Do Americans Call It Pub or Bar? | A Look at American Drinking Culture

Posted on – In the United States, there are many different terms that can be used to refer to a drinking establishment. Some people might call it a pub, while others might call it a bar. So, which term is more common in the United States? Let’s take a closer look at American drinking culture and the terminology that is often used.

Do Americans Call it Pub or Bar?

 Do Americans Call it Pub or Bar?


When it comes to socializing over drinks in America, people often use the terms “pub” and “bar” interchangeably. However, there are subtle differences in the meaning and usage of these two terms, and it can be helpful to understand the nuances if you are visiting or living in the United States.

What is a Pub?

A pub, short for “public house,” is a traditional British establishment that offers alcoholic beverages, food, and a social atmosphere. Pubs typically have a cozy, homely ambiance, with wooden decor, dim lighting, and a fireplace. They often serve British ales, stouts, and ciders on tap, as well as pub grub such as fish and chips, bangers and mash, and shepherd’s pie. Pubs are popular gathering places for locals to meet up after work or on weekends, and they often have a community feel.

What is a Bar?

A bar, on the other hand, is a more generic term that refers to any establishment that serves alcoholic beverages. Bars come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from small dive bars to trendy cocktail lounges to sports bars with multiple TVs. Bars can have a more impersonal and commercial vibe than pubs, and they may not offer food or have the same level of social interaction. Some bars specialize in certain types of drinks, such as wine bars, whiskey bars, or craft beer bars.

Usage and Regional Differences

In America, the terms “pub” and “bar” are often used interchangeably, although “bar” is more commonly used in casual conversation. If someone suggests meeting up at a pub or bar, it could mean either type of establishment. However, there are some regional differences in how these terms are used. For example, in New England, “pub” tends to be used more often and may connote a more traditional, cozy atmosphere. In the South, “bar” may be used more frequently, and there may be more emphasis on sports and nightlife.


While there are similarities between pubs and bars in America, there are also subtle differences in meaning and usage. Understanding these nuances can help you navigate social situations and choose the right type of establishment for your mood and preferences. Whether you prefer a cozy pub with a pint of ale or a lively sports bar with a cold beer, there are plenty of options to explore in America’s vibrant drinking culture.

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Tips and Tricks: Understanding the Difference between a Pub and a Bar in America


For many non-Americans, the terms “pub” and “bar” are often used interchangeably. However, for Americans, there is a distinct difference between the two. Understanding this difference can be important for visitors to the United States, as it can impact where they choose to drink and socialize. In this article, we will explore the definition of a pub and a bar in America, as well as provide tips for navigating these establishments.

The Difference between a Pub and a Bar

In America, a pub is typically a smaller, more intimate establishment that serves food and drinks. It is often associated with the British pub scene, and may have a cozy, traditional atmosphere with wooden tables and a fireplace. Pubs are often family-friendly and may offer a variety of games and activities, such as darts or trivia nights. Pubs may also serve a wide variety of beer and cider, including local and craft options.

On the other hand, a bar in America is typically a larger establishment that focuses primarily on drinks. It may have a more modern or trendy atmosphere, with a large bar area and plenty of seating. Bars may offer a wide selection of cocktails, beer, and wine, as well as bar snacks or light appetizers. Bars are often seen as a place to socialize and meet new people, and may have a livelier atmosphere than a pub.

Tips for Navigating a Pub or a Bar

When visiting a pub or a bar in America, there are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Check the dress code: Some bars may have a dress code, such as a requirement for collared shirts or no athletic wear. Pubs may be more casual, but it’s still a good idea to check before you go.
  • Know the age restrictions: In America, the legal drinking age is 21. Some bars and pubs may have additional age restrictions, such as no one under 18 after a certain time or no minors allowed at all.
  • Tip the bartender: It’s customary to tip your bartender in America, typically around 15-20% of the total cost of your drinks. If you’re not sure how much to tip, you can always ask the bartender for guidance.
  • Be aware of local laws: Alcohol laws can vary by state and even by city in America. For example, some states may have restrictions on the sale of alcohol on Sundays, or may require drinkers to order food with their drinks. Be sure to research local laws before you go to avoid any surprises.
  • Be respectful: Whether you’re in a pub or a bar, it’s important to be respectful to the staff and other patrons. Avoid getting too rowdy or causing a disturbance, and remember to drink responsibly.


While the terms “pub” and “bar” may be used interchangeably in other parts of the world, there is a distinct difference between the two in America. Understanding this difference can help visitors navigate these establishments more effectively, and ensure a fun and enjoyable experience. By following these tips and tricks, you can make the most of your time at a pub or a bar in America.

Do Americans Call It Pub or Bar?

The Differences Between Pub and Bar in American Culture

When it comes to socializing over a drink in America, there are two common terms used to describe the establishment: pub and bar. While both terms refer to a place to grab a drink with friends, there are subtle differences between the two that are worth exploring.

What is a Pub?

A pub, short for public house, is a traditional British establishment that serves alcoholic beverages and pub-style food. Pubs tend to have a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, where patrons are encouraged to engage in conversation and enjoy the company of others. Pubs often feature live music and cultural events, making them a hub of community activity.

What is a Bar?

A bar, on the other hand, is a more general term used to describe any establishment that serves alcoholic beverages. Bars can range from casual dive bars to upscale lounge bars and everything in between. Bars tend to have a more lively and social atmosphere, with music and entertainment playing a big part in the experience. While some bars may serve pub-style food, it is not the focus.

So, Which Do Americans Call It?

In America, the term bar is much more commonly used than pub. While there are certainly traditional British-style pubs in America, they are not as widespread as bars. In general, Americans tend to favor the more social and lively atmosphere of a bar, rather than the cozy and intimate feel of a traditional pub.

Ultimately, whether you call it a pub or a bar, the most important thing is the company you keep and the memories
you make while enjoying your favorite drink. So, grab a pint or a cocktail and enjoy the experience!

Do Americans call it pub or bar?


When it comes to American English, there are many differences between the way Americans speak and the way British people speak. One area where these differences are particularly noticeable is in the words that Americans use to describe places to drink. In this article, we’ll explore whether Americans call it pub or bar.

Pub or Bar: What’s the Difference?

Before we dive into whether Americans call it pub or bar, let’s first define what these words mean. In British English, a pub (short for public house) is a type of bar that serves beer and other alcoholic beverages. Pubs are typically informal places where people can go to relax, socialize, and have a good time. In American English, the word bar is used to describe any establishment that serves alcoholic beverages. This can include a pub, but it can also include a nightclub, a sports bar, or any other place that serves drinks.

What Do Americans Call It?

So, do Americans call it pub or bar? The answer is that it depends on the context. In general, Americans are more likely to use the word bar to describe a place to drink. However, if the establishment in question has a British or Irish theme, Americans may use the word pub instead. For example, if an American is going to an Irish pub, they might say “I’m going to the pub” rather than “I’m going to the bar.” Similarly, if an American is talking about a place that serves primarily beer and has a relaxed atmosphere, they might use the word pub instead of bar.


When it comes to whether Americans call it pub or bar, the answer is somewhat complicated. While Americans generally use the word bar to describe a place to drink, they may use the word pub in certain contexts. Ultimately, the choice of whether to use pub or bar comes down to personal preference and the specific context of the situation.