Horror Café Building / Landmark in Symbols of Power | World Anvil

Horror Café

"Nancy doesn't care who goes to her "café". It's a den of debauchery, violence and indecency"
— Ethel of Spire, elitist Thaurian
  Close, but not all that conveniently so to the port of the City of Birdland, the Horror Café sits comfortably as the most popular tavern in the Kingdom of Thaur's capital.   A small set of rooms and sleeping quarters on the first floor would classify it as an inn, but this characteristic is mostly overlooked by the vast array of customers that transit the place:
The café has a fame for reuniting people from any social status, and for being open to those usually considered violent, dangerous or otherwise undesirable, that nonetheless keep their manners and the place's peace while in and around the building, to the point that some consider the whole area around it safer than its surroundings.   This unusual and even ominous peace is cultivated by Nancy, the owner of the establishment, a stern, fearsome woman that welcomes anyone, but will quickly and without scruples or distinction punish or banish anyone who dares threaten the peace and environment of the place.   This ferocious attitude gained her some enemies, but also an impressive level of respect and loyalty from her regulars, especially the port's workers, who are grateful to be able to have a moment of relaxation and unwinding.
The codes of the place generated such a feedback loop that even known rivals and sworn enemies leave their opinions outside to respectfully ignore each other while inside, and band together if Nancy happens to be in need of an extra hand to deal with a rowdy patron.  

The Services

The Horror Café provides both workday and nightly services, with an ample catalogue of refreshing, energizing, inebriating or psychedelic drinks, as well as a small variety of dishes.   The employees claim the favourite item to be the drink they call God's Booster, a mix of the seed of gods beverage toasted into coffee and the flower of seeker of pride.
The extremely bitter mix combines the stimulant effect of coffee with the ego-boosting effect of the seeker's flower, making it a favourite of the docks' workers to help with the day. Consuming it in large quantities, though, almost ensures an unpleasant latrine time.   The place also offers a limited amount of beds on their upper floor, mostly used by patrons who become too inebriated to go back home for the night.

The People

The Horror Café is run by its owner, Nancy, alongside three employees of her closest trust.
These four people cover all of the chores from bartending to cleaning, including the careful tending of the garden of spices, and each of the employees has a bed ready in the private area of the building in case they prefer or need to stay the night.   Nancy's sister Rake, the percussion player from The Deep-Throated Auralists, has ocassionally played as the support of one or two singers on the infrequent musical shows that the tavern held in the past.

The Building

The Horror Café is a tall, two-storey wooden building with a stone base that reaches around one meter tall, and contrasts other buildings in the area as it is much bigger and better built.
The ground floor uses less than half of its space on the actual café. At the side of the bar, a small archway leads to a hallway that connects the bar with the kitchen and a space that serves as Nancy's house and then continues further to lead to a back square shaped patio with terracotta coloured floors at the centre, surrounded by a gallery with slightly elevated white floors, the area used by the Horror Circle.
Right next to it, a carefully manicured garden is used to grow some of the spices and psychoactives for the tavern.   The first floor is divided in two: The front half, connected to the tavern, has a small arrangement of beds for the patrons, and the back, connected to Nancy's house, is divided between a deposit and some extra beds for the employees.  

The Horror Circle

While originally supposed to be secret, anyone that had frequented the Horror Café has seen the quirky figures walk swiftly through the back hallway enough to at least wonder about the activities occurring behind scenes.
And it is that, with the passing of the years, the Horror Circle became laxer in their secrecy.   Nancy has a soft spot in her heart for art and philosophy, and for at least two decades has been offering the squared patio at the back of her property as the headquarters of a cliqué of artists, bohemians and philosophers that reunite there to create, practice and discuss all sorts of topics.
  The Horror Circle has seen many famed artists from kinds as varied as cartographers, writers and musicians, having seen the birth of musical groups, academic partnerships and a couple of romances.   Since the rise of the Kingdom of Thaur, the Circle also became a sort of haven for people that mistrust the king and condemn the reasonings behind his rise to power.
Alternative Names
Nancy's café, Horror tavern
Pub / Tavern / Restaurant
Parent Location
Characters in Location

Why "Horror"?

"It's a fine subject of art"
Says Nancy when interrogated, without leaving much space for argument.   The concept is at least represented in the tavern's shield, containing a stylized dariga, the frequent protagonists of sailor's horror tales.
The Horror Café


Nancy's love for art is reflected on the walls of the entire building. Paintings, tapestries and full bookshelves display works of art sometimes proudly authored by her "Horribles".   In the past, she used to also host entire musical performances, but in recent years the complexities of arranging them made them slowly be replaced with competitive sung duels between the patrons, while the musical shows became smaller and less frequent.

Cover image: Banner for Thaur by Naelin


Author's Notes

This article answers 's 400 Worldbuilding Prompts prompt N°022:
"Which is the rowdiest bar in a town in your world known for its wholesome patrons? What kind of people go there and what's the locals' favourite drink?"
You can check my progress here!

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Mar 8, 2022 14:19

Interesting. I always like a tavern where everyone checks their tongue at the door since whatever beef they have with the NPC at the bar is not worth the whole cow the owner will have if something kicks up.   ------   Feel free to check out my Tavern Challenge article if you want to see what I am up to! The Black Hare Tavern

Mar 9, 2022 09:16

Fantastic read! I love how Nancy has managed to create such an impressive reputation that even the worst enemies won't stir up trouble. Sounds truly like a safe haven for everyone involved.   Keep up the good work! :D

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Mar 12, 2022 20:56 by TJ Trewin

I am fond of "an unpleasant latrine time." xD   ... no wait, that came out wrong

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Mar 12, 2022 20:57

I think that things coming out wrong is the core concept around having an unpleasant latrine time

Mar 13, 2022 12:12 by Simo

I don't know if it's finished, if it's not it's coming along beautifully. I continue to want to be Nancy in my next life and you gave me some ideas about what's missing in my submitted article too. I guess with Nile being a regular some frolicking is bound to happen, but are we going to have any gossip about the romances born there, in the future? ;)

Mar 19, 2022 20:29

Ohh I should. I definitely should.   (There is a thing in the inkwell with Nile in it -- of the Blue Anvil sort)

Mar 19, 2022 20:41 by Simo

I'll be waiting patiently...

Mar 13, 2022 20:25 by Mochi

I would LOVE to visit here! If the garden is open to guests, I'd be there constantly xD

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Mar 13, 2022 23:49 by Morgan Biscup

I love Nancy more and more. Also, I would absolutely love to come here.

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Mar 14, 2022 18:14 by Dani

NANCY! <3 I do love that she's got so much adored notoriety that even conflicting sides of the rabble will band together to stop others from screwing up the place. You've done such a great job with this tavern and I continue to admire your excellent map builds and immersive settings! :D

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Sep 7, 2022 16:54

I would be absolutely terrified to met anyone like her hahahaha Thank you Dani <3

Mar 17, 2022 20:25 by rugrat0ne

I like it, nothing fancy but with interesting details. I wouldn't mind a tooltip explaining "god's beverage" (or gods' beverage?) and "seeker of pride" for those unfamiliar with the world. It does need another proofreading run, but other than that it looks good!

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Mar 19, 2022 19:36

What an interesting constellation, a rowdy bar with a semi-secret circle of artists. I love it! What I felt when reading, was that Nancy seems like the kind of woman with both powerful friends and powerful enemies - has there been some notable drama in the tavern, any trouble that hangs over her?

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Mar 24, 2022 04:06 by George Sanders

I like the contrast of the rowdiest bar and wholesome patrons and that you carry that through many things - horror circle but really is just a group of talented individuals, the stern peace kept by Nancy, etc.

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