types of bars

Table of Contents

Welcome to the exciting world of bars! From the ritzy cocktail bars to the cozy corners of local pubs, bars are wonderful melting pots of cultures and experiences. They’re not just places to grab a drink, but each type of bar offers its unique ambiance, attracting a certain crowd and encouraging specific interactions. This comprehensive guide aims to explore 16 types of bars, their distinct features, and what sets them apart. So whether you’re planning a night out, looking for bar names for inspiration, or opening a bar yourself, this guide is the perfect place to start.

Types of Bars

As diverse as the people who frequent them, bars come in various shapes and sizes, each with its unique ambiance and offering. With so many types of bars available, there’s always something for everyone. Whether you seek a classic cocktail, a high-stakes sports game, or just some good tunes, you’ll find exactly what you need. In this section, we will explore various bar types, offering an insight into their distinctive atmosphere, the crowd they attract, and what you can expect when you step inside. Indulge in this journey as we navigate through 16 intriguing types of bars.

Cocktail Bars

As the name suggests, cocktail bars specialize in offering a variety of cocktails. They are known for their vast menus, often featuring creative and unique mixes. These establishments usually attract a sophisticated crowd looking for innovative and delightful flavor combinations.

One popular example is “Death & Co” in New York City. Known for its innovative cocktails, it’s a must-visit for cocktail lovers.

Sports Bars

Sports bars are custom-designed for sports enthusiasts. They feature large screens that broadcast live games and matches from various sports. The ambiance is usually casual, making them the perfect spot for meeting friends and cheering on your favorite team.

“ESPN Club” at Disney’s BoardWalk is a popular sports bar packed with nearly 100 video monitors playing various sports games.


Usually open late into the night, nightclubs are all about dancing, loud music, and fun. They often have a resident or guest DJs and might also include a dance floor to add to the entertainment.

Ibiza,” a world-famous nightclub, provides a next-level club experience with renowned DJ performances.

Live Music Bars

Live music bars provide patrons with live entertainment in addition to serving beverages. They can specialize in a specific genre or feature different artists each night. These places are perfect for music lovers seeking a live, authentic sound experience.

The Spotted Cat Music Club” in New Orleans is well known for showcasing a wide variety of live music, especially jazz.

Dive Bars

Dive bars are famed for their no-frills, laid-back atmosphere. They often offer cheaper drinks and a casual ambiance. While they may not be the fanciest, they hold a particular charm for their regulars who appreciate the unpretentious, inclusive vibe.

“Bikini Lounge” in Phoenix, with its laid-back atmosphere and affordable drinks, is a perfect illustration of a classic dive bar.

Pub or Saloon

Pubs, short for public houses or known as saloons in some places, are traditional bars originating from Britain. They often serve a variety of beers, wines, and even food. Pubs prioritize a friendly, community-oriented atmosphere where patrons can enjoy their drinks in a relaxed setting.

“The Eagle and Child” in Oxford is a historic pub known for being a favorite of famous authors like C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.

Wine Bars

Wine bars cater to the wine aficionado and typically serve a wide range of wines from various world regions. Some wine bars may also offer a menu of light food pairings to enhance the wine tasting experience. It’s an excellent spot for casual drinkers and connoisseurs alike to indulge in their love for wine.

Terroir” in San Francisco offers a wide range of wines and light foods in a chic, rustic setting.

Hotel Bars

Located within hotels, hotel bars can range from casual to upscale. They cater to both guests of the hotel and the general public. Some hotel bars have gained fame for their fantastic cocktails, ambiance, or historical significance.

The “Savoy Hotel’s American Bar” in London, is one of the world’s most famous hotel bars, known for its classic cocktails and elegant atmosphere.


Lounges are more relaxed and comfortable versions of standard bars. They often feature comfortable seating and a more intimate ambiance. Perfect for casual meet-ups or low-key nights, lounges offer an environment to relax and converse while enjoying a good drink.

“The Sky Bar” at the top of Bangkok’s Lebua State Tower is an upscale lounge boasting breathtaking city views.

Beach Bars

Nestled on seashores, beach bars offer patrons the opportunity to enjoy their drinks with a view of the ocean. Whether it’s a chilled beer or a tropical cocktail, these establishments encapsulate the beach life atmosphere perfectly.

Foxy’s Tamarind Bar” in the British Virgin Islands offers a tropical beach bar experience with its cold drinks, live music, and ocean views.

Karaoke Bars

Karaoke bars offer customers not just drinks but a chance to be the star of the night. Patrons can take turns singing their favorite songs while the crowd cheers them on. It’s a popular choice for group outings or for those who simply enjoy a singing session.

Voicebox” in Portland, Oregon, is a popular karaoke bar where patrons can rent private booths for their karaoke sessions.

Beer Garden

Originating from Germany, beer gardens are outdoor areas where beer and local food are served at shared tables. They often feature live music and various forms of entertainment, creating a friendly, community-like environment.

The Standard” in Perth, Australia, is known for its vibrant outdoor beer garden that serves a range of quality ales.

Arcade Bars

Bringing together the best of two worlds, arcade bars combine the fun of arcade gaming with the enjoyment of drinking. They feature classic games like pinball, alongside newer video games, making them a great pick for a fun night out.

Barcade” in Brooklyn combines classic video games and a great selection of craft beers, making for a nostalgic yet exciting experience.

High-Concept Bars

High-concept bars are a relatively new phenomenon. These establishments are characterized by their unique and unusual concepts which may range from themed decor to experimental mixology. They are perfect for those seeking a unique and immersive drinking experience.

“ABQ London” is a high-concept bar modeled after the TV series Breaking Bad, where patrons can ‘cook’ their own cocktails in an immersive environment.

Champagne Bar

Focuses on serving champagne and sometimes other sparkling wines. Their upscale setting and stylish decor often attract a posh crowd who appreciate the finer tastes.

Flûte Bar” in New York City offers an extensive list of international champagnes in an elegantly designed space.

Specialty Bars

Also known as craft bars, specialty bars focus on a particular type of beverage. From whiskey to gin to craft beers, patrons looking to explore a specific type of alcohol in depth will find these bars extremely satisfying.

Mikkeller Bar” in San Francisco focuses on craft beers, with 42 beers on tap, making it an ideal spot for beer enthusiasts.

Frequently Asked Questions About Types Of Bars

What Are the Different Types of Bars?

There are numerous types of bars available to cater to varying tastes and preferences. Some common types include cocktail bars, sports bars, nightclubs, live music bars, and dive bars. Others encompass pubs or saloons, wine bars, hotel bars, lounges, beach bars, and karaoke bars. Additionally, for a more specialized experience, there are beer gardens, arcade bars, high-concept bars, champagne bars, and specialty bars.

What Are the 3 Basic Parts of the Bar?

The three basic parts of most bars are the front bar, back bar, and under bar. The front bar is where the bartenders serve the customers and mix the drinks, the back bar is where the alcoholic beverages are displayed, and the under bar generally contains equipment like glassware, mixers, and ice bins for easy access.

What is a Small Bar Called?

A smaller bar is typically referred to as a “lounge”. Lounges are typically more intimate and relaxed, offering a comfortable seating arrangement.

What is a Pub?

Originally deriving from the term ‘public house,’ a pub is essentially a bar that also serves food and aims to provide an environment conducive to socializing and community bonding over drinks and meals. They are popular in many countries, particularly in the UK.

Why is a Bar Called a Bar?

The term ‘bar’ comes from the counter where drinks are served by a bartender. In early establishments, a bar would physically separate the server from the patrons to keep the crowd from stealing the booze.

What is the Difference Between a Pub and a Bar?

While the difference can be subtle and often varies based on cultural context, pubs tend to offer a homier and more relaxed environment compared to bars. They often serve traditional meals, are family-friendly during the day, and focus on comfort. In contrast, bars are more about the alcoholic beverages, commonly have louder music, and may have a trendier or more modern ambiance.

What are Different Names for Bars?

There are countless names for bars worldwide, given their cultural diversity. Some of the common ones include pub, tavern, saloon, club, and lounge. More creative or unique names typically emerge from the bar’s theme or specialty.

What is a Pub Bar Called?

A pub bar, sometimes referred to as just a “pub,” is essentially a traditional type of bar known for its relaxed environment and an emphasis on beer and food.

How Many Types of Bar Setups Are There?

There are two main types of bar setups: stationary and portable. Stationary bars, as the name suggests, are permanent fixtures, whereas portable bars can be moved and are ideal for events or temporary venues. Within these categories, there are varying styles and designs based on the bar’s theme and the owner’s preferences.

For more information on how to set up a bar, you can visit this guide on creating a successful bar business plan. And if you’re curious about how profitable a bar can be, take a look at the typical bar profit margin.


From cocktail lounges to high-concept bars, the world of bars is as varied as the individuals who frequent them. Each bar type offers a unique ambiance, crowd, and experience, reflecting the universal appeal of these establishments. Whether you’re a patron seeking the perfect venue or an aspiring bar owner searching for a business venture, understanding these types of bars can enhance your night out or business venture. After all, the essence of a bar, regardless of its type, lies in bringing people together for shared moments and stellar experiences.