To most people ‘the bar’ is a place to hang out with friends, but to a lawyer it is the pivotal test that allows you to practice law. Is there a connection between these seemingly unrelated things? Yes! To bar someone is to ban someone from something. If you are barred from coming within 20 feet of your ex you are restricted from that area. A tavern or “a bar” always has a tall counter (where the bar tender stands) banning the public from snagging expensive liquor off the shelf. This is a very practical application of the word. The bar exam has a more metaphorical meaning. In a courtroom there is a wall separating the acting members of the trial (the judge, the lawyers, etc.) from the public. You have seen it on Judge Judy. It’s the low wall with the awkward swinging door. This ‘bar’ became used for the name of the test that qualifies you to practice law. It was what stood between being a part of the public and being part of the court.