How can pubs make money? What is the best pay/fee ratio? Are they even supposed to make money? Should I just look at it like a clinic or church as a money losing thing that keeps people happy?
There is no such thing as a pay/fee ratio because these buildings are not intended to "make" money. Citizens have a need
for entertainment - the player fails to provide for satisfying this need at his peril. He does have options that range from making entertainment free to trying to make several buildings break even in total.
Very briefly, the primary tourist income comes from "accommodations" (hotels, etc.) rather than the "attractions." The objective for attractions is to increase tourist happiness by having the full range of kinds (sightseeing, relaxing, etc.) available even if they just break even or lose money individually. Take note of the service quality of each of the buildings. Also note the options exclude the lower classes.
The idea is to send the tourists home as happy as possible while making money from the accommodations and having the attractions as a group break even.There's lots of bad information in this thread.
I just don't feel like sorting it out to correct it.