[Talk-us] Bar vs Pub vs Restaurant in the US?

OSM Volunteer stevea steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Sat Oct 1 20:32:46 UTC 2016

Greg, Paul and List:

I have been to MANY pubs in the UK (and places I would consider similar in Belgium, France, the Netherlands..., though much less frequently than in the UK).  These are places which serve beer (and less so, wine and liquor), a certain style of food (fish and chips, shepherd's pie, bangers and mash...), enjoy (and cultivate) a certain kind of camaraderie which is different than a bar, restaurant, fast food place or biergarten and sometimes even offer lodging as "the best public house for twenty miles."  There are often darts or snooker, a bar to sit at as well as booths and tables and occasionally a more-outdoor area if the weather is nice.  The emphasis is on community, beer, relaxing with friends, food, friendly gaming (darts, snooker...), beer and sharing a few jokes with your mates (in roughly that order).

In the USA (I'm speaking of Northern California, though in larger cities across the country I find the following largely true), we DO have such establishments, which are and should be tagged amenity=pub.  Often but not always, they are trying to recreate the spirit and atmosphere of a British pub, perhaps with Union Jack flags and other decorations or amenities (e.g. dartboards) distinctly intended to give that "pub feeling."  Other times it will be a place like a craft brewery that has a pub feeling, so then it gets tagged pub.  Other times, a craft brewery correctly gets tagged restaurant.  However, I have tagged a place which is a craft brewery as a biergarten as it has a large outdoor area decorated with plants and features long tables for convivial seating and drinking.  Of course, bars are bars, restaurants are restaurants and fast food is fast food.  I don't mean to sound flippant, but those last three always seem to fit without ambiguity.  If it leans towards pub (even in the USA, or anywhere for that matter), tag it pub.  Same for biergarten if biergarten.

So, the USA truly DOES have pubs, especially as they attempt to (or do) recreate the atmosphere of a genuine British pub.  If it primarily serves beer (and also food), CONSIDER tagging it pub, but use biergarten if the specifics allow, or restaurant if it just doesn't "rise" to being a "real" pub.

We can also help with more specific tagging like cuisine=* and such.


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