Updated at: 04-08-2023 - By: John Lau

Ever wondered what the difference is between a cocktail bar, a dive, or a sports bar?

Bars come in more shapes and sizes than you can imagine.

This guide walks you through various types of bars and their unique offerings so you can find your perfect spot to hang out.

Ready to uncover the best places for drinks? Let’s get started!

Types of Bars

Cocktail bars

Types Of Bars (1)

Cocktail bars, though draped in elegance and sophistication, serve as the perfect haven for those looking to explore more than just traditional beers or wines.

As specialized locales, they put a spotlight on mixed drinks including classics like Old Fashioneds and Martini’s to more unique creations tailored by adept mixologists.

These establishments tend to lean towards a chic and refined vibe, often offering an upscale atmosphere perfect for evening relaxation or casual business meetings.

Although cocktail bars might offer a selection of beer and wine, their main attraction remains the wide array of cocktails that encourage patrons to delve into refreshing new flavors each visit.

Just remember – while the artful blends served at these venues are captivatingly delicious, moderation is key to truly appreciate this type of bar without succumbing to alcoholism.

Sports bars

Sports bars are a popular choice for those who love sports and want to enjoy their favorite games with friends or fellow fans.

These bars are specifically designed to cater to the needs of sports enthusiasts, providing them with multiple screens showing various games simultaneously.

You can cheer on your team while sipping on your drink and indulging in delicious bar food.

Sports bars often have a lively atmosphere, with patrons wearing jerseys and engaging in friendly banter about the game.

Whether it’s football, basketball, soccer, or any other sport you’re passionate about, sports bars offer the perfect setting to enjoy the excitement of live sporting events surrounded by like-minded individuals.

Dive bars

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Dive bars are a popular choice for many alcohol enthusiasts. These casual and unpretentious establishments offer a laid-back atmosphere that appeals to those looking for an authentic and low-key experience.

Unlike more upscale bars, dive bars typically have a no-frills approach with cheap drinksdim lighting, and often feature jukeboxes or pool tables as forms of entertainment.

They are known for their relaxed vibe and friendly regulars who create a sense of camaraderie among patrons.

Whether you’re looking to unwind after a long day or simply enjoy the company of friends, dive bars provide a cozy setting where you can kick back, grab an inexpensive drink, and let loose without any pretense or pressure.

Wine bars

Wine bars are cozy establishments where wine enthusiasts can gather to enjoy a wide variety of wines from around the world.

With their relaxed and sophisticated ambiance, these bars provide a perfect setting for individuals seeking a refined drinking experience.

Wine bars offer an extensive selection of both red and white wines, allowing patrons to explore different varietals, regions, and vintages.

From bold Cabernet Sauvignons to crisp Chardonnays, there is something for everyone’s palate.

Many wine bars also provide knowledgeable staff who can guide customers in selecting the perfect bottle or glass based on their preferences.

Whether you’re a seasoned oenophile or just beginning your journey into the world of wine, visiting a wine bar offers an opportunity to savor and appreciate this timeless beverage in a welcoming environment.

Pubs or taverns

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Pubs or taverns are traditional bars that have a long history, originating in the United Kingdom. These establishments are known for their welcoming atmosphere and casual social experience.

Pubs are often frequented by locals looking to relax with friends over a pint of beer or enjoy some hearty pub grub.

They offer a wide range of beers on tap, including local craft brews and traditional favorites.

Unlike many other bar types, pubs prioritize conversation and community, providing a place where people can gather, unwind, and engage in friendly banter.

Whether you’re seeking a lively evening out or simply want to enjoy some quality time with your loved ones, pubs or taverns offer the perfect setting for an enjoyable drinking experience.

Specialty Bars

Specialty bars offer unique concepts and experiences, such as arcade bars for gaming enthusiasts, live music bars for music lovers, hotel bars for luxurious settings, tiki bars for tropical vibes, and nostalgia bars that transport patrons back in time.

Arcade bars

Arcade bars are a fun and nostalgic type of drinking establishment that combines the excitement of gaming with the pleasure of enjoying your favorite drinks.

These bars typically feature a wide selection of classic arcade games, such as pinball machines, Pac-Man, and air hockey tables.

They provide a unique atmosphere where patrons can reminisce about their childhood while sipping on their drink of choice.

Arcade bars have gained popularity in recent years for their ability to bring people together through friendly competition and shared experiences.

Whether you’re a die-hard gamer or just looking for something different to do with friends, visiting an arcade bar is sure to provide hours of entertainment and memories that will last long after your tokens run out.

Live music bars

Live music bars are a fantastic option for those with a passion for great tunes and a desire to unwind with an alcoholic beverage.

These bars provide live entertainment from talented musicians, creating an immersive experience that combines the joy of listening to live music with the enjoyment of socializing in a lively atmosphere.

Whether you’re into rock, jazz, blues, or any other genre, these bars offer the perfect setting to relax and enjoy your favorite bands or discover new ones.

With their vibrant energy and captivating performances, live music bars bring people together through the universal language of music.

Hotel bars

Hotel bars are unique drinking establishments that can be found within hotels and offer a convenient and sophisticated option for guests to enjoy a drink.

These bars often have an upscale ambiance, providing a comfortable setting where patrons can relax and unwind after a long day of traveling or business meetings.

With an extensive selection of cocktails, wine, beer, and spirits available, hotel bars cater to various tastes and preferences.

They also offer the convenience of being located on-site, making them easily accessible for guests staying at the hotel.

Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to sip on a glass of wine or socialize with fellow travelers, hotel bars provide a welcoming atmosphere coupled with excellent service.

So next time you’re staying at a hotel, don’t forget to check out their bar for a delightful drinking experience.

Tiki bars

Tiki bars have gained popularity in recent years, offering a unique and tropical experience for bar-goers. These bars are known for their Polynesian-inspired decorexotic cocktails, and laid-back vibe.

Step into a tiki bar, and you’ll be transported to an island paradise with bamboo accents, thatched roofs, and colorful tropical motifs.

One key feature of tiki bars is their signature cocktails. These drinks often incorporate rum as the base spirit along with fresh fruit juices and garnishes like umbrellas or pineapple wedges.

From classic tiki drinks like Mai Tais and Pina Coladas to more adventurous concoctions like Zombie or Jungle Bird, these bars offer a wide range of tropical libations to suit every palate.

Aside from the drinks themselves, tiki bars also provide a relaxed atmosphere where patrons can unwind and escape from their daily routines.

Whether you’re sipping on your cocktail at the indoor bar or lounging in the outdoor patio surrounded by lush greenery and tiki torches, these establishments create an ambiance that makes you feel like you’re on vacation.

Nostalgia bars

Nostalgia bars transport patrons back in time, evoking feelings of nostalgia and fond memories. These bars often embrace a specific era or theme, such as the 1920s or 1980s, with retro decorvintage cocktails, and classic music playing in the background.

They provide a unique ambiance where customers can relive past experiences or experience an era they never got to witness firsthand.

Whether it’s sipping on an old-fashioned cocktail at a speakeasy-style bar or dancing to throwback tunes at a ’80s-themed establishment, nostalgia bars offer a delightful escape into the past.

Unique Bar Concepts

Unique Bar Concepts include speakeasies, cigar bars, beer gardens, nightclubs, and plastic bars (outdoor bars).


Speakeasies were secret bars that operated during the Prohibition era in the United States from 1920 to 1933. They emerged as a response to the ban on alcohol, offering a hidden place for people to enjoy drinks covertly.

These underground establishments were often disguised as innocent businesses, such as soda shops or flower stores, making them difficult for authorities to detect.

Speakeasies became notorious for their exclusive atmosphere and illegal activities, serving bootlegged liquor and hosting jazz music performances.

Despite the risk of raids and arrests, these hidden gems symbolized rebellion and freedom during a time when alcohol consumption was prohibited by law.

Today, speakeasies have experienced a resurgence in popularity due to their nostalgic appeal and unique ambiance.

Cigar bars

Cigar bars are unique establishments catering to cigar enthusiasts and those looking for a sophisticated and relaxing ambience.

These bars typically offer a wide selection of cigars from around the world, as well as comfortable seating areas where patrons can enjoy their smokes.

Cigar bars often have well-trained staff who can assist customers in selecting the perfect cigar to suit their preferences.

Additionally, many cigar bars also serve premium spirits and cocktails that pair perfectly with the flavors of different cigars.

With a focus on providing a luxurious setting and impeccable service, cigar bars provide an indulgent experience for those seeking to indulge in their passion for fine cigars while enjoying a drink or two.

Beer gardens

Beer gardens are outdoor drinking establishments that originated in Germany and have since gained popularity worldwide.

These open-air venues offer a unique and relaxed atmosphere, where patrons can enjoy their favorite brews amid lush greenery and communal seating.

Beer gardens often serve a variety of beers on tap, including local and international options, making them perfect for beer enthusiasts looking to explore different flavors.

They are great places to socialize with friends or meet new people while enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.

With their casual charm and laid-back vibe, beer gardens provide a refreshing escape from traditional indoor bars for those seeking a more natural setting for their drinking experience.


Nightclubs are establishments that focus on music and dancing, creating an energetic and lively atmosphere.

They are popular among people looking to socialize, let loose, and have a good time.

With their pulsating beats and vibrant lights, nightclubs offer an escape from the daily grind and provide a space for partygoers to dance the night away.

These venues often feature renowned DJs or live music performances that cater to different genres such as EDM, hip-hop, or pop.

Nightclubs can range from intimate spaces with exclusive VIP areas to larger venues that attract crowds of enthusiastic dancers.

Whether you’re into electronic music or just want to groove along with your friends, nightclubs offer an exciting nightlife experience for those in search of fun-filled evenings.

Plastic bars (outdoor bars)

Plastic bars, also known as outdoor bars, have become increasingly popular in recent years. These types of bars offer a unique experience for patrons who enjoy being outside while enjoying their favorite drinks.

Plastic bars are often set up in open-air spaces, such as rooftops, patios, or gardens. They typically feature a variety of seating options and vibrant decorations to create a fun and inviting atmosphere.

One of the main advantages of plastic bars is their versatility – they can be easily transported and set up for special events or parties.

Whether you’re sipping on cocktails under the stars or enjoying a cold beer with friends on a sunny day, plastic bars provide an enjoyable outdoor drinking experience that many people find refreshing and relaxing.


In conclusion, exploring the different types of bars opens up a world of unique experiences and atmospheres.

Whether you’re looking for a sophisticated wine bar or a lively sports bar, there is something for everyone.

So grab your friends and immerse yourself in the diverse and exciting world of bars! Cheers to good times and great drinks!