The counter at which drinks are served by a bartender is called "the bar". This term is applied, as a synecdoche, to drinking establishments called "bars". This counter typically stores a variety of beers, wines, liquors, and non-alcoholic ingredients, and is organized to facilitate the bartender's work.

The word "bar" in this context was already in use in 1591 when Robert Greene, a dramatist, referred to one in his A Notable Discovery of Coosnage.

Counters for serving other types of food and drink may also be called bars. Examples of this usage of the word include snack bars, sushi bars, juice bars, salad bars, dairy bars, and sundae bars.

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