Drinking by Design: The Shebeen

Taking a closer look at the mobile Irish pub that rolled into Boston this month.

Photos by Madeline Bilis

Photos by Madeline Bilis

The Shebeen is a 15-foot-long Irish pub on wheels. Dreamed up by Galway, Ireland native John Walsh, the tiny mobile bar is a traveling slice of the Emerald Isle.

The owner of a medical furniture-building company called Clinical Cabinets, Walsh built the small structure and its contents along with his employees. After transporting it to the States this month, he’s made the Shebeen available to rent for parties and festivals.

This model, called the Connemara, features a bright red door, pansy-filled window boxes, and a faux-thatched roof. Inside, where about ten people can imbibe comfortably, the pub offers a traditional atmosphere without feeling overcrowded. Here, we take a closer look at the Shebeen’s design.


1. Taxidermy tops off the bar, literally. Walsh originally was going to put antique books in the triangular space, but a visitor gifted the fox after realizing it’d be a perfect fit.

2. Shelving where the wall meets the ceiling makes the pint-sized room feel a little larger. Plus, the shelves add more space for baubles (like these tobacco tins) without creating clutter.

3. By the way of minimizing clutter, Walsh nailed and glued down these bottles—and all of the pub’s trinkets—to ensure there’s no breakage during transport.

4. The room is loaded with antiques, like this vintage cash register that sits on the custom-built Irish oak bar. Walsh did all of the antique shopping at flea markets in Ireland.


5. Even in the daylight, the soft lighting emanating from these little lamps boost the pub’s coziness factor.

6. Walsh sourced almost every aspect of the pub’s design locally (meaning in Galway, Ireland.) This green, authentic wallpaper adds the perfect amount of texture to the room without taking away from the hanging memorabilia or lace curtains.

7. While shopping at flea markets and from local vendors, Walsh says it was more difficult to find handsome vintage frames like these than the prints to fill them.

8. This minuscule Irish oak table—one of the only loose pieces of furniture in the pub—was handmade by Walsh’s staff at Clinical Cabinets.

9. The tweed-upholstered benches are traditional-looking and still comfy, and the hints of green complement the walls.

Related: Read Jacqueline Cain’s Restaurants report: The Shebeen Rolls into New England.