Do you like going to a bar to meet with friends? I love going to a bar to see my friends, or to have a drink with my partner after work. There’s a whole bunch of bar vocabulary in English that is good to know, but that you only use in a bar. If you’ve never been to a bar in an English speaking country, some of this bar vocabulary may be unfamiliar (unknown, new) to you.
We’ve made a list of some of the most common phrases you’ll only hear in bars. Keep this bar vocabulary in your back pocket (on hand, in your head) for your next after-work drinks or Friday night out!
Happy hour is a term (word or phrase) that bars use for a time in the evening when they have special promotions (discounts, special lower prices) on drinks. Happy hour is usually in the early evening when people are getting off work. Happy hour isn’t limited to just being one hour long, and many bars have a happy hour that’s two or even three hours long! Do you like going for happy hour drinks with friends?
- Do you want to meet at the bar for happy hour today? They have two dollars off all drinks.
- What’s your favorite bar to go to for happy hour? I like the one on 5th street. They have half-off cocktails.
Are you a beer drinker? Then you may want to know what beers they have on tap. Beer on tap, also known as draft or draught beer, is beer that is connected to a keg and a tap. The bartender (person who works at a bar) can then serve the beer in a glass, rather than serve it to you in a bottle or can. If you ask a bartender what beer they have on tap, they will probably tell you a selection of beers that you can get fresh in a glass from the bar!
- I prefer draft beer to bottled beer. Can you tell me what you have on tap?
- Do you have Ratsherrn on tap? I would like one of those, please.
A round (of drinks)
I love being able to buy a round of drinks for my friends when we go out. A round of drinks is a new drink for everyone. Some groups of friends take turns buying rounds for each other. Other people just like to order their own drinks, but will all order a new round together. Do you have any plans to go out for a few rounds of drinks with friends soon?
- Should we get another round? Do we have time before the bar closes?
- Let’s go out for a round of drinks on Saturday night. There’s a really good bar around the corner from me that I think you’d like.
Sometimes we end up staying at a bar until last call. Last call is the last orders a bar will take before they close. The bartender will usually tell you that it’s last call, or that last call is in ten minutes, and ask if you if there’s anything else you would like. If you decide to order another drink, they’ll bring it to you, then close the bar shortly after and ask you to pay your tab (bill).
- Last call is in ten minutes, so if there’s anything else you’d like, let me know by then!
- I haven’t been at a bar at last call for ages! But we stayed out until they closed on Friday.
Designated driver (the “DD”)
If you don’t live in a city like I do, where you can either walk to a bar or take public transportation, you probably have to have a designated driver. A designated driver or “DD” is someone who doesn’t drink when you go out for a night, so that they can drive everyone home. Some bars or clubs will give the DD free soda or juice all night to show their support!
It’s a great idea to have a designated driver so that everyone gets home safely. If you have to drive to get to a bar, I hope you have someone to drive you back home.
- Do we want to go out on Friday night? I can be the designated driver, because I have to work early on Saturday and shouldn’t drink, anyway.
- Steve offered to be the designated driver for us tonight, so we don’t have to take taxis home.
Have you used any of this bar vocabulary in the past? When was the last time you went to a bar? Share your experience with us in the comments below!
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Check out these other popular blogs: Taboo words in English, 7 Synonyms for Being Drunk, 7 American English Slang Words, or these Sports Idioms used in English!
Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and can’t wait to sit inside a bar again!