If you’re building a bar, opting for a shipping container over a traditional bricks and mortar structure can save you heaps of time—and cash! This is your easy guide to converting containers into bars, plus how to source them at the best prices for your projects. 

Are you searching for the most durable, low maintenance and cost-efficient materials out there for your next bar project? Shipping containers are the ultimate solution, but only if you know where to source them safely, at budget-friendly prices. 

On Container xChange—an online shipping container marketplace—we’ve got 100,000+ containers available in various sizes and conditions. 

What’s more, you can find containers in over 2,500 locations globally, and negotiate a price that suits you, directly with the supplier! Skipping the middleman also means you’ll get units at wholesale prices. 

Find the containers you need for your next bar by using our public search below. Simply type in the container type, condition and location to see our list of available offers right now. 

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            What is a shipping container bar?

            A shipping container bar is constructed using one or more modified cargo containers. Depending on the design and budget, either new or second hand units can be used for such conversions. Modifications may include repainting, replacing floors, adding windows, electrical wiring and plumbing.

            Container bar

            Shipping containers make great bars for a variety of reasons. They’re strong and weather-resistant, easy to transport, and cheap to maintain. We’ll deep dive into the benefits in the next section.

            Benefits of using shipping containers as bars

            There’s a long list of reasons why using a shipping container for your next bar conversion project is a smart move. Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits now.


            Shipping containers are designed to be intermodal, and can easily be moved between ships, trucks and trains. In other words, they’re convenient and easy to transport to wherever you need them. 

            Low maintenance costs

            Cargo containers are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, such as storms and heavy rains. So they won’t require much maintenance. 


            Shipping units come as ready-made structures, complete with sturdy, reinforced walls and wooden floors. So all you need to do is customize them to your taste. 

            This may involve repainting, as well as adding windows, ventilation and electrical wiring for fridges and other appliances. All in all, customizing a container will work out much cheaper than building a bar from scratch, or purchasing a ready-made container bar. 

            Quick to set up

            Shipping container modifications are not only cheaper than building a bar from scratch, but also quicker. Which means you’ll have your business up and running in no time at all. 


            10ft and 20ft dry containers are small and compact; perfect for sites with limited space. And if you want more volume, you can stack two containers on top of each other! Efficiency at its finest! 

            Benefits of shipping container bars

            Best container sizes for shipping container bars

            In general, the standard shipping container is the best container type to convert into a bar. Here are the most popular sizes available in the market:

            10ft shipping container bar

            The 10ft shipping container is one of the smallest sizes in the industry, and is perfect as a compact and simplistic bar on a site without much extra space. Keep in mind that even though the 10ft is small, it’s rare in the market, so it won’t be cheap. 

            Use our container marketplace to secure the best deals on this container type and avoid being ripped off. Check out 10ft container offers on xChange now.

            20ft shipping container bar

            If you’ve got a larger site available, and need space for a fully equipped bar, 20ft containers are a better option than 10ft units. 

            Here, you’ll have a lot of room for equipment and stock, while still opting for a compact size that can fit onto a small premises without hassle. Browse 20ft container options on our marketplace to find wholesale deals today. 

            40ft shipping container bar

            If you’ve got a large site available for your bar, why not opt for a larger container size? The 40ft dry container offers double the capacity of the 20ft, but is usually only 20-30% more expensive. 

            Sometimes you can even get this large container for the same price as its smaller counterpart on our marketplace. Find cost-friendly deals on 40ft containers right here.

            How much does it cost to make a container bar?

            Want to know how much it will cost you to convert a container into a bar? Here’s a quick breakdown. 

            If you’re wanting to create a medium-sized bar, ago for a 20ft dry container. And for the most budget-friendly option, we recommend choosing a used 20ft over a new one. 

            On our container marketplace, you can buy a quality used 20ft unit in the US for just $1,300, or a used 40ft container for $1,450.

            If you’re looking at a low-cost container bar conversion, you’ll have to take the following expenses into account:

            • Transportation and site preparation: $1,500
            • Structural modifications: $1,500
            • Insulation and flooring: $1,500
            • Plumbing and electrical installation: $2,500
            • Interior renovations: $4,000
            • Exterior finishings: $1,000
            • Permits and compliances: $2,000

            Please note that these are estimated costs only, and will vary depending on the location and specific requirements of your project.

            So, to purchase the shipping container and complete the conversion process, you’re looking at a total of $15,300 for a 20ft bar conversion and $15,450 for a 40ft project. 

            On the other hand, if you want to buy a container bar that’s already been converted, you’re looking at a cost of between $20,000 and $95,000

            It’s clear that buying containers on our platform and doing the conversion process yourself will save you a lot of money. Want to find great deals on used dry containers for your bar projects in no time at all? Click below to browse and compare prices to find the best options for your budget now. 

            Find containers for bars

            How to convert a container into a bar

            Here are the main things you’ll have to take care of when converting a shipping container into a bar.

            Secure the correct permits and licenses: First of all, make sure you organize the correct permits and licenses for your bar. Your city or state may have particular shipping container zoning and building laws, so make sure you do your research before embarking on the project.

            Windows: You’ll need to add windows for light and ventilation. These can be fitted with glass, or cut out of the container walls as foldable windows. Foldable windows are more secure than glass ones, as they’re extremely difficult to break when closed. 

            Flooring: Shipping containers come with wooden flooring, however, if you buy a second hand container, these might be dented and scuffed. Or, you may simply want to replace the container flooring with something more practical, like tiles or concrete.  

            Plumbing: If you plan on having sinks and running water inside your bar, you’ll need to install plumbing. 

            Lighting and electrical wiring: The right lighting can make all the difference to your container bar. Make sure you opt for something that gives a good ambiance. You’ll also need to install electrical outlets for fridges and other appliances. 

            Decor and furnishings: The type of decor you select will depend on the theme and style you’re going for. Make sure to research your target market in order to figure out which design style is likely to attract them to your business.

            Repainting: If the container you buy isn’t in the color you want for your bar, you’ll have to repaint it to your taste. Make sure you choose a paint that’s weather-resistant, as this will save you having to repaint the container often.

            Ventilation and heating/air conditioning: Depending on the location of your bar, you may want to install heating or air conditioning. Besides this, it’s important to add ventilation so that air can circulate inside the unit. 

            Container bar conversion

            Get containers for your cargo container bar in 4 easy steps

            Getting the containers you need at a price that suits your budget is easier than you think—if you use our marketplace as your sourcing channel. Here are the quick and hassle-free steps to finding quality units for your bar-conversion projects at prices you’ll love. 

            Browse and compare offers

            Once you’ve decided on the container type you need, hop onto the xChange platform to start finding offers. Simply type your criteria into the public search to see a list of containers that match your requirements, all in one place.

            You’ll be able to see the container condition, price and supplier for each offer upfront. 

            Negotiate the best wholesale prices

            As soon as a particular option catches your eye, reach out to the seller directly on the platform to negotiate a deal that suits everyone. On xChange, there are no middlemen slowing down the process and taking a cut, so you’ll both save time and money. 

            Make secure payments

            Lastly, pay for your containers using our secure payment feature. Our friendly support team will be available 24/5 to assist you with any issues or concerns during this process.

            Double-check the container quality

            We offer all of our members a 7-day window period in which to inspect their newly-purchased containers.

            If you’re unhappy with what you’ve received, we will assist with the mediation process, and you can choose to either swap the units or get your money back. Because your satisfaction is our number one priority.

            With Container xChange, buying the containers you need for your bar conversion projects has never been quicker or easier. To get containers at wholesale prices today, click the banner below to set up your free demo. You’ll get a personalized tour and a chance to see the marketplace live in action. 

            Buy containers for your conversion projects

            Common FAQs: Shipping container bar

            What is a shipping container bar?

            A shipping container bar is made out of new or used cargo containers that have been repurposed. Depending on the size of the bar, either a 10ft, 20ft or 40ft standard unit can be used. To convert a container into a bar, the unit will need to be repainted, and fitted with ventilation, windows and lighting.

            How do you convert a shipping container into a bar?

            Converting a shipping container into a bar will require a number of steps including planning the design and layout, adding windows, plumbing, lighting and ventilation, repainting the container body, replacing the flooring and getting any necessary compliances and licenses.

            How much does a shipping container bar conversion cost?

            The cost of converting a shipping container into a bar varies depending on how many alterations need to be made, the kind of decor and furnishings you choose, plus whether or not you use new or second hand containers. Costs can range from between US $14,500 to US $55,000.