Alternatively, "bar" can refer to the specialized counter on which the drinks are served, and it is from this term that the establishment itself as a whole gets its name. Also, the "back bar" is a (sometimes ornate) set of shelves of glasses and bottles behind that counter.
In the United States, the term "bar" suggests an emphasis on hard liquor. In some parts of the country, this is actually a legal distinction: in Washington and Oregon, a tavern is restricted to beer, wine, and hard cider, but a "bar" has a full liquor license. In the UK 'bar' is usually short for 'Wine Bar' where as the name suggests mainly wine is sold and drunk.
Bars range from down-and-dirty "dives," little more than a dark room with a counter and some bottles of liquor, to places of entertainment and the elegant watering holes of the elite.
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