Types of Bars: The Different Places to Serve Up Drinks

by | CAREER GUIDANCE, Career Paths

When you read the word bar, what comes to mind? Maybe you imagine yourself sipping a martini surrounded by a classy clientele. Perhaps you see yourself in a rowdy environment yelling to your friend over the roar of the crowd and music, cold pint in hand. There are so many different types of bars to choose from that the answer to that question is probably different for every person reading this.

Working in a bar can be a great way to gain experience in the hospitality industry and kickstart your career path. If you love wine, there’s a bar dedicated to it. If you’re crazy about cocktails, becoming a mixologist might be the right choice for you. No matter what it is, if you have a passion for what goes in your glass, there’s a bar for you to work at. 

To give you a clearer idea of your prospects if you’re interested in working in one, we’ve put together a quick list of some common types of bars you’ll find in cities across the world.

Cocktail bars

Cocktail bars are all about serving up delicious concoctions that pack a punch. While they may have a beer or wine to offer, these bars’ main focus is on the cocktails. Beyond the classics like martinis, manhattan, and gin & tonics, all good cocktail bars will offer a menu of signature cocktails for patrons to enjoy

Cocktail bars come in all shapes and sizes. Some are aimed at older and more affluent guests with others aiming for a young, hipster crowd. There are cocktail bars that focus on making cocktails only with one type of liquor such as pisco or rum. It’s a type of bar with endless variations and in big cities you’ll constantly encounter new approaches to the concept.

These types of bars normally don't serve much to eat beyond some elevated snacks, but you can find a few places that offer food as well.

Working at a cocktail bar can be a lot of fun and incredibly lucrative for the right type of person.

Cocktail bars customers can be demanding, so it’s a job for someone who has previous experience in the role. Whether you are working as a mixologist or as a cocktail server, you have to know what you’re talking about.

In addition to independent locations, cocktail bars can be found in airports, hotels, resorts and other hospitality venues.

Wine bars

A wine bar is a type of bar that focuses exclusively on offering the best selection of wines possible. Depending on the establishment, these bar teams are made up of servers, bartenders, managers and sommeliers. In smaller, independently owned bars, the bartender and sommelier may be the same person.

If wine bars offer food, it usually doesn’t require a lot of cooking so you won’t find much kitchen staff involved.

The clientele at a wine bar are willing to pay a premium for excellent vino so they can be quite discerning. Wine lovers are an opinionated bunch so be ready to hear all types of feedback. When you work at a wine bar, the best thing to do is take it in stride and pour the next glass. 

Craft beer bars

Existing at the opposite end of the spectrum as the wine bar is the craft beer bar

Dedicated to serving and celebrating beer, these are the go-to place when someone is craving a proper pint. Working as a beertender at a craft beer bar can be a great way for a beer lover to get started in hospitality. The main thing you need is a deep enthusiasm for and knowledge of all types of beer. From there, anybody can learn how to pour a pint correctly.

The makeup of the staff at one of these types of bars will vary depending on the market. In a European market like Barcelona, most craft beer bars have a full service kitchen putting out pub-type food. There’s even a place dedicated to craft beer and vegan burgers. 

In Portland, Oregon, the craft beer capital of the world, things are a bit different. Local regulations only require a bar to offer food if they serve spirits. Due to this, none of the beer bars in the city serve food. But they are totally fine with you ordering food and bring something in from one of Portland’s countless food carts.

Sports bars

Eyes focused on the screen. Empty beer pitchers scattered on the table. The cries of joy and the shouts of anguish. These are the images you’ll become familiar with if you work at an american style sports bar.

Sports bars are essentially the US equivalent of a British pub but with a focus on all sports all the time. These are bars where people go to watch their favorite team while having some food and drinks with friends. On Saturdays and Sundays during American football season, it’s a common sight to see diehard fans camped out at the sports bar all day.

Beyond the games, sports bars usually offer a full menu of food and a wide variety of beverages. Many offer a wide variety of domestic lagers and craft beers or bloody marys for the crowd watching the early game.

The atmosphere of a sports bar is full of energy so you should be too if you want to work in one. The staff of sports bars usually consist of servers, bartenders, a kitchen team, and management. 


Sean’s Bar, a pub in Athlone, Ireland, is a drinking hole that historians suggest has existed since 900 AD. It’s hard not to imagine what it might’ve been like to work in an Irish public house in the middle ages–if those walls could talk. This makes pubs the oldest type of bar you will find on earth and they will likely outlast all others as well.

As a concept, a pub is quite simple. They are warm and cozy places for friends or families to gather, chat and have a casual pint of beer. They often serve as a meeting point for different characters in a neighborhood to come together and interact. You’ll always encounter strangers engaged in a spirited debate, whether it’s about politics, football, or even more taboo subjects. A pub is meant to be full of life.

There are different types of pubs, with some being more upscale and others that attract a younger, more casual crowd. They usually focus on serving beer and cider but the bartenders should be able to make you any common mixed drink you ask for. The staff of a pub typically consists of bartenders, cooks, and managers. In a larger pub, you may also find waiters and waitresses. 

British and Irish pubs offer a bit of a more well rounded experience than the american style sports bar. However, any pub worth its weight in pints will have a massive TV screen dedicated to showing sports. You’ll commonly see one side of the bar full of screaming football fans and in the other guests are calmly enjoying a Sunday roast dinner. A good pub offers something for everybody.

Pubs are a common sight all throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom but they’ve been exported to the rest of the globe as well. From Barcelona to Bangkok, you’ll find Irish and British pubs serving pints to expats and locals in cosmopolitan cities worldwide. 

Dive Bars

If you’ve ever been to a bar with writing all over the bathroom walls, you’ve been in a dive bar. They normally don’t have a concept, sometimes barely even a name. The decor might be brain-breakingly ugly and the music playlist is all over the place. Despite all this, the dive bar is one of the most enduring types of bar you will find in a city or town.

True blue dive bars will have a few beers on tap, a basic liquor selection, and wine you probably shouldn’t order. Don’t expect the cocktails to be fancy, but they will no doubt be strong. There is often a small kitchen to push out food for customers to soak up the cheap booze but the bartender normally doubles as the cook.

These no frills bars originally served as a casual place to hang out in the neighborhood and drink for cheap. However, the term has evolved from a negative one used to describe a bar that’s a bit rough around the edges into its own concept. You can now find bars that set out to purposefully cultivate a trashy, dive bar vibe.

Just look at Two Schmucks, a bar in Barcelona’s diverse and hip Raval neighborhood, which is branded as a 5-star dive bar. They’ve run with this concept, mixing casual service and ambience with high-end signature cocktails and gourmet bar snacks.

Working at a dive bar can be fun for someone with the right attitude. It’s normally a place where regulars and locals hangout so expect to get familiar with your clientele. Dive bars normally include servers, bartenders, managers, and sometimes a cook, depending on the establishment.

Your dream bar job is waiting for you on Hosco!

Working in a bar can be an exciting way to build your experience and skills in the hospitality industry. With so many types of bars to choose from, there’s bound to be a bar that fits your personality and profile. Check out the open bar positions available on Hosco and find your dream job today!



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