Buying White Oak Barrels for new Café

Buying White Oak Barrels for new Café

This year has been a really exciting year for me. Not only have I finished my art degree, but I now have the opportunity to open my own small café and shop. I’ve decided to use old barrels to make the furniture as I think they work well. I’ve been looking to buy second-hand oak barrels online to help save a bit of money.

For the café side of things, we’ll sell stuff like coffee, tea, cake & biscuits. Then we’ll also have the shop on the side where I can sell some of my products. I make my own painted cards, mostly depicting animals. I also get my brother to build me little pencil boxes, that sort of thing, which I then also paint. My friend is going to be helping me too so she’ll have her own items to sell.

Vintage Oak Barrel Table


Designing my Café

So as I said above, I want to go with the barrel idea for the tables as I really think they work well. I don’t want to go over-board (please excuse the pirate pun) but I would like some at one side of the café and also some in the small garden area that we have at the rear of the property. They are quite good for standing at as they are a bit higher than a standard table so would work well outside. Inside, I am going to ask my brother to design some taller chairs as people generally want to sit down when they are having a hot beverage and a small snack. It’s not a pub bar environment so indoor standing areas aren’t important. Outside is a little different as that’s where people usually go for a quick cigarette so I’ll have one or two barrels’ setup for that. Maybe I will get some chairs built for outside too, I’m not sure yet.

In regards to the rest of the place, I want to go nautical with boats and sea pictures etc but like I said, I don’t want it to be too much so will try to make it subtle. I’m going to look around the charity shops to see what I can find as I need a bit of inspiration. My friend said we should get an old boat and make it into a seating area but I don’t think we’d afford it. Plus, maybe it’s going a little too far with the theme. 

I've already actually got some nice arty crockery that I've been collecting for the store, lots of miscellaneous bits and bobs rather than all matching. I think that looks a lot more quirky and its a very vintage approach.

We might be getting our hands on an old vintage piano that we could put in the cafe for people who fancy a sing song, but we haven't decided on that quite yet.


White Oak Barrel Table

No Barrel of Laughs

Finding barrels on the internet is not a problem but finding them for cheap, definitely is. I’ve looked on sites such as but they are too expensive. I’ve had to keep going through the classified ads sites to see if I can see any old used ones that people no longer want and are happy to give away at a cheap price. Unfortunately, most sellers recognize the demand and interest as wooden barrels are becoming quite a popular feature to have either around the home or for your business premises. I was looking at a half white oak whiskey barrel that has been split in two height ways so it fits flush with the wall. That was showing for nearly $400 dollars which is crazy money in my opinion. I have already got a couple of deals though so it just takes a lot of patience. I’m currently looking online to see what places are most likely to have old barrels that they no longer want but that they won’t necessarily advertise. It may be worth a visit to some of these places as you could then get a really good deal. I’d imagine breweries etc might be a good place to start. Maybe barrels that are no longer water-tight may be surplus to requirements.

Half White Oak Whiskey Barrel

Starring down the Barrel of Defeat

The barrel situation means that we are a little behind schedule and we are starring down the barrel at our deadline. We’ve got about another 3 – 4 weeks max to get the place decorated and ready for business so fingers crossed we can get it all done in time. We will then have a month to setup the shop, prepare a small menu and decide what drinks, etc. we will sell. It’s all very exciting but it’s definitely all hands to the pump at present. There’s been some raised tension between me and my friend but that’s normal in business I suppose. I’ll let you know whether we make our deadline in time later on in the blog, so keep tuned. Enjoy guys and we’ll catch-up soon. Chow!