When is a Bar a Pub?

I grant that might seem a strange title for a post, but is there a difference between a [tag]bar[/tag] and a [tag]pub[/tag]?
In my opinion there is a definite distinction.

The word ‘Pub’ is derived from [tag]Public House[/tag], as Pubs in the UK were originally known as- therefore they were originally ‘Houses for the Public, so one would expect to find home comforts, such as sofas, comfortable chairs, carpets and probably an open fireplace.

On the other hand, a bar (in my humble opinion) is just that, a room or hall with a bar in it. I find it odd that some bar owners here in Spain take on a bare bones bar, with just a counter and some metal stools, add a few plastic tables and then call it “The Mucky Duck Pub” when there is nothing remotely pub-like about the place. A bit like opening a corner shop and calling it “The City of London Hypermarket” I guess it does not really matter, I mean we are not discussing a life or death situation here, but I feel more distinction should be made.

Here are a few pictures of bars and pubs that will illustrate my point.


With soft furnishings, curtains, wall decorations and lamps, the Seven Seas in Lloret is allowed to be a pub


The now non-existant bar next to the Seven Seas was known as the Seven Seas Bodega. It was definately a bar.


The Bar Barretina is just that, a bar


The Trinity Hall is an Irish pub. It is in in Dallas, Texas, but it is a pub


Often, particuarly in the UK a pub will have the outside appearance of a large house, wheras a bar can look like..well, anything really.


The Greys Pub in Brighton is very similar to the surrounding houses, apart from the rather distinct colour


The Infamous Blind Beggar is an east London pub


Bar at Port Aventura, Salou, Spain


This is a bar, oh no it isn’t, it is the toilet in a rather seedy Paddington B&B


Well, you get the picture I am sure. If you find yourself in a drinking establishment and are unsure whether you are in a bar or a pub, a good test is the following-

If you can carry on a conversation with someone sitting opposite you, there is a good chance you are in a pub. If you cannot, be the inability to do so be due to noise levels or levels of inebriety, you are likely to be in a bar. There, it is simple!

Bloomsbury Pub-London
Bloomsbury Pub-London Art Print
Ferris, George
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