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What is Bar or Tavern-style Pizza?

There are innumerable bars in the world and many of them serve pizza, the greatest drinking food known to man. Does that mean that any pizza served in a bar is a bar pizza? Well, not exactly.

The term “bar pizza” typically describes a specific style of pie that is not specific to one particular region of the United States. No matter where you live, odds are there’s a bar-style pizza available near you.

It’s time to belly up to the bar and learn about the finer points of this delicious thin-crust pie.

How is a bar pizza made?

The defining characteristic of the bar pizza is its extremely thin crust. The crust is noticeably thinner than the standard New York-style pie, but slightly thicker than that of a Chicago-style thin crust pizza and not as crackly.

The bar pie’s crust is unique in that it is crispy and chewy at the same time. It doesn’t seem possible for a crust this thin to contain multiple layers of texture, but somehow it does. The very bottom of the crust is crispy thanks to its direct contact with the baking pan. But, on the whole, the bread is pliable, allowing it be folded just like a New York slice.    

There’s more room for beer when there’s less dough in the pie, which explains why this pizza is a popular menu item at pubs.  

What goes on top of a bar pizza?

The makeup of a bar pizza will vary from place to place, and some pizzerias have elevated the genre with gourmet toppings. But, generally speaking, bar pies tend to keep it simple with shredded mozzarella and a tangy thin tomato sauce.

The mushrooms are sometimes canned and the pepperoni is probably of the standard-issue commercial variety, but they both work excellently here and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

How big is a bar pizza?

Bar pies are usually on the smaller side at about 10-12 inches in diameter. If you usually go halfsies on a 16-18 inch New York-style pie with your dining partner, then you may want to get a bar pie all to yourself.

Where’d the outer crust go?

Many bar pies – like the ones served at New Jersey’s famed Star Tavern – have the toppings spread out all the way to the edges, meaning that you’ll have sauce and cheese in every bite. So, while the bar pie is smaller than most other styles, you’re not getting skimped on the good stuff.

Thin is in.

Pizzaiolos in Boston, New Jersey, and other parts of the world lay claim to the bar pie, but it’s origins remain in dispute. We don’t know where the bar pizza was invented, but we’re grateful that it is not exclusive to just one city or state.

Download the Slice app today to find a bar pie for delivery or pickup near you.