Coffeehouse, coffee shop, and café are related terms for an establishment which primarily serves prepared coffee or other hot beverages. It shares some of the same characteristics of a bar or restaurant, but it is different from a cafeteria. As the name suggests, coffeehouses focus on providing coffee and tea as well as light snacks. Many coffee houses in the Middle East, and in West Asian immigrant districts in the Western world, offer shisha (nargile in Turkish and Greek), flavored tobacco smoked through a hookah. Espresso bars are a type of coffeehouse that specialize in serving espresso and espresso-based drinks.
From a cultural standpoint, coffeehouses largely serve as centers of social interaction: the coffeehouse provides social members with a place to congregate, talk, write, read, entertain one another, or pass the time, whether individually or in small groups of two or three people. A coffeehouse serves as an informal club for its regular members.
A sidewalk cafe (sometimes called a pavement cafe, or patio) is an outdoor part of a coffeehouse or cafe. This is an area where customers go to relax, dine, and socialize. Other activities at a sidewalk cafe might include studying, reading, or using, if it is available, the cafe's internet access.