Belly Up to the Bar

What are the best taverns in fantasy? Where do you imagine yourself sipping a pint in rather unusual company? The genre is full of these joints, though most, sadly, go nameless. Of course, some of these you’d probably just as soon avoid, like a den of merriment in Arenjun’s Maul, in Zamora.

Some spring immediately to mind: Gavagans and Callahan’s, for example. Why limit ourselves to secondary worlds? What’s wrong with our own, shifted a degree or two in some unfathomable dimension? I wouldn’t mind stopping by McAnally’s pub for a glass or two.

Perhaps the popular choice (and for good reason) is the Prancing Pony, Barliman Butterbur, Prop. This is a place you’d be likely to hang out simply because it is pleasant and welcoming. I imagine it would take at least one visit to get used to the hobbits, constantly having to remind yourself that they are all, in fact, old enough to drink.

The Vulgar Unicorn is likely another popular choice, but I believe that’s mostly due to name recognition. Would you really want to drink there? Some of the patrons seem all right, but others, including the bartender missing a digit, are as likely to slit your throat as sit down and swap stories.

The Silver Eel might be a better bet, though I’d recommend sitting close to an exit, prepared to leave if events show sign of getting too interesting. But if danger doesn’t threaten, you might be in for an entertaining evening.

Morley Dote’s Joy House (or whatever name it’s doing business as at the moment) is another possibility. The neighborhood might be a bit iffy at times, but inside you’re relatively safe. You might want to eat first, however, unless you’re content with vegetarian cuisine.

The list goes on. Giacomo’s Wine Shop is one of my contributions, playing a role in the Cesar the Bravo stories (and novel in progress.) Not that I’d want to go there. The place is a dingy dive. The point is, fictional taverns could make up a sizable town of their own. (Wouldn’t that be a sight?) What’s your favorite fantasy watering hole?