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Types of Bars and Venues. To DRINK, DANCE or RELAX

First what is a Bar?

Well a bar is just that, a bar that you can walk up to and get a drink. In the old days drinking houses or alehouses were meeting places for people to talk and try the latest batch of ale, these went on to become pubs and taverns. The word bar was just a word for the bar of metal or wood the poorer stood behind.

The word bar then stuck and any place that served beer behind a bar was called a bar.

Over the years 100’s of different types of bar concepts, styles or specialties have popped up. Some due to laws, environment and others just because someone had a crazy idea.

When you are choosing a concept and a name for your bar make sure you understand what type of venue you are creating.

Plus when you are looking for a new place to go for a drink it is good to know what you are walking into. Below we will talk about the main types of bars, the ones that stuck.

Pubs, Taverns, Inns and Hotels

Bar Advisor Category – DRINK if there is a dance floor Dance as well, some pubs and taverns have nice quite beer gardens or garden areas they could be Relax too.

Bar Advisor Venue Type – What ever is in your name. Pub, Tavern, Hotel

There are many differences with the history of these 4 types of bars, but they all generally offer the same sort of thing. They are big, clean bars with plenty of low seating area for people and families to enjoy a beer and a nice, but not overpriced meal. Most do not have seating at the bar they are designed for people to seat or stand in groups.

Pub (Public House) is normally the smallest of the 4 and normally due to the fact they did/do not have accommodation.

Bar Advisor Favourites – The Oaks Hotel, Ferry Mans Tavern and the famous Temple Bar Pub

Irish pubs

Bar Advisor Category – DRINK if there is a dance floor Dance as well

Bar Advisor Venue Type – Irish Pub, plus you could tick pub as well

Irish pubs are types of Pubs that have separated themselves from the classic pub and are now know as a place to go and party. With live music, lots of beer and good people.

Irish Pub is not your normal, family friendly pub. It gets loud, entertaining and crazy.

Bar Advisor Favourites – the famous Temple Bar Pub again, PJ O’brians, Paddy Whelans

Public Bar / Dive Bar

Bar Advisor Category – DRINK if there is a dance floor Dance as well

Bar Advisor Venue Type – Dive Bar

The simplest of them  all. The classic Public Bar was a dirty place back in a day and definitely not luxurious. It was for the working man and did not have all the bells and whistles. Now dive bars have sort of taken the place of the public bar. Dive bars are know as no concept bar, just good priced drinks, simple interior, maybe some food and maybe music on weekends.

Modern Dive Bars

The modern dive bars have now become a concept/theme bar as people are building bars to fit the dive bar concept. Modern Dive Bars normally call them selves something like Jim’s Dive Bar. They are spending lots of time working on the interior to make it look well dirty.

Bar Advisor Favourites – Okay Bar , Delirium and Swan Dive

Brew houses, The New Beer House?

Bar Advisor Category – DRINK

Bar Advisor Venue Type – Bar

With the popularity of craft brew we are seeing a movement towards a version of the old beer houses from the 1830’s. The Old beer house was just a house that sold only beer, but this was because of the laws and the time.

Now due to the popularity of craft beer we see brew houses re-enter the market. These are just small bars that just server their own brewed beer or other local craft beer. They serve food, but it will normally be more like small pub food or finger food.

Bar Advisor Favourites – Clocktower, The Brewdog chain they have bars all over.

Gastro bar

Bar Advisor Category – DRINK

Bar Advisor Venue Type – Bar, restaurant

Gastro bars are the luxury Brew houses normally serving great food and expensive or unique beers and cocktails. These venues are more known for their food and being very good at a specific meal. Example: really good burgers,  it’s pretty much a fancy burger joint that serves beer.

Plus it’s a placewhere people will hang around after their meal and be social.

Bar Advisor Favourites – The Clock tower, L’Atelier des Artistes and Chelsea Gastropub

Hotel Bar

Bar Advisor Category – DRINK and/or Relax

Bar Advisor Venue Type – Bar, restaurant

Yep you guessed it, it is in a hotel. Hotel bars come in all shapes and sizes. Good way to figure out the price at a hotel bar is to look at who the clients are and the price of the rooms.

If they cater to business people or the elite maybe look at a different bar to get a beer. But if they are a family hotel you will probably find some good food at a inflated, but not ridiculous price. Remember if you’re staying there you will not need to pay for a cab home.

Some hotel bars have live music normally something more peaceful than EDM or heavy metal.

Bar Advisor Favourites – Gallery Bar & Cognac Room at Biltmore Hotel, Alibi Bar & Lounge at the Liberty Hotel

Sports Bar

Bar Advisor Category – DRINK and if there is a dance floor Dance

Bar Advisor Venue Type – Sports bar

Wings, burgers, beer and noise they do not fit in the RELAX category. Sports bars are for people that love and want to watch sports. There are plenty of variations out there. Some even turn into nightclubs once the game is over.

Sport attracts normally loud, social people what creates a great atmosphere. Some sports bars cater to just one type of sport and others just promote any sport. They normally serve basic, not the healthiest, but tasty food.

Bar Advisor Favourites – Our favorite chain is Duffys, Trademark, Deuce’s and Diamond

Specialty Bars / concept bars

Bar Advisor Category – Drink, dance or relax depends on your bar, most will probably fit in Drink.

Bar Advisor Venue Type – We have a couple of different options or if not there just choose other

These are bars that are based around a specialty like Cigar bar, Martini Bar and now the modern type of specialty bar the boozy ice cream bar. You can pretty much have any type of specialty bar you want if you like Margaritas you can have a margarita bar. The main thing about the specialty bar is you need to be good at your specialty. If you make horrible margaritas and your margarita bar that’s not very special.

You also might find the specialty is more of a theme or concept. They might love the aliens movie and build a bar around that.

Bar Advisor Favourites – Typsy Scoop, H.R Giger

Lounge bars / Cocktail bars

Bar Advisor Category – Drink and/or Relax

Bar Advisor Venue Type – Cocktail lounge or just lounge

The historic lounge bars/cocktail bars were very different to the modern day. Now they are normally thought of as the same thing,  they are places that are quiet and relaxing.

They are places where you would take a date or go for cocktails with the girls. They are normally more expensive and their food options are unique.

Some venues are confusing the lounge part and adding lounge to their name just because they well have lounges. Nightclubs do this a lot. We do not agree with this as is makes it confusing for everyone, but hey what can we do.

Bar Advisor Favourites – Cabana Bar, Redquare rooftop, Manly Wine

Nightclubs

Bar Advisor Category – DANCE only

Bar Advisor Venue Type – Nightclub and/ or Danceclub

Well, I think everyone knows what a nightclub it. If not it is a club that is open at night. Nightclubs are normally just places to go and dance to music. Normally EDM (electronic Dance Music) or something played by a Dj.

They have loud music and open from 10pm – late most nightclubs are only open Thursday – Saturday, but some are open all week. Nightclub can loose their following very quickly if they do not stay current.

A good nightclub is classy and clean and most importantly good clubs only use top/current DJ’s.

One thing to watch out for is that in Europe strip clubs/ brothels  are called nightclubs as well. Which can be confusing when you have had a few.

Bar Advisor Favourites – Tao Las Vegas, Infusion Lounge, Love Nightclub

Day clubs / Pool Bars And Beach Bars

Bar Advisor Category – Most Clubs will fit into all categories and other will just be RELAX

Bar Advisor Venue Type – Beach bar, beachclub, dayclub what ever suits

Day clubs are the same as a nightclub, but open during the day.

Day clubs are normally at beaches or poolside locations. They have DJ’s and music all day long. Some day  clubs are only clubs on the weekend. In the week they are pool bars or spa’s just places that you can relax and have a cocktail.

Beach bars may not have the DJ’s but they still have the view and the drinks. Once again lots of beach bars turn into day clubs

Bar Advisor Favourites – Nikki Beach, Moseley Beach Club, The Cove

Live Music Venue

Bar Advisor Category – DANCE

Bar Advisor Venue Type – Live Music

Live music venues focus on music. Do not go there to drink or eat, but go there for the band you like.

Some music venues allow underage and have a separate bar for people that want a drink. The bars at live music venues are not the center of the venue, the bar is tucked in a corner away from the dance floor. Live music venues will normally have a night when Dj’s play, but most nights it will be bands or singers.

Bar Advisor Favourites – Oxford Art Gallery, Black Bear Lodge,

College Bar

Bar Advisor Category – DRINK and if there is a dance floor the Dance

Bar Advisor Venue Type – College bar

These are normal bars that target college kids, they are normally a bit childish with games and pop music.

You will find them where the college is. The college bar does not normally have any history or story it is just there to keep college kids happy and spending money. If you are after a good happy hour check them out.

Bar Advisor Favourites – Potbellys, Wild Onion

Beer Gardens and Garden Bars.

Bar Advisor Category – DRINK or RELAX depends on your patrons

Bar Advisor Venue Type – Beer Garden

Beer gardens have been around forever.

The beer garden is just an outside area where you can have a beer when the weather is good. These are normally attached to pubs and taverns.

Garden bars are a little different sometimes seasonal, but they are bars that are in gardens, normally there is no big building supporting the bar. They normally just have a small booth or van, when the weather is bad they are closed. Garden bars have unique feeling and normally are for a more relaxed cocktail, while enjoying your surrounds.

Bar Advisor Favourites – Alma Tavern, Truck Yard, The Oaks Hotel

What is in a name

In the end these names and styles really mean nothing, unless you agree to the definition.

These are our definitions and understanding of the titles. If you see it differently it might be because they are called different things in your area. Please let us know in the comments below.

A bar owner can name their bar whatever they want, using whatever label they want.

If a person wants to open a sports bar called Johns Dance Club. Or if Jill wants to open a nightclub called The Cocktail Garden they can and they will probably loose business because of this. If you confuse your market before they get in they might be disappointed. Want to find the perfect name for you bar? Click Here

These terms are just a guide to what you want to do and what to look for.

Hope this classification helped,  let us know in the comments below. Visit Bar Advisor to find bars and nightclubs.

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