UKs best mancaves in Pub Shed of the Year โ€“ Only Fools boozer to fire station

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    The UK's top 'man caves' are battling it out in the final of Pub Shed of the Year 2023 with a fire station-themed pub and a traditional Irish-style bar among those vying for the title.

    Three fantastic garden pubs have been selected by judges for this year's final, chosen from over a thousand entries. Among them is an Only Fools & Horses tribute called the Nags Shed in Staffordshire, which features a Trotters Independent Trading retro arcade machine.

    The Engine House in Hampshire is also in the running for the crown after being modelled on a fire station. A retired firefighter is behind it and even serves its own home-brewed fire service named beers.

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    The Irish Pirate in Cornwall could take the title with its cosy Irish-pub feel with wooden decor and is adorned with Guinness memorabilia, including a pool table and dart board.

    These three incredible pub sheds will now compete to be crowned the winner of this year's national contest on November 11, following last years winner John Simmons and his pub shed, The Dog & Ball in Horndean.

    Former firefighter Kevin Francis built the Engine House in 2017 after his wife told him to clear out the memorabilia he had stored in his loft.

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    He said: "So I built from scratch a fire station themed pub shed and with the assistance of my retired mum and dad the Engine House was born.

    "The 07 is the station where my dad and I served together. My collection and the building itself have had some additions since then but still used regularly as a meeting place for friends, family, and work colleagues.

    "For me it has been a great place to relax and reflect on the great times I had in the fire service but also be able to share with others.

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    "The bar and stools came from Basingstoke Fire Station before it was demolished to make way for the new station, and I also brew my own fire service named beers.."

    Lee Doherty, who built the Irish Pirate, even got married in his man shed in June this year after constructing the bar during the pandemic.

    He added: "I'm an upholsterer by trade and was working from my garden shed, then Covid hit and the world stopped and as my good lady says I can't sit still for a minute.

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    "So, I decided to do something with my workshop shed, as I'm an Irishman living in Cornwall what better name than The Irish Pirate with a Guinness and Cornish theme.

    "We both visit Ireland regularly and I'm always picking up mementos particularly anything Guinness related. We had already turned my office in the garden into an Airbnb the year before, so this just fitted the bill for our guests and us alike."

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    Shane Rankin is the brains behind The Nags Shed, which also has a fully-functioning bar, seating area, dart board and big screen TVs.

    He said he wanted to pay tribute to the Trotters favourite watering hole The Nags Head from the classic comedy Only Fools & Horses.

    Shane said: "As an ode to Only Fools & Horses we had also thought about referring to the Trotters favourite haunt, The Nags Head, but ultimately couldn't decide.

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    "Whilst digging the foundations for the pub shed, we came across a lump of corroded metal hidden deep in the soil."

    "A quick clean off revealed an old cast iron horseshoe, more than likely discarded from an old pit pony from the colliery.

    "This fate nailed it for us and took it as a sign of history and settled upon The Nags Shed."

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    It is estimated in excess of two million back garden pubs and bars are now in operation after their popularity exploded during the pandemic. and now run an annual competition for back garden publicans to enter the converted Pub Shed of The Year.

    Ashley Turner, from Two Fat Blokes Bar Sign Emporium, said: "With the huge cost of living crisis more and more homeowners are adding their own pub in their gardens.

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    "With the average cost of a pint now over ยฃ5.90 across the UK & over ยฃ8 in some London pubs, it's no surprise that Britons are looking for ways to save on the cost of their entertainment.

    "By having your own garden pub, gin palace or garden bar you save on the cost of the booze with a pint from the local supermarket from only 72p a can.

    "It's easy to see how much is saved by having your favourite tipple at home, then there's no expensive taxis or waiting at a bus stop."

    The three finalists will go to a public vote and the winner will be announced live on Pub Shed Radio on November 11.

    Anyone wishing to vote can do so here.

    * This article was crafted with the help of an AI tool, which speeds up Daily Star's editorial research. An editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors to [email protected]

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