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

Jeffrey Ollie jeff at ocjtech.us
Thu Sep 29 17:39:32 UTC 2016

I think that you're all overthinking it, and trying to fit a European
square into a US circle. First of all, the US doesn't have pubs, unless the
owner is specifically trying to recreate the atmosphere of a European pub
(or at least what an Americans think a European pub is). Doesn't matter if
a European visiting the US would think of the establishment as such, they
just don't really exist around here.

Second, almost every establishment that sells alcoholic beverages for
on-premises consumption is legally required to sell food of some sort. I've
been in bars that had a toaster oven to heat up frozen pizzas and that
qualified as food. And there are establishments where the distinction
between "bar" and "restaurant" based on the food they serve is very fuzzy.

Third, the laws/regulations around liquor licenses are complex for various
historical and political reasons and vary state by state and probably even
city by city. What classifies as a bar in one state might be a restaurant
in another.

So, trying to come up with hard and fast rules as to what's a pub, bar or
restaurant is doomed to failure. The only test that makes any sense is
"what do the locals consider it?" I know that's too fuzzy for some people
but trying to come up with precise definitions for OSM is doomed to failure
because there aren't precise definitions in the real world.

On Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 12:16 PM, Greg Troxel <gdt at lexort.com> wrote:

> Andrew Wiseman <awiseman at gmail.com> writes:
> > The wiki uses a European context, so here's my attempt at classifying
> what
> > is what in the US. Let me know what you think.
> I mostly agree; comments on details.
> > To me, a "pub" in the US would be bars that have food, but the food isn't
> > the main attraction - you mainly go there to hang out or talk with
> friends
> > or watch the game or just drink, but they may have food too. For
> example, a
> > sports bar or your neighborhood bar if they have wings or nachos or
> > burgers, but that's not the main draw. Wonderland in DC, for a specific
> > example.
> pub/restaurant is hard, as both have food.  But agreed that if (some
> combination of) the primary draw is a great beer selection, the ambience
> is "in a bar" vs "restaurant that has a bar someplace", and if the menu
> tends to burgers and pizza, then pub is the right call.
> > A "bar" would be a place that doesn't serve food at all, like a cocktail
> > bar or just some bar without food, where they might not have seats, which
> > is something the wiki suggests. The Adams Morgan area in Washington, DC
> has
> > a lot of these places, for example, where people stand around and drink
> > mostly, maybe dance too. McSorley's in New York would be another example
> of
> > a bar, with seats.
> Or even places that have some food, but are not really intending to have
> meals.   Or where the food is really really secondary as you say.
> > And a "restaurant" would be a place where there is alcohol but you mainly
> > go for food -- for example, bar and grill chains TGI Fridays, Applebee's,
> > Buffalo Wild Wings, etc. would fall into this category. So would
> non-chains
> > that are similar. I would posit that most people don't go to TGI Friday's
> > just to drink.
> Yes, but restaurant in OSM also requires that you are seated at tables
> with table service.  if you get it yourself, then:
> > There's also "cafe" as a separate tag which can include food and alcohol,
> > but to me a cafe is a coffee shop that might also have beer or food, but
> > coffee is the main attraction -- like a Starbucks in the US.
> That's not what the OSM tag means; it's more european.  In OSM, "cafe"
> means (usually) that there is real food, but (always) that you order at
> a counter and then either take it yourself or have the staff bring it to
> you.  However, a coffee shop is very probably a cafe under this
> definition.  But so is a place that has real food cooked by a chef,
> except that you don't get waited on.
> One area of disagreement you'll find is the boundary between fastfood
> and cafe.  A McDonald's, to pick the poster child, is clearly "fast
> food".  The OSM definition talks about how the food is prepared in
> advance vs to order for a specific customer.  I have been tagging dunkin
> donuts as fast food rather than cafe; you can get a sausage egg and
> cheese - but it's factory food in the microwave.  Starbucks I see as on
> the line, and boutique coffee shops tend to get cafe.  This is
> troublesome because it more or less comes down to "real food" vs
> "factory food".
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Jeff Ollie
The majestik møøse is one of the mäni interesting furry animals in Sweden.
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