The Black Hare Tavern
A watering hole that some say is almost as old as the city itself. Few, if any, establishment are able to rack up as many years as the Black Hare without a story or two to tell. Sure enough, the Hare's history has had its share of colorful, if at times checkered, splashes.
Purpose / Function
Just what it says on the sign. The Black Hare is a tavern and inn for those wanting a cool pint or a bed for the night. It just happens to have a couple extra businesses below the surface.
Arthur Stilcrique: Owner of the Black Hare. He operated the tavern and it's side business during the smuggling heyday of the town. After local authorities began cracking down on smugglers, Arthur repurposed the tavern's second cellar into a secret tavern. Using the skills and contacts he built during his smuggling days, he managed to hire magical entertainment, discreetly advertise the Burrow, and deflect unwelcomed inquiries into the under-tavern's cliental. Cassandra: A Water Dancer and main entertainer for the Burrow. Devan: The rear doorman for the tavern. Devan is in charge of screening and escorting visitors to the Burrow. This includes making sure said visitors keep their hands to themselves while passing through the Hare's cellar. Himiko: One of the barmaids of the Burrow and the only Elf working at the tavern. Despite the secrecy around the Burrow, Himi finds the mage patrons more accepting of an Elf tending the bar than other establishments she'd applied to. Sadly, that is not to say she's free from dealing with the biases against Kyamese. Toliver: The other bartender for the Burrow. Unofficially, his duties include running interference between Himiko and less-than-accepting patrons of the tavern. Luckily, his efforts are helped by the fact that Himi rarely escalates things should an incident occur along with drunken bigots not typically endearing themselves to the other drinkers.
Over the decades, the Black Hare has grown a bit beyond the original small tavern and inn it started as. The first and most obvious alteration was the acquiring of what would become the tavern's storehouse and brewery, giving the Hare some much needed additional storage space along with crafting its own beverages. Not long after the acquisition, the cellars of both the main building and the storehouse were connected by secret tunnel, thus allowing for more... discrete storing of goods. Eventually, the cellar beneath the storehouse was converted into a second tavern space that would become known as The Burrow. The conversion process involved deepening the cellar so as to better accommodate both a drinking space as well as a stage for entertainers. Insulation from the Artificer's Guild was installed to conceal whatever ruckus the entertainment and their audience are making. The insulation also helps keep out the sounds of the business and brewing being done above ground.
The Black Hare is made up of two buildings: the main that serves as the tavern and inn and the second that houses its brewery and additional storage. The main building also has a cellar used for storing its food and drink... along with a passage few patrons are privy to. Through the passage, patrons find themselves in the cellar of the brewery, where the Burrow resides.
Map by JAWest13 (me)
While operating a pro-mage tavern isn't illegal (any housing of smuggled goods on the premises is another story), it's also something few if any would wish to advertise given the ardent prejudices that can be found amongst the followers of Sone. For that reason, secrecy is first and foremost the Burrow's main line of defense. Said secrecy is maintained by patrons entering via the Black Hare (the building opposite from the one above the Burrow) and the underground tunnel that connects the tavern to the under-tavern. Further detection avoidance comes from insulation lining the ceiling of the under-tavern to keep whatever noise being made from disturbing the neighbors. Should secrecy fail and the Burrow becomes discovered, there is a secondary line of defense to fall back on: deniability. As stated before, the Burrow doesn't technically break any laws. Therefore, in the event of discovery, it can simply be dismissed as an exclusive, invitation-only venue of the Black Hare (which it technically is) while hiding any magical happening or performances that might have occurred.
"I wish I could explain, but you see, we've been in a bit of a rut with entertainment lately and we've had to bring in some of the more... experimental acts. Sadly, that means when a girly comes in with a broom handle and a bucket of water and says she's the headliner that night, I end up showing her backstage instead of the door. I don't ask questions, because those eventually include ones pertaining to my life choices."-Arthur Stilcrque, giving a non-magical explanation for a Water Dancer
At its core, the Black Hare has always been the tavern and inn it claims to be. The proprietors, though, have indulged in a side business from time to time. At more than one point in its history, the tavern and its rather spacious cellars have been known to serve as place of storage for the odd smuggler that find his way through to the capitol. However, once the local authorities began to crack down on smugglers, the main operations began to consolidate their resources to survive. While the Hare had proved useful in the past, it simply couldn't keep up with the new demands of smuggled goods moving through the town. Effectively out of the game, Arthur Stilcrique decided to repurpose the publicly unknown space beneath the storehouse and take the Hare in a new direction. Taking advantage of the near completely untapped business of mage entertainment, Arthur converted the space previously used for untaxed goods and wares and turned it into a secluded venue catering to more magically inclined cliental.
The Black Hare, even when putting aside its more secretive business ventures, is considered a practical landmark of the town after being in business for so many years. Between its history and being the sole vendor of its in-house brews, the Hare is popular watering hole for locals and visiting travelers alike. Rumors of the Burrow have floated about for years, but luckily, few if any gossipers can ever agree on which tavern is the most likely front for the under-tavern, let alone how to actually access it. Despite the lack of consensus, the mystery surrounding the Burrow has lead many hopefuls through the Hare's front doors. As for those who actually are privy to the under-tavern and how to enter it, the knowledge is treated like a sort of secret privilege. An invitation to what ranges from an exclusive, clandestine venue with entertainment unlikely to be found publicly anywhere else in Troth to a place for mages to meet openly without fear.
Pub / Tavern / Restaurant
- Blue Butterfly: Gin and tea cocktail known for it's rich blue or bright purple color (depends on if you ask for lemon)
- Orgeat Lemonade: A refreshing, nutty, non-alcoholic blend
- Smuggler's Tumble: Spiced blackberry mead brewed in-house
- Hare of the Dog: A Toliver original blend with whiskey and a dash of vanilla
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