All About Bar Sheds
Last updated Monday, July 18th, 2022
What is a Bar Shed?
With the popularity of man-caves and she-sheds, let me introduce you to one of the newer types of home entertainment buildings – a bar shed. If you haven’t heard the term bar shed before, you’ll soon be hearing it more often. With the sudden popularity of different types of hobby sheds in pop culture, bar sheds are becoming more and more common. They’re also known as pub sheds, backyard bars, or even bar caves.
But what exactly is a bar shed? Think of it as your own personal bar located right in your own backyard. Typically, a bar shed is a shed style structure with a built in bar, work area, refrigerator, storage shelves for various supplies, and seating. Think of it like a large outdoor liquor cabinet with entertainment in mind. Often the bar is placed outside with a cut out window where the “bartender” (likely you) can serve beverages and drinks to friends and guests from inside the building.
Bar sheds can be used to serve your favorite adult beverages or anything else you may want, such as coffee and tea, ice cream treats, or even food. Let your imagination fly and you may just come up with a cool theme idea that fits right in with your personality and interests.
Have you always wanted a sports bar in your own backyard? What about a tiki bar or a cool log cabin? Now is a great time to plan your own relaxation space without having to leave your own property.
Planning the Remodel or Build of Your New Fun Spot
There are some very important things to consider before even beginning the project. Keeping the following in mind will help the entire process run smoother:
- Budget – Planning well is the best way to keep yourself on task and within budget. The more you plan, the less things that can pop up and throw you off. Try to be very realistic about the budget and research the cost of supplies. Also be sure to consider any tools that you may need that you don’t already have.
- Zoning, codes, and ordinances – It’s important to check with your City Administration to find out what permits are needed and what rules need to be followed when building a new structure or repurposing an existing one. Do yourself a favor and check to make sure your new play area will be up to code. Imagine having to tear down your beloved bar shed because of a code violation… where would you go to drown your sorrows if your bar shed is what is being demolished? Save yourself the heartache.
- HOA rules – The above information also applies to your Homeowner’s Association if you belong to one. The last thing you want to do is tick off your neighbors, when the whole intention was to create a space to enjoy their company.
- Foundation – Make sure you have the correct type of foundation for your area and shed size. There are many types of materials to use for foundations, such as wood, concrete, gravel, or crushed stone.
- Electrical – Drinking a warm beer in the dark will never be considered acceptable, so electricity is a non-negotiable item. You have to have electricity if seeing your guests’ smiling faces is important to you. And we all also know that keeping the beverages cold will always be a top priority for any drinking establishment.
- Plumbing – Do you need running water? Well, of course you don’t need it, but having it sure would make things much easier. It’s hard to make a scotch and water when you don’t have the water at hand. Of course you can always use bottled water, but you’ll also want a way to make ice and wash the glasses. So having plumbing just makes sense.
- Insulation – Do you want your bar shed be used year round? If you live in a hot or cold area, or if you have fluctuations in weather, remember that it’s hard to relax when the temperature isn’t bearable. Heating and/or air conditioning may be important to you.
- Lighting – Now this one can be fun! You can choose traditional lighting or something more “night-clubby” like colored LED lights. The choice is yours, and you know how you’ve pictured your bar to be.
Another important detail to keep in mind being the responsible adult that you are… It would be wise to make sure that you are able to close and lock the windows and doors when you aren’t entertaining. You don’t want to give anyone access to your special space that you haven’t invited. Having the ability to secure your bar shed is the best way to keep uninvited passers-by (or even your teenagers) away from your liquor and give them one less temptation in life.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Bar Shed?
With the wide variety of sizes of bar sheds and options you can choose, costs vary greatly. Cost also changes if you are building a new structure or converting an existing shed.
Building a bar shed from scratch can run anywhere from a couple thousand dollars to upwards of $20,000. The average price is around $8,000. These backyard sheds can be custom built onsite or can be purchased pre-built and moved to where you want to put it.
Cost is a very important consideration but not the only important one. There are so many different options to choose from, such as:
- Size of the building shed
- Design type – simple or more complex
- Building materials such as siding, wood, or logs
- Seating styles such as bar stools or chairs and tables
- Style and materials of roof, such as shingles or an overhang
- Décor or theme
- Refrigerator/freezer to keep beverages cold
- Tap beer/soft drinks setup
How Big Should I Build My Shed for a Bar?
A bar shed can be any size you want, but you want to make sure it is large enough to be comfortable for your guests as well as yourself.
The most common bar and pub shed sizes are:
- 8 feet by 12 feet
- 8 feet by 16 feet
- 10 feet by 12 feet
- 10 feet by 16 feet
- 12 feet by 20 feet
- 12 feet by 24 feet
We suggest that it is at least 8 feet by 12 feet, although that is on the smaller size. You will want to make sure you have enough room for the bar itself with a counter area to comfortably work on, storage space for supplies, and of course a comfortable seating area. And, of course, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t look like a kid’s club house.
How Do I Build a Backyard Shed Bar?
The choice is yours. You can either buy a pre-built bar shed or build it the old fashioned way with building materials and power tools. You even have the option of converting a current shed into a bar shed. The internet has some great information and detailed plans to look at for some inspiration and guidance.
Can I Convert My Shed Into a Bar?
If you already have a shed on your property, you can use the existing building and repurpose it into a bar shed. With some careful planning, you can transform a boring, everyday shed into your very own vision of the perfect bar shed.
Important Things to Consider When Converting an Existing Storage Shed to a Bar Shed:
- When you have a current shed building already, your first decision on where to put it is already made for you. So you get to skip past the first step and get right into the nitty-gritty of it.
- The next step is, of course, clearing out whatever is currently in the shed and cleaning. This isn’t exactly a glamourous step but it has to be done, so keeping your goal in mind of the fun space you’re planning can help with the motivation.
- Once you have an empty shed, you have a clean canvas to begin bringing your ideas to life. Let the fun begin – turn that boring shed into something new and exciting.
- Consider the condition that the shed is in to make decisions on what to do next. Does it need flooring? Will it need to be rewired or replumbed? Is the space finished or do you need to put up walls?
Considering everything from the floor to the roof will make your decision-making easier and will give you a better idea of where to set your budget.
How Do You Add a Bar Window to a Shed?
Having a bar window is a distinguishing feature of a bar shed. Some people choose to make a shed window that has a roll down door to close it, similar to a garage door. Others have used a shutter type system that folds closed. Still others choose to open and close the window with an exterior panel that can be opened or closed, either from the ceiling or the side.
Ready to Enjoy Your New Bar Shed?
Once your new bar shed is finished, take a few minutes to look back upon your journey and enjoy your new space entirely. Sit down at the bar, pour yourself a cocktail, and take it all in – you’ve earned it!