Colonial America (1492-1765)
Tavern Keeper

Tavern Keeper
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.34

     challenging words:    motel, taproom, townspeople, waterfront, socialize, patriotism, estimate, hosted, colonial, travelers, necessity, possibly, running, keeper, separate, mystery
     content words:    Washington Tavern, Raleigh Tavern, Man Full, Trouble Tavern

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Tavern Keeper
By Sharon Fabian

1     From the carved sign hanging out front to the conversation inside, a colonial tavern was an interesting place. A colonial tavern was part bar, part restaurant, part motel, and part stable. It was also the place where meetings of all sorts and events like formal balls were held.
2     An important task for someone opening up a tavern would have been to have a sign made. Since many people in colonial times could not read, a sign with a picture was a necessity. Tavern signs were often carved from wood, but some were also painted on plaster or cast in metal. The sign indicated the name of the tavern. Some tavern names, such as The King's Arms, showed the tavern keeper's allegiance to England. Some, such as the Washington Tavern, showed the tavern keeper's American patriotism. Other names, such as the Goat and Compass or The Pig and Carrot are more of a mystery.
3     Inside the tavern, travelers and locals would all be made welcome. Travelers might want dinner and overnight accommodations, as well as place outside for their horse. Locals might just want a place to meet and socialize.
4     A typical tavern might have several small rooms and one large room on the main floor. There might be a parlor where lady travelers could rest and a taproom where beer and cider were served. The large room might have been used for elegant balls on special occasions. Upstairs, the tavern often had sleeping quarters. In the early days of colonial taverns, visitors might sleep four to a mattress in one big sleeping room. Later, private rooms were added to some taverns. Downstairs in the basement, or possibly in a separate building out back, would be the kitchen as well as a place for the tavern workers to sleep. Behind the tavern, there was often a stable where travelers could rest their horses.
5     Smaller taverns only served beer and cider, but larger ones might have served wine and spirits as well. Taverns also served meals - breakfast, dinner, and supper.

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