People often don't know the difference between bars and pubs; both are establishments licensed to serve alcoholic beverages, and often serve food.

Comparison chart

Bar versus Pub comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartBarPub
Food served Minimal menu, often just light appetizers and/or pizza and wings. The menu includes filling meals, and often even appetizers, salads, soups and desserts.
Alcohol served A wide selection of liquor, cocktails, mocktails. Includes beer and wine, but not as wide a selection as in a pub. Mostly a large selection of different kinds of beer, some wines, and cider.
Clientele Usually found in cities.Design, lighting and type of entertainment can determine whether a bar caters to high class or low brow clientele. Usually a place of focus for a community in British villages .
Owner Owners or managers are called Bar Manager. Owners or managers are called Publican or landlord. Some pubs owned by the brewery.
Overview Bar is an establishment licensed to serve alcohol beverages and is named after the counter or bar on which drinks are served. Pub is short for Public House licensed to serve alcoholic beverages and called so in countries or establishments with a British influence
Age limit Anywhere between 18 and 21. Minors are usually not allowed entry. Generally between 18 and 21, but since pubs also offer dining, minors are often permitted if accompanied by an adult.
Ambience Busy, often have loud music and dance floors, serves little or no food. Common activity is bar hopping which is moving from one bar to another. Serve and casual atmosphere for spending long periods of time with soothing, unobtrusive music. Food is also served.
Types Bars generally have a lower age limit. Varieties include sports bars, dance bars, topless bars, salsa bars, gay bars, singles bars, biker bars, karaoke bars and cop bars. Pubs are open to any kind of patrons. The varieties are either brewery owned or private ownership or freehouse.


Pub is short for Public House. The British have been drinking ale in pubs (public houses or ale houses) since the bronze age serving traditional English ale which was made solely from fermented malt and distinctive to each ale house.

Bars emerged in the US; they were places where hard liquor and locally brewed spirits were served. A bar gets its name from the high counter where alcohol is served, that looks like a bar.

Ambience and Clientele

The ambience of a British or Irish pub is more relaxed and calm with no loud or obtrusive music. It is a place frequented by both young and old clientele. Bars open at 11:00 AM and close around midnight in the UK.

Bars tend to have a younger clientele with loud music, dance floors or DJs. Patrons also "bar hop" or move from one bar to another. Bars are usually frequented in the evening and open to well past midnight.

Pubs and bars both have an age limit between 18-21, depending upon the legal minimum to consume alcohol.

Alcohol Served

Pubs mostly have a large selection of just different kinds of beer, some wines, and cider. Because of its full menu, a pub generally allows minors if accompanied by an adult.

Bars specialize in liquor rather than food and tend to offer a wide selection of cocktails, in addition to usual alcoholic beverages.


Pubs have a more elaborate and filling menu than bars. Traditional British pub food includes fish and chips, shepherd's pie, bangers and mash, Sunday roast, steak and ale pie, Ploughman's lunch and pastries.

Bars are not meant for food served in large quantities and may offer some light snacks. However, in a "Restaurant and Bar" you often find that the full restaurant menu is available even at the bar.


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