Shipping container bar

Why a Container Bar?


Containers make for great construction material with their corrugated iron walls and reinforced frames. Not only that, they are cheap, super modular and widely available. Realizing your dream bar with a shipping container build is often significantly (from 20 to 50%) less expensive than building it out as a regular brick-and-mortar unit.

But there’s more than cost to consider! Containers have a unique style and aesthetic that can do a lot of the heavy lifting for your brand or concept. With a rough industrial look as they are or custom coated and painted in any color you want. 

As if that’s not enough, their modularity and ease of transport makes a shipping container bar the ideal candidate for a pop up restaurant, a seasonal venue or for the bar and catering facilities at events and much more. 


shipping container beer bar
Shipping Container Bar - pizza restaurant

How much does a shipping container bar cost?

You can find a good used shipping container from $1500, a decent one from $2500 and a brand new shipping container usually starts at $4000. 

Strangely enough this ratio just about holds true no matter if you are getting a 10-, 20- or 40 foot container or a high cube – a container with a raised ceiling – and if you are in Europe or the US. 

This means the basic container steel and construction is really not the cost (or value) driver of these units. You can hunt for and find a bargain if a company near you is looking to get rid of a container in a hurry for business reasons and save a bit of money. Of course, we as Karpatia are continuously on the lookout for such deals to store them as inventory for you. 


How much does it cost to build a shipping container restaurant?

Your total cost to buy a shipping container bar will largely be driven by design, materials, inventory and labor. Prices start at approximately $15k for pre-fab smaller models with modest designs. 

When converting a shipping container we quote our pricing as transparently as possible. Some easily defineable items are: 

  • Design – $55(€50) per hour
  • Labor – $33(€30) per hour 
  • Shipping is usually $1500-2500 port to port
Materials, shipping and installation costs depend on your design, inventory and location. Once we got to the serious quoting stage we’ll make the 3d renderings, perform the calculations based on them and be happy to take a look at your site and get down to details.   

Shipping Container Bar Design

Three of the most important design dimensions for your shipping container bar are the structural design, the hospitality design and the marketing design. What do we mean by them?

Structural design 
As a base unit the shipping container is extremely robust. However, we will be cutting out parts of the side for service windows or performing more complex works such as an easy opening fold-out on all sides or a hydraulic lift that automatically flips open the roof and we have to make sure that all works out and remains up to code. 

Can that awesome rooftop bar support as many people as it fits? And given your requirements does it make sense to use actual containers, or build a structure out of corrugated steel panels that has a similar look?  Structural integrity can never be compromised on. 

Hospitality design
From tap to fryer, are we meeting all the health codes? Step one in a good container unit used for any kind of bar or foodservice is ensuring 100% compliance, all the time every time. Then the next phase is where our expertise and pre-configured layouts shine through to help you: are we doing the layout in an efficient way? Is it easy to get the kegs in and out from under the tap – how far do servers have to walk? Can we create more space for ordering? Do you really need storage inside a specific unit or could it fit a sponsored fridge from a big brand? We also help you figure out the optimal layout if you are making a multi-container unit on a larger plot. 

Architectural or Marketing design
Does the design speak to your brand, the customers and the soul? Is a used rusted container bad or just perfect? Glittering gold spray, matte black, a slick and strict vinyl wrap or a cooperation with a local graffiti artist – all options are on the table. This becomes a bigger more important part of the build if you get a multi-container unit where we can get creative with the stacking and interfacing of the containers. 

Our designers have a university level background in architecture, as structural engineers and in foodservice floorplan design – as a team of course, not in a singular person. As quoted above the cost of design is generally €50($55) per hour, but we can of course provide a fixed price quote in advance if you prefer that option.


There are plenty options for using a container – craft beer bars, coffee shops, drive through restaurants and more. And although the units are very flexible they do not have to be. Karpatia provides Mobile Food Solutions, but we’re not stopping you from just making it permanent as our containers are built to last. 

Check out some of our popular concepts for your inspiration. 

Shipping Container Coffee Shop and Café

Many young entrepreneurs in food service dream of starting their own hip coffee boutique. Given that these – people like you – are often folks limited by budget a bit and they appeal to a younger crowd, the shipping container is a natural fit for their café. Modular and flexible, the container can easily be moved if your initial location does not work out and you can get out from under the lease. 

Get a pre-fab and preconfigured unit to save even more and you have that much more buffer for the initial months of operating. And you’re in good company – even Starbucks has started to open locations using containers.

shipping container coffee shop
Shipping container for events

Shipping Container Bar for Events

Festivals all over the world make use of these robust go-to solutions for their beer points across the grounds. And with good reason – virtually indestructible, set up in a matter of hours and easy to expand and position.  

Have a big beer brewery partner for you events? They will more than often be happy to fund your container. Let us help you get that deal and order.  

Container bars lock up tight and easy at night, can be fitted with as many taps as you want and are hooked up to a big tank or use interchangeable kegs.  

Why order with Karpatia?

Karpatia has decades of professional experience doing pop ups, festivals and events. You get to put all that experience to work for you when designing your very own container. 

Our focus is to build a great price to value unit – you’re getting some of the best quality out there on the market at very affordable rates

All you have to do is tell us your heart’s desire and we get to work. 


Is a Shipping container the RIGHT bar solution FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, we will deliver it right up to your desired delivery location in under 72 hours after completion of the build. 

Yes, we ship to the USA. It is our biggest export market and we build up to any county and state code 100% guaranteed or money back. 

Containers go everywhere, but we might not have a local forwarder in your country (yet), in which case we will find one together with you. 

Yes, the containers are extremely modular and can be stacked in most jurisdictions without running into building codes and zoning issues. If you have more space available, they can also easily be joined together horizontally on a level plane. 

A standard container is 320 sqf / 30 sqm. You can order a smaller one or a High Cube (a 40ft container with a higher ceiling) as well should that better fit your needs, giving 2896 mm in stead of 2591 mm in ceiling height. This can be advantageous for airflow and temperature control in BBQ container units, although it is more commonly used if you are building a shipping container restaurant with in-house seating.  


Quotes are 100% free no strings attached

Every truck and trailer is unique - we will help you fine tune your project and get it on the road!