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What is the "bar" in a pub called in the UK?

Bondi Beach

For UK folks:

In a bar [pub] in the U.S. the counter where drinks are served is called the bar. What is the equivalent term in the UK?

In TV shows we often see a sectioned counter, frequently with overhead rack storage for glassware and other stuff, where drinks are served. Unlike in the U.S., almost never are there stools for people to sit.

So is there a special name for that counter? How about the work space behind it? Our specialized term in the U.S. is---wait for it---"behind the bar."

Striving for accuracy in all things,
bb

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
sejintenej

The bar, the barmaid or barman** is behind the bar and you hope your drink is on the bar. Seems to be the same as in the U.S.

**The barman serves the drinks, the publican has the licence (permission) to serve alcohol but can also be, and called, the barman.

Stools; some bars (aka pubs which is short for 'public houses' - the legal term) have stools and most have tables and chairs. It is not unusual for patrons to stand at the bar drinking and talking.

And what do we drink? a pint of "bitter" or "lager", even "IPA"***, goes down nicely in England, "heavy" in Edinburgh and "stout" if it is black like Guinness. Wine, lager and spirits have become far more common in recent years whilst one seldom sees "mild" which is a beer

***IPA - originally India Pale Ale which was a beer specially formulated to be able to be shipped to the Raj (India).

HTH

Replies:   ustourist  Bondi Beach
ustourist

@sejintenej

About the only information I would add to that is that some pubs have more than one bar. There can be a public bar, a saloon bar and a lounge bar. Where there is only one it would be the public bar...the other two generally have slightly more comfortable furnishings and any games like darts, bar billiards or shove ha'penny would usually be in the public bar.

Replies:   sejintenej
Bondi Beach

@sejintenej

HTH


It does, indeed. Thanks very much and to ustourist as well.

bb

Capt. Zapp

@Bondi Beach

So is there a special name for that counter? How about the work space behind it? Our specialized term in the U.S. is---wait for it---"behind the bar."


And don't forget the person who restocks the bar but doesn't usually serve drinks is called the "Bar Back"

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Capt. Zapp

And don't forget the person who restocks the bar but doesn't usually serve drinks is called the "Bar Back"


Are you sure? I've never heard that term used in the UK.

AJ

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

Are you sure? I've never heard that term used in the UK.


in the UK and Australia what a bar back does in the US is part of the work of the barman or the publican, not a designated separate position; except in the major city bars where they have a large storeroom with a storeman who moves stock from the store to whichever bar needs it.

ustourist

@awnlee jawking

I would use cellar man, if anything, but in most pubs I used to frequent the bar staff restocked the bar. Like you, I have never heard of the term.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@ustourist

I would use cellar man, if anything, but in most pubs I used to frequent the bar staff restocked the bar. Like you, I have never heard of the term.


I'm not used to a small pub having a cellarman, only the bigger ones with 2 or 3 public bars in them - say a large pub on a corner with a public bar in each street. The duties of what I'm used to seeing a cellarman do are the same duties I see the 'bar back' do in the US stories. The only thing is in the US they have a bar back in even the smallest of bars.

sejintenej

@ustourist

About the only information I would add to that is that some pubs have more than one bar. There can be a public bar, a saloon bar and a lounge bar. Where there is only one it would be the public bar...the other two generally have slightly more comfortable furnishings and any games like darts, bar billiards or shove ha'penny would usually be in the public bar.

Correct b u t .... the old fashioned public bar for men only with a dirt or wooden floor covered in straw and spittle is now out because of 'elf 'n saftee and wimmin's roights. Now it might have a clean polished wooden floor but it is bi-sex and more refined with tables, chairs and perhaps bar games like darts, even snooker/billiards/some US equivalent.

There will always be snacks (crisps = U.S. chips etc) and very often full meals, some almost to Michelin standards. (Heston's Fat Duck with three stars is exceptional)
Be aware that UK meals tend to be smaller than those the USA is infamous for - we will have 8oz steaks instead of 32oz for example. Many pubs are owned/managed by beer breweries and often have specials such as a cut price menu or smaller dishes and prices for OAPs. (If you want examples I have plenty of pub menus here. They can be cheaper than buying the ingredients and eating at home)
Hours are often fluid - one chain, Wetherspoons, is open from breakfast time, say 8am through to about 11pm. Other pubs can open later and some have live music until midnight - a regular band leader at one of my "local"s has had a UK #1 hit so standards can be high.
Enough background for your story?

Replies:   ustourist  Bondi Beach
ustourist

@sejintenej

but it is bi-sex


That is discrimination against those of alternate genders...and those who buy sex. ;)

Things must have rocketed downhill in the last 15 or so years though, if Weatherspoons is now considered a pub. The last one I went in was more like a karaoke joint catering for unshaven men and middle aged women in crop tops and pubic pelmets (aka mini skirts). I left a few minutes later and would have felt safer in my local biker hangout.
I now live in a dry US town and I do miss my old UK local - a free house - which didn't have a juke box and where you could actually catch up on village news. The vicar and local plod both went there regularly and the car park was small enough that there were few outsiders.

Replies:   REP  sejintenej
REP

@ustourist

I now live in a dry US town


Out of curiosity, how dry is your town?

Texas has what are called dry counties. In some of the counties, it is illegal to sell alcohol. The residents go to the neighboring county to buy their liquor and beer. In some of the counties, alcohol cannot be served in a public bar, but it can be sold by liquor stores and served in private bars.

Replies:   ustourist  rustyken
sejintenej
Updated:

@ustourist


That is discrimination against those of alternate genders...and those who buy sex. ;)


I don't know of anywhere open to the general public where it is acceptable to check their organs to see if they have organs inappropriate to their apparent gender - we merely assume that people are what they appear to be when clothed. Of course if an apparent male went into the ladies loo and was found out ...... though of course there is one class of human males who have the inalienable right to use the ladies' loos in appropriate circumstances (work that one out!)


Things must have rocketed downhill in the last 15 or so years though, if Weatherspoons is now considered a pub. The last one I went in was more like a karaoke joint catering for unshaven men and middle aged women in crop tops and pubic pelmets (aka mini skirts).


Your experience has to relate to the area. I go to one in the City and one in TOWIELAND and they are both like any other pub with quiet piped muzak (a curse on the inventor's line).

In the same street there is a classic ancient pub which is a bit worse than you describe - ten days ago a patron reversed his car over bystanders with whom presumably he had had a barney in the street and the entry guards make American Footballers look like 6 stone weaklings.


I now live in a dry US town and I do miss my old UK local - a free house - which didn't have a juke box and where you could actually catch up on village news. The vicar and local plod both went there regularly and the car park was small enough that there were few outsiders.


Yes, we still have a majority of pubs like that though they usually only have two, perhaps three bitters on tap. Normally good very friendly service.

A few comments about Mr Plod. I know of one country pub where the peeler would come round ten minutes after closing time to ensure the place was empty and the door was locked so no more could be served. Having checked the other pubs he would return, enter by the back door, be greeted by the customers and buy his pint or whatever.

I was in a pub celebrating a girl's 18th birthday (local minimum age to buy alcohol) when a couple of peelers came in. Straight to me "how old are you?" reply "20", to the girl the same question "today is my 18th birthday" so they left. Not one of the 10 or 15 other students in the group was old enough but we were all buying and drinking!

Just remembered: you can go to our local microbrewery and it is a bit like the old public bars. Trestle tables, bench seats, stone floor, no muzak!. Last time I was there they had about 15 beers on tap - you paid a refundable quid (U K pound) for a glass and beer is two quid a pint which is about half of high street pub prices.

You mentioned vicars and plods; I wonder how many of your countrymen understood those - you realise that we speak a nearly different language though Hollywood has forced us to learn yours!

Plods (they plod around the streets all day and night), peelers (founded by Sir John Peel), rozzers (I don't know the origin of that abuse) are policemen or women

Replies:   ustourist
ustourist

@REP

Wet county, but dry town (technically a city, but a town as far as size is concerned). I don't think there are any bars in the county either, but there are premises outside the city that sell alcohol.

Replies:   garymrssn
ustourist

@sejintenej

You mentioned vicars and plods; I wonder how many of your countrymen understood those - you realise that we speak a nearly different language though Hollywood has forced us to learn yours!

Hey. I speak English, not a colonial variation, so whilst I admit to residing in the states since the end of the last century, I was London born and bred. ;)
I was aware that plod probably wasn't known here, but the thought that vicar wouldn't be had never crossed my mind. On that basis I would guess curates and rectors aren't known here either, which must make some of the older whodunit stories a bit less comprehensible since all those offices have almost a caricature personality that the English would understand without explanation.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@ustourist

On that basis I would guess curates

I the US we use curator, but it's not common. A curator is someone who oversees a museum, library or art gallery.

Vicar is also not unknown in the US, but is again rare.

We do have Roman Catholic churches and the term is also use by the Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church in the US is an Affilate of the Church of England.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej
Updated:

@Dominions Son


On that basis I would guess curates

I the US we use curator, but it's not common. A curator is someone who oversees a museum, library or art gallery.


A curate is an officer of the church one level below a priest.

A rector has nothing to do with a rectum; depending on the deeds of an Anglican church it might have a vicar or a rector - they have the same function.

This true story goes back to about 1950 at the church of St Winwaloe when the rector had to be replaced - could have been death, retirement - I don't remember.

The bishop can appoint a vicar to the living of a parish but in this case the Churchwardens (lay members of the individual church's council) had the right to refuse to accept the bishop's suggested replacement and found and appointed a rector themselves.

The UK has many types of law; this was an example of Ecclesiastical Law rather that law passed by Parliament. It may have changed now.

Edit; the name was changed back to the original spelling in about 2006

richardshagrin

Now that rectors are computerized they are sold in sets at toy stores, as E-rector Sets.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Now that rectors are computerized they are sold in sets at toy stores, as E-rector Sets.

Nowadays, the only one's concerned with 'erecting things' having to do with the rectum are full-on Catholic priests. (Okay, you can all collectively groan now.)

garymrssn

@ustourist

Wet county, but dry town

We have the reverse, wet town in a dry county. Bible Belt politics makes for some strange laws.

rustyken

@REP

And you can tell where the county line is by the liquor stores and bars.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@rustyken

And you can tell where the county line is by the liquor stores and bars.


Me, I can't fathom that. I live in Wisconsin.

We have lots of little small towns with populations of less than 500, but they have at least one bar and many have several.

Egg Harbor, Wisconsin population 203 has one liquor license* for every nine residents.

*covers bars, restaurants, liquor stores

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  REP
Wheezer

I live in the State of Brownbackistan in the Republic of Dumbfuckistan. We have restaurants & bars that serve liquor by the drink. We have package liquor stores, but those stores can sell nothing but spirits, wine and beer with more than 5% alcohol. They can't even sell non-alcoholic drink mixers. Ice machines selling bagged ice must be located outside. Grocery stores may sell 3.2% beer but not 5% beer or wine & spirits. They can sell the non-alcoholic Margarita mix you can't buy at the liquor store. Sunday sales of any of it are not permitted.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

they have at least one bar and many have several.


Any one liquor bar will cause more trouble and danger than all the sand bars in the river.

StarFleet Carl

@Wheezer

Oh, you're north of me, in Kansas, then?

Yeah, any time I think our liquor laws here are stupid and retarded - which they are, although we're actually trying to get into the twentieth century - I just have to look north to feel better about life here.

REP

@Dominions Son

Me, I can't fathom that.


I recall driving into Nevada from California back in the 70's. I don't recall the name of the city I was passing through, but I think it was South Lake Tahoe. The state line went through the city. On the west side of the state line the businesses were your normal stores. On the east side of the state line, there were nothing but casino after casino with a few restaurants thrown in.

Bondi Beach

@sejintenej

Enough background for your story?


Always fun to learn new stuff. As far as my story goes, the only question was whether there's a special term other than "behind the bar" for the space behind the bar, and whether the bar itself, i.e., the counter over which drinks are served, had a special name. All the rest of this is bonus to file away somewhere.

Cheers,
bb

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@Bondi Beach

the only question was whether there's a special term other than "behind the bar" for the space behind the bar,


Here in the western U.S., at least, the shelves, carvings, mirrors and other elaborate construction or display on the wall behind the bar is known simply as a "back bar" ... noun. In some actual 1800's "saloons" that I can reference in central Idaho, the 'back bar' is a large mahogany construction, elaborate and ornate.

The Outsider

@Wheezer

The People's Republic of Massachusetts doesn't make much more sense.

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