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Differences between and Irish Bar and an English Pub

It seems that every city all over the world has their own Irish Bar: there’s Healy Mac’s in Kuala Lumpur, Emmet’s in Boston and you’ll find the aptly named Shamrock in Rome.  You know what you’ll get at these venues making them totally great for customer confidence and comfort and ensuring a perfect pint of Guinness – whatever the weather.

The décor is usually pretty predictable (not a bad thing!) with dark wood poseur tables and high stools, chunky dining tables and mix of padded and wooden seat chairs. Big portions of traditional fayre such as Pie, Battered fish, and very often the international staple of pizza.

Add lots of bric-a-brac and pictures on the walls, great staff with big smiles and open all hours and you’ve got an Irish Bar.

An English pub is a whole different ball game. There are so many variables but there are definitely some consistent features which would be ‘typical’.  In the main English pubs tend to have different zones for different activities such as drinking, dining, gaming and lounging.  By breaking up the space visitors will know what is expected in each area adding a comfortable confident feel to each. Harder edged chairs and stools in the bar with High table and stools in the gaming areas, dining height tables and chairs for the restaurant and lower comfy chairs and coffee tables for a casual lounge. It’s a natural descendant from the past distinction between the tap bar and the ‘lounge’ which were quite separate both in terms of décor and clientele. By the 20th century, the saloon, or lounge bar, had become a ‘middle-class’ room carpets on the floor, cushions on the seats, and a penny or two on the prices, while the public bar, or tap room, remained male blue collar dominated with bare boards, sometimes with sawdust to absorb the spitting and spillages (known as "spit and sawdust"), hard bench seats, and cheap beer.

Later, the public bars gradually improved until sometimes almost the only difference was in the prices, so that customers could choose between economy and exclusivity (or youth and age, or a jukebox or dartboard). With the blurring of class divisions in the 1960s and 1970s, the distinction between the saloon and the public bar was often seen as archaic, and was frequently abolished, usually by the removal of the dividing wall or partition. While the names of saloon and public bar may still be seen on the doors of pubs, the prices (and often the standard of furnishings and decoration) are the same throughout the premises, and many pubs now comprise one large room. However, the modern importance of dining in pubs encourages some establishments to maintain distinct rooms or areas.

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