Bars and pubs – Good question

Bars and pubs
Bars and pubs

Pub or bar?

Pub, bar, restaurant, economy, tavern, beer garden, café. In all these places we get something to drink. But what’s the difference?

What do we drink where? How is the ambiance? How are the guests?

In the Mediterranean countries, the bar is usually used to describe the many small bars that can be found on almost every street and where you can often have a quick coffee or other drink.


You usually go to a pub to drink beer (and schnapps). Most pubs are already open during the day and alcohol consumption often begins in the morning with a pint.

Of course, you can also get non-alcoholic drinks in a pub and often also snacks. But mainly it is about the consumption of alcohol in the form of beer and schnapps.

A bar is often located within a building that has a different function. Good examples of this are the hotel bar or the airport bar. In these cases (quite in contrast to the station pub) it is often a question of finer and more distinguished places.

It often happens that the bar in a hotel, theater, or at an airport is not completely separated from the rest of the building, unlike a pub, it is often not in a separate room or building, but in an open space. Often only a larger counter forms the bar.

A bar is also used to describe bars that specialize in certain drinks (cocktail bars) or activities (karaoke bars). But nightclubs in the red light district are also called bars. Like pubs, these bars are often located on the ground floor of buildings. These are structurally and functionally independent premises that are clearly demarcated from the outside.

Most bars that are not in hotels, airports, or other buildings are only open in the evening.

To the bar or to the bar?

  • If the bar is in a separate building or in a closed room, we go to the bar or meet friends in the bar.
  • I often go to the cocktail bar.
  • On Friday evening I met friends in a cocktail bar.
  • But if it’s about the counter or the counter area within a large room that also fulfills other functions, then we go to the bar or sit at the bar.
  • At first, we sat at a table, but later we sat at the bar.
  • This man sits alone at the bar almost every night.

Coffee shop

In a café, you drink coffee, with milk and sugar, without sugar, black, milk coffee, cappuccino, or espresso. But tea works too. And if you’re really thirsty, you can also get a beer, water, or soft drink.

And often there are tables outside as well. But be careful, in some cafés the following applies: “Only pots outside.”

The best way to learn the difference between pub, bar, and café is to go to a pub, bar, or café in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland and have a drink there.

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