The blow-up bar looks like a traditional Irish watering hole, complete with fake wooden doors and a thatched roof. But upon closer inspection, those imbibing will notice soft-sided walls akin to those found on children’s bouncy houses.
The inflatable pub is the centerpiece of a new business venture launched by Eoghan Cahill and a group of friends. They’re hoping to rent out the attraction — popular in the British Isles — for corporate gatherings, backyard parties and other events.
Starting Friday, he said, renters will be able to reserve the giant, air-filled Irish pub, which can fit more than 70 people inside.
“It’s designed like a bar with a fake fireplace. But we’ll bring the tables and chairs,” said Cahill, who moved to Boston from Dublin a decade ago.
Cahill and his business partners, who are all experienced in the bar industry, spent the last six months putting together the concept. They are launching the official company website on Friday.
The company has chosen as a name The Paddy Wagon Pub, a term some with Irish roots may find offensive but one that Cahill says is a play on words about a traveling bar.
“It’s a terminology that has been used for awhile, and we aren’t using it in the context of the vans police used,” he said.
Customers can simply rent the pub — it has enough space inside to fit a bar and a live band — on its own, or they can tack on entertainment options for an event.
The pub will provide Irish step dancing performances, Irish wolfhound dogs with their walkers, and musical acts for those interested in creating a full-on Irish experience. The company will also contract out food and drink services at a customer’s request.
The bar won’t sell its own, but others can use the facility for service as part of licensed events.
“We are trying to offer different alternatives to make the events more fun. But basically, people will call us and ask for an estimate on an event and we would provide the pub and do all the ground work behind it,” Cahill said.
The inflatable bars are popular in Ireland and England, where the company purchased their first pub.
“I was talking to someone back in Ireland and they suggested it would be a good business opportunity in the states,” Cahill said. “We just wanted to test the market. But Boston will be the birthplace in the country.”
For now, they will start small with the single bar to rent out for events.
But if it proves popular, the company will look to expand and become a franchise. At that point, Cahill said, they would order additional inflatable pubs and rent them to customers.
“We wanted to bring over one first and see how this goes for the start,” he said.