One of those “similar” differences between the United Kingdom and the USA is that the UK has pubs and the US has bars – generally speaking. Despite their differences and similarities, they both play a huge part in the culture of both countries. Of course, the types aren’t restricted to either country, you’ll find plenty of pubs in the US and bars in the UK.
What is an American Bar?
Although in the US there are many different kinds of bar, in the UK the term American bar is usually applied to an establishment that serves American-style mixed drinks – i.e. cocktails. So, you might, in fact, use the terms interchangeably and say that an American bar is a cocktail bar and vice versa. This should not imply however that the drinks menu is limited to cocktails. A full range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages including beer on tap is usually available.
At an American bar, you might find a set list of cocktails, or there may be a mixologist who is able to make any cocktail drink to order.
What is a Lounge Bar?
A lounge bar in a British pub is usually an area separated from the “public bar” and has more comfortable seating and sometimes, more expensive drinks. There may also be a separate food menu. The bar may serve snacks, while the lounge offers something more substantial. Lounges, like bars, may also have a theme or a speciality. For example, the Royal Lancaster Park Lounge Bar has an Arabic section in both its food and drinks menus. The lounge bar has a soft, warm palette in earthy tones which is very much in contrast with the bright lobby bar, highlighting the difference between the two types of drinking establishments.
Which to Choose – Bar or Lounge?
It’s a question of personal preference and occasion. Every lounge and bar is unique in its style, clientele, and atmosphere, so it comes down to what kind of outing you’re looking for. Bars tend to be noisier and more informal, while lounges are more staid but no less convivial. Choose whatever fits the occasion. For example, a business meeting is much better conducted in the Royal Lancaster Park Lounge Bar in Hyde Park than a busy bar in Soho.