Pub Vs Bar

The terms pub and bar are often used interchangeably, but there are actually some key differences between the two. To put it simply, a pub is typically a more casual and laid-back drinking establishment, while a bar tends to be more upscale and focused on a specific type of beverage or experience. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between pubs and bars, and discuss some common questions about each.


Pubs, short for public houses, have been a staple of British culture for centuries. They originated as meeting places for locals to gather and socialize, often centered around a communal activity like darts or card games. Today, pubs are still much the same – they’re places where people go to hang out, relax, and catch up with friends.

One of the defining features of a pub is its atmosphere. Pubs tend to be cozy and inviting, with lots of wood furnishings, dim lighting, and comfortable chairs or booths. They’re often decorated with historical photographs or paintings, and may have a fireplace or two to add to the homey vibe. Music is typically played at a low volume, and televisions are rare – pubs are meant to be places where people can have conversations without distractions.

Another key characteristic of a pub is its sense of community. Pubs are often owned and operated by locals, and regular patrons are treated like family. The staff is friendly and welcoming, often engaging in casual banter with customers. There’s a sense that everyone knows each other, and newcomers are quickly welcomed into the fold.

Of course, pubs are also known for their drinks. They tend to offer a wide selection of beers, from local brews to international favorites. Wine and spirits are also available, but the focus is usually on beer. Pubs may have a few signature dishes or bar snacks, but they’re not typically known for their food – it’s more of an afterthought than anything.


Bars, on the other hand, are a bit more specialized. They’re often focused on a specific type of drink or experience, whether it’s craft cocktails, whiskey, or wine. They tend to be more upscale and trendy, with sleek decor and modern furnishings. Unlike pubs, bars are often loud and bustling – they’re places to see and be seen.

While pubs focus on community and a laid-back vibe, bars are often more about sophistication and status. There’s a sense of exclusivity to many bars, particularly those with dress codes or cover charges. The staff is often more aloof and professional, and there’s less of a sense of camaraderie among patrons.

Of course, the drinks are the star of the show at a bar. Whether it’s a classic cocktail or a rare single malt whiskey, bars tend to specialize in high-quality, artisanal drinks. The food at bars is often more impressive than at pubs, with a focus on small plates and gourmet ingredients.

Comparing Pubs and Bars

So, how do pubs and bars stack up against each other? Here are a few key differences to consider:

Atmosphere: Pubs are cozy and relaxed, while bars are trendy and upscale.

Sense of Community: Pubs are all about community and camaraderie, while bars tend to be more exclusive.

Drinks: Pubs focus on beer, while bars often specialize in high-end cocktails, wine, or whiskey.

Food: Pubs tend to offer simple bar snacks or meals, while bars often serve gourmet small plates.

Noise: Pubs are meant to be quiet places for conversation, while bars can be loud and crowded.


Q: Can a pub also be a bar, or vice versa?

A: Yes, absolutely! There’s no hard and fast distinction between pubs and bars, and many establishments blur the lines between the two. Some bars may also offer beer and create a more laid-back atmosphere, while some pubs may specialize in craft cocktails or an elevated dining experience.

Q: Are pubs usually cheaper than bars?

A: Generally, yes. Pubs are more casual and laid-back, and tend to have lower prices on drinks and food. Bars, on the other hand, usually have a more upscale crowd and a focus on high-quality drinks, which can drive up prices.

Q: Which is better for a night out with friends – a pub or a bar?

A: It depends on what you’re looking for! If you want a cozy and casual atmosphere where you can catch up and relax, a pub is probably your best bet. But if you’re looking for a more festive and upscale experience, a bar may be more your speed.

Q: Can you watch sports at a pub or a bar?

A: It depends on the establishment. Some pubs may have a TV or two for sporting events, but they’re not typically set up as sports bars. Bars, on the other hand, often have multiple TVs and may be designed specifically for watching games and matches.