If, at ten o'clock in the morning, an Italian invites you to go to the bar, do not think you are being invited to start an early pub crawl! Although identical to the word we use in English to denote a place selling alcohol, the Italian bar has completely different connotations. The Bar is the place to go for your breakfast coffee and pastry, for a sandwich (panino) at lunchtime, a post-lunch espresso, a ponce, or for a pre-lunch or pre-dinner aperitivo, which can be alcoholic or not, accompanied by a variety of savoury bar snacks. Locals will usually have their coffee or drink standing up at the bar, although the café culture with tables and chairs is more common now. In larger bars/cafés, if you are served at a table, you may be expected to pay an extra service charge.
Italian bars are child friendly and you can have anything from coffee to beer or brandy at any time of the day, although most bars close at about 8pm, before dinner, unless they are near a cinema or theatre. Some bars may stay open late when there is a special event on, like the Effetto Venezia festival in July/August.