A cabinet-maker from Galway is bringing the mobile pub to the U.S.
John Walsh’s tiny, 17-foot-wide pub, The Shebeen, which is built from a converted caravan and features two taps and seating for 10, is set to launch in Boston.
Walsh says he got the idea of a mobile pub after he purchased the trailer to take to the Electric Picnic music festival in Laois and was unable to offload it after the event.
“My original plan was to make it [The Shebeen] out of an old shipping container,” Walsh told Boston Magazine. “But I had bought this caravan about three years ago for a music festival here—we would bring it down there as a place to stay—and when I came back I put it on one of the local buy-and-sell sites. We just couldn’t get rid of it. So I decided to turn it into something useful. Initially, I thought maybe a kid’s playhouse or some sort of cottage. It just went from there. I own a lot of old pictures, and I love that look you see in traditional Irish bars, so I decided to convert it into a pub.”
Walsh, who runs Clinical Cabinets, which designs and makes laboratory, healthcare and workspace furniture, says he and his team spent six months working on The Shebeen every Friday. Since it’s been finished, the mobile pub has been used at weddings, private parties, and as a promotional vehicle for Dingle Brewing Company.
Two restaurateurs (both unnamed) in New England have now asked Walsh to build mobile pubs to launch stateside. The first of these is near completion, with a tentative July launch date in Boston.
“I was always convinced it would go over well in Boston,” Walsh says. “There was a lady in the bar trade over there who approached us almost immediately to see if we’d be willing to ship one over. We now have it started and should have it completed within the month. Then there’s another gentlemen in Boston who’s interested who we just met last week. We’ve actually gotten a good bit of interest all over the world.
Walsh says his company will be shipping Shebeens to Australia, Canada, and the U.K.
Each pub is custom designed. The first U.S. Shebeen has a thatch roof and a taller 16-foot ceiling. “We needed to make it with a little more headroom—you’re much taller than us over in the States,” says Walsh.
If you’re interested in your own Shebeen, it will cost you upwards of $700 a day to rent a fully-stocked Shebeen, $1,400 for a weekend, and $29,000 to own.