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A bar is a counter at which drinks are mixed by a bartender, mainly in hotels, taverns, and pubs. This term is applied as a synecdoche to drinking establishments called bars. Bars may also be found in restaurants, private homes, offices, cruise ships, and aircraft.

Bars typically store a variety of liquors and other nonalcoholic drink ingredients, and are organized to facilitate the bartenders' efficiency. They may also have areas for the storage of snack foods.

The word bar in this context was already in use by 1592 at the latest, as the dramatist Robert Greene referred to one in his A Noteable Discovery of Coosnage. However, it has been suggested that the method of serving from a counter was invented by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the great Victorian engineer, as a means of more quickly serving the sudden rush of customers caused by passenger trains arriving at the refreshment rooms at Swindon railway stationmarker while the Great Western Railway trains changed locomotives. It has also been claimed that the first bar to serve alcohol was installed at the Great Western Hotelmarker on Paddington stationmarker, Londonmarker.

Counters for serving other types of food and drink are sometimes also called bars. Examples include salad bars, sushi bars, and sundae bars.

See also


  1. Oxford English Dictionary

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