When you head out to the bar to grab a drink with friends, you know you’re not just going for the drinks. Nothing goes better with a drink than something to eat, so it’s natural to serve bar food. Of course, when we think of bar food, we don’t think of just any food you can order alongside your drink. Bar food or pub food typically refers to certain snacks and dishes, so whenever you step into a bar, these are the foods you’re going to expect them to have.
At Grico’s South, we’ve created the perfect bar menu for patrons who prefer having a seat at the bar. Bars, pubs, taverns, and other similar establishments have a long history throughout the world, but how did they start serving food? You can find food being served with drinks throughout history, but there are a few distinct periods that helped lead to bar food the way we know it today. Find out how some of our favorite foods became an essential part of grabbing a drink at the bar.
Inns and Taverns
Inns and taverns were popular throughout Europe for centuries as a place for travelers to take a break. Of course, not only could you find lodging here, but they were also popular for people to get food and drinks.
Public houses, or pubs, in the UK have long been important gathering places in communities, similar to the role coffeehouses play in many countries. While these may be a place to get a drink, they’re also an important way of bringing people together. Many pubs throughout history have served small snacks to patrons. Rather than buying food directly from a pub, many vendors began selling food outside of pubs to appeal to patrons. As these foods were sold by street vendors, they were often dishes that didn’t require cutlery.
Many pubs also began serving lunch foods around the 1950s. You could find many pubs selling pies like shepherd’s pie and steak and ale pie as well as what was known as a ploughman’s lunch, which was a cold meal that typically consisted of cheese, bread, onions, and pickles.
While this meal existed throughout history, some claim that this became a popular pub food in an effort to sell more cheese in the UK. Other restaurants also became popular during this time, which meant that pubs in the UK and bars in the US had to start serving food to compete.
Free Lunches in Saloons
Free lunches offered in saloons and other establishments became popular in the United States in the late 19th century until the Great Depression. While food was served for free, drinks weren’t, and this practice continued based on the hopes that patrons would buy enough drinks during lunch and other times of the day to make a profit despite the cost of providing free lunches.
Bar Food During Prohibition
Speakeasies were popular during Prohibition to give people a place to gather the way they would have in bars, but they were still risky to go to. You wanted to drink, but not so much that it was obvious when you left. What’s a common way of trying not to overdo it when you go out? Getting something to eat. Serving food in speakeasies became necessary to prevent people from drinking too much on empty stomachs.
Not only were speakeasies popular during Prohibition, but it became a common practice for people to host cocktail parties in their private homes as well. Of course, a cocktail party isn’t complete without food. When you’re going around a party mingling with other guests, you can’t rely on having a sit-down meal with tables and chairs for everyone. You need food that can be easily carried around in one hand while you’ve got your drink in the other.
Try Our Bar Menu at Grico’s South
It’s not hard to understand why bar food became so popular. While there are a few good examples in history to show why it became common, it’s also just enjoyable. At Grico’s South, we know how important a good meal is and that when you’re sitting at the bar with your favorite drink, you want classic bar foods. This is why we’ve created our bar menu for those sitting at the bar. From small bites like beer-battered kosher dill pickles and chicken bites to large plates like our bar burger and fish tacos, you can get a fresh take on the classic bar food experience.
Make a reservation for dinner in Nanticoke today to try out our bar menu!