These are the 8 types of bars you’ll go to in your life.

My job is to go to bars to drink. This is a simple job, but it’s one I don’t take lightly. Over the years, I saw certain similarities and themes emerge between the bars. Further research was necessary. After years of intense bar visiting, I discovered that there are only eight types of the bar in the entire world. These are the Barchetypes. To give my last ten years of drinking some meaning, I will tell you about them.

The Hole in the Wall

You like frills, do you? You’re out of luck, Mr. Fancypants. Because holes in the wall by definition are frill-free, These places are owned and operated by a native boy with a name such as Smitty or Cooch. They are open daily between 6 a.m. to 6 a.m. and when the last person leaves the back door (usually before 6 a.m.). A wall is a gathering place for people who know each other and enjoy the shared experience of extended happy hours, a sense of community, and closeness to their homes. A hole in the wall isn’t intended to be where people are devoted to their local sports teams. There is no concept or theme to it. The only exceptions to this rule are the Slim Jim packages behind the bar and the jar of pickled egg that’s strictly for dares. Except for occasionally replacing a rickety stool once a decade, holes in walls don’t keep pace with modern times. These walls are constant reminders that working-class drinkers tend to be the same no matter how much things change.

The Full of Itself

These bars first appeared about a decade ago when “bartending” became “mixology.” They claim to bring science, purism, and a sense of history to the creation and serving of cocktails. Sometimes they are spot on; sometimes, they are just plain awful. When I’m trying to enjoy a relaxing drink, the last thing I want is for the bartender to show me smug superiority or insist on telling me the origins of the Sambucus syrup. Let’s get on with the alcohol fetching. Turn off the Avett Brothers. They are not liked. A comfortable chair would also be nice. These places are amazing and some of my favorite people.

The Pub

They are usually more tourist-friendly than holes in the wall, so pubs differ from them. Tourists are anyone who hasn’t lived within three blocks of the pub. These are usually cozy places where there is still a lot of drinking, but it’s far less common to see people peeing on the jukeboxes or being beaten up by teamsters. Pubs are known for their good beer and affordable drinks. They also offer delicious greasy food that is great after-hours. The cool-people-to-total-jabroni ratio in these places tends to hover around 10-to-1. This ratio is not applicable if the pub hosts a karaoke evening. In such cases, the ratio will reverse. You might consider downgrading the rating of this bar from pub to plastic bar, depending on how often you attend karaoke nights (see below).

The Plastic Bar

Lately, I have started to call them “Donald Trump bar”. This is to say that the plastic bar was created without any soul. They might be known as upscale, yuppie bars, or “that place with a frozen Jagermeister machine”. But they have booze so let’s not get too obsessed about the technicalities. A plastic bag should be treated the same as a museum exhibit. Talk softly, avoid touching anything and get out as soon as possible.

The High Concept Bar

They are built around a central idea, which is sometimes clever but often tedious once the novelty wears off. This process typically takes about one week. They are most common in large metropolitan areas such as New York, San Francisco, and London. These places have a lot of tourists who want to experience expensive thrills and b) arrogant twits that believe they are more sophisticated than the average beer-swilling philistine.

The Hotel Bar

They come in many sizes and shapes, but one thing unites them all: They are within walking distance of a bedroom. There are many options. They are not all good.

The Live Music Venue

These places are not even considered bars. You will need to be able to stand up to a crowd of alcohol-hungry people while screaming over the aural assaults that are the experimental rage core band you were dragged to see and converse-wearing fans of indie rock who become more irritating with each passing year. You should bring throat lozenges, as you will be screaming at the top of your lungs for most of the evening. Not only because of the loud music but also because there is nothing more annoying than people who are too busy wishing they could have a drink at a live band. You should not wear your open-toed shoes at a live music venue. Be sure to wear closed-toed shoes if you intend on using the restroom.

The Sports Bar

This Barchetype is responsible for many divorces, brawls, illegal gambling rings, and chicken wing-choking incidents. Men can’t get enough of them. Men, while sometimes sweet and erudite at times, are essentially complete tools most of all. Except for some really bad sex clubs and a few sexy ones, there is no place where a man can tap into more of his inner tool than a place with menus shaped like hockey sticks or featuring meals named after Hall of Fame pitchers. Fair enough, I once had a wonderful dining experience at Tailgaters in Jersey. It was because the Sixers beat the Celtics in a crucial division game. There was also a $5 Jack and a beer-back special from 3:00 to 6 p.m. These events may have inspired me to make my Fried Catfish Hunter sandwich with extra OJ Mayo legendary. But, booyah! What a delicious meal!


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