The Need for Mead
aka: Fantasy Tavern
At times our adventurers feel the need. The need... for mead. So they head to a stock fantasy tavern, which will be of wooden construction and generally poorly lit. The drinks, generally either ale or mead, will be of questionable quality. Nobody there may even realize that mead and beer aren't the same thingnote . Other features may include:
- A variety of species
- A serving wench in a low-cut, shoulder-revealing top
- Mercenaries for hire
- Places to sleep.
- Rumors and other hints at possibilities for adventure
- A dark corner where mysterious cloaked strangers sit
- A chance for a Bar Brawl.
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Anime and Manga
- Slayers: Lina and co sometimes take a break in these. Considering her reputation and her temper though, sometimes this is to the detriment of the other customers, the tavern, the city the tavern is located at...
- Claymore: Occasionally a member of the titular groups shows up in the Fantasy Tavern. When they do, it's a total atmosphere-killer.
- The Skullkickers spend a lot of time in taverns. In "Eighty Eyes on an Evil Island", they visit The Gizzard, which is every Fantasy Tavern ever. Literally.
- Demon Knights begins with Jason Blood and Madame Xanadu stopping at an inn for a quiet drink. It just so happens that while there, they run into Vandal Savage, Exoristos, Sir Ystin, and Al Jabr. It also just so happens that the town they're in is invaded soon after, forcing them to team up with the others to try and fight off the invaders.
- Shrek 2 features one, appropriately named The Poisoned Apple, where Puss In Boots is hired.
- T meets Leonardo in one of these in Quest Of The Delta Knights, complete with buxom serving wenches, sleeping quarters and drunken, superstitious peasants.
- Tangled features the Snuggly Duckling. Flynn takes Rapunzel here in an effort to scare her into cutting her day trip out of the tower short, but then she saves him from the thuggish clientele and kicks off a Crowd Song.
- Both the 1982 and 2011 Conan the Barbarian films feature scenes of the titular hero celebrating a successful adventure at a tavern with free-flowing alcohol and half-naked wenches.
- Older Than Print: The mead hall Heorot from the epic Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf serves as the hero's base of operations during his quest to slay Grendel and, later, Grendel's mother.
- The Prancing Pony at Bree in The Lord of the Rings, one of many in that verse, but this one is probably the Trope Codifier.
- In Dragon Bones, Ward finds his younger brother, Tosten, in such a tavern, where Tosten works as bard. This comes as a bit of a surprise as Ward had actually left him with a cooper, as apprentice. However, Tosten is a good bard, and apparently manages not to be molested by the sailors. (Ward was worried about this, as in the setting, the sailors don't wait until they've spent ninety days at sea. Nor does anyone else.)
- In Robert E. Howard's The Tower of the Elephant where Conan the Barbarian hears of the title tower.
- The Mended Drum in Discworld is a parodic exaggeration; it's been rebuilt several times, and the brawlers rehearse their moves to look the best for tourists. By Going Postal, the bar brawls have become Ankh-Morpork's most popular organized sport.
- Dragon Queen features such a tavern. The protagonist works there.
- The Inn at the Crossroads in A Song of Ice and Fire is the setting for a few important scenes in the first book.
- A rather large fraction of the main characters of the Sword of Truth run into these at some point, and their responses run the gamut from avoiding attention to intimidation and in some cases just outright killing people.
- American Gods really kicks off the quest with Shadow, Mr. Wednesday, and Mad Sweeney meeting for mead. Shadow doesn't quite like the taste, comparing it to "pickled honey." The sharing of mead is important to the plot, though, as the host is playing by old Norse rules of hospitality, and drinking the mead seals their deal.
- The Inn of the Last Home in Dragonlance. It serves as a central point of meeting and reunion for the heroes of many of the books and short stories and has the best home-brewed ale.
Live Action TV
- The Alestorm song Wenches and Mead is about exactly this.
- Miracle Of Sound did a song called Nord Mead about how awesome the Nords of Skyrim think their mead is.
You can keep your filthy skooma!It makes our bellies bleed!'Cause when we raise our flagonTo another dead dragonThere is just one drink we need!Nord Mead!
- Amon Amarth has their own recipe!
- The Champion Pub takes place in one of these, offering good drink, attractive serving ladies, and fine fisticuffs for entertainment.
- Extremely common in Dungeons & Dragons. Stereotypical behavior for bad players is to ignore plot hooks in favor of visiting the nearest tavern to get drunk and either start fights or pick up chicks. The frequency for campaigns to start in an inn is a trope all to itself.
- Enforced in the Conan the Barbarian d20 RPG - the game rules state that most of the treasure the PCs acquire is blown on ale and whores (even if the PC is female) between adventures.
- The drink based card game DrunkQuest has classes themed on various alcohols, The Paladin is mead themed.
- Red Dragon Inn is a card game about a band of adventurers spending their hard-earned gold at a tavern. Drinking, gambling, and brawling ensue.
- Baldur's Gate has a fair number of taverns.
- Every town or city and every other village or hamlet in The Elder Scrolls has at least one of these, plus there's several in the middle of nowhere on the road.
- Very common in the Final Fantasy series, but Final Fantasy Tactics Advance deserves special mention for making these the only place to pick up quests. (Going by the English translation, it also calls them "pubs" and avoids specifying what anyone's drinking, but that's another trope entirely.)
- Also common in Dragon Quest games
- Several Zelda games include them, though the only one to play a significant role is Telma's bar in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, where La Résistance meets.
- World of Warcraft has many of these, usually one per faction per zone (except for zones designated as starting zones), though some zones have a single one run by a neutral faction for use by players of both faction and each capital city features at least one. The exact nature of the building varies depending on the which race is running it with human inns fitting the trope description the most, except for being fairly well lit and Forsaken inns resembling a run down, rotting version of the Human inns (until they got their own unique style of architecture in the second expansion). They're used as safe points to log off and you get XP bonuses for your character staying in them while logged off.
- In Warcraft III, players could swing by the local Tavern to hire neutral heroes in certain multiplayer maps.
- Kingdom of Loathing has the Typical Tavern, where there is never not a brawl going on. Your second real quest involves clearing the rats out of the cellar.
- Heroes of Might and Magic has these available as an upgrade to your towns. Uses include hiring heroes, improving morale when the town is under attack and receiving cryptic clues about your enemies.
- In Heroes of Might and Magic III, it's a prerequisite to the "Town Hall" upgrade (whence "City Hall" and "Capitol"). That's right, before you can get the most basic civic infrastructure up and running, the inhabitants need somewhere to go for a drink!
- In Medieval: Total War, an Inn allows you to hire mercenary armies, a Tavern allows you to hire assassins.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has mead, bar brawls, bar wenches, wood taverns, sellswords (a term for mercenaries), fetch quest givers, the works. The game advises you to head to the nearest tavern if you're looking for work; even if nobody has a quest for you, you're sure to overhear a snippet of Infallible Babble about a nearby location from the barman or patrons. Amusingly, a few bandits will complain about the native Nords' love of mead, since they prefer a good beer.
- The Hanged Man tavern in Dragon Age II is where you go when you need to have a conversation with Isabela or Varric.
- You can build a Tavern in The Sims Medieval. It lets you make a Bard Sim, and provides full casks for Sims to drink from. Some quests even have you start a drinking contest or a Bar Brawl there.
- Exiern has had two of these so far.
- The first is the spoof of the You All Meet in an Inn trope, where Denver joins the party and Tiffany discovers she can no longer hold her liquor.
- The second one found the unfortunate owner having to cash in his literal Impossible Hero Insurance when Tiff and Faden finally had their big confrontation.
- In Rusty and Co., Ye Olde Proverbial Hook
- in the first level, the traditional usage, to find a hook. (Though they did not all meet at the inn. Mimic found the others on Krogslist.
- in the fifth level, to find an informant
- Presti and Roxy are hanging out, and overriding Stabs's objections on the grounds that only barbarians and plot hooks arrive at that hour. Then Rusty staggers in lugging an even more seriously wounded Madeline, and says, ". . . help. . . "
- In PvP Skull's dwarf character in the company's D&D game spends his treasure on "ale and whores". A couple strips after Valerie, possibly a real dwarf, is introduced she is seen demanding mead at a bar.