Show Me the Way to Go Home
Bob from Glen Arbor
asked about saloons, bars, taverns, and pubs. These days—in America, at least—the
words are usually interchangeable.
- Saloon came from French, Spanish, and Portuguese
words that meant a hall. It is place where alcoholic beverages are bought
- Bar came from the Latin barra,
a barrier. Essentially a long piece of material used as a support, it was
a short step to the name of a counter on which drink was served.
- Tavern developed from the Latin taberna, a shed constructed of boards, then a stall
- Pub is a shortened version of public house.
Public came from a Latin word that meant “adult men.”
Originally, a pub was
open to the general public, as opposed to a members-only establishment. A
saloon was a second bar in a pub offering more comfort and services than the
pub bar. Early taverns served wine only and were not open to the general
public, whereas a bar served every type of alcoholic beverage to anyone who
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