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How do I Obtain a Licence for my Storage Unit Bar?

There are many things that can be done with a converted shipping container, but one of the most popular is to turn it into a bar. There are several benefits to buying a storage unit and converting it into a bar, including the absolute flexibility that you have over its size, design, layout, location, and decoration.

Owning and running a bar in the UK, however, isn’t just about having the premises. You will also need to have a licence to sell alcohol. This is the case regardless of who you are, what you are selling, and where you are selling it.

Getting a Licence to Sell Alcohol

Ensuring that you can sell alcohol at your intermodal bar is important and a legal requirement, but the process is a simple one.

You can get a Premises licence which will give your business the right to sell alcohol and a personal licence specifically for yourself. This can be done online through your local authority website. There is more information about the types of licences that are available, as well as the forms that need to be filled in on the UK Government website.

You can also apply to have live music, the performance of plays, the playing of recorded music, and indoor sporting events during this process.

These licences are usually granted by a licencing authority – which is usually the local council.

Building and Designing a Shipping Container Bar

When you are designing a shipping container bar, there are a number of things that you will need to consider, including:

  • The size of the building – whether you plan to use it like a kiosk with outside space, or an enclosed bar
  • The layout that you require
  • Whether you want your bar to be mobile
  • How you plan to operate your bar

Building Size and Layout

New or used units can be used like huge building blocks – used singularly, joined together side-by-side, or stacked on top of each other. This can give you a great deal of flexibility over the size and layout of your bar, helping you to incorporate your ideas about how it will look and function from the go-get.

We have a selection of different sizes that can be used singularly or in combination, ranging from the 10ft standard height shipping container to the 40ft high cube container. We also have a range of specialised containers such as ones with side openings or tunnels.

Our products are made from steel, meaning that they are strong and robust, and able to withstand extreme weather as well as able to protect their contents from theft and vandalism.

You can add personnel doors, windows, and hatches to the outer walls of the bar to help with the layout, making it easy to be used by people and enable you to serve to the outside world if your design requires.


One of the biggest benefits of creating a bar from a storage unit is that they can be mobile. Whether you are planning on staying in one place, or whether you are looking to work at festivals, events, or outside markets, you can literally pick up and move your converted shipping container.

You do need to make sure that the land where you are going to put it is prepared properly, however – it needs a solid base, such as concrete, paving slabs, or railway sleepers. The area also needs to have access for a truck to move and offload it.

Other Details

When you have designed your intermodal bar (our expert design team can help you) our fabrication team can then make it for you. The majority of the work will be done at our fabrication facility and we will deliver your conversion to the site that you have stipulated.

In the design process, there are other details that can be built-in, including:

  • The addition of insulating lining to protect from extremes of temperature
  • Professional painting or vinyl wrapping for an aesthetically pleasing finish and company branding
  • The installation of lighting and electrical packages
  • The addition of built-in racking for storage
  • The fitting of ramps for easier access for wheelchairs and deliveries
  • The addition of secure locking systems

Building a bar from a steel storage box gives you a huge amount of versatility over its design – as well as the ability to move it between different locations. However, the need to have a licence to be able to sell alcohol and have entertainment is the same regardless of whether you have a mobile unit or are in a static building.

We offer a variety of shipping containers for hire, sale and conversion to suit your needs. For more information just get in touch

Call free on
0800 1954 538