A THRIFTY back yard boozer made entirely from recycled materials and featuring its own beer garden has been crowned Britain’s best Pub Shed of the Year.
It took John Simmons, 50, more than a year to construct the amazing man-cave in his garden in Portsmouth.
It could double as the real-deal with its own dart board, wooden décor, countryside-pub style seating, a roof covered in fairy lights and even its own outdoor beer garden and decking area.
The father-of-three built the miniature pub from as much reclaimed material he could find from salvage yards and a Facebook page for pub shed enthusiasts.
John sourced, cut, sanded and fixed every timber and ﬁtting himself – as well all 4,500 screws.
The makeshift pub – called The Dog & Ball, named after the family’s Labradoodle Bertie – beat off more than a thousand entries to win the title.
John said: “It has all been rather overwhelming, but I am chuffed to bits.”
“We had 18 friends over last night to celebrate the final and it was fantastic to find out I won – I was really thrilled.”
“I started building it last year and wanted to have it completed this summer for my 50th birthday.”
“Sourcing the reclaimed material took the biggest chunk of time.”
“I am an avid DIY-er and love a project.”
“Lots of people had been doing this sort of thing over lockdown so I took inspiration from that, and I wanted a haven at home that was cheaper than the pub.
“It’s somewhere I can go and enjoy being with my friends and family, which was really the whole purpose.”
“It cost about four figures, which is much cheaper than it would have been had I done a proper build and had to go to shops for the materials.”
John started building the boozer last year and said he wanted a ‘haven at home’ he could enjoy that was cheaper than the pub.
Avid DIY-er John, a safety management consultant, said the pub cost four figures to build but would have been much more expensive had he not used reclaimed materials.
Wife Anita, 49, put the finishing touching to the Dog & Ball and the pair enjoyed celebrating with kids Libby, 23, Jacob, 19, and Evie, 12.
John, who was in the Royal Navy for 22 years, said his favourite part of the pub is the oak beams which make up the main structure.
The three-metre-long bits of wood remarkably came from an old dock yard building John used to work in.
He said: “My favourite part is the main oak beams.
“They are from an old dock yard building that I used to work in years ago before it was demolished.
“These three-metre-long beams that form the main structure of the pub had sat in a yard for 20 years and then I managed to buy them.
“It is a remarkable story.
“All my family and friends have been so supportive of the project, and it has been great having everyone round to enjoy it.
“My wife Anita put all the finishing touches to the pub to make it look as amazing as it does.
The Dog & Ball beat off two other finalists, a mini countryside-style pub called The Tiger, in Somerset, and The Stagger Inn, in Manchester – a nightclub-themed bar.
He added: “With the exception of the main roof joists, every other part of the build is made from reclaim, re-used or recycled timber and materials.”
“Each piece has a different story, from the bar ironmongery that belonged to my late father-in-law from his days as an RAF engineer, to the main oak upright timbers.”
It is believed more than two million back garden pubs are now in operation in Britain after their popularity exploded during the coronavirus pandemic.
They have continued to grow amid a cost of living crisis after the average price of a pint rose to £4 across the UK and £5 in London.
As a result, Two Fat Blokes bar signs, Pub Shed Radio and the Facebook group Garden Shed Pubs & Nightclubs began running the national competition.
The winner was announced live on Pub Shed Radio on Saturday.
Ashley Turner, the owner of Two Fat Blokes Bar Signs, said: “The quality of bars and diversity of the entries has been phenomenal.
“We ran the competition to showcase the amazing community of pub sheds in the UK.
“The community has exploded during the pandemic and now with the cost of a pint heading north of £6 the trend looks set to continue.
“The Dog & Ball is a perfect example of an amazing pub shed and deserved to win with his amazing hand-built pub.
Tommy Funka, who runs, Pub Shed Radio added: “Pub Shed of the year has been a great way for the pub shed community to come together and celebrate the growing army of back garden boozers”.
Pub Shed Radio’s DJ Mupps said: “It was brilliant to knock on the door of the winners bar live on Pub Shed Radio.”
“John & Anita were totally gobsmacked to find out they had won. We then went live from the bar broadcasting with a real party atmosphere.”
Nick St John, the owner of Facebook group Garden Shed Pubs and Nightclubs, added: “Being involved Pub Shed of the year has been the culmination of our ethos to promote and help people build their own back garden pubs.”
“With over 280,000 members our group has really got on board with the competition.”
“Judging the entries was so difficult – The Dog & Ball is a great example of a proper pub shed.”
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