What to Wear to a Bar

Everyone wants to impress when they head out for some drinks. Your outfit options can seem limitless with no strict rules on what to wear, but sometimes you have to think about the type of bar you’re off to. Does it have a dress code? Is it smarter than your usual pub? This is when it starts to get confusing. To help you decide on what to do, we have a quick guide on how to put together a bar appropriate outfit.

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What to Wear to a Bar for Men

In today’s day and age there’s a small gap between smart work wear and your everyday casual wear. Sometimes the best dressed in the pub is the smartest, and the coolest at work is the one that mixes everyday with work smartness. What you wear will always depend on the season, dictated by whether you need a jacket or more layers – the weather is that unpredictable annoyance that stops you from wearing certain things at certain times.

How to Dress at a Bar

So what should you be wearing to a bar? Realistically there’s no real limitation on what you should be throwing on. If you want to look smart, go for it. If you want to feel slightly more casual, whats stopping you? A polo or good fitting T-shirt will always look good without it looking like you’ve put in too much effort. But if you are heading there straight from the office, don’t waste valuable drinking time by going home and changing – you can easily adapt your work attire to fit the situation.

First of, if you’re a suit wearer then keep reading. If you’re a little bit more casual for work then we’ll get to you in a second. For you suits, as you’re already in a suit you need to embrace the smartness. It should be tailored to you anyway and look like it fits, so you’ll have no problem with sizing issues. If you plan on keeping the jacket on, have the buttons open so you can easily have one had in your trouser pocket and one firmly around your pint. One step further would be taking off your tie and unbuttoning the top buttons, you’ll feel comfortable and a lot more relaxed.

what to wear to a bar men
If you’re coming straight from the office, embrace the suit life
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man | Rob Crawford

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Men’s Bar Attire – The Casual Ones

So now we’re onto the casual lot. But when we say casual it doesn’t always mean you have to be super casual. Confused? Well, casual can look smart and believe it or not, girls like it when you put a bit of effort in. If you care about your appearance then it’ll get noticed and for all the right reasons. You don’t always have to be on top form but if you look good, the attention will just come naturally.

A shirt can still be considered casual, especially now when there are SO many on offer. Colours, buttons, extra features or varied collars – a shirt can have personality and it should reflect yours. If you’re always after something a bit different then go for something collarless. If you’re more of a traditional guy, keep it smart, but make sure it’s of a slim fit. You can wear your shirt with a pair of jeans to keep you in the casual section of dressing. Loafers or brogues will help keep up the smartness and always look better than a pair of trainers when you’re wearing a shirt.

smart casual bar outfit men
A shirt should always be paired with equally as smart shoes, no matter the trouser situation
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man | Rob Crawford

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What to Wear to a Lounge Bar

If you didn’t already know, a lounge bar is basically a bar or part of a pub that has more comfortable and smarter seating. A good place for a date, or a good place to try and get a date! It’s smarter than a pub but not quite a suited cocktail bar. With this in mind, what should you wear?

You want to feel and look relaxed so in this case, trainers can work. They’ll need to be clean and they need to be on the smarter end of the spectrum, so an all white or black pair is a good option. These can be paired with both casual trousers or a pair of jeans, because we know some of you are more trouser wearers than jeans 24/7. When it comes to jackets, like we said earlier, it’ll depend on the weather. Coach jackets are good for the Spring, leather’s good for Autumn, shearlings are good for the Winter and of course, when it hits Summer, you can probably leave the jacket at home.

what to wear to a bar casual men outfit
Lounge bar attire is slightly different to just heading to the pub
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man | Rob Crawford

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Night Out Outfit Ideas

If you’re planning a big night with the boys, you’ll obviously be wanting to dress to impress. You need an outfit that’ll look good from the start. Whether you’re kicking it off early or heading to the pub in the evening. You can shirt it or you could T-shirt and jumper it – it’ll mainly depend on what kind of place you’re off to. Polo shirts are a mix between smart and casual and are comfy enough to wear all evening. Long sleeve for the winter and short sleeve for the summer. If this isn’t a versatile piece then I don’t know what is.

Keep things slim fitted but comfortable – you’re gonna be out all night and if you’re planning on showing off your best moves, you need to be able to actually move. Drink spillages and sweat patches are also something to think about. Grey may look good, but if you’re prone to spillages, having a constant wet patch on your T-shirt will ruin any potential Instagram posts you plan on sharing.

For a boys night out, shoes may be a difficult thing to master. Some of your friends may always wear trainers, some may go for loafers and some may go for a smart pair of Chelsea boots. But first of all, you need to realise that some bars and clubs don’t let you in if you have trainers on, as they like to keep up a certain image. A safe option, and sometimes the best option, is a pair of smart shoes, but if you are going for trainers, clean, simple and neutral coloured should be on the checklist.

white trainers detail men
What shoes do you wear to a bar?
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man | Rob Crawford

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Best Bar Outfits

The best bar outfits are the ones that look effortless. There’s no need for you to have a specific set of men’s going out clothes because you can generally mix up the pieces you wear everyday. Yes, you may have a few shirts or polo’s that you find work well for a night out, but you don’t always have to keep it the same. Shirts, jumpers, T-shirts and overshirts – there’s so many options so you don’t have to be that guy that always seems to be in the same two or three outfits. Men’s bar shirts can vary, a classic white oxford shirt is a staple piece, but if you want something unique and with a little more personality, collarless or worn open over a T-shirt are good alternatives to try. You want to impress, so don’t just impress with your looks – impress with your style choices too.

What to Wear to a Bar

  • If you’re coming straight from the office, embrace the smartness. Open up your blazer, unbutton a few buttons and always make sure you have a drink in hand.
  • For something that’s casual, you can go for a polo or jumper and T-shirt combo. Jeans are suitable for this look, so you don’t have to worry about finding a good pair of trousers.
  • Shoes can be confusing. First check what kind of shoes the bar allows and then decide accordingly. Trainers if they’re clean and of a tonal colour, and if not, loafers are always a safe option.
  • Once you have a few options available and you know what works well, you can start to mix the pieces up so you have a different attire each time you head out for some drinks.
what to wear to a bar men
Dressing for a bar doesn’t have to always be super smart
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man | Rob Crawford

On That Note

When thinking about what to wear out to a bar, you want to strike a balance between casual and smart. No matter what the dress code or occasion is, there’ll always be something that’ll work. If you’re going to take away one thing from this, it would definitely need to be that smarter is always better because, it’s probably best to be overdressed than under dressed.

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