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De Mi mundo adorado por Sonia Sotomayor:

En esencia, era un bar para estudiantes graduados en el que se vendían los tragos más baratos de New Haven. Como vicepresidenta de operacíones, él me contrató para trabajar en la puerta, recibiendo los boletos y comprobando las identificaciones.Yo hubiese preferido trabajar en la barra, que pagaba mejor, pero era muy buena en el área de seguridad.

Why is the bar first referred to in the masculine and then later in the feminine?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

"El bar" is the business, the place from the door to the toilets.

"La barra" is the desk where the waiter works.

The first one is a copy from the english "bar" with the meaning of "pub". The second one is the translation of the english "bar" with the meaning of, well, a bar inside a pub.

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My best guess is that

el bar refers to the actual building, the establishment,

while la barra refers to the actual bar, the big wooden table the customers hover over while they drink and order more drinks.

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