Codex - Home Miscellany

We are crowdsourcing the miscellany for Codex - Home! This one is called “Three Dozen Inns & Taverns (and Their Signature Fare).”

Submissions should be no more than 2-3 short sentences. By submitting here in the replies, you’re agreeing to let us use it (you’ll get a credit on the issue). We’re looking for evocative things; the purpose of the miscellany is to inspire the reader. Please do not submit any entries with sexist imagery (we won’t publish it).

Note: if you’d like your name to be listed differently on the Codex credit, send me a DM here (but please keep your submissions in the thread).

For this Miscellany, we want you to create an inn, tavern, or bar. Each of these watering holes should have 1) a name, 2) a descriptive detail, and 3) a signature food or beverage item. These can be for any genre; a classic fantasy tavern, a sleek bar on some distant planet, or a seedy dive tucked away in some cyberpunk metropolis—they all work great.

Here are some examples:

“The Bellicose Boar somehow manages to be less pleasant than even its name would suggest, being poorly lit, staffed by ‘reformed’ scoundrels, and smelling vaguely of blood and dirt. But it’s home for some, and the steak & kidney pie has a rich, velvety gravy people rave about (and they say the meat inside said pie is from an animal you wouldn’t even mind eating).”

“Tannenbaum is an upscale cocktail bar found on the north side of the Belavacqu arcology. The place is decorated in silver and white, and a gentle, synthetic snowfall covers everything in a thick powder that gradually dissolves, leaving behind nothing but a light, minty smell. Each bartender has lost a close family member, and the preparation for their signature cocktail, the Longing, involves the bartender telling a story about their departed loved one; the drink is served after a single tear has been shed in the glass.”

4 Likes

The Harsh Raven is at the lowest point of the city, a wooden hall three stories tall that sits at odds with the glass and metal towers around it. In the rafters nests an Unkindness of Ravens. The birds are weak telepaths and like to blurt out secrets and truths they read from the patron’s surface thoughts. The landlord sells a powerful liquor that blocks the intrusion if you can stand the headache and the tinnitus.

The Threatened Throne was built from the ruins of the grand palace around the only surviving object - the Silver Throne. The throne is haunted by the mad and maddening spirits of all the past Silver Emperors, which makes taking a seat quite the psychological challenge. Anyone managing to sit for longer than ten minutes gets a bottle of Silver Soul Spirit, an alcohol with potent restorative effects, for free.

3 Likes

The Rats Revenge
A go-down in the shadow of the city wall, the interior reeking of stale beer and burnt meat, decorated in an accretion of circus posters, advertisements and religious tracts pasted indiscriminately and overlaid with crude graffiti in charcoal and chalk. The ceilings are low and the floor covered in dirty straw, but this is no burden for the Rat’s primary clientele: urchins, waifs, orphans and child beggars. The Rat’s Revenge serves “skewer meat” of dubious origin and stale beer, bought from the drain buckets of better establishments – its offerings cost a half-penny for each skewer or a pull from a tube leading directly to the beer keg for as long as one can suck. Rat’s, the proprietor(s), lets any patron drunk enough to pass out stay on his floors overnight for free.

3 Likes

Molly’s Shoe is the dankest dive in the watering hole. A favorite of the swamp’s toads, otters, and blue jay’s, you can smell the moist masterpieces Molly makes from many miles upstream. Specialties include Crispy Cricket Camomile, Mulberry Mudpie, and Silverfish Slurries.

2 Likes

While the USS Essex has an official lounge, the hardest thing it serves is synthahol. It’s an open secret that Lt. Valdez runs the speakeasy “Warp 13” out of her quarters. There, invited guests can sample her collection of exotic spirits that she’s gathered from throughout the galaxy: outlawed blue ale from Romulus, green Orion mind-brandy, Imperial blood wine, Kentucky bourbon, and more. Rumor has it that the only reason she stays in business is that Capt. Quelos is her best customer!

4 Likes

The Serpent & The Ox exists in a pocket dimension between two better bars. One might start their night proclaiming, “I’m headed to The Ox! Who’s with me?!” or “I need to drink like I’ll never drink again, let’s head to The Serpent!” If one isn’t to careful, and makes a few too many wrong turns within the non-euclidian manifold of 12th and Melborne they will arrive instead at The Serpent & The Ox. Confronting the bouncer or questioning the barkeep will only lead to confused stares, they are unaware of the other bars. Patrons are often glassy eyed or too deep in their glasses to care. It is only when one ventures to leave, and has had too many drinks to remember the precise turns and twists required to traverse the manifold, that the problem with The Serpent & The Ox is understood.

3 Likes

Spinnerets And Silk can be found high in the canopy of a forest so ancient that its name, if ever it had one, has been forgotten. The only way to reach this bar is by climbing; the only way to gain entrance is by having the proper number of legs. Careless explorers who don’t pay attention to this rule tend to become part of the next vintage of S&S’s famed aged Blutwein.

Skritt heard the humans talking as they passed beneath her; “I don’t understand why the squirrels around here always seem so twitchy,” one said. “Well,” Skritt thought. “Obviously they’ve never tried Coaltail’s chicory espresso. Only one acorn for as much as you can drink, too.”

It seems paradoxical that Blood & Sawdust, the most notorious bar in the roughest part of Lower Hellsgate, also has the most polite staff and customers of any bar in the entire city. Perhaps that’s because everyone present knows everyone else is armed to the teeth with all manner of blades, black powder weapons, explosives, poisons, and the like, but Blood & Sawdust still serves the best and most elegant afternoon tea available, bringing out sterling silver trays and bone china cups and plates. After what happened to Happy Jack, patrons know to be very careful.

The Queen Of Cups is known for its esoteric baking in certain circles; the owner makes sure the pantry is stocked with fresh ingredients from parts unknown every day, and after several years of experimentation, Doris McAllister, the coffeeshop’s pastry chef, has learned to make literal magic with her baked goods. Cookies that will let the recipient know that you have romantic feelings for them, slightly psychic calming scones that cool tempers and make arguments easier to resolve by allowing each party to see the other’s point of view, madelines that are delicious simply because Doris likes them … the Queen Of Cups quietly has the best bakery in the city, which is probably part of the reason why Titania drops by whenever she visits from Faerie. The coffee and espresso drinks aren’t bad either.

3 Likes

Quig’s Paradise was the oldest gay bar in the city, and is now the last. It has an older clientele, and some of the guys have been coming here for decades. The atmosphere is always relaxed and friendly. It was never much of a meat-market, which is why it survived the cultural shift to dating and hook-up apps that doomed so many similar establishments. Even though Quig phased out the tiki bar decor back in the '90s, the Paradise Mai Tai is still the most popular drink on the menu. Quig’s secret ingredient: He makes his own orgeat syrup from almonds grown on his sister’s orchard.

3 Likes

Reece’s Handcar is little more than that, a hand-powered trolley traversing unused railroad tracks. Toss a coin in the hat of the glass-eyed journeyman aboard, and he’ll let you hitch a ride for a few miles. Reece will share swigs of his legendary bathtub moonshine with passengers, and if you take a turn pumping the handcar, he’ll regale you with the lore he’s heard about these tracks, including the schedules for phantom trains bound for Hell, Purgatory, and places beyond.

3 Likes

When diagnosed with a severe cat hair allergy Owen was about to close Mr Purrington and His Friends. Fortunately, Owen was introduced to a flock of seven miniature goats, that the police had recently brought to the animal shelter. Rumors persist that the goats had barely escaped ritual slaughter, but Owen and his guests nevertheless enjoy the Capramax, a grand cinnamon goat milk latte.

4 Likes

They call it the room of infinite hearths. It exists deep in the heart of the eternal warren. Each fireplace burns a different color, attracting its own shadowed cabal of denizens. All else is a maze of shadows. Some gatherings of fire-guests are maudlin, some happy, some sensuous and others charged with political dissent. They say that the Omega hearth burns the baleful red of home’s end. It is here that the Lords of entropy sit, sharing the last barrel of ale in the cosmos. It is said that this tun will one day run dry, and the end times will begin as the revelers regretfully disperse to complete the great extirpation. All of life in the world was a distraction as the Gods lost themselves in each other’s good company and cheer.

3 Likes

Leviathan’s Rest
The bones of a great leviathan support the roof of this long beach side shrine to the Drowned Emperor, Saint of Lost Sailors, and hard drinking dram house. Clean brine imbued aguardiente sold from the leviathan jaw pulpit and bar where a hook handed, peg-legged Levithanman of 40 years leads the bar in grim prophetic sea shanties and spits sermons badly memorized and heavily annotated from the Cantacle of the SeaChange through a waist length, salt yellowed beard. The length of a patron’s pigtail, the proper tattoos, windburned skin and rope burned hands guarantee a place at the bar, but those who bring the relics of the drowned, or bits of shipwreck to add between the bones of Leviathan’s walls can earn a free drink and introductions to all manner of sailor including discrete smugglers, salvors and pirates. Within the Leviathan’s Rest the laws of the sea towards shipwreck mariners apply, and even the most fierce of naval denizens comport themselves with dignity, discipline and the mutual aid (especially against landsmen) that would be entirely lacking on during a common spree ashore.

3 Likes

The Wooden Neck has an overgrown facade that makes it’s signs near impossible to read, or it would if the paint hadn’t peeled off decades ago. Handed down within the family for two hundred years, the current owner is known to be a punny rascal who is not only the host, but the cook and the busboy as well. While none could describe the service as timely, few contest that the Neck’s signature steak sandwiches haven’t been honed with generations of careful crafting, to achieve the pinacle of unions between meat and pickle.

3 Likes

As the oldest tavern in the Little Mountain Quarter, Da Ringuroz Kadrin (The Ringing Anvil) has a reputation for being a bit insular and cold to outsiders. The fastest ways to gain the acceptance of the patrons are; 1 - Recite a Litany of Ancestors, 2 - Compete in a bowling set against the current Champion, 3 - Finish a bowl of famous Fire Goat Chili, 4 - Be very polite.

3 Likes

The Dead End looks more like a cemetery than a tavern, but many an adventure has started their career here among the zombie and skeleton waitstaff, due to the almost infinite amount of darken corners for groups to do private business in with their patrons. The owner is rumored to be a vampire lord, a dark necromancer, or even an arch-lich, but the real power is Grandma Greta, who makes the best blood sausage and mash, and sells little food baskets for those going on a dungeon runs she calls “senshi sacks”

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