Who exactly pays the owners when there's a giant bar fight?

And when I say bar fight I mean those movie style bar fights where chairs are being smashed on people’s heads, pool cues are broken in half, people are being thrown out of windows.

Does the bars insurance cover all these damages? Does it also cover the time it would take to clean-up and restock the bars after all their stock was broken over someone else’s head? When the police come and arrest all the knocked out participants are they forced to pay the owner for damages, even if they were defending themselves (though they did have to kick someone onto a pool table that promptly collapsed just to defend themselves)

I don’t know specifically about bars, but I suspect it’s the same as most other insurance situations. That is, the various insurance companies wait for the court judgments, and then sue each other for the costs. That’s how it works with car accidents.

I don’t know about the USA but in the UK, it would be rare for a bar owner to go after the participants who caused the damage. Identifying the people who started the fight would be the first problem; then it is quite likely that they would have neither assets nor insurance, so actually getting any cash would be hard. Even if a perpetrator was caught in the act of torching the place it’s highly unlikely that the owners or their insurance would sue him for damages - he would, however, be prosecuted and find it very difficult to get insurance for his own property for a very long time.

Public places always carry insurance - public liability is required by law, and damage (with a fairly high excess) would also be covered. If fights were frequent, they would be closed down, or just go out of business anyway. That said, I know bars where the ‘glasses’ are plastic and the chairs/stools bolted to the floor.

They’re a movie thing. They don’t really happen as depicted to any significant degree.

The bar would have insurance but it’s unlikely that a few broken things because of a fight would be above deductible (excess). And fights where all the chairs and the pool table and all the stock is broken are a movie thing. In reality if you hit someone hard over the head with a chair, they will suffer serious head injuries but the chair won’t break. Bar furniture is heavy and solid. It’s not made out of balsa like in the movies. Same with pool tables.

Insurance might cover lost income where the bar is shut down due to damage. However, again, being shut for a few hours while the owner sources some chairs and stock would be below deductible, and IME such insurance isn’t common anyway.

And no, the police can’t make those (potentially) civilly liable for the damage pay. The police don’t deal with civil matters. The bar owner would have to sue individuals, and as others have said that is very unlikely to be worthwhile.

One thing to note is that movie bar fights (like just about everything else in movies) are not realistic. The chairs and bottles are special props that are made to break apart easily. In real life, chairs don’t usually break, but rather the person being hit breaks. Bottles will break, but usually only after the head being hit breaks. So bar fights probably don’t do as much damage to the tavern as you might think.

The main reason bars may have their chairs bolted down is to keep people from injuring each other, not to prevent damage to the chair.

At least in the U.S., the courts can usually order restitution as part of the criminal case. For example, the law in Kansas:

Movie props and fights:

Are the “glass” windows which shatter so nicely actually made of sugar?

I heard that 30+ years ago and never thought to check it out.

A bottle would be easy; a 6x8’ window would be a trick to both fabricate and install without shattering.

Anybody from a props department?

Seems that “sugar glass” isn’t very common for props anymore because it starts to deform not long after being molded, just from absorbing moisture out of the air. There’s some plastic resins out there that are used to make everything from bottles to windows, with the benefit that they can hold liquid too, which sugar glass can’t. Sometimes they even use actual glass, just as long as it’s tempered, so it shatters into little beads rather than a handful of razor-sharp guillotines. It can still cut you, as the edges are sharp, but because the pieces are so light they can’t do too much damage.