Chiang Mai bars at night-KayEss-1

Tourists sit outside a bar in Chiang Mai, Thailand


A bar in Switzerland.


Another bar in Switzerland.

A bar is a business that sells alcoholic beverages for immediate on-premise consumption. (By contrast, a liquor store sells alcohol for off-premise consumption.) Some bars serve food or may be parts of restaurants. Bars that are part of hotels are sometimes called long bars. Alternatively, "bar" can refer to the specialized counter on which the drinks are served, and it is from this term that the establishment itself as a whole gets its name. The "back bar" is a (sometimes ornate) set of shelves of glasses and bottles behind that counter. Frequently when food is served elsewhere in the establishment, it may also be ordered and consumed at the bar.

Kinds of Bars Edit

United States Edit

In the United States, legal distinctions often exist between restaurants, bars, and even types of bars. These distinctions vary from state to state, and even among municipalities. Beer bars (sometimes called taverns or pubs) may be legally restricted to only selling beer or possibly wine, cider and other low-proof beverages. Liquor bars sell everything from beer to hard liquor.

Bars are sometimes exempt from smoking bans that restaurants are subject to, even if those restaurants have liquor licenses. The distinction between a restaurant that serves liquor and a bar is usually made by the percentage of revenue earned from selling liquor, although increasingly, smoking bans include bars too.

In most places, bars are prohibited from selling alcoholic beverages to go. There are some exceptions. Usually brewpubs and wineries can serve alcohol to go, but under the rules applied to a liquor store. In some areas, such as New Orleans and parts of Las Vegas, alcohol may be prepared to go. This kind of restriction is usually dependant on open container law.

United Kingdom Edit

In the UK 'bar' used to mean a wine bar, but now, 'Style Bars', trendy and generally high-quality drinking establishments are more common. However the main type of establishment selling alcohol for consumption on the premises is the public house or pub. Pubs are not usually referred to as bars, though the distinction is becoming blurred.

Australia Edit

In Australia, traditionally the 'public bar' was where men drank, while the 'lounge bar' was where women drank. This is rarely the case in the 21st century, with many 'lounge bars' being converted into gaming rooms for pokies.

Elsewhere Edit

In most capital cities of the world there is at least one Irish pub, some capitals, like Brussels, have 20 or more.

Bars range from down-and-dirty "dives," little more than a dark room with a counter and some bottles of liquor, to places of entertainment and the elegant watering holes of the elite.

Many bars set a happy hour to encourage off-peak patronage. Contrastingly, bars that fill to capacity typically charge a cover charge, often similar in price to one or two cocktails, during their peak hours. Such bars often feature entertainment, which may be a live band (very often of the blues variety), a popular D.J., or a variety (female impersonation) show.

Bar-related triviaEdit

Several fictional bars have featured prominently in television series, including the following:

Additionally, the concepts of retrobars and lounge bars also exist.

See alsoEdit


de:Bar (Lokal) nah:Oknamakoyan nl:Café pt:Bar (comércio)