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Alcohol, bars, and innovation have a storied relationship. While alcohol was a prominent fixture in Colonial life, oftentimes the location where one consumed said alcohol was equally as relevant.

Thinking (and Drinking) with Hamilton: Tavern Culture and the American Revolution

Rather, they served as a venue to meet like-minded individuals, and functioned as clearinghouses and test beds of revolutionary ideas. As the colonies took shape, taverns became central locations for several aspects of colonial life. According to the U. Postal Service , early colonists adopted a practice used frequently in Europe and established taverns as a place to collect and distribute mail sent from overseas. In taverns across the colonies, literate patriots drank and read the news of the day aloud to their fellow revelers, thereby stoking revolutionary fervor.

The range and quality of pubs varies wildly throughout the UK as does the range of beers, wines, spirits and foods available. Most quality pubs will still serve cask ales and food. In recent years there has been a move towards "gastro" pubs where the food is of better quality. Originally, taverns served as rest stops about every fifteen miles and their main focus was to provide shelter to anyone who was traveling. Such taverns would be divided into two major parts — the sleeping quarters and the bar.

There is generally a sign with some type of symbol, often related to the name of the premises, to draw in customers.

Taverns and Drinking in Early America by Ms. Sharon V Salinger - from allianz and

The purpose of this is to indicate that the establishment sells alcohol and to set it apart from the competition. Reformers who denounced the terrible effects of heavy consumption of alcohol on public disorder, health, and quality of work, made periodic attempts to control it in Mexico City in the late 18th century and early 19th century.

The taverns played an important social and recreational role in the lives of the poor. Tax revenues from alcohol were important to the government. These factors, added to lax enforcement of the laws, resulted in the failure of tavern reform. Colonial Americans drank a variety of distilled spirits. As the supply of distilled spirits, especially rum, increased and the price dropped, they became the drink of choice throughout the colonies.

Benjamin Franklin printed a " Drinker's Dictionary " in his Pennsylvania Gazette in , listing some slang terms used for drunkenness in Philadelphia.

The sheer volume of hard liquor consumption fell off, but the brewing of beer increased and men developed customs and traditions based on how to behave at the tavern. By , the 26 million American men over age 18 patronized , licensed taverns and probably 50, unlicensed illegal ones, or one per hundred men. They served mostly beer; bottles were available but most drinkers went to the taverns.

Probably half the American men avoided saloons , so the average consumption for actual patrons was about a half- gallon of beer per day, six days a week. In , the city of Boston with about , adult men counted , daily saloon customers. Taverns in the colonies closely followed the ordinaries of the mother country.

History of Bars and Taverns

Taverns, along with inns, at first were mostly known as ordinaries , which were constructed throughout most of New England. Taverns here though served many purposes such as courtrooms, religious meetings, trading posts, inns, post offices, and convenience stores. The ones in the South that are closer to the frontier were used as inns and trading post from those who were headed into the unknown lands to settle. With these profits came progress, improving their new homeland with the use of taverns as well as breweries. The ground floor was the floor the public could use where the upper level floor was the bedrooms and somewhat removed from the public.

Larger taverns provided rooms for travelers, especially in county seats that housed the county court. Upscale taverns had a lounge with a huge fireplace, a bar at one side, plenty of benches and chairs, and several dining tables.

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The best houses had a separate parlor for ladies, an affable landlord, good cooking, soft, roomy beds, fires in all rooms in cold weather, and warming pans used on the beds at night. In the backwoods, the taverns were wretched hovels, dirty with vermin for company; even so they were more pleasant and safer for the stranger than camping by the roadside. Even on main highways such as the Boston Post Road, travelers routinely reported the taverns had bad food, hard beds, scanty blankets, inadequate heat, and poor service.

One Sunday in , General George Washington , was touring Connecticut; discovering that the locals discouraged travel on the Sabbath, he spent the day at Perkins Tavern, "which by the way is not a good one.

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Taverns were essential for colonial Americans, especially in the South where it was mostly rural. In the taverns the colonists learned current crop prices, arranged trades, heard newspapers read aloud, and discovered business opportunities and the latest betting odds on the upcoming horse races. For most rural Americans the tavern was the chief link to the greater world, playing a role much like the city marketplace in Europe and Latin America.

Taverns absorbed leisure hours and games were provided—always decks of cards, perhaps a billiards table. Horse races often began and ended at taverns, as did militia-training exercises. Cockfights were common. At upscale taverns the gentry had private rooms or even organized a club. When politics was in season, or the county court was meeting, political talk filled the taverns.

Taverns served multiple functions on the Southern colonial frontier. Society in Rowan County, North Carolina, was divided along lines of ethnicity, gender, race, and class, but in taverns the boundaries often overlapped, as diverse groups were brought together at nearby tables. Consumerism in the backcountry was limited not by ideology or culture but by distance from markets and poor transportation.

The increasing variety of drinks served and the development of clubs indicates that genteel culture spread rapidly from London to the periphery of the English world. In the colonial era, in certain areas, up to 40 percent of taverns were operated by women [16] [17] —especially widows. Local magistrates—who had to award a license before a tavern could operate—preferred widows who knew the business and might otherwise be impoverished and become a charge to the county.

In some instances women and children were welcome in taverns but it was mostly a place reserved for men.

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If women were found in a tavern they were typically considered prostitutes. Women would come into taverns to look for their husbands, or they would come with their fathers or brothers; other than that women were not allowed. The public held standards like keeping an orderly house, selling at prices that were the same as what the law said, and not slandering other tavern keepers, resulting in bad reputations. In rural communities the tavern was a very important public space. The tavern offered the community not only a place to meet, but also a place to conduct business.

The tavern also acted as an improptu court house where rules could be made and disputes could be settled. From to , the Mosby Tavern was the courthouse , jail , and militia rendezvous for Cumberland County, Virginia and later for Powhatan County, Virginia. The last time Congress met at a tavern it was at Fraunces Tavern. The Tun Tavern in Philadelphia is regarded as the place where the U.

Marines were first recruited. Neither place still exists. A reconstruction of City Tavern in Philadelphia is still in operation. Many were also the local post office and or the polling place. Old Kelley's Tavern in New Hampshire is a multifunctional tavern. Colonel William B.

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The mail came and went from his home. The Hanover Tavern in Hanover County, Virginia is another tavern which also operated as the post office. The General Wayne Inn in Lower Merion Pennsylvania also served as a post office from to and was also the polling place in The oldest tavern is a distinction claimed by numerous establishments. Some establishments clarify their claims with oldest continuously operating tavern, oldest family-owned tavern, oldest drinking establishment, or oldest licensed; there are many ways to distinguish the oldest tavern.

The first tavern in Boston, Massachusetts was a Puritan ordinary , opened on March 4, The Blue Anchor, the first drinking establishment at Front and Dock Streets in Philadelphia , began operation in Before and during the Revolutionary War, taverns in colonial America became important intersections of oral and print culture. Broadsides, pamphlets, and newspapers were posted there, read aloud, and discussed by individuals on all sides of the conflict.

Step back in time to a s tavern in Colonial America. Peruse broadsides and newspapers from the era by lantern-light and play period games, while enjoying snacks, ale, and cider, generously provided by Lakeshore Beverage. Download a PDF flyer for this program to post and distribute, and a research guide to Hamilton materials at the Newberry.