If there’s one thing we love, it’s cars. And if there’s another thing we love, it’s going out for a drink at night at our favorite bar. But what if there was a way that we could combine both of these loves? Don’t worry, we’re not talking about driving under the influence. In fact, most of the vehicles we’re highlighting in this list can’t be driven anymore. But that doesn’t stop them from being the life of the party. Each of these vehicles has been lovingly converted into a bar that serves drinks.
It’s incredible that this idea was ever thought of in the first place, but even more so that it seems to be becoming a bit of an epidemic. Car bars are cropping up all over the palace, and they come in all kinds of forms. From VW camper vans to double-decker buses, it seems like you can find any kind of vehicle turned into a bar if you look hard enough.
If you've never come across one of these in person, prepare to be amazed by the breadth of car bars in the market. Many of them can be found in tourist hotspots, naturally attracting tipsy people who love something with a bit of novelty.
THE BLUE FIAT IN COLLIOURE, FRANCE
If you take a trip to Collioure in France, you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this blue beauty. The lower half is a Fiat, and the upper half is a bar serving everything from passion fruit smoothies to coffees and milkshakes. It's a kind of strange mix between a car that looks like it could actually drive out onto the street, and a half-hearted attempted to attach bar surfaces to it. You could probably quite easily remove all of the bar elements and get it going again, though it might end up with some ugly scars. The bartender has to go inside the car fully to mix and serve drinks, though it does look as though the seats have been removed.
THE PINK VW VAN IN BANGKOK, THAILAND
This pink number has a lot going on. You have the side of the van let down in order to serve as a bar area crowded with bottles of various types of alcohol. Then, you have the top of the van pushed open in order to allow the server to actually stand upright inside the vehicle. The back is open, presumably to serve as an entrance and as an extra serving window. They've also added a number of details such as neon signs, a disco ball, and some branded stickers. Then, out in front, you have the snack rack and four little bar stools. It’s a great effort, and the color combined with the novelty probably means this place gets a lot of visitors. Most of the bottles are half empty, so that at least is some sign!
THE PINK VW VAN IN BANGKOK, THAILAND – WAIT, WHAT?
Yes, this is yet another pink VW camper van converted into a bar in Bangkok. Apparently, they're all the rage, and bright colors tend to attract more tourists. Though the modifications to this van look more or less the same, we can see a bit more detail about how it's all put together. There’s also a variety of graffiti-style stickers on this one, as well as the rather sweet message to 'take care.' You can see it’s actually difficult for the bartenders to stand up properly inside the van due to the limited space, but the good news is that it appears the original seats have been left inside for them to have a rest. This one has stools at the back of the van rather than in front, so they can still serve people even when it gets busy.
THE DAF SB220/HISPANO IN DUXFORD, UK
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Spitfire Bar. Converted from a DAF lorry, the handsome red paint job isn't the only upgrade that's been granted to the vehicle. It also now has a fully functioning bar, including a rather rare element: drinks on tap. Yes, this lorry is actually just as advanced as your local bar. Spitfire is a ‘Premium Kentish Ale’ (their words), and this bar was created to promote the drink. If you look closely, you may notice that every single one of the taps is labeled with the Spitfire logo. If you're looking for a Pepsi, though, you're out of luck. They do, however, have various flavors of bar snacks on board for those who get peckish with their ale.
THE YELLOW BUS IN KURESSAARE, ESTONIA
It’s not 100% clear whether this used to be a bus that's now been converted almost beyond recognition or it’s a custom-built bar made to look like a bus. Either way, we kind of love it. This is part of the John Bull pub in Estonia. More specifically, you'll find it in Kuressaare on Saaremaa Island. The bar staff work inside the bus, which is set up to allow them space to move around and take orders. They have shelves full of useful things although it doesn’t seem as though they have anything on tap. They certainly sell Red Bull; we can confirm that about them. It looks like a cozy space, otherwise, with an unusual set-up of the bar in the middle of the room and seating all the way around it.
THE STEELERS BUS IN PITTSBURGH, USA
This bus has a pretty fun story behind it. Mulligan’s Sports Bar and Grill painted it up like this when they noticed that there was a niche in the market for a bar that catered to sports fans both at their local bar and at the game. They dubbed it the "Steelers Bus" for local fans. The fans come to the bar before the game, presumably also to start a little drinking before the big event. Then, they all load onto the bus and travel to the game, and when they get there, the bus converts into an open bar with kegs and additional seating provided. The tailgate becomes a serving area, and everyone is happy. The party doesn’t stop when it’s all over, as fans head right on back to the bar for more.
THE PURPLE NACHO CAR IN ATLANTA, US
Chuy’s in Atlanta call this the "Elvis Memorial Nacho Car Bar." The whole restaurant has an Elvis theme going with shrines and a few items on the menu dedicated to the late King. The standout element has to be the car, however, which has been cut in half in order to accommodate it more properly within the restaurant. The trunk is propped permanently open, and the inside has been custom fitted with a nacho-bar serving area. There are all kinds of toppings to make your nachos a little extra special. The décor is eclectic, to say the least, but we wouldn’t mind serving our nachos out of the back of a car any day. Well, this car, at least – not just any old car without a custom set-up.
THE NISSAN TRUCK IN MANZANILLO, MEXICO
This truck is pretty amazing. This enterprising family have taken a red Nissan truck and converted the whole of the back bed into a taco-serving area. They have all kinds of condiments in bowls on the side, a hot plate in the middle for frying up various meat items, and a preparation area to one side for putting the tacos together. It’s an exciting prospect with all kinds of options going on. You can see from the menu on the awning–yes, this truck even has its own awning–that they have plenty to choose from. The awning can also close down to provide shelter to the truck and its contents while they drive it home and back again. That’s smart business thinking right there.
THE LEYLAND OLYMPIAN DOUBLE-DECKER IN DUBLIN, IRELAND
Here’s another bus that had a long and happy life in the working world before becoming a bar. It was first built in 1990 and put into service in Ireland as the LR92 bus. After a while, it passed through different bus company ownerships until becoming the property of the Bia Bus company. They took the time to re-register it into a 1990 Dublin plate and now park it in Dublin at the Rosemount Business Park. It actually travels just like this, serving cuisine and drinks to hungry customers before packing up and driving back home. It’s fantastic to see a vehicle turned into a bar yet still remain a vehicle that can be legally driven around as it was intended. It’s the perfect meld of bar and bus.
THE WHITE BUS IN ALASKA, USA
This whole bus has been turned into a seafood bar and restaurant, albeit a rather small one. You can sit outside on the decking if the weather is fine or even enjoy the picnic table, though the main event is happening inside. That’s where you can just about glimpse the cooking equipment and the storage for the ingredients that are served at the Seafood Express. If you have an ardent desire to sample seafood served from the inside of a bus, then you can find it in Hyder, Alaska. They apparently have quite a broad menu–at least, much broader than you would expect from something that has to be prepped entirely in the confines of a bus of this rather small size. Kudos to the chef.
THE AIRSTREAM SILVER BULLET IN BERLIN, GERMANY
This is a burger van with a difference. The Burger de Ville is an Airstream that's been converted into a full working kitchen, with tables and chairs packed inside until they're needed for customer seating. During the winter, they have an awning extension, which adds on to the front of the Airstream, around the serving window, and creates a covered eating space for customers to stay warm. They apparently serve a wide variety of burgers and sides, as well as drinks, for their thirsty customers. You'll find them in Berlin, though their exact location has moved since this photograph was taken. The Airstream was originally developed to promote an upcoming new hotel in the area, but it was popular enough to stay on after the hotel was opened.
THE HALF VW IN SAO PAULO, BRAZIL
We’re not sure what it is exactly about VWs, but it seems that everyone around the world wants to convert them into bars. Still, there are quite a few ways to do it, as this conversion shows. The bottom half of the van has been used to create a bar structure with room for preparation in the middle. Customers sit around the outside at a circular glass table, picking up sushi that travels around the outside of the bar. The restaurant is called "Nakombi"–a clever pun that means “in a VW” in Portuguese whilst also giving the impression of the Japanese cuisine served inside. Apparently, the business started out as a food truck inside a VW, hence this homage once the owner made enough money to open a real restaurant.
THE DODGE TRUCK IN SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
This 1960 Dodge truck has found a new life as the foundation of the 4 Pines’ Brewery Truck Bar in Sydney. Bartenders stand inside the truck behind the bar, with the imposing wheels and the flatbed all around them. The cab of the truck has been left intact and given a paint job to help it really stand out. Inside the bar, you'll find a great variety of drinks on offer, such as local craft beers made by 4 Pines themselves. Some adjustments have been made to turn the truck into a more feasible bar space, such as building in a “wall” around the wheels and repurposing the side of the truck as a backboard. It’s still the authentic article, however, and it remains a popular hotspot in the city. There’s also plenty of food as well as live entertainment on offer for customers.