A bar (also known as a saloon or a tavern or sometimes a pub or club, referring to the actual establishment, as in pub bar or club bar etc.) is a retail business establishment that serves alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, liquor, cocktails, and other beverages such as mineral water and soft drinks and often sell snack foods such as crisps or peanuts, for consumption on premises. Some types of bars, such as pubs, may also serve food from a restaurant menu. The term "bar" also refers to the countertop and area where drinks are served.
Bars provide stools or chairs that are placed at tables or counters for their patrons. Bars that offer entertainment or live music are often referred to as music bars, live venues, or nightclubs. Types of bars range from inexpensive dive bars to elegant places of entertainment often accompanying restaurants for dining.
Many bars have a discount period, designated a "happy hour" to encourage off-peak-time patronage. Bars that fill to capacity sometimes implement a cover charge or a minimum drink purchase requirement during their peak hours. Bars may have bouncers to ensure patrons are of legal age, to eject drunk or belligerent patrons, and to collect cover charges. Such bars often feature entertainment, which may be a live band, vocalist, comedian, or disc jockey playing recorded music.
The term "bar" is derived from the specialized counter on which drinks are served. Patrons may sit or stand at the bar and be served by the bartender. Depending on the size of a bar and its approach, alcohol may be served at the bar by bartenders, at tables by servers, or by a combination of the two. The "back bar" is a set of shelves of glasses and bottles behind that counter. In some establishments, the back bar is elaborately decorated with woodwork, etched glass, mirrors, and lights.