The Silver Taproom is the most popular stopping place for travelers anywhere on Rauthauvyrs Road in Essembra. The Tap, as most regulars call it, specializes in swiffly serving ice-cold draft (or in winter, hot cider) and a meat-filled hand pastry meal to ones stirrup or wagonboard. Its popularity comes from the fact that folk with their coins ready can get food and drink in a trice and continue on to camp elsewhere by the roadside for free or for a few silver pieces on a farm outside of town.
The Tap fronts on Battle Court and stands just outside the walled center of Essembra. Once an inn and later a fortified guardpost, it presents an impressive stone front to the road with a welcoming front archway flanked by two smaller entrances out of which the well-trained tavern staff leap to deal with wagons and riders pulling to a stop outside the gate. A mounting block assists patrons in getting down from their carriages and the staff in reaching those perched aloft. Travelers who pull their wagons in beside the inn or surrender their mounts to the hostlers and go inside to enjoy a sit by the Tap with the locals find themselves in a justly popular, pleasant taproom. The room is hung with stags heads and candle wheel lanterns, crowded with glossy-polished tables, and filled with folk goodnaturedly chuckling away over jests. The spirit of the place is warm and friendly, and the taproom is attached to unusually large and well-lit jakes for both sexes and a few back rooms where drunkards can sleep off their disgrace in peace. Upstairs are gaming rooms and rooms that can be rented for meetings at a flat 20 gp per night in season and 12 gp per nightplus 4 gp for firewood if the hearth is to be lit in winter. Though one is not supposed to sleep overnight in these rooms, the staff members turn a blind eye to adventuring bands doing so long as they do not disturb the folk in neighboring rooms with weapons practice or similar excitements in the wee hours.
The Tap offers hand meals that is, pastries and filled buns that one can eat one-handed while drinking or riding with the otherand a small selection of good beers, from the local Tantuls Dark through Dragons Breath Beer, Shadowdark Ale, Purple Dragon Ale, Archenwood Stout, and Bitter Black. Brandies, zzar, sherries, and a few white wines can also be had. These are priced by the tall tankard or bottle according to availability. In cold weather, hot cider and soup can be had by the tall tankard too. The accent here is on getting what you order into your hands fast. To do this, the outside staff members employ leather covered pitchers equipped with long pour spouts to dispense beer, and reach baskets (covered wicker bowls affixed to long poles) to lift hot buns, slabs of cheese, and hand pastries up to all customers. The inside staff members use covered pitchers to prevent sloshing, and chest trays to keep spills to a minimum and they hustle! Fare at the Tap is made on the premises. Roast fowl and stewed sauces are ladled into buns baked in the kitchens or pinched into dough with spiced potatoes, mustard, and cold cut roasts. The only form of hand food not served here is the sausage, because the owner, Roliver Thynd, has a hatred of sausages or more precisely, of the cold, decaying lumps of fat and offal that his mouth found in the sausages that were fed to him when he was young. The venison pies here are particularly fine, because the cooks toss powdered almonds into the red wine used in the simmer sauce. The venison soaks overnight in the sauce and is then simmered in it for the morning so that the pies can be baked and ready for early evening.
All beer at the Tap is sold by the tall tankard. It is 3 cp for Tantuls Dark, 4 cp for Dragons Breath Beer and Shadowdark Ale, 6 cp for Purple Dragon Ale, and 1 sp for Bitter Black. Other beverages are priced by the tall tankard or bottle and by the season except for cold tea, which is always 1 cp. In winter, hot drinks such as cider and soup (usually duck) are 1 sp per tall tankard. Food pricing is simpler: 5 cp per pastry and 2 cp per bun in the winter, and 1 sp per pastry or 5 cp per bun in all other seasons.