What is the Difference Between a Pub, a Bar, a Lounge and a Club?

For the uninitiated, these terms can be pretty confusing. There are so many names for drinking establishments and if you are someone who isn’t used to these kinds of things, then it can be pretty intimidating.

On the other hand, if you are an entrepreneur who’s looking to start a business in this area, it’s really important to understand the differences between them in order for you to be successful.

Anyway, let’s see the difference between a pub, a bar, a lounge, and a club. Let’s start with the pub.

What is a Pub?

Pub is short for public house and they originated in Britain. British people have been drinking ale in pubs since the bronze age where they serve traditional English ales. This is usually a place of focus for a community in British villages. They are very popular in Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Newfoundland. It’s an establishment that is fundamental for their culture.

Pubs can also be considered as a mini-bar with the main focus for drinking or boozing. Often, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are served along with foods. There’s a wide variety of food available in a pub and they are usually heavy meals, compared to bars with just light ones.

Clientele is typically locals or regulars who come to the pub to unwind after a day of work. Because of the wide variety of food they offer, they can also be considered as a restaurant. In fact, children can even go to one as long as they are accompanied by adults for dining purposes only.

What is a Bar?

Bars originated in the United States. It is often costlier than a pub, but it also offers a more sophisticated drinking environment compared to pubs. They can be classified as for either high-class or lowbrow clientele.

Bartenders serve drinks in a bar. They usually serve a variety for liquor ranges from wine, beers, cocktails and many others. Contrary to what pubs offer, they only offer lighter foods, most likely just appetizers and, though some of them might offer heavy meals, choices are often limited.

One of the main differences of a bar to a pub is that bars often have singers, bands or other live performances. That means they are also louder. The typical atmosphere in a bar varies greatly, depending on its niche and target demographics.

Bars is generally an umbrella term that encompasses several different kinds of bars. Gay bars, karaoke bar, comedy bar, sports bar, etc. are just some of the examples. Generally, these are a bar’s theme and the food offering, events, and other things are heavily affected by the bar’s “theme”.

Another thing that sets a bar apart from a pub is that they don’t allow children at all, no exceptions.

What is a Club?

While it can also be considered as a drinking establishment, a club is mainly for entertainment purposes. One thing that sets this apart from others in this list is that they require registration to get in.

Clubs and discos are generally the same things. They offer VIP administrations, have a dancing floor and they often hire well-known entertainers to play music. A club is your go-to place when you want to have fun with friends, have a good time, etc.

The typical atmosphere in a club is lively, loud and energetic. People are generally moving around and dancing. There’s always loud music playing which depends on the target customer. In addition to that, there’s often a dress code.

What is a Lounge?

A lounge has the most relaxing environment out of everything on this list. It’s mostly associated with quiet places and the main focus is on relaxation and socializing with others. Going into one you’ll find people comfortably table talking and mingling.

While their main focus is relaxation, they also offer foods and drinks. In fact, a lounge can also be considered as a bar (lounge bars are actually a thing).


And that’s it! I hope you enjoy reading this short post and I hope you can now understand the difference between a pub, a bar, a lounge, and a club.

What Makes a Bar Good?

Running a bar isn’t simple. If you thought that all you need to do is to get a good looking establishment and offer popular drinks and you’re done, then starting a bar isn’t for you. You’re better off starting a different kind of business – in fact, if that is your mindset, then you shouldn’t even bother starting a business that heavily relies on providing customer service at all. Anyway, if that intro didn’t make you frown your eyebrows, then I’ll say that you’ve passed!

You see, running a bar isn’t just about pouring delicious drinks to your customers. It’s way more than that. Even an average menu with average taste is much better if it has the right atmosphere, feel, and customer service. The drink alone doesn’t make a bar great. Everything that makes and operates the bar affects how customers perceive its drinks, snacks, and food and these are the factors that will make or break your bar’s success.

So what makes a good bar? Let’s see!

The Community

This is an important part of every bar: the community. What kind of people comes and goes to your bar? What kind of people stays in your bar the longest? What kind of people comes very often to your bar? How do they interact with your bartenders and staff and even to other customers? Or perhaps to you?

If your bar is full of people who really know your place, it means you’ve successfully built a strong and loyal community. Be happy because you might be able to help people find and build strong relationships: from friends, couples and business relationships. You see, a bar isn’t just all about the drinks or the profit, it should also be about your patrons, your customers – the people who come to your bar.

If you are able to build a strong community, then that means you’re able to gain tons of loyal customers and the more of them, the better for your bar! Loyal customers help businesses last longer and even gain more business.

Your Offerings

What do you have to offer? Make sure you have a variety of choices. From the most popular ones to exotic ones, if your budget allows it, try offering as much as you can. Of course, you have to make sure that your menu has items that will actually sell.

Aside from the variety of your offerings, you have to ensure that you’re always stocked. It can be frustrating for a customer to order something that they highly anticipate only for the bartender to tell them that it’s out of stock.

Another thing that’s worth considering, actually, very important about your offerings, is having an original or signature cocktails. This gives you a competitive edge. However, making an original cocktail isn’t that easy. You have to consider your customer’s demographics, age, and tastes in order to create the perfect signature cocktail that tailors to your customers.

Consider serving foods, chips, and dips. They are a great accompaniment for alcohol consumption and many people actually considers food as a mandatory accompaniment for their drinking sessions.

Your Staff

A truly great bar doesn’t rely solely on offering great foods and drinks – they also rely on providing the best customer service to your clients.

The friendliness of your staff, especially your bartenders and waiting staff is of paramount importance. They are the face of your bar so it’s only essential that they embody your mission, vision, and statement.

In fact, no matter how great your food and drinks are, if you have poor customer service, then customers may come but only very rarely. Some might even only come just to taste your offerings once and never come back again.


A successful bar fills the needs of its customers and that need differ from place to place. However, a good bar owner and bartenders know how to work it out and they will adapt their services to better fit to their customer’s needs.