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What are some facts about the history of taverns?

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Quick Answer

Taverns gained popularity during the colonial times, when provided both food and lodging. These establishments had a tapster or a person who served alcoholic drinks placed inside a cage instead of at a long bar. Taverns served every member of the community, including children and women.

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Full Answer

During the colonial era, taverns, which were mostly known as "ordinaries," were constructed throughout New England. Taverns served as influential institutions where the community gathered and new settlements developed. They were used as trading posts, convenience stores, courtrooms, religious meeting areas and post offices. County officials supervised taverns to maintain peace, minimize drunken behavior and establish the roles of tavern keepers. The establishments' original structure was in the form of a log cabin that usually had an upper level for bedrooms.

The Fraunces Tavern is considered as one of the most famous taverns in the United States. Located at the corner of Broad and Pearl streets in Manhattan, New York, the Fraunces Tavern was originally constructed as a residence in the early 1700s. Several historical events occurred at this tavern, including plots by the Sons of Liberty and merchants' meetings regarding taxes post-1763. A particular highlight of its history occurred when then-General George Washington said his goodbyes to his family and officers inside the tavern's Long Room.

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