Corona loosening: What is a pub, what is a bar? Opening confusion in Hamburg about bars and pubs


bars and pubs
bars and pubs
bars and pubs

Bars and pubs – both are hospitable places where one indulges in the social consumption of alcohol. One would think. In Hamburg, however, the following applies: pubs are allowed to open (with strict regulations), but bars are not. Why? And how can I tell if a counter is in a pub or a bar? Even Hamburg’s restaurateurs are confused by the Senate’s new corona loosening.

“From the outside, you can’t see whether a gastronomy is a pub or a bar,” says the health authority, “only the owner knows that when he looks at his operating license.” When this paper talks about a “tavern”. Is, he may open immediately. If it says “bar and entertainment venue”, the shop will remain closed.

Bar or pub – opening confusion in Hamburg

This can cause confusion. Uwe Christiansen, for example, runs the “Bar Christiansen’s”, Hamburg’s epitome of a classic cocktail bar. Nevertheless, he does not fall under the continuing ban on opening bars: “The operating license is for ‘taverns’,” explains the award-winning restaurateur in an interview with MOPO and concedes: “The permission to open came very hard, there is a great uncertainty among restaurateurs.”

Bar or pub: That’s the difference

What is the difference between a bar and a “tavern”? And why can it say “bar” above the entrance, but the shop can still be considered a “tavern”?

The difference is made by the “accompanying entertainment program”, according to a spokeswoman for the health authority. If the guests just sit at the bar and tables and drink alcohol, the shop is considered a “tavern”, regardless of whether the beer is tapped by a “barman” or a “pub keeper”. The tavern is allowed to open, at a minimum distance, and the requirement is to collect the contact details from every guest so that all co-drinkers can be sent to quarantine in the event of a corona case.

Bar and nightclub: with a dance floor

However, as soon as there is a DJ, a dance floor, or even just a pianist or a jukebox, the operating license must state “bar and entertainment venue”. The health authority explains why these shops still have to remain closed: “If the guests sit in the square, there is less risk of infection than if they dance and move through the room.”

Because the license for a “tavern” is significantly cheaper, restaurateurs try, if possible, not to register their shop as a “bar and entertainment venue”. In Hamburg, there are 1759 pubs, 73 bars, and 9 entertainment venues, as reported by the Chamber of Commerce in response to a MOPO request.

Bars and pubs: Strict opening requirements

The thoroughbred barman Uwe Christiansen’s enthusiasm is limited despite the opening permit. One reason is the strict requirements, such as the obligation for each guest to be presented with a new food and drink menu: “My cocktail menu has 33 pages,” says Christiansen, “I can’t throw it away after every guest.”

Bars and pubs in Hamburg: There are no tourists

It is also questionable whether the purchase of goods and personnel costs will even pay off. Christiansen does not believe that normality is returning to the bars in this city: “There are no tourists and many Hamburgers will not go out for fear of infection.”

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