Sign for a tavern on a European street
Tavern Vs Bar: What's The Distinction?
From dives to pubs to watering holes, drinking establishments go by many names, and if you’re confused about the distinction between taverns and bars, there are a few differences.
All taverns are bars, but not all bars are taverns. There’s an overlap between the two, and any establishment can call itself by either name, but they’re not considered the same.
Taverns and bars sell different offerings. Taverns almost always serve food and focus on tapped beer, while bars may not offer food, but do offer liquor, beer, wine, and spirits.
Taverns evolved out of ancient Roman hangout spots called taberna, which served food and drink, and in the Middle Ages, they provided temporary lodging for travelers.
Bars are a much more recent phenomenon, and gained popularity in America after Prohibition, since they closely resembled the speakeasies that folks had grown fond of.
Generally, bars are more focused on alcohol, cocktails, and individual customers, while taverns offer food, alcohol, and a cozy, warm, and typically old-fashioned gathering place.
Taverns are also more "homey" and often reflect the local tastes and culture of their locations, while bars are more generic and provide a consistent, simple experience.