What Makes a Bar a Beer Bar?

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06 March 2008
What Makes a Bar a Beer Bar?

The most popular part of the PubCrawler.com website remains the Beer Places search.

People often get overwhelmed by the categorical approach to searching for a place to find a good craft or import beer.  By default, beer related searches on PubCrawler.com include all the categories (Microbreweries, Brewpubs and Beer Bars) – you can select to not see any of those or some or all. Here see for yourself:

Daily we get requests from bar owners and managers to add their bar and from patrons using PubCrawler.com requesting that their favorite local bar be included in our BEER BAR category. Unfortunately, a vast majority of these requests – over 75% do not qualify to be added and in fact, are not BEER BARS by our standards.

So what exactly is a BEER BAR?

Well when you go to add a BEER PLACE on the form it tells you what each category of beer place means. See: http://www.pubcrawler.com/Template/AddPlaceWC.cfm.
There it says a BEER BAR is:
“An establishment that does not brew its own beer, yet is microbrew-friendly... meaning, it has a good selection of microbrews and/or imports and is a good spot to hang out and enjoy good beer.”

So a BEER BAR is a bar and not a MICROBREWERY and not a BREWPUB.

A BEER BAR is a bar where you are guaranteed to find craft beer from smaller independent breweries in addition to the big bad macro-beers (Bud, Coors, Miller, etc.). There are a few exceptions to this rule that we are aware of.

The first exception to why a BEER BAR might be included but they don’t have good beer is because establishments change. New management, new owners, lack of selling product are all reasons why the good beer might have been removed from a place and what is left is unimpressive and worthy of having them removed from PubCrawler.com. We do not mind removing places for this reason. We actually like that they are removed ASAP so other travelers and locals do not waste their money on gasoline getting there and time to discover what you already did.

The second exception relating to a BEER BAR is that some regions of the United States are fairly remote and other regions just are behind the times. What I am saying here is that every major city in the United States has good BEER BARS, microbreweries, etc. But when you leave the comfort and buffer of the city, the dark lonely roads do not have good BEER BARS along them. So we scrutinize the BEER BARS in cities, suburbs and exurbs more than we do one out in a less populated, less developed area. Out in the boonies, rural, country a bar that has a few all right imports or a few say local state microbrews is an oasis for the weary traveler and for the locals that call there home.

The final exception to the BEER BAR definition is an intentional inclusion not an error on our part. The inclusion of Fred’s Lounge in Mamou, Louisiana, was approved back in 2000 and remains a point of confusion. Fred’s Lounge lacks the good beer but more than makes up for it with atmosphere, hospitality and history. A place like Fred’s is in the system because we believe it is a place everyone should be aware exists and have the opportunity to experience before time and the inevitable changes time brings makes a place like Fred’s just a footnote on a page like this.

Fred’s is The Third Place, a term coined by Ray Oldenburg in his regarded book The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community.

A Third Place is a center of community life, an informal meeting place, a place where friends new and old connect and exchange information on their life and the community’s life. Some widely recognized examples of other third places include the coffee store chain Starbucks and the chain Panera Bread. Local coffee shops, churches and hair salons are other strong Third Places. Really any place can be made into a Third Place. New York City’s Central Park functions as an odd but effective third place.

Throughout Europe, but especially in the United Kingdom, neighborhood pubs have been the Third Place that Oldenburg seems to rely on as the best example of and longest lasting Third Places. Lots of the BEER BARS in PubCrawler.com are much like the pubs in the UK – the third place comfort zone, community.

If you stick to definition of what a BEER PLACE is PubCrawler.com won’t steer you too far off course – unless you are headed in that remote direction.

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