In them, on them, around them, dancing at them and forgetting your wallet at them. What are they? Bars!
But not every bar is for every person; each bar has its own character, personality and way to keep you inside and sipping on the tipple. In fact, there are 26 various types of bar around the UK and beyond allowing you to hang around with your people, in your place at your price (because, while you might be getting the same whisky on the rocks, even the view can change the cost of each taste).
But, finding where to go drinking and discovering that ideal drinking hole for friends and family can sometimes be hard, especially if you’re new to an area.
Luckily, The Hobby Kraze is here to help. While you may need a helping hand from Google Maps to find your way through the pub crawl, we can at least clear up some of the confusion around each of the specific types of bar, so you know you’re heading int the right direction.
Without further ado; the 26 different types of bar:
Table of Contents
- 1 Airplane Bars
- 2 Après Bar
- 3 Brewery Bar
- 4 Cellar Bar
- 5 Club Bar
- 6 Dive Bar
- 7 High-Class Bar
- 8 Hotel Bars
- 9 Irish Pub Bar
- 10 Live Music Bar
- 11 Lounge Bars
- 12 Metal Bars
- 13 Nostalgia Bars
- 14 Open Mic Bar
- 15 Pop-Up Bar
- 16 Pub Bar
- 17 Rooftop Bar
- 18 Science Lab Bar
- 19 Seasonal Bar
- 20 Speciality Bar
- 21 Sports Bar
- 22 Themed Bar
- 23 Underwater Bar
- 24 University Bar
- 25 Wall Hole Bar
Airplane bars are a first-class and business-class feature of some of the larger Boeings assigned to the long-haul flight paths.
For example, some of the most popular airplane bars are on the Qatar, Emirates, Korean Air and Etihad A380s. On board these flights you’ve got access to their modest bar lounge and limited number of drinks.
However, it is still the height of luxury with an entire cabin dedicated to enjoying the flight a little more than without an onboard bar. There is often little footfall, sofas to relax on and classic décor in the way of curtains, chandeliers, crystal glass and so on.
The ultimate bar to mark a sporting day done well is the après bar often featured at the foot of ski resorts.
The après bar is a staple to any snow holiday based in the Alps where our favourite French friends coined the term “après ski” to mean the after-ski activity of drinking.
These various kinds of bar will typically be in small huts, in a hole in the wall or in a small pod with some featuring themes like ice castles. With this, it’s unlikely they’ll feature that 200-year-old whisky you saw online and wanted to try neat.
Despite this, it’s the perfect place to unwind, relax the muscles and prepare for the sudden onset of painful ski legs in the morning after a day of dodging moguls and small children whizzing down the hill without a drop of fear.
More of a trend as we continue into the era of the modern 20s, the brewery bar and taproom has begun popping up all over the UK. The premise is simply that breweries have decided to open their doors to sell their tipple to keen fans of the brewery.
An example would be Glen Affric; a Scottish-born brewery based in the North West of England offering brewery tours and taster boards in their open-plan brewery bar.
These are the types of bar that’ll feature strange sells that you wouldn’t catch when going to meet Bob down at the local. For example, while there isn’t a kitchen bringing out the classic jacket potato, you can buy branded merchandise such as glasses, coasters, tumblers and T-shirts.
These light and airy taprooms are also the place where you’ll find new flavours, speciality drinks and a rainbow of the best bar service. For instance, have you ever tried a triple strength vegan coffee blend of beer? If not, you’ve not yet lived.
The cellar bar generally tributes itself to the wines and caskets once using the space in a distant lifetime.
Of course, as it is called the cellar bar and was initially built to house and cool caskets of wine, it’s understandable that these types of bar sit underground and have bare walls of exposed brick.
Despite their dedications and roots in the wine industry, these various kinds of bar dotted under the grounds of the UK are still where to go drinking with friends and family for other tipples of choice. For example, beer, ale, vodka, rum, whisky and so on.
These types of bar are also one of the best drinking venues that have an air of class suited to wedding bells in the future!
A club bar is almost definitely what you guessed it to be unless you guessed it to be a bar full of wooden clubs to ‘sort out’ any of your stone-age enemies. In that case you’d be a little more than wrong.
A club bar is the bar every night-owl flocks to when the club’s dancefloor has become a little too much or the mouth is becoming too dry after suffering terrible shot withdrawal symptoms.
Essentially, these are the types of bar that you’d see at the side of the nightclub offering up themed shots, the classic WKD bottle for the lightweights, some beer taps and the other spicy liquids of the night to keep the music pumping and the toes tapping (in the most modern way, of course).
Using a term originating from the US to indicate that someone is diving below the line, the dive bar doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of awe and excitement.
Instead, a dive bar is a local establishment (often family owned and run) which might have a slight shabby look to it. However, the drinks are often classics in both the taste and the price.
With this, it’s generally families and older folk that tend to gather at these types of bar as they’re the best drinking venues for local gatherings with an affordable activity (plus there’s normally a chill atmosphere, damp music and a snooker table in the middle, too!
Often called a “full of itself” bar, these particular types of bar carry a high-class and sophisticated drinking temperature to the room filled with expensive and on-trend décor.
One way to tell is if the bartender is actually called a “mixologist”, much like how a specific fast-food counter has a knack for calling their staff “sandwich artists”.
If you have a special event such as a birthday, engagement party or graduation celebration party and you’re wondering where to go drinking with the finest wines and mixing enthusiasts, you’ve found the place with the high-class bar.
Hotel bars are pretty typical in terms of having a bartender stood behind a no-frills bar serving up a range of liquors throughout the day.
They need to cater to absolutely every global punter to walk through the doors. So, while they won’t be serving any food aside from nibbles, they will have a wide variety of the tipple to suit your choice.
One notable difference is that quiet time is a real thing when it comes to hotel bars. Unlike other drink houses that will take calls into the early hours and bellow big-name music, a hotel bar needs to cater to its original game plan (of allowing people the night to sleep).
Irish Pub Bar
Much like a normal pub bar but with a little more love for the orange, white and green flag.
The Irish pub bar features everything you’d expect from a high street pub with beers, cocktails, snacks, upbeat music and good times. Yet, unlike the bar service from generic pubs, you’re more likely to be met with Irish memorabilia, a fantastic accent, local beers and upbeat music from the locals at the mic stand.
It’s pretty much a place to celebrate St Patrick’s Day everyday with terrible beer to leave you with a sour taste in the morning while wondering which take-out you indulged in on your drunken way home.
Live Music Bar
Sometimes, these can just be the best drinking venues. That’s it; they offer a relaxing atmosphere, trendy décor and the perfect place to listen to new music and artists.
Often, the bands and the artists are booked in advance for a weekly slot, meaning if you like the heuristic noise coming from one singer, you can listen to them again with your new favourite drinking time.
When you’re wondering where to go drinking at various kinds of bar suitable for a lonesome escape, a family get-together or a calm night out with your friends, you can head to the live music bar.
Some of the live music bars inter-mingle with other types of bar such as the themed bar. For example: if you’re into The Beatles, you can head to their old gig station called The Cavern Club in Liverpool. Now a bar dedicated to the great, they offer booths to sit in and listen to similar music styles (as well as a small museum walk).
Often sharing names with words like “palm” or “sugar”, these types of bar feature a height of luxury and sophistication with (typically) dimly lit long bars adorned with tipples you’ve never even heard of.
Generally speaking, a lounge area is a public place to sit and relax, sometimes even wait. And in the case of the lounge bar, it is very much the same.
While they can charge higher prices matching the high-class bar, these types of bar are the best drinking venues to go out with the ladies, experience an intimate date or simply sit and listen to the jazz take you into the evening.
Ok, this one is sort of a joke but at the same time a very serious addition to the best drinking venues around the world.
Metal bars are a tribute to the heavy metal and rock bands around the world with many taking some of the traits from the live music bar, the open mic bar, the nostalgia bar and the themed bar.
With this, they’re typically within black-out caverns featuring a heavy metal selection of beers, ales, stouts, lagers and any other cousins of this rock-favourite brew.
A metal bar is also a long protrusion of a hard metal such as aluminium or steel. Of course, relating back to the types of bar you can find yourself at, these metal bars can be used for anything from holding up bar stools to decorating the bar with steam-punk décor.
Nostalgia bars hit memories in just the right places for so many people. With some purposefully dressing up in their iconic red leather seats and the staple stained-glass windows to recreate the pub of the day, the nostalgia bar is there for everyone to step back in time and relax with good bar service and top-notch pints.
Some of the best examples of the nostalgia bars throughout the UK were those built in the era of the Tudors and the Stuarts and became the best drinking venues of their time.
Some, such as Scotland’s Clachlan Inn, London’s Prospect of Whitby, Yorkshire’s Bingley Arms and Nottingham’s Bell Inn, are still operating today after having Monarchs themselves step their regal feet through the threshold.
However, it is worth noting that if you’re looking at where to go drinking the newest cocktail on the street, this isn’t the place for you.
Open Mic Bar
Much like the live music bar but better, is the open mic bar. Sometimes you’ll be there listening to fantastic local artists use their lungs to the fullest and others you’ll be laughing your head off at the town’s newest stand-up comedy sketch.
These are the types of bar that mix with other types such as the themed bar, the live music bar and the university bar to bring a night of entertainment and good times. For one, the chain of Central Perk Café’s transformed their room into the perfect open mic bar for everyone to enjoy late into the evening.
While they may not have the latest trends on the newest ways to get drunk, they’re far above and beyond the dive bar or the nostalgia bar when it comes to the menu. However, they do keep their prices smiling.
Queues are forming down the street and around the corners of town just to get a glimpse and have a pint in the latest pop-up bar.
Whether they feature a trend in cocktails, a science theme, speciality brews or a theme of the latest TV thriller nobody can stop thinking about. These specific types of bar are a particular hit as they travel up and down the country stopping in the biggest cities.
In fact, some of the best drinking venues can be pop up bars. Even if they’re not the large chain and the pop-up is in your garden. These make host to a night of fun and safe drinking with friends and family.
This is the ultimate place for all ages to enjoy a drink: the local pub. Featuring the barman everyone knows, the same music that’s been on repeat since Christmas, the classic pub grub dishes the pub quiz to get the brain juices flowing.
The atmosphere at the best drinking venues of the great British pub is second to none with fun, games and laughter you can barely remember in the morning.
You’ll see the classic taps such as Amstel, Fosters, Bulmers, Peroni, Guinness, Erdinger, Magners, Heineken and so on. But behind the bar will be the rows of spirits guaranteed to meet the taste of everyone walking through the doors from a Malibu to a Jack Daniels and from a Bombay Sapphire to a Grey Goose: there’s always something.
Another of the types of bar doing exactly what it says on the tin; you can expect high-flying bar service feeling the wind through your locks while you look out onto the city below.
The rooftop bar is sometimes also called a ‘high-concept’ bar simply because they generally steal essence from the high-class and place it on a pedestal in the form of a roof.
The places you’re most likely to be served up a glass of bubbly include the metropolitan rooftop cities such as New York, London, Paris and Dubai.
With their expensive and extravagant feel, these rooftop bars often have the price tag to match, attracting tourists from all over the globe to the best drinking venues in the sky with events such as art exhibitions and circus stunts.
Science Lab Bar
We’ve mentioned some types of bar who call their bartenders “mixologists” but the guys running the show at the science lab bar truly earns the title.
As connoisseurs of tipple, they bring in magical shows of edible bubbles, dry ice covering the bar top and extravagant flowers adorning the glass.
While some of these types of bar actually hold events that can be educational and fun for school kids and university students, it doesn’t take-away from the main event which would be to buy an overpriced drink overflowing with smoke.
Despite this, they remain such a popular choice of where to go drinking for the Saturday night out among friends in a lounge-type bar with a twist!
Seasonal bars are much like the pop-up bar but, instead of hanging around for a couple of weeks to a year, the seasonal bar is just for the holiday.
One of the biggest examples of the various kinds of bar built for the season include the fantastically joyous Christmas huts that pop-up in the Christmas market and under the town’s tree.
Often, you’ll have access to a menu of drinks exclusively offered during the frosty period such as the greatly-detested-but-never-declined mulled wine (A.K.A. Glühwein if we go back to the German roots of this warmed up wine with a hint of spice).
None-the-less, these seasonal bars are not something to be missed. In fact, receiving elf bar service is as much a Christmas tradition as it is a novelty treat with friends and family.
One of the best things about these types of bar is the experience and joy filling the rosy cheeks of everyone, meaning you’re more likely to be in with a chance of getting a bartender’s handshake (a free shot).
More and more independent breweries are popping up around the country bringing in new ‘indie’ trends of beer with IPAs and dark stouts.
Yet, it’s not the only thing these businesses are bringing to the drinks table. Instead of opening the brewery to become a brewery bar, some connoisseurs are opting to simply open up a bar in town with the dedication to their taps.
For example: we can’t miss the opportunity to plug the Brewdog bar and their zero-emission beers. With locations all over the country, there’s no excuse to pass up on the opportunity to visit a speciality bar.
Often, these types of bar will offer taster boards on the menu. Meaning you could be tasting a little bit of everything with mates and playing fun drinking games without needing to burn a hole in your pocket to do so.
Another “you guessed it by the name” bar here. The sports bar opens their doors to every sport-a-holic looking to watch their favourite teams play in the semi-finals or finals with friends and family (and a pint).
These bars may look like the general British pub bar from the outside, sometimes even the nostalgia bar or dive bar, but on the inside, there’s large-screen TV’s, sports on demand, game-themed menus and more.
The sports bar is the ultimate place to escape and relax with friends, teammates and everything in between (as long as they support the same team, of course).
Becoming more and more popular as we continue into the modern 20s, themed bars truly bring entertainment escapes to a whole new dimension.
Many, of which, are actually pop-up bars as they travel the country or temporarily rent a space before the next theme comes along.
Some great examples here in the UK include the Peaky Blinders Bar, the Breaking Bad Bar, the Game of Thrones Bar, the Friends (Central Perk) Bar and The DC Superhero Café.
They let you enjoy cocktails and mocktails among your favourite characters (metaphorically) while providing full immersion into the theme you love. Some (like the Peaky Blinders Bar) have set up full residence in many UK locations so the pints can continue to be pulled among other spirits of choice while the show – quite literally – goes on.
The lyrics are coming to life and “not much has changed but they live underwater” can’t be any truer than for the underwater bar.
However, there are two types of underwater bar that you can visit on your jollies around the world.
The first is the pool bar featuring a swim-up and get served feature so there’s no need to leave the luscious water just to join-in on the daytime drinking fun.
The second types of bar underwater are those built entirely submerged under big blue with glass dome ceilings allowing you full view of all the ocean’s glory.
Of course, deciding to go drinking underwater can be a little trippy, especially when the sun shines through the glass and creates a luxurious sparkle landing directly in your dirty martini. These types of bar are the perfect escape for the big getaway to celebrate a wedding, 10-year anniversary, retirement and more. But these really are the height of price when it comes to drinking under the sea.
Unless you’re at the nearby university, you’re out of luck. These university bars are built to allow on-campus students and those living in halls of residence the close-by escape to the drinking fountain without having to lug into the city centre.
These university bars, while not as swanky as the rest in this list, still manage to beat the dive bars.
You may be stuck to the floor within a matter of hours, but you’ll certainly have fun doing so. There’s loud music, upbeat tracks, fun menus, never-before-heard-of cocktails and simply a space to be young and free.
In fact, this is the exact place you could go to on your lonesome and, in no time at all, find yourself sipping bubble-gum vodka milkshakes while eating a fried chicken wrap, listening to bangers from the noughties and playing a terrible game of poker.
Wall Hole Bar
Finally, we get to the wall hole bar (A.K.A. the hole in the wall bar). These types of bars are very close to not being a bar but just scrape through by being a server of alcohol behind a mediocre-sized bar.
These various kinds of bars are few and far between in the UK and you have to know where to look. They’re often quite small but that doesn’t stop them from serving up the staples. Beer on tap, spirits in the back and – if you’re lucky – a barman’s handshake with a surprise in the glass.
These truly are the no-frills bar with cheap ale and an easy night out. However, you’ll have to stick nearby as many roads, streets and pedestrianised areas throughout the UK are no-drinking zones!
And, there you have it, 26 different types of bar to suit you. Where will you be picking up the tab and who will you be going with?
Let us know if you liked this article and if you’d like to see any more!
Here at The Hobby Kraze, our team love to bring new and exciting content (especially if it involves speaking in the native bar language). So, if there’s anything else you’d love to find out, don’t forget to peruse our blog, contact one of the team and share with all your mates.
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