In class I remember my 老师 said there is a difference between 店 and 馆。 For example: 咖啡店 and 咖啡馆。In this context what is the difference?

6 Answers 6


There is difference between 店 and 馆. Actually, it is likely be the convention of Chinese expression.

茶馆: a place where you can drink tea.

茶店: a place where you can buy tea, usually called 茶叶店.


but 饭馆≠饭店,酒馆≠酒店

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(shop; store; commercial establishment) is undoubtedly a business

(1. public building for accommodation 2.public building for cultural activities 3.public building for certain services) may or may not be a business


I think your comment is right, although in my (admittedly) more colloquial Taiwanese-y Chinese, I would probably call it a 咖啡站 instead of a 咖啡館. However, a 店 is probably a store where you buy supplies related to the product.


Supplement to Tang Ho's answer: Note: Sometimes you can't tell the meaning of a word from a single character consisting that word. So the following explanation is applied to a character:

店:originally mean warehouse in ancient time, now expand to "place sell goods or service", for example: inn, shop, fair.

馆: Divided into two parts: left part is "餐", right part is "官". Guess it originally means an official place to provide meals and rest. Now it could be:

  1. accommodation for guests

  2. live, reside (verb. Classical Chinese)

  3. hotel

  4. house

  5. collection e.g. 馆藏

  6. restaurant e.g. 馆子


店: 1.商店,卖东西的铺子 杂货~|~铺|~员。

2.旅馆 住~|车马~|旅~。

馆: 1.供宾客、旅客居住的场所 宾~|旅~。

2.一个国家在另一个国家办理外交的人员办公的处所 大使~|领事~。

3.开展文化体育活动的场所 图书~|博物~|体育~|文化~。

4.某些服务行业店铺的名称 饭~|茶~|理发~|照相~。 The first translation of 店 sometimes has the same meaning of the last translation of 馆 and the second translation of 店 sometimes has the same translation of the first meaning of 馆。


i don't think there is a a difference. Technically, say 咖啡馆 is more oral, 咖啡店 is more literal.

  • Could it be one is literally a store you purchase coffee and related products and one is where you sit and enjoy like a cafe? Like 茶馆 or 茶店?
    – Josh Wyss
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 16:16

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