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. These are 20 examples of vehicles converted into working bars from around the world and across the spectrum of moving machines.
20 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.
19 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!
18 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.
17 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.
16 The White Truck in Bangkok, Thailand
This truck is probably the cutest little bar conversion we've seen so far. It’s so tiny! It’s almost pointless trying to use this as a bar, but some enterprising soul decided to do it anyway. Bless them. The little truck is covered in stickers and graffiti-style decals, giving it quite a chaotic appearance, and it has a little rack fitted in the back for the bottles to stand on. Add a shelf for customers to rest their drinks on and a couple of bar stools, and it's good to go. The barman presumably stands or kneels in the back of the truck to make and serve the drinks. Is this the smallest bar ever? Probably not, but we bet that it’s not too far off.
15 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.
14 The London Routemaster Bus in Goodwood, UK
At the Goodwood Festivals that take place a couple of times a year in the UK, all kinds of amazing vehicles are on display. In particular, there are some, like this Routemaster bus, which has been converted into a full-service bar, which ends up offering more than you might expect. Customers pay for their drinks downstairs at the bar, then head up the stairs to the top deck, which becomes a great viewing area for whichever event the bar pulls up to be part of. It's become a popular site at motorsports events and other festivals in the UK, with an easy setup that makes a lot of sense for customers. There’s even a walk-up window for those who don’t want to climb inside and sit down.
13 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.
12 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.
11 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.
10 The VW Camper Van in Bluewater, UK
This looks like a pretty normal restaurant at first glance. Sure, they have some interesting light fittings and art hanging from the ceiling, but other than that, it’s just your normal table and chair setup. But then something catches your eye at the back of the room. Yes, that’s a little VW camper van turned into a seating booth. Customers can sit in the round booth seats with a central table opposite the place where the door has been removed. The top has also been cut off to ensure that seating is comfortable, even for taller individuals, and to give the seats an airier feel. Once you’re used to seeing a van being the bar, it’s nice to get served from a bar while you’re inside a van instead.
9 The Bristol VRT SL3 Bus in Deptford, UK
This bus was first brought into service in Yorkshire in 1981. The Bristol VRT SL3 served its time as a bus, taking people up and down the county where they needed to go until it was decommissioned and made into a bar and pizzeria instead. This is The Big Red in Deptford, where the owners parked the bus next to their bar and custom-built a space around it so that it would fit perfectly. Well, almost perfectly–it does stick out onto the pavement a bit. It’s a smaller space inside the bar and bus, but at least it has that novelty factor for customers to enjoy. The bar was opened in 2011 to much fanfare, with the bus as the central talking point, not surprisingly.
8 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.
7 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.
6 The Ford Truck in New Mexico, USA
Ford truck–or food truck? This vehicle was spotted at the 2002 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, and it has quite the conversion. The tailgate has been transformed into a road kitchen complete with a full working sink, as well as a cooking area. There’s a storage box up top to keep all your perishable food safe and drinks cold, and there’s no limit to the kind of accessories you could bring along to make this a full bar experience. Imagine traveling in a truck and having a more advanced kitchen on hand than if you were in an RV. It’s particularly impressive that the outside of the truck seems pretty normal, without the modifications being visible from the outside. That means less chance of break-ins along the way.
5 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.
4 The EMD F45 Locomotive in Wisconsin, USA
How about drinking inside a structure that used to be a train? If that isn’t good enough for you, you can even sleep overnight in one. This is an ex-Santa Fe EMD F45 locomotive repainted in the Great Northern's livery at the Izaak Walton Inn, where it's been converted into a lodge for their guests. What we like about this one is the fact that it still very much looks like a locomotive from the outside—as if it's just waiting for a chance to get moving again. Only the steps built at the back of structure indicate that there might be something more permanent going on—that and the fact that the big glass windows allow a glimpse of life going on inside.
3 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.
2 The Peugeot Food Truck in Milan, Italy
When great minds start to think about designing a car that'll purposefully convert into a bar in the first place, that’s when really spectacular results come together. This is a vehicle designed by Peugeot to serve as a food truck, consisting of a car (not pictured here) and trailer. The trailer and car both open up to provide kitchen facilities, including a cooking area, a coffee machine, storage for drinks bottles, and even a DJ booth. Apparently, the last addition was made to promote their music program, rather than for any necessary purpose. There’s also a large-screen television and plenty of speakers to keep customers entertained as they wait in line. It could all get very noisy. We’re not sure the entertainment stuff is necessary so long as the food is good.
1 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.