Bars vs. Pubs vs. Clubs

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Difference between Bars, Pubs and Clubs

Young people have always been attracted to the limelight and the city at night. If you find yourself in a new city where you have not yet gotten to know your way around the social scene, knowing the difference between bars, clubs and pubs can make or break your evening out on the town. Though they are very interchangeable, they are not similar and can be found in different parts of town. Bars generally are entertainment establishments that serve alcohol and some even may have finger foods and a small kitchen. When most people think of bars they think of sports bars. There are also karaoke bars, and some even offer a small dance floor.  Bars are generally smaller than clubs and pubs and you may only find locals that are familiar with each other hanging out at their favorite spot. Clubs, more commonly known as nightclubs, generally only serve alcohol and are open at night towards the end of the week. 


Hours of Operation

While they all generally open in the evening and stay open till the wee hours of the night, they have different hours of operation. Bars generally are open from 8pm until 2am while

Clubs are starting to open on Wednesdays and have different theme nights during the week.  Pubs are restaurants that generally open after 4pm and stay open all night every day of the week. 


Though most nightclubs are shifting towards adding kitchens, they are limited to alcohol only establishments, while bars may have alcohol and finger foods like chicken wings.  Pubs are restaurants and generally have full menus to choose from. If food is served at a bar, it may be served elsewhere and taken back to the bar.  Bars that have eating establishments in a family atmosphere may only allow drinking at or in close proximity to the gantry (or serving area), as per liquor laws of that state or country. 


When most people think of bars, they think karaoke bars and sports bars.  They mostly do not offer live entertainment unless an artist requests to play there. Pubs and Clubs generally offer more in the form of late night entertainment, often hosting live music from local and national musical acts. Some bars have entertainment onstage, like live comedians, go-go dancers or a live floor show, depending on the size of the venue. 

Similarities and Differences

  • Hours of operation are generally at night and start in the middle of the week
  • Pubs are eating establishments that serve alcohol
  • Pubs are open from 4pm generally all week
  • Menus vary. Bars serve finger foods generally while Nightclubs generally do not serve food. 
  • Bars, Nightclubs and Pubs will offer some form of live entertainment from local to national acts depending on the size of the establishments.

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