A bar is an establishment in the Grand Theft Auto series that allows the player to drink with friends as a social activity. While bars have been commonly included as part of street scenery in the GTA series, it is only in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto IV where bars are interactive.
The function of bars may occasionally interchange with nightclubs, but is still primarily associated with the simple act of drinking.
GTA San Andreas
In GTA San Andreas, there is a total of four bars scattered all over San Andreas:
Misty's in San Fierro;
The Craw Bar in Las Venturas; and
All four bars feature interiors (complete with a bar counter and tables and chairs), although only three of them (Ten Green Bottles, Misty's and The Craw Bar) share the same interior. In these bars, the interior is more expansive, with plenty of room to move around; the bars are also equipped with two pool table and two arcade machines, which offer two games, "Go Go Space Monkey" and "Let's Get Ready to Bumble". The interior of the bars also feature wall paintings of a Ceberus from Manhunt and flooring littered with garbage such as paper,and discarded cigarette boxes. Lil' Probe'Inn contains a unique but smaller interior that only contains one interactive object, a pool table, although the bar does feature a backroom containing other curiosities.
The bar's main use is primarily as a place to bring girlfriends to during dates, being clumped together with restaurants as a place to eat or drink. As is with low-end or high-end restaurants, each girlfriend has a preference or disliking towards bars. Like restaurants, cutscenes will be played when the player enter a bar with a girlfriend, indicating whether or not the girlfriend is having a good time.
In GTA IV, Liberty City boasts a total of five bars, all located in East Island (Broker and Dukes) and Algonquin:
Jerkov's in Hatton Gardens, Algonquin
Lucky Winkles in Purgatory, Algonquin
While fashioned like a bar, Homebrew Café in Beechwood City, Broker is more for use as a pool venue. Darts can also be played at Steinway Beer Garden and Lucky Winkles, but is only available before players choose to drink at a bar.
The bars are exclusively part of one activity with friends or girlfriends, drinking. Like other activities, each friend or girlfriend has preferences towards each bar, favoring the player bringing them to a certain bar they like, and disapproving of another that they do not like. The choice of bars the player goes to will affect the player's relationship with their friends. Players choose to drink at a bar by stopping at a marker in front of the bar; for Steinway Beer Garden and Lucky Winkles, players who want to play darts instead must avoid the marker and enter the bar from the front door.
Another side effect of visits to the bar is drunkenness. Each time both the player and his companion leave a bar, they stagger in a drunken state, and may occasionally trip and fall (injuring themselves a little as a result); in addition, the camera sways about to simulate a sense of drunkenness. These side effects will persist for several in-game minutes until the player (and his companion) finally sober up. Players can also drive while drunk but must contend with more sensitive steering and the same swaying camera view; in addition, players may gain police attention for drunk driving, and attain a 1-to-2 star wanted level. Alternately, players may hail for a taxi ride instead, saving them the effort of having to drive drunk or wait to become sober. Players are also unable to use their phone while drunk on foot.
The Ballad of Gay Tony integrates drinks at bars in its two nightclubs, consisting of the simple option of drinking shots of heavy liquor repeatedly. The more shots are taken, the more drunk the player is, eventually leading to the player blacking out and waking up at any one of several specific points in the city.