Bar VS Pubs – What Are The Differences And Comparisons?

“Hey mate, let’s go to the pub” or “Hi, let’s hit the bar tonight.” You might have heard this many times and till now you might be thinking both mean the same thing. But bars and pubs are completely different. We don’t want you to confuse them with one another.

Though the difference between bars and pubs is small. But there are vital areas that make them different that cannot be subdued. Bar vs. Pubs – What Are The Differences And Comparisons? So let’s hop on a journey to understand the difference between bars and pubs

Famous Pubs and Bars

1. The Eagle and Child in Oxford, England: Known for being the regular meeting place of the literary group, The Inklings, which included authors J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. 

  • Time: 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM (Sun 12:00 PM – 10:30 PM)
  • Phone: +44 1865 302925
  • Rating: 4.3/5 from 2.2K reviews

2. The Brazen Head in Dublin, Ireland: Established in 1198, it’s reputed to be the oldest pub in Ireland and has been frequented by famous faces like James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, and Van Morrison.

  • Time: Monday-Sunday 12–11:30 pm
  • Phone: +353 1 679 5186
  • Rating: 4.6 from 14,818 reviews

3. McSorley’s Old Ale House in New York City, USA: Founded in 1854, it’s one of the oldest bars in New York and is known for only serving two types of beer – light or dark.

  • Time: Monday-Sunday 11:00 AM – 1:00 AM
  • Phone: (212) 473-9148
  • Rating: 4.7/5 from 6,321 reviews

4. The Grapes in London, England: A historic pub that’s been serving for over 500 years, it was once frequently visited by Charles Dickens and is now partly owned by actor Sir Ian McKellen.

  • Time: Opens 12-11 pm {Sunday 12–10:30 pm}
  • Phone: +44 20 7987 4396
  • Rating: 4.5 from 2,677 reviews

5. Hofbräuhaus in Munich, Germany: An iconic beer hall dating back to the 16th century, it’s one of Munich’s oldest beer halls and is known for its traditional Bavarian music and Oktoberfest celebrations.

  • Time: Monday-Sunday 11 am–12 am
  • Phone: +49 89 290136100
  • Rating: 4.3 from 79,326 reviews


1. Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France: Known for its classic cocktails and American-style decor, it has been visited by many famous patrons like Ernest Hemingway and Humphrey Bogart.

  • Time: 12 pm–2 am Sunday { 9 am–1 am }
  • Phone: +33 1 42 61 71 14
  • Rating: 4.4 from 2,111 reviews

2. The Dead Rabbit in New York City, USA: This award-winning bar, established in 2013, is famous for its menu of historically-inspired cocktails and has been named the World’s Best Bar multiple times.

  • Time: Monday-Sunday 12 pm -2 am
  • Phone: +1 917-540-5228
  • Rating: 4.7 from 6,228 reviews

3. American Bar at the Savoy in London, England: The oldest surviving cocktail bar in Britain, it’s renowned for its classic cocktails and for hosting celebrities since 1893.

  • Time: Monday- Tuesday 4 pm–12 am
    Wednesday-Saturday 12 pm–12 am
    Sunday 12–10 pm
  • Phone: +44 20 7420 2111
  • Rating: 4.6 from 826 reviews

4. The Hemingway Bar in Prague, Czech Republic: Named after Ernest Hemingway, a renowned lover of absinthe and cocktails, this bar is known for its extensive range of absinthes, rum, and innovative cocktails.

  • Time: Monday -Friday 5 pm–1 am
    Saturday 7 pm–2 am
    Sunday 7 pm–1 am
  • Phone: +420 773 974 764
  • Rating: 4.7 from 3,423 reviews

5. El Floridita in Havana, Cuba: Known as the “cradle of the daiquiri”, this bar was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway and is famous for its frozen daiquiris and historic charm.

  • Time: Monday-Sunday 12 pm–1 am
  • Phone: +53 7 8671300
  • Rating: 4.4 from 3,379 reviews

Bar VS Pubs Comparison Chart

Let us take a look at the Bar vs. Pub comparison to understand both of them clearly. 

MeaningMostly, the word bar is used to refer to a stand, counter, or place where customers are served refreshments and beverages.On the other hand, the word pub is used for a spot where people come together to hang out. Guests usually get refreshments/beverages and food served here.
UsageBar is used as a Noun.Pub is used as a Noun.
Food servedThe bar has a minimal menu that often includes food like wings and pizza or light appetizers.The pub menu mostly includes salad, desserts, soups, appetizers, and even filling meals.
Alcohol servedIn a bar, the bartender serves a wide selection of mocktails, wine, beer, liquor, as well as cocktails. However, they don’t have a wide selection of drinks as served in a pub.In a pub, there is a large selection of cider, all sorts of wines, as well as different kinds of beer.  
ClienteleThe bars are usually found in the cities. The lighting, type of entertainment, and design determine whether it serves local clients or high-class guests.On the contrary, the puds cater only to communities located in British villages.  
Owner  Bars can be owned by individuals, groups, or larger hospitality companies. Some bars belong to larger chains, while others are one-of-a-kind establishments. Ownership often affects the bar’s ambiance, drink selection, and customer service. Many traditional pubs, especially in countries like the UK and Ireland, are independently owned and have been passed down through families for generations.
OverviewThe bar receives a license to serve alcoholic drinks. These establishments are mostly named after a bar or the counter on which drinks are served to the guests.A pub is a short word used for a Public House licensed to serve alcoholic drinks. These establishments are named after establishments or countries that have a strong British influence.  
Age limitThe age limit for bars, pubs, and other establishments almost remains the same. People between the ages of 18 and 21 are allowed to visit the bar. In some establishments, minors below 21 are not given an entry.Similarly, in the pub, people who fall under the 18 and 21 years age group are allowed. But since the pubs also have dining areas, minors are allowed to visit this establishment if they are accompanied by an adult.
Ambiance  The bars are mostly busy. These establishments serve little or no good and have dance floors and loud music. Many guests do a common activity called bar hopping. It means going from one bar to another.On the other hand, a pub offers a casual atmosphere for spending as much time as one wants with unobtrusive and calming music. You can also get food here.
TypesThere are all sorts of bars for all age groups such as cop bars, karaoke bars, biker bars, singles bars, gay bars, salsa bars, topless bars, dance bars, and sports bars.All kinds of patrons are welcome in the pubs. The types of pubs vary from free house, privately owned pubs to brewery-owned pubs.  


Bars and pubs, while both social establishments, generally have different atmospheres.

1. Bars: The atmosphere in a bar can range from relaxed to energetic, depending on its type and location. Cocktail bars often have a chic and sophisticated ambiance, with dim lighting and stylish decor. Sports bars are typically more casual and lively, especially during big games. Music bars or clubs tend to have a more intense, party-like atmosphere with loud music and dancing.

2. Pubs: Pubs, short for “public houses”, are traditionally community gathering places with a homely and relaxed ambiance. They are typically more casual and have a warm, welcoming atmosphere often characterized by comfortable seating, fireplaces, and traditional decor. Pubs are places where people of all ages gather for conversation, to enjoy a meal, play games, or listen to live music. The atmosphere is generally more laid-back and slower-paced than that of a bar.

That being said, the atmosphere of any specific bar or pub can vary widely depending on the establishment’s style, the management, and the clientele it attracts.

History Of Bar vs. Pubs


The birth of the pub came after Modern English was called a tavern in the 1st century. Alehouses were established by Anglo-Saxons where travelers could drink, eat, and seek shelter for a night. Later on, pub word came into existence from Public House. Since the olden days, the British have been drinking ale in pubs that were made from fermented malt.


Public drinking spots had different names throughout history. In the colonial era of the United States, people used to meet in taverns for a drink. Slowly, the places where the bartenders make hard liquor drinks came to be known as the bar. But in the first half of the 20th century, illegal bars were prohibited and were known as “blind tigers”, “blind pigs”, and “speakeasies”. The bar got its name from the place on the high counter which looks like a bar.

How Does the Ambiance Differ In Bar vs. Pubs?

Bar VS Pubs - What Are The Differences And Comparisons

Before taking a glance at the menu, you can easily figure out whether it is a pub or a bar. A bar is all about fun, nightlife, and a party which is accompanied by big dance floors, crazy dancing crowds, and loud music. But a put is quieter and fancier. You can chill, enjoy, and relax while eating and drinking with your friends or family. The entire ambiance is calm and you can hear soothing music playing in the background. 

The bar and pubs have the same marketing tactics. Sometimes a bar concentrates and restricts specific customers or communities like ladies, gays, bikers, and so on. But pubs allow all sorts of crowd and do not target specific communities or guests. In this scenario, they are the opposite of a bar.

What are the drinks served at bars?

Bar VS Pubs - What Are The Differences And Comparisons

1. Cocktails: Bars often have an extensive cocktail menu, ranging from classic drinks like Martinis, Mojitos, and Old Fashioneds to more innovative and unique concoctions created by the bartenders.

2. Wine: Most bars offer a selection of red, white, and rosé wines. Some might also offer sparkling wines and champagnes. The selection can vary from local wines to international ones.

3. Beer: Bars typically serve a variety of beers, including lagers, ales, stouts, and craft beers. These could be on tap or bottled.

4. Spirits and Liquor: Bars stock a range of spirits and liquor including vodka, whiskey, rum, tequila, gin, and more, which can be served neat, on the rocks, or used in cocktails.

5. Non-alcoholic Drinks: Most bars also offer a selection of non-alcoholic beverages, including mocktails, sodas, and juices for those who prefer not to drink alcohol.

6. Specialty Drinks: Depending on the type of bar, specialty drinks may be offered. For example, a tiki bar would serve tropical, rum-based cocktails, while a whiskey bar would have an extensive selection of different whiskeys.

What are the drinks served at pubs?

1. Beer: Pubs traditionally have a strong focus on beer, particularly draft beer. They often offer a variety of local and imported beers, including lagers, ales, stouts, and sometimes even craft beers.

2. Cider: Especially in the UK and Ireland, cider is a common offering in pubs. It’s often served on tap, just like beer.

3. Wine: While not as extensive as in a wine bar, most pubs do offer a selection of red, white, and rosé wines. Some may also offer sparkling wines or champagnes.

4. Spirits and Liquor: Traditional spirits like whiskey, gin, vodka, and rum are usually available in pubs. These can be mixed into simple cocktails, served with mixers, or enjoyed neat.

5. Soft Drinks: For those not drinking alcohol, pubs usually offer a range of non-alcoholic options such as sodas, juices, and non-alcoholic beers or ciders.

6. Hot Drinks: Unlike most bars, pubs often serve hot beverages, including tea and coffee. In colder months, some pubs may also offer warm alcoholic drinks like hot toddies or mulled wine.

What Kind Of Food Is Served In Bars vs. Pubs?

A basic bar is all about alcoholic beverages. Most of the customers visit bars to drink only. And the food at a bar revolves around snacks or appetizers, something that makes your alcohol taste even better. On the other hand, a pub is similar to a restaurant that serves both alcoholic beverages and food. From snacks and appetizers to desserts and meals, guests will find everything in a pub to stuff their bellies.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1. What makes a place a pub?
Ans: A place is considered a pub, short for “public house”, if it’s a community gathering spot that serves a range of alcoholic beverages, mainly beer and cider. Pubs often offer food, have comfortable seating, and a relaxed, homey atmosphere. They may also host pub games and live music.

Q2. Why do pubs close at 11?
Ans: Historically in the UK, pubs closed at 11 PM due to licensing laws introduced during World War I to prevent factory workers from turning up to work drunk. Despite changes in licensing laws allowing longer opening hours, many pubs have maintained the tradition of an 11 PM closing time.

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