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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.

Denizens

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.

Alterations

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.

Architecture

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)

Defenses

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

History

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.

Tourism

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.
Alternative Names
The Burrow
Type
Pub / Tavern / Restaurant
Parent Location
Owning Organization
Drinks on tap:
  • 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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Comments

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8 Mar, 2022 20:13

Hey there, i checked out your Tavern and i must say i really like it! In my opinion, this is a perfect example for what a classic fantasy tavern has to be. I also like that you added the buildings layout, perfect for pen & paper sessions. It´s obvious that you like to flesh out things in detail, keep that up : )

8 Mar, 2022 23:00

While I've seen a few entries in the Tavern Challenge (there's a lot to go through and a few are drafts,, so I can't look them up), I'm surprised I haven't seen any other speakeasy styled ones.

9 Mar, 2022 08:03

Well, speakeasy taverns were a thing from the prohibition but most fantasy settings are set in the middle ages, a time where alcohol was necessary to survive. I mean, your tavern doesn´t even hide alcohol but magic, which is a creative way of realizing a middle age styled speakeasy tavern.

9 Mar, 2022 15:13

Maybe I'm just weird in that I don't associate speakeasies with alcohol so much as organized crime or it's social/societal impacts.

9 Mar, 2022 15:49

I think that´s a good thing. When you think about it, you can do many kinds of stories with speakeasies depending on what they´re intended to hide. For example, you could write a story about a tavern that helps hiding perecuted peoples identity. Weird just means that you´re seeing things from a different perspective, and this lead you to a good idea :)

8 Mar, 2022 21:28

Secret tunnel!!! Having a deniable second bar is just hilarious! XD

8 Mar, 2022 22:53

Glad the humor I threw in seemed to land. I wanted to try my hand at channeling my inner Terry Pratchett with that quote (so hoping I can work that into the final project).

9 Mar, 2022 07:37

I will start off by saying that i really love the maps you used to show what was the tavern and what was the brewerly!,Very well done there . I do hope you will expand on who runs the place and the general staff of the tavern. The quote was nice as well!   Overall a good job

Come check out my entry for this month's challenge: Children of the Goddess of Love
9 Mar, 2022 14:52

Thanks! As for the staff, I finally found the box for Denizens. Considering I only started this article after I learned about the challenge not even a week ago, I'm loving how it's all coming together as I go along.

9 Mar, 2022 12:11

I've got some ATLA secret tunnel vibes right now and cannot get the song out of my head, so thank you for that. xD Kidding aside, I love this concept of a secret tunnel leading to a deniable second bar and the rich history behind it.   Keep up the good work! :D

Summercaaaaamp when the writin' is easy. Words are flowing and the hype is hiiiiigh. \o/
My Summer Camp Entries
9 Mar, 2022 14:55

Thanks! ATLA was kinda an inspiration for the magic system I made for this world, so glad that sorta comes full circle. Speaking of ATLA, whenever I mention a Water Dancer, just imagine some combination of water-bending and rhythm gymnastics.

10 Mar, 2022 16:11

Nice job, I never thought of creating mixed drinks articles.   The thing about reading others articles is that it helps me get better. I get ideas and things that are of course dangerous, yes. But will help my world become better.   Cheers

Happiness is "the exercise of vital powers, along lines of excellence, in a life affording them scope,"
10 Mar, 2022 18:18

The two mixed drink articles I linked to are based on videos from Cocktail Chemistry on YT. I dare you to watch his Color Changing Cocktail video and tell me it doesn't scream "Fantasy Tavern"

10 Mar, 2022 22:28

Watched the video, it totally does. The music was great too, Dave Brubeck, "Take Five." What an inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

Happiness is "the exercise of vital powers, along lines of excellence, in a life affording them scope,"
12 Mar, 2022 06:11

Good article! Like others have said, the idea of combining a prohibition-era speakeasy with a fantasy tavern, then switching the theme to be about magic instead of alcohol is definitely interesting.

Why not come visit the fantasy realms of Faerûn? Or a familiar future in Earth 2068?
12 Mar, 2022 18:15

Thanks!

Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
13 Mar, 2022 07:36

The Black Hare is a great name for a tavern :) I like how its purpose has changed through time. I love the drinks that are on offer too the descriptions are lush. Love the map too!

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
14 Mar, 2022 12:45

Thanks!   Seriously, though, if you want a drink that looks like it's straight out of Fantasyland, look up Butterfly Pea Flower tea.

Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
15 Mar, 2022 09:57

Oh goodness... It looks incredible... *__*;;

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
16 Mar, 2022 01:04

Great work! I love that it has so many layers to it (literally). SECRET TUNNELLLLL!!!

17 Mar, 2022 12:43

Thanks!

21 Mar, 2022 19:02

This is a really cool place. Like many have pointed out, it's very reminiscent of prohibition era speakeasys. Including a list of drinks was a nice touch.

21 Mar, 2022 20:25

Thanks!!

28 Mar, 2022 12:16

It's a good Tavern JAWest13, I enjoyed the read. Hidden cellars (Got to be done really, I say). Where are the fighting rings and werewolves i came to see, hmmm. All in all a good article though and a well deserved Like/Fave.   Aemon

28 Mar, 2022 13:18

Thanks! Couldn't agree more about hidden cellars.   The fighting ring I mentioned was for a different article that I considered fleshing out more for the challenge (Slaughter House if you're interested). Frankly, I think it works well as a potential DnD area.   Please bare in mind that the story/world I'm crafting is all one big WIP. I went with the Black Hare since it blended well with the plot threads I'm currently focused on. Still plan on using the fight club somewhere down the line, just not sure where yet.

28 Mar, 2022 14:48

I know exactly what you mean about a World In Progress (WIP), mine is very much the same. I had a little look around your world and i liked what i saw, so i am now a Follower.   Check out my world KELLDORIA if you get a chance.   Aemon

29 Mar, 2022 18:24

Absolutely wonderful Tavern/ Inn. I really like the drinks and staff.

29 Mar, 2022 19:43

Thanks! The challenge was a good chance to expand the side cast a bit.

1 Apr, 2022 14:41

Wonderful job on the tavern. I feel like this could slot so well into any fantasy campaign and not feel out of place at all. I liked the drink names as well.

As always, it would be appreciated if you would stop by my challenge article The Storm Giant Empire and leave some feedback.   If you are looking for things to read from summer camp there is also my Summer Camp 2022 Reading Challenge.. Happy worldbuilding.
1 Apr, 2022 17:23

Thanks! I actually wrote half those drinks 2 years ago (and it only took me 4 days after starting the article to realize that I had stuff to put on the menu).