The Dog & Ball - Pub Shed of the year 2022
Two Fat Blokes bar signs ran a national competition to find Britain’s best garden pub shed.
With the huge cost of living crisis more and more homeowners are adding their own pub in their gardens. With the average cost of a pint predicted to go over £6, it’s no surprise that that Britains 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 costing just £1.38 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.
During the pandemic Ashley Turner & Matt Andrews who run Two Fat Blokes Bar Signs were both made redundant from a marketing agency, Ashley had just built his own garden pub and made his own pub sign, so it seemed right to get involved with the rest of the Pub Shed community who were crying out for all things related to their favourite pastime including traditional pub signs. Ashley who previously worked with Matt decided to start their own pub sign business. Matt as the designer and Ashley as manufacturing and sales, the business quickly took off and the guys started to get involved with Facebook group Garden Shed, Pubs & Nightclubs (Over 280,000 members) and Pub Shed Radio (over 20,000 listeners ) - Yes it’s a real thing Amateur DJ’s broadcasting from their shed to yours. Anyway for fun Two Fat Blokes & Pub Shed Radio launched a competition in 2021 to find Britain’s best pub Shed, over 400 entries in the first year with the final winner “Weeties Bar“ in Weymouth.
On to 2022 and the competition has grown rapidly with press coverage from national and regional newspapers as well as radio and TV. This year there have been 1066 entries which were whittled down to three by the judges from Two Fat Blokes, Pub Shed Radio and GSPN UK The finalists were The Stagger Inn Manchester, The Tiger Minehead and The Dog & Ball Portsmouth. A staggering 4400 people voted in the public vote. Voting closed on 28th October 2022
The winner was announced live on Pubshedradio.uk 19:30hrs 12th November 2022
None of the finalist know if they had won until live on air, Ashley Turner the owner of twofatblokes.co.uk, DJ Mupps of Pub Shed Radio & Nick St. John from Garden Shed Pubs & Nightclubs knocked on the door of the winner of Pub Shed Of The Year on the night of 12th November complete with a DJ rig to broadcast live to the nation form the winning pub shed. It was a fantastic night with plenty of suspense for all three finalists.
It was an amazing surprise for John & Anita when the judging panel knocked on the door of the Dog & Ball in Portsmouth. John a Royal Navy veteran built his bar with his wife Anita during lockdown.
As well as winning the much coveted Pub Shed of the year 2022 Ashley Turner from Two Fat Blokes Bar Signs presented John and Anita with a custom bar sign and the Pub Shed of the year 2022 gold plaque.
The pub, named 'The Dog & Ball', took more than a year to build and features its own dart board, wooden décor, country pub-style seating and its own outdoor beer garden and decking area.
Owner John Simmons, 50, built the shed in his garden in Portsmouth, Hampshire, single-handedly, sourcing reclaimed material from salvage yards and a Facebook page for pub shed enthusiasts.
He cut, sanded and fixed every timber and ﬁtting himself, using an impressive 4,500 screws in the process.
His efforts have now been recognised after the father-of-three beat off competition from more than a thousand entries to be named the owner of Britain's best Pub Shed 2022.
John Simmons said: “I started building it last year and wanted to have it completed this summer for my 50th birthday. Sourcing the reclaimed material took the biggest chunk of time.
"I am an avid DIY-er and love a project. Lots of people had been doing this sort of thing over lockdown so I took inspiration from that, and I wanted a haven at home that was cheaper than the pub.
"It’s somewhere I can go and enjoy being with my friends and family, which was really the whole purpose.
"It cost about four figures, which is much cheaper than it would have been had I done a proper build and had to go to shops for the materials."
The Dog & Ball beat off two other finalists - a mini countryside-style pub called The Tiger in Somerset, and nightclub-themed bar The Stagger Inn in Manchester.
All are part of a recent trend for back garden pubs, whose popularity exploded during the Covid pandemic, with more than two million now believed to exist in Britain.
After the initial knock on the door where John & Anita were hosting a party hoping for the door knock, DJ Mupps from Pub Shed Radio then setup ready to broadcast to the nation complete with decks and PA system ready to broadcast live from The Dog & Ball, The party continued on until very early the next morning with much merriment and booze bring drunk.
Ashley Turner, owner of Two Fat Blokes Bar Signs, said: "The quality of bars and diversity of the entries has been phenomenal.
"We ran the competition to showcase the amazing community of pub sheds in the UK.
"The community has exploded during the pandemic and now with the cost of a pint heading north of £6 the trend looks set to continue.
"The Dog & Ball is a perfect example of an amazing pub shed and deserved to win with his amazing hand-built pub."
Pub Shed Radio's DJ Mupps said: 'It was brilliant to knock on the door of the winners bar live on Pub Shed Radio.
'John & Anita were totally gobsmacked to find out they had won. We then went live from the bar broadcasting with a real party atmosphere.'
Nick St John, the owner of Facebook group Garden Shed Pubs and Nightclubs, added: 'Being involved Pub Shed of the year has been the culmination of our ethos to promote and help people build their own back garden pubs.
'With over 280,000 members our group has really got on board with the competition.
'Judging the entries was so difficult - The Dog & Ball is a great example of a proper pub shed.'