Can you buy and drink a beer (such as Miller or Budweiser) at a bar owned by non-Jews?


3 Answers 3


According to the Shulchan Aruch (YD 114:1) it is forbidden to drink beer in the same place as non-Jews do, i.e. bars. This is not a kashrus concern, but rather is forbidden out of concern that Jews will come to socialize overly much with non-Jews and come to eat with them. The Rama there writes that the custom in ashkenaz was to be lenient on honey and wheat based alcoholic drinks. However, barley based alcoholic drinks (such as beer) remain forbidden. (The Shach understands the Rama to be permitting barley as well. The Gra and the Peri Chadash there both reject the Rama's leniency.)

With regards to other hard liquor, there is a difference of opinion. Some achronim (Aruch Hashulchan 114:11 among others) say that drinks like rum and cognac are permitted to drink at bars because they are very expensive and were not a part of the original decree not to drink. However, in our times this might be a difficult case to make considering that these drinks are very commonly consumed in bars (see SHU"T shevet halevi 2:43).

Some authorities (chochmas adam, pischei teshuva ibid.) actually assume that this decree includes drinking tea and coffee in coffee shops with non-Jews because the same issue of socialization is a concern. There are some poskim today that actually reccommend not drinking in Starbucks because of this. However, many are lenient on this point (particularly if the leniency is utilized occasionally).

However, it should be noted that all of the issues above are not applicable if you take the beer out of the bar and drink it elsewhere (see Shulchan Aruch ibid).

  • 4
    Rum is a sugarcane product and less of a kosher issue. Cognac is a form of brandy, a wine derivative, and thus is absolutely not kosher unless supervised!
    – Shalom
    Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 14:14
  • 1
    Clarification: cognac absolutely needs a kosher certification. A few major brands of rum are okay without certification; see for instance star-k.com/cons-appr-liquor.htm
    – Shalom
    Commented Jul 23, 2010 at 11:56
  • The issue with social drinking is intermarriage, not inter-eating.
    – yitznewton
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 17:35
  • 2
    The following comment is from an attempted edit, which I think is invalid, but which makes a point I want to record for posterity: Comment: Based on Rabbi David Yosef Shlit"a (on a shiur given today in Argentina). His stand is that the issur is also with coffee. Unclear about water and other non-alcoholic drinks
    – Seth J
    Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 18:40
  • 1
    The Rema does argue: ויש מתירין בשכר של דבר ותבואה וכן נוהגין להקל במדינות אלו.
    – wfb
    Commented Aug 22, 2013 at 2:57

As most kosher agencies will tell you, any plain, unflavored, domestic beer poses no kosher problems. The ingredients are straightforward and all kosher, bishul akum isn't an issue (that's another topic), and the prohibition on non-Jewish wine was only on grape products.

As discussed elsewhere, you are allowed to use a clean non-kosher cup for cold food (but not to use the same non-kosher cup on a regular basis). So the bar's glassware is fine, assuming it's clean.

The Gemara had discussed a separate prohibition of socializing with non-Jews over alcoholic beverages; there's much discussion as to what happened to this prohibition (or in what context it applies). Ask your rabbi about this, as well as whether barhopping is a good idea spiritually in general.

  • 4
    The Shulchan Aruch says it is Assur to drink because of Socializing. What do you mean by "what happened to this prohibition" Do you mean there are legitimate positions that hold it is Mutar to drink the beer at the bar?
    – RCW
    Commented Jul 23, 2010 at 0:45
  • 7
    @RCW The Shach is a legitimate position.
    – user1095
    Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 8:53

Eastern European Jews had a history during the 17th through 19th centuries for making a living out of being inn keepers and the trasportation of alcohol. Inn keepers made sense since they provided a temporary home to the numerous Jewish merchants traveling about. But what is less known, many of the inns also ran the local bar where non-Jewish militia would come to socialize. Since Jewish literature is full of stories concerning the huge numbers of Yidden inscribed in the various armies it would stand to reason that many of the Jewish merchants and soldiers joined the Gentiles while drinking at the inns. Could the difference be that the inn's were owned bt Jews and the bars in the original poster's question concerned non-Jewish ownership. If the concept is not to eat at each others tables because food and drink will lead to merryment, friendship and ultimately inter-marriage and assimilation, I wonder if there are any sources forbidding Jews from owning bars.

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