Sunday, June 23, 2024

Where We Live: Backyard ‘pub shed’ celebrates all things Wilmington

Where We Live: A weekly look at the homes in the Cape Fear Region

WILMINGTON — When Wilmington native Jason “Jay” Tatum and his wife Tara took a trip to the U.K.’s Glastonbury Festival, they thought they were just there to hear the music and see the shows. But, they brought home more than memories. They brought home inspiration.

This week’s “Where We Live” takes you to the Tatum’s home off Wrightsville Avenue in the Carolina Place District of Wilmington. More specifically, it takes you into their backyard, and inside their shed.

“We have a small yard, it’s a small city lot,” Jay Tatum said. “My wife and I, for my 40th Birthday went to the Glastonbury Festival in England, and while I was there I randomly picked up this magazine talking about ‘Pub Sheds’ in London. People were actually making garden sheds into pubs, and I thought ‘Man, that’s pretty inspiring actually.’ ”

Tatum said he knows plenty of people with “man-caves,” but most of them were fairly generic. Wanting something different, he began brainstorming ideas to bring his pub shed to life.

“Can we talk about the coolest wife he has?” Tara Tatum asked. “That’s allowed this to happen!”

“Behind every great pub shed is a great wife,” the Tatum’s friend Matthew Ray added.

“Sixteen years of marriage, and you finally get yourself a pub shed,” Jay Tatum said with a laugh.

‘Tatum’s Pub Shed’

Being from Castle Hayne, Jay Tatum said he knew he wanted “Tatum’s Pub Shed” to have an “antique southern feel.”

“All the wood in here is reclaimed from the Cape Fear River,” Tatum said. “From the bar top to everything above and to the floor. You have pieces of pine, poplar, cedar, all kinds of different wood in here. When we built the pub shed, we kind of wanted to do a nod to my Wilmington roots, and our southern roots as well.”

“We tried to mix some metal in as well to give it a little bit more of a rustic look,” Tatum said.

That rustic look has certainly been obtained. The dark coloring of the wood is offset by the light blue colored walls. And although well lit, the interior seems dim. The wood almost absorbs the light, seemingly making the interior glow.

It’s hard to not be taken aback upon entering the shed. Rows of liquor adorn the wall behind the bar, underneath a massive boars head and Jay’s grandfathers old shotgun. Jay Tatum said the alcohol is stocked by the community, mostly his friends and neighbors who use the shed as a neighborhood hangout.

The "U-Keg," a pressurized growler for draught beer
The “U-Keg,” a pressurized growler for draught beer. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)

“Obviously, we have a ton of booze. People bring it in, it’s totally communal,” Tatum said. “We have a beer fridge back here. I don’t have a keg set up but I do have a ‘U-Keg,’ which is basically a pressurized growler.

“It’s funny, I’ll go to a bar now, and be like ‘I have a better liquor selection then them.’” Tatum said.

There’s a liquor locker in one corner of the bar, tucked in next to the Tatums’ customized “Plinko” drinking game. According to Jay, the locker came from the old YMCA, and was salvaged after the building had burned down.

Adorning the walls are various memorabilia, both from Jay’s personal life, and Wilmington as a whole. There is a photo of Michael Jordan from his days at Laney High School, photo’s of the Liberty Ships from their days in the Port City’s shipyards, and even a piece of teak from the Battleship North Carolina, taken when its decks were replaced in the 1990s.

The Tatum’s even managed to acquire an autographed fiddle that belonged to music legend Charlie Daniels.

Some of Tatum's autographed memorabilia. From top right clockwise. Wilmington natives Trot Nixon, Michael Jordan, Sugar Ray Leonard, Meadowlark Lemon, Charlie Daniels and some of the Carolina Panthers.
Some of Tatum’s autographed memorabilia. From top right clockwise. Wilmington natives Trot Nixon, Michael Jordan, Sugar Ray Leonard, Meadowlark Lemon, Charlie Daniels and some of the Carolina Panthers. (Port City Daily photo/COURTESY JAY TATUM)

Underneath one of the shed’s two, flat screen televisions, is an old Chevrolet pickup truck tailgate.

“We turned it into a drink rail, we found it at the junkyard for like eight bucks and decided to reclaim it,” Tatum said.

A fireball tap is just one of the many antique features in "Tatum's Pub Shed."
A fireball tap is just one of the many antique features in “Tatum’s Pub Shed.” (Port City Daily Photo/CORY MANNION)

“If you look at the floor, there’s southern coins and things like that. We even tried to do the quarters in here as southern states,” he said with a laugh. “When we came across a Pennsylvania or something like that we were just like ‘no, no, it’s gotta be southern states. It has to be a Georgia, Virginia, something like that.’ The rest are from our travels. You’ll find a euro or a peso if you look.”

Something you wouldn’t expect to find in a shed are vaulted ceilings, but the Tatum’s managed to work them in, allowing wooden beams to cross the 12 ft. by 14 ft. space.

These beams have provided the perfect place for the Tatums to hang the customized mugs of their “regulars,” wooden barrels with their names emblazoned across the bottom.

“Up above are the mugs of the guys who come in here all the time, sort of our regulars,” Jay Tatum said, pointing out specific mugs of friends.

Looking past the beams, your eyes are drawn up into the recesses of the ceiling, where pieces of dried tobacco and cotton plants hang.

Owning a Pub Shed

The shed also features a “pass through window,” allowing for easy access to your drink if you’d like to hang out on the Pub Shed patio. The Tatums’ backyard has been mostly decked over, allowing for numerous seating options, and the ability to play corn hole and other games.

Peaking around back, Jay has even gone as far as adding a urinal to the backside of the shed.

The Pub Shed does actually feature a storage shed, although not quite to the extent Tara expected.

The shed portion of, "Tatum's Pub Shed."
The shed portion of, “Tatum’s Pub Shed.” (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)

According to Tara, before the Pub Shed they used to have an old Steel Shed out back. When Jay decided to build the Pub version, she thought she’d be left with ample storage space.

“When the footing had been laid, he walks in and I’m thinking I’m going to get this big space, and this smaller side would be the bar…I told him ‘Oh my gosh this is so much storage!’ And Jay walked over and said, ‘no that’s the storage, this is the Pub Shed.’ ”

“This is not what I agreed to,” Tara said. “But it’s been really good, it’s been nice having friends over too, but this is really an outdoor living space for us. We come out here and have dinner all the time, grill out, the kids love hanging out here and watching football and basketball.”

“I want people to be here and not feel like they’re in my backyard,” Jay said. “I mean you can see our house from out here, but when you’re in here, I want people to feel like they’re not in our backyard hanging out.”

The Tatums said they wouldn’t trade a thing for this “community” feature.

“We love the community here: it’s diverse, it’s a very dog-friendly, walking area. It’s just a good spot,” Jay said.

“Even with the pub shed, the people that come here are our neighbors and things like that,” Jay said. “I think it’s cool to have neighbors who drop in and just say, ‘hey what’s up!’, that’s what a neighborhood is all about.”

To keep up with the going’s on at the “Tatum’s Pub Shed,” follow them on Instagram @tatums_pubshed

Where We Live is a weekly feature looking at the homes and unique places to stay in the Cape Fear Region. Do you have a home, on or off the market, that our readers may be interested in seeing? Let us know at

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