s next?
The only thing left to do is to host your grand opening!
Whether you invite a few close friends or post fliers through the doors of the entire neighbourhood, now is the time that all your hard work finally pays off and you can share the fruits of your labour.
Whichever option you go for, we hope that this guide to building a pub in your back garden has proved useful. With a plan and a bit of elbow grease, you can easily join the ranks of British homeowners who no longer have to leave their house to get to their local.
And the best thing about it? Although there are nine garden pub ideas in our list, the sky really is the limit. Put your mind to the task, grab your tools, then as long as you can drink a beer when you’re done, pretty much anything can be a garden pub.
So now you know about building, decorating, and hosting guests in your very own garden pub, all that’s left for us to say is…