Popping down the local for one at Christmas has taken on a whole new meaning for one woman who has transformed the front room of her four-bed home into a fully functioning pub that hosts the local Tidy Towns Christmas party every year.
‘Ginas Bar’ is a labour of love for Gina O’Donohoe, a mum of three from Trim in Co, Meath, who has created the ultimate private venue — with no queue for the bar.
It features a fully kitted-out bar, seating area, bar stools, and an array of old Irish pub memorabilia. She has even installed taps with lager and Guinness on draught and decorated the walls with quirky vintage signs, including one which jokingly lists her ‘bar rules’.
Building the bar was a lifelong ambition for Gina.
“I always wanted a bar in the house. It was a garage conversion, but we made it into a sitting room for the boys when we moved in first,” she said.
“They had computers and televisions, speakers and game consoles in it. When they got older I got my dream and turned it into a bar.
“It all started when I was in Navan Shopping Centre one day and came across a stall called Wunder-bar, a company run by two brothers from Germany who were trying to sell the idea of home bars here. So they came out to us and we got two taps off them and two coolers, then it just escalated after that.
“At first, we just had the bar and a two-seater couch and a little coffee table. It was our cosy room. Then we took out the couch and put in the bar stools and the chairs. You just pick up bits and pieces as you are going along.
“Around that time Aldi started selling beer glasses and other things, you’d think they knew we were opening a bar. We get different things from the antique and curios shop in Longwood as well.”
Following the creation of Gina’s Bar, the family now believe they have saved a fortune — as having their very own pub means fewer trips out and more time spent at home.
“It’s only for family and friends really. We get kegs in for special occasions. We’ve had the kid’s 18ths and 21sts in the bar and they have had a little drink there before their debs, so it has a lot of special memories.
When my youngest son was getting married, we invited friends in that didn’t know one another so they could meet.
“When we had the bar up and running our friend decided she wanted one and put one in her house. Joe built it and put it all together for her, I think I’ve started a bit of a trend. We have the Trim Tidy Towns party here every year.
“I work in Cavan, so I don’t have a huge amount of time to dedicate to them, so that’s my contribution. I do the cooking and supply food for the get-togethers.
“People can’t believe when they come in and see it. They expect a little bar in the corner of the living room, not a mini pub.”