Dark Barrel Tap Room

Set on the main trade road in the center of the city next to the huge main bridge spanning the Saene River, life's blood of Arae‘Saene the Dark Barrel Taproom is neutral ground and usually has a drink for every price and every price range. The huge bay windows overlook three directions, giving a good view of the traffic on the trade road and the vast markets of Arae`Saene to the south, The bridge to the west and glimpses of the massive guardpost that stands on the opposite bank, keeping the undesirables from the ’poor' side of the river from invading to heavily and standing as monument to the town guard that work diligently to protect, or at least keep the chaos in order. To the east a smaller road leads up into the city, passing the sparkling temple district resplendent with libraries and temples to the noble gods, a path tread often by clerics and those that would be paladins up into the headquarters of trade giants.

The tavern itself meets its name well, the furniture is all darkly stained wood, polished mellow by years of good use and good cleaning the floors are made up of interlaced paving stones in various shades of gray common to the area. Set in the center of the room is a huge circular stone hearth with grates drawn over the fire to keep the unwary or drunk from falling into it, though the more heat friendly folk of the world can slide a grate back to expose the flames for such activities as roasting meat or warming the hands. The chimney of the hearth makes for decoration and shrine, various trophies and weapons are ensconced above the fire, shrines to the skill of hunters past, or those that died in protection of the city, one entire half is dedicated solely to the Guard. Plush couches and low tables meant for conversation rather than eating and drinking occupy the south east corner where the windows form a particularly spectacular view of the trade road and temple districts. The west half of the room is filled by long tables with benches set along side, good for a quick meal or just to sit and get to know your neighbor. Small circular tables with padded chairs fill the rest of the space not taken up by the bar and seat between four and six people.

The bar dominates the north wall of the tavern with stools along its length for those that don't' want to wait for a barmaid for their drink, it opens on the west side into the kitchen via a swinging gate that is certainly meant only for staff use. Behind the bar shelves of specialty alcohols take up about half of the space, the rest is reserved for massive casks and barrels of the tavern's famous ales, stouts and other brews, made on site from a secret recipe that is known by few yet coveted by all. Behind the bar a slow day will see two to four barmen preparing drinks while three to five maids work the floors, taking orders and delivering drinks and foods.

The uniform on all of the waitstaff is the same, dark skirts, white blouses blue aprons on barmaids with sensible shoes, while the barmen are in a similar theme, white shirts, black trews and blue aprons. While the tavern has no strange hiring policies the staff is primarily human and overseen by the tavern's owner, a busty, matronly woman with a sharp tongue and an even sharper wit. Nicola stands a fairly average 5'6 with chestnut brown hair streaked with silver near the temples, blue eyes and a healthy tan complexion that speaks of a life well lived. With the help of a son and his wife she sees to the brewing and business and shows no sign of slowing down despite the silver gracing her hair and is often seen out in the tavern proper, greeting guests and helping out when to many guests overwhelm the barmaids.

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