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The Bronze Countess

Artful Food, Tasteful Decoration

"Whether it's food, drink, or music that calls you to the Countess, you'll never be disappointed."
-Sigismund Dun
Nestled in between a series of taller buildings, The Bronze Countess hides behind a tiny refuge of trees and flower beds.  If you make your way down the stone path and up the steps, you find yourself in an austere entrance with cool stone floors and vivid red seating.  A host greets you from behind a desk and informs you of any availability for the restaurant.  Regulars often give a quick nod as they pass by and head straight for the bar where seating is less of a concern.   The air is constantly filled with the faint aroma of savory spices and the trilling hum of music, muted by stone.  Laughter pairs with the stoic art that covers the walls as hearty meals are served with refreshing drinks.  The Countess is a place of delicate balance, enough art to be flavorful but not enough to be tacky.  Fine foods in the same menu as simple stews and chowders that can be paired with delicate wines or gut-busting corn liquors.  It is a wonderful fine-dining experience.  It is drinking competitions.  The Bronze Countess welcomes all with a penchant for experience, and she will leave none wanting.

Purpose / Function

Originally built as an art gallery called Our Gilded Lady, the building proudly hosted artwork from all over Asuryon and beyond for 116 years until the gallery owners purchased a larger building closer to the center of the city.   Over the years, smaller galleries attempted to claim the space with limited to no success until it lay empty and abandoned.  Even as it gathered dust, it drew art and beauty as passing minstrels and starving artists called the space their home.  The stunning murals stayed intact by virtue of being out of reach, but the walls and accessories were victims of passionate redecoration for years until the original architecture was lost under layers of paint and wallpaper.   It was reclaimed by Nerein Gloomhallow, a former transient who saw the potential in the building.  He hired those living there, many of his old friends, to work on cleaning it up and restoring the original features to their former glory.  After months of labor, it was complete; every inch was sparkling and fully furnished.  With fires roaring and tables waiting, Nerein opened the doors to his new eatery.     The name The Bronze Countess was contrived because of the bronze statue that overlooks the entrance.  The likeness is not of any known figure, and no signature remains on the work, but the artists and musicians who stayed and performed inside its walls would pay homage to the 'Bronze Countess' and thank her for shelter and good company.     In homage to its roots, the restaurant features a central stage with plenty of space to perform for those who are eating.  After a time it has become understood that if you play for the restaurant, you play gentle instrumentals.  Across the way, in the tavern, it's not unheard of for a few intrepid bards to set up in the corner and play their more bawdy limericks for coin or a free drink.     Although not as decorated as a proper gallery, the walls of the Countess display pieces of local artists.  They are all for sale, and on constant rotation as new works come in and old ones find permanent homes.

Alterations

The Kitchen


The kitchen was remodeled from the old kiln room where pottery was made and repaired. The old clay firing ovens were removed, and using the same connections Nerein installed stoves and ovens. The central space where pieces were placed to cool became staging and preparation.  

The Bar


The bar area was converted from the Antiquities section, filled with warm woods like red oak lacquered against age to provide a comfortable atmosphere. The tables, chairs, and bar were created from the leftover lumber in the back from an unfinished art installation.  

The Dining Room


The Dining Room was the Main Gallery, and Nerein took advantage of the neat wooden floors to accent them with ornate tables and ornate chairs. The alcove was initially for Magnum Opus pieces but has since been converted to a stage for performers to fill the room with song.

Architecture

The stone brickwork is the same as the rest of the outer city, durable and practical. The building itself is built for practicality but it includes stylish colonnade, wrought designs, and statuettes reminiscent of the Beaux-Arts style.   The structural walls are built out of a light-gray quartzite mined from the distant quarries to the north bordering the Burning Lands. Each doorhead features a small carved face or pair of small statues. The outer walls include built-in pillars and gargoyles, with larger statues adorning the roof.   All of the doors are made of cedar to take advantage of its natural resistance to warping and moisture damage, and its fragrant aroma that is both pleasing to the senses and a natural insect repellant.

Defenses

Windows

Each window has internal wooden shutters that can be closed, locked, and barred.  These are closed every night and opened every morning by their respective crews.  

Doors

Each door is made of thick cedar planks reinforced with iron bands.  All external doors have locks and can be barred from the inside.

History

  • 895 - Founding as The Bronze Countess
  • 911 - "The Pudding Incident" causes The Countess to close for 4 weeks for clean-up and investigation.
  • 937 - Nerein replaced the tavern flooring and replaced it with stone tiling for easier mopping. Regular patrons staged a protest to bring back the red oak.
  • 977 - A group of arsonists attempted to burn the building down as part of a crime spree, but were thwarted by a handful of waitresses who were cleaning up after hours.
  • 1020 - Regular became the new owner after the founder retired.
  • 1021 - A workplace strike was called after Regular implemented a two-drink limit for employees.  After three days, workplace drinking returned to normal levels.

Tourism

People who visit The Basilica will inevitably make their way through to the eatery, whether for a quick drink or for a good meal.  Every day the building is stuffed to capacity, with plenty of people waiting in the main lobby or out in the garden for a chance to grab a seat.  Its nearby location to a a string of inns makes it the perfect place for stoppers-by to visit, and many traders, merchants, and mercenaries will include The Bronze Countess as part of their itinerary for their stay in the capital.

Hours of Operation:

 
Weekday Hours
Suneday 9 AM - 11 PM
Gonday 10 AM - 2 AM
Tormday 10 AM - 2 AM
Waukeenday 10 AM - 2 AM
Mielday 10 AM - 2 AM
Ilmday 10 AM - 2 AM
Lathanday 9 AM - 2 AM
Founding Date
895
Alternative Names
The Countess, The Bronze, The Gallery
Type
Pub / Tavern / Restaurant

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Menu

Food

Appetizers

Name Description Price
Fried Potato Wedges Potato wedges pan-fried in cottonseed oil. Served with a honey-based sauce. 4 sp, 7 cp
Cheese Platter A plate of various cheeses with crackers. 2 sp
Bread Bowl A bowl of freshly-baked white bread. Served with melted butter for dipping. 2 sp, 3 cp
Fried Onion Rings Onion rings pan-fried in lard. Served with a mustard sauce. 4 sp, 5 cp
Crammed Potato Skins A platter of potato skins crammed with a medley of sour cream and cheese. 4 sp, 2 cp
Crammed Lettuce Bowls A platter of lettuce bowls crammed with a medley of spices, bacon, and garlic. 5 sp, 6 cp
Fried Chicken Strips Chicken strips pan-fried in sunflower oil. Served with a tomato-based sauce. 4 sp, 2 cp
Loaded Baby Artichokes A platter of baby artichokes loaded with a mixture of cheese and cream cheese. 5 sp, 3 cp

Soups & Salads

Name Description Price
Scallop Chowder A savory chowder with scallops, noodles, and onions. 3 sp, 5 cp
Chicken Stew A rich stew with hearty chunks of chicken, assorted grains, celery, and peppers. 3 sp, 5 cp
Fish Stew A thick stew with chunks of fish, dumplings, and celery. 3 sp, 5 cp
Pork Chowder A rich chowder with small chunks of pork, assorted grains, and carrots. 3 sp, 6 cp
Fish Chowder A rich chowder with bits of fish, dumplings, and mushrooms. 3 sp, 6 cp
Lamb Chowder A savory chowder with cubes of lamb, assorted grains, and peppers. 3 sp, 6 cp
Grilled Chicken Salad Iceberg leaves with a cider vinegar dressing, tossed with cucumbers. Topped with grilled chicken. 3 sp, 4 cp
Blackened Rabbit Salad Iceberg leaves with orange dressing and tossed with red peppers, blackened rabbit, and slivered almonds. 3 sp, 4 cp
Roasted Rabbit Salad Leaves of romaine coated in an orange dressing, tossed with green peppers and roasted rabbit. 3 sp, 5 cp
Romaine Salad Leaves of romaine coated in an orange dressing and tossed with mustard greens. 3 sp
Roasted Ham Salad Leaves of iceberg coated in an orange dressing, tossed with baby artichokes and roasted ham. 3 sp, 4 cp
Grilled Rabbit and Red Lettuce Leaves of red lettuce with an orange dressing tossed with onions, baby kale, and grilled rabbit. 3 sp, 5 cp

Entrees

Name Description Price
Pan-fried Lamb Pan-fried cubes of lamb in white sauce served with quinoa and a helping of leeks. 6 sp, 9 cp
Roasted Frog Roasted strips of frog in a vodka sauce on a bed of mashed potatoes with a serving of red peppers. 6 sp, 9 cp
Rotisserie-cooked Chicken Rotisserie-cooked chicken with a ginger marinade served with pasta, peas, and cauliflower. 6 sp, 8 cp
Braised Frog Braised strips of frog in a thick gravy alongside mashed potatoes with a serving of chard. 7 sp, 1 cp
Herb-crusted Pork Herb-crusted pork in white sauce alongside mashed potatoes with a side of radishes. 6 sp, 9 cp
Grilled Frog Grilled frog in garlic sauce on a bed of pasta with a side of cabbage. 6 sp, 9 cp
Grilled Lamb Grilled lamb in a cream sauce on a bed of bread with a serving of cooked greens. 6 sp, 8 cp
Herb-crusted Venison Herb-crusted venison in a vodka sauce alongside mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, and stewed onions. 7 sp, 1 cp

Beverages

Wine List

Name Description Bottle Glass
Tiny Hawk Gewürztraminer A finely made white wine with a taste that is crisp, spicy, and dry. 7 gp, 9 sp 2 gp, 6 sp
Priceless Bow Pinot Noir An imported red wine with flavors that are buttery and earthy. 4 gp, 9 sp 1 gp, 6 sp
Gilded Reprieve Chardonnay A locally produced white wine with a taste that is green and flat. 2 gp, 7 sp 9 sp, 1 cp
Bloodstained Minotaur Shiraz A finely made red wine that is described as sweet, smokey, and mellow. 7 gp, 7 sp 2 gp, 5 sp
House Sauvignon Blanc A house-made white wine that is described as leathery and full. 1 gp, 6 sp 5 sp, 6 cp
Metal Thicket Chardonnay A finely made white wine with flavors that are buttery, earthy, and green. 7 gp, 8 sp 2 gp, 6 sp
Blade and Lantern Shiraz A finely made red wine with a bouquet that is expressive and toasty. 7 gp, 8 sp 2 gp, 6 sp
Steel Tiefling Cabernet Sauvignon An imported red wine that is described as deep and toasty. 4 gp, 9 sp 1 gp, 6 sp
Spotted Couatl Cabernet Sauvignon A locally produced red wine with a taste that is dry and spicy. 2 gp, 9 sp 9 sp, 8 cp

Lagers & Ales

Name Description Gallon Pint
House Pilsner 4.86% ABV A house-brewed dark amber pilsner. Pleasantly bitter pilsner with a pleasant finish. 5 sp, 4 cp 1 sp
House Porter 4.95% ABV A house-brewed copper-colored porter. A nutty porter with a sour finish. 5 sp 1 sp
House Lager 4.14% ABV A house-brewed light amber lager. A nutty lager with a sour finish. 5 sp, 3 cp 1 sp
Shocking Grasp Pilsner 4.68% ABV A house-brewed light brown pilsner. A refreshing pilsner with a hint of coffee and a sour finish. 5 sp, 8 cp 1 sp, 1 cp
Toasted Proudfoot Porter 5.77% ABV A house-brewed dark brown porter. A dry porter with an aftertaste of barley and a rich finish. 5 sp, 2 cp 1 sp
House Fruit Ale 4.14% ABV A house-brewed light amber fruit ale. A bitter fruit ale with a pleasant finish. 4 sp, 7 cp 9 cp
Bony Serpent Porter 7.27% ABV An imported brown porter. A crisp porter with a bitter finish. 6 sp, 8 cp 1 sp, 3 cp
Impatient Warlock Stout 7.23% ABV A locally brewed dark brown stout. A robust stout with a rough finish. 6 sp, 4 cp 1 sp, 2 cp
The Copper Dragon 4.68% ABV A locally brewed copper-colored ale. A full-bodied ale with a sweet finish. 5 sp, 5 cp 1 sp, 1 cp

Liquors

Name Description Bottle Shot
Rested Eagle Vodka A locally produced sugarbeet vodka. 2 gp, 4 sp 4 sp
Spotless Rose Vodka A cheap sorghum vodka. 1 gp, 4 sp 2 sp, 3 cp
Shattered Grape Whiskey A cheap corn whiskey. 1 gp, 4 sp 2 sp, 4 cp
Prone Couatl Rum An imported sugarcane rum. 3 gp, 4 sp 5 sp, 6 cp
Incapacitated Elf Brandy A cheap mulberry brandy. 1 gp, 5 sp 2 sp, 5 cp
Angry Goliath Whiskey An imported rye whiskey. 3 gp, 3 sp 5 sp, 6 cp
Hook and Shawm Vodka An imported sugarbeet vodka. 3 gp, 3 sp 5 sp, 5 cp
Holy Whale Vodka A locally produced sugarbeet vodka. 2 gp, 4 sp 4 sp
Crying Torch Vodka A cheap molasses vodka. 1 gp, 4 sp 2 sp, 3 cp


Cover image: The Bronze Countess by

Comments

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22 Mar, 2022 19:04

Wow! This is one extensive list of meals and beverages! And the map is very cute. I would like to know a little bit about the people working there though.

Check out my entry to the tavern challenge: Sweet Death
7 Apr, 2022 03:48

I think this is an excellent idea, it's definitely on my to-do list, I'll make sure to add it!

27 Mar, 2022 18:59

I really love the details of the menu and drinks that you provided and the layout of the tavern. I want to know more about the staff and patrons and I hope you will take a look at my tavern article as well!. But overall this article is good!

7 Apr, 2022 03:49

Thank you for the feedback! It's next on my list.

28 Mar, 2022 23:47

I like that this sounds almost like billing itself as "the artist's tavern". This is one of those taverns that make me wonder if there's a metric somewhere based on the odds of running into a Bard or a Rogue when you stop by.   ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Feel free to check out my Tavern Challenge article if you want to see what I am up to! The Black Hare Tavern