118 Tavern Names

by Wimwick (Neil Ellis) on May 5, 2010

How many campaigns have you played where the DM started the campaign by stating “The party is in a tavern and an old man walks up to you with a job offer.”

Now my normal response is “What’s the name of the tavern?”

To which most DMs respond it doesn’t matter.

The problem is it does. Call me a stickler, but I like names for locations and I really like tavern names. They are amongst the most interesting locations in D&D to name and the very name can mean any number of things. A good tavern name adds atmosphere to the game and can become a place of fond memories for the players.

On the way home today I passed a van advertising a local restaurant, The Mermaid and the Oyster. My immediate thought was that I need to have a pint there.

So in the spirit of providing every DM with the name for a tavern to start a campaign in, here’s a monster of a list.

  1. The Bull and the Bear
  2. The Lost Shepherd
  3. The Three Arrows
  4. The Three Bucks
  5. The Three Castles
  6. The Three Crowns
  7. The Three Cups
  8. The Three Hammers
  9. The Three Swords
  10. The Kings Key
  11. The Silver Lion
  12. The Silver Dragon
  13. The Golden Serpent
  14. The Lonely Shepherd
  15. The Lost Key
  16. The Hermit
  17. The Prancing Pony
  18. The Masons Arms
  19. The Kings Own
  20. The Kings Arms
  21. Rose and Crown
  22. The Royal Oak
  23. The Serpent
  24. The Siren
  25. The Cyclopses Second Eye
  26. The Medussa’s Head
  27. The Queen’s Arms
  28. The Queen’s Head
  29. The Nuttery
  30. The Crooked Inn
  31. The Drovers
  32. Jinty McGuinties
  33. Cock and Bull
  34. The Cat and Fiddle
  35. The Serpents Den
  36. The Phoenix
  37. The Nag’s Head
  38. The Hydra
  39. Lion & Lamb
  40. The Cross Keys
  41. The White Lion
  42. The Fountain
  43. The Straggler
  44. The Den
  45. The Bullseye
  46. The Coach and Four
  47. The Judge and Jury
  48. The Dirty Sack
  49. Last Call Tavern
  50. The Mandolin
  51. The Flying Nymph
  52. The Last Wish
  53. The Cauldron
  54. The Wizards Staff
  55. The Wench
  56. The Donkey’s Goose
  57. The Devil’s Bridge
  58. The Devil’s Brigade
  59. Graves Tavern
  60. Vecna’s Folly
  61. The Armoured Duck
  62. The Unicorn
  63. The First Arms and Unicorn
  64. The Duke of (insert town name)
  65. The Hound
  66. The Dirty Goat
  67. The White Key
  68. The Fox
  69. The Cooper
  70. The Angel and the Dragon
  71. The Royal Eagle
  72. The Brazen Hare
  73. The Firkin
  74. The Rose
  75. The Hound and Stag
  76. The Bloody Fist
  77. The Bloody Sword
  78. The Blue Cup
  79. The Broken Prayer
  80. The Centaur’s Hoof
  81. The Destitute Priest
  82. The Excited Fish
  83. A Potion and a Prayer
  84. The Immortal
  85. The Butcher
  86. The Vulgar Dutchess
  87. The Quiet Harpy
  88. The Laughing Fox
  89. The Angelic Imp
  90. The Staggering Paladin
  91. The Angry Orc
  92. The Dragon’s Breath
  93. The Dancing Wanderer
  94. The Watering House
  95. The Rogue Archer
  96. The Broken Sword
  97. The House of Shattered Dreams
  98. The Nine Knights
  99. The Toothless Orc
  100. The House of Lost Memories
  101. The Scribe
  102. The Gargoyle’s Perch
  103. The Dirty Vixen
  104. The Maiden Head
  105. The Pearl
  106. The Lonely Gazebo
  107. The Weary Wanderer
  108. Lands End Inn
  109. The Black Dog
  110. The King’s Stag
  111. The Devious Dog
  112. The Troll’s Toll
  113. The Empty Cup
  114. The Weeping Minotaur
  115. The Highwayman
  116. The Bawdy Boar
  117. The Alchemist’s Brew
  118. Ye Olde Tavern

What tavern names have you used or been exposed to during your campaigns? What stories have resulted from those names?

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Matt May 5, 2010 at 9:16 am

Let’s not forget the pub where the Inklings met (a writer’s group which Tolkein and Lewis simultaneously belonged to, the Eagle and Child (colloquially referred to as the Bird and Baby).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_and_Child

2 Joe May 5, 2010 at 9:55 am

My random inn generator has a number of built-in charts so every time you refresh it gives the inn a new name. But your list gives me a few new words to add to the charts.

http://www.inkwellideas.com/roleplaying_tools/random_inn/

I’m actually hoping to get random menus finished tonight.
.-= Joe´s last blog ..Two More Map Icons: Oil Well and Factory =-.

3 Tom H. May 5, 2010 at 10:50 am

If you use some of the real world tavern names from that list, you can find matching songs to put on your soundtrack, if you’re into that thing.

Tom, feeling inspired

O what has become of the old Rose and Crown /
The Ship, The King’s Arms, and the World Upside Down …

4 Mike Leger May 5, 2010 at 11:29 am

nice list. very handy.

my favorite has allays been ‘the dirty cornhole;

5 Chris May 5, 2010 at 12:15 pm

What, no Winespring Inn?

http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/Winespring_Inn

6 roy May 5, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Our campaign trends silly, and human establishments traditionally follow an “adjective-noun-starting-with-same-sound” convention. So Prancing Pony would fit. We have the Pickled Platypus, the Merry Maiden (a brothel — the name made more sense when they first opened), and the Weeping Will-O-Wisp.

7 Michael May 5, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Our favorite Tavern name is The Stuck Pig.

8 Necron May 5, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Who couldn’t use more Inn names

Vulgar Unicorn (personal favorite)
The Office
Bronze Dragon
Silver Mandolin
Dragon Slayer
Dragon’s lair
Fool’s Tavern
Tigers Head
Diamond Realm
The Parlor
Staggering Lion
The Power
The Rowdy Bar
Hell’s Kitchen

9 Chris May 5, 2010 at 10:53 pm

A few times when players asked me the name of the inn I replied without thinking “The Green Dragon”. Eventually they noticed they all had the same name, while I hadn’t realized I’d given them all the same name. They started making jokes about inn franchising :-)

10 Dungeon Newbie May 5, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Well, there are many many tavern names to choose from….. But I like this one the best:
The Dirty Dungeon
You can actually pull a trick with this one. When the players enter, tell them that they have entered the Dirty Dungeon. They’ll be so confused because they though they entered a tavern… After that you can get a good laugh out of it.

11 Liam Gallagher May 6, 2010 at 1:35 am

Or you can be like jazz drumming great Shelly Manne and open up a bar called Shalley Manne’s Manhole. Google that. There’s a lot of great bop, and west coast jazz recorded in the bar, but the album that takes the cake is a educational album he recorded on drumming rudiments called “Finngering: Live at Shelly Manne’s Manhole”. Classic.

12 Neuroglyph May 6, 2010 at 8:02 am

For my freebie adventure release, A Curse at the Old Inn, I had come up with the tavern name of “The Bear & Barrel” – I’m a fan of alliteration. But my artist took the description of the tavern sign I gave him, drew the bear and the barrel, but added “Bear & Ale” along the bottom of the sign. I liked how it turned out, and I didn’t want to make him re-draw the sign, so I went through my copy and had to edit all the instances of “Bear and Barrel” prior to release. But those still are two good tavern names, particularly when you consider the owner is named Greybear.
.-= Neuroglyph´s last blog ..Review of Martial Cultures: The Ikanoi by Chaotic Shiny Productions =-.

13 Thadeous May 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm

I think I’ll have to print this list up, along with some of the suggestions in the comment section and keep it in my DM folder. I think it could come in handy.
.-= Thadeous´s last blog ..Ritualistically Speaking: seek rumor =-.

14 Brian Engard May 6, 2010 at 6:02 pm

One that I’m particularly fond of is the inn name that I used recently in my home campaign (http://gamecrafters.net/docuwiki/doku.php?id=start). The inn was the lair of a thieves’ guild working for the big bad, and I needed a name for it that was a little sinister, but not overtly so. I settled on the Black Goat, a name that I like a lot because of its Lovecraftian overtones.
.-= Brian Engard´s last blog ..Character Profile: Vanity =-.

15 Wimwick May 6, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Some great comments and additions to the list. Thanks also to those who provided links to random generators. I think it’s fair to say we all enjoy our gaming taverns.

16 Kataklyzm May 6, 2010 at 10:46 pm

My favorite…

“The Steaming Pig”

Maybe because it was unpretentious, maybe because it brought up memories of a local beer joint (now long closed) named the “Pig and Whistle” – but mostly because they both conjured up images of exactly what they were meant to be, swill-spewing dives.

17 by_the_sword May 8, 2010 at 11:22 pm

In one campaign I ran there was an ongoing joke about a tavern franchise called The Drunken Dragon Inn.

A friend of mine who runs a campaign has a place called The Bucket Of Bloode which has doorways to other times, places and dimensions. It was fun meeting future versions of ourselves.

18 Ragnarok May 10, 2010 at 1:57 pm

My group’s campaign has a Dirty Goat.
How odd. We ended up being part of the scuffold that burned it to the ground.

19 Zodling May 20, 2010 at 12:17 am

I had two taverns in my old campaign that the PC’s used to go to.

One was the Dancing Bear. It had a very large stuffed bear in the center of the main room. When one of the PCs asked the bartender what happened, the bartender just said “he stopped dancing”.

The other one was the Flying Badger. It had a mural of a gnome hurtling through the air at some kobolds. The gnome was a barbarian, nick-named Badger, and he was a retired adventurer. The mural depicted a battle in which one of his companions through him at the enemy.

20 Molag Bal May 31, 2010 at 1:38 am

The Murderous Mackerel
The Drunken Sailor
The Stories End
The Missing Finger
The Maledictum
The Miscellaneous Missile
Ackbar’s Trap

21 K570 (Alpha Claw) August 27, 2010 at 9:15 pm

I used the tavern name “The Wasted Wizard” and claimed it to be a successful chain found throughout the land, to make things easier to plan /remember (I am a relatively new DM [4 dungeons total])

22 Bullgod September 25, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Aren’t you missing the point here? Pub names aren’t random, there a point to them, at least those with heritage.

For example, I live in rural England near the Welsh border, at a guess I’d say 90% of the pubs within 15 miles are called either “The White Hart”, “The White Lion” or the “The Swan”.

“The White hart” (hart=deer) is always depicted with gold crown and chain, because it’s the badge of Richard II. As seen on the reverse of the Wilton Diptych http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilton_Diptych
see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_hart

The White Lion is the badge of the Marcher Lords, and eventually inherited by Edward IV. Marcher as in Welsh Marches http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_Marches

The Swan, has as similar story.

My point is that all these serve to point to an allegiance if not outright fealty to certain houses. You can be damn sure the JRRT had a rationale for naming the inn at Bree after a horse rampant.

Now while you can get away without a back story to a village boozer called “The Plough”, I be surprised at finding a pub called “The Cross Keys” in a fantasy setting, unless you’re going to come up with additional explanation that doesn’t include St. Peter holding the keys to the Pearly Gates.

Similarly if I were a player walking my character into “The Hound”, “The Fox” or “The Unicorn” etc, I’m going to want to know whose shield that is, I want to know which noble it would be a bad idea to insult, and maybe who he’s got a grievance with that might lead me being able to sweat-talk the inn keeper.

So yes the tavern’s name is important, but not just because it maintains your setting’s illusion, more often than not it is material detail that really should add substance to your world. Making ever inn sound like it’s got a comedy name breaks the illusion even worse than not giving it one.

For more examples for the origins of pub names you can start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pub_names

23 Acheron December 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm

The Drunken Priest :D

24 Philander the Bard May 30, 2011 at 6:36 pm

I found this looking for pics of Tavenrs, for a setting of a orpahned satyr character named Malachite who was raised by Dwarves. The Local Inn is called Shade aand Sweetwater’s Inn, They are two Syvan Elves (very Elfquest wolfrider looks) Shade is a theif and Sweetwater is a bard.
I really loved the names of the Taverns, surprised a few I ahve used myself …
Some I ahve used are:
The Fawn’s Arse,
The Black Goat,
The Buggered Goat,
The Dancing Goat,
the Drunken Satyr “What do you do with a drunken satyr..?”,
Horns and Hoves,
Lonely Goatherder,
Two Bucks,
The Rampant Goat Nan,
The Dirty Goat,
Pan’s Arms,
Nanny’s (a brothel, although Houri, prostitutes and Sacred Prostitues tend to be found in all of Phil’s taverns and Inns)
These were all built by the same person my Satyr Bard called Philander once he became rich and well known. Philander personally chose the Bartenders/Managers … from his “casting couch”

25 Big Yeti Cane July 9, 2012 at 8:43 pm

My group’s favorite watering hole is the “Wink and Tickle”.
S’run by a retired halfling.

26 Alex July 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm

The Mucky Duck (I love this one)
The Portly Pubescent
Diamondback Dill’s
The Basement
Donkey’s Peepshow (don’t even ask)
Shady Lurkin’s
Double V’s
Paperboy’s Bench
The Hole
Monkhouse
Fourcap Tom’s
Dragon’s Piss
The Cold Press
The Leaning Pillar
Tiddlywinks
Johnson & Johnson
S’tnuh and Yamain’s
Ogre’s Armpit (It smelled as bad as it sounds…)

27 Arithravel February 20, 2013 at 3:58 pm

I have a few good ones to offer I believe.

The Rats Caravan
The Rusty Nail
Sailors Haven
The Drunken Dragon
Ale For Sale
A Drunkards Getaway

28 Edward March 28, 2013 at 4:26 am

I have sometimes picked a name and used the name to generate a story about the establishment and then an adventure hook and then an entire adventure. All within the span of seconds, all because of a hastily chosen name during a free lancing session.

The Twin Ass Inn or Ass Ass Inn, was actually the cover business for the local Assassin’s Guild in what became the largest city of my campaign.

Heartbreak Hotel was coincidentally found at the end of Lonely Street, and became a favorite haunt of my players whenever they blew into town to disrupt the local economy with ill-gotten booty.

29 T-RexWithTourettes July 17, 2013 at 1:31 am

A little late, but I figured I’d give my two cents:
The Wailing Wench, The Six Fingered Hand, Shot Shot Floor, the King’s Cavalry, the Foamy Mug, Soddy Sabbaton, etc. Sadly, my favorite was on a map I had made, which is not on my person :p

30 Beany March 17, 2014 at 1:15 pm

One I am using for my next campaign is “the hound and the unicorn”. Although I have used plenty such as
– The fallen staff
– The busty sage
– The coughing cat
And
– The scoundrel’s tankard

31 Garry Hamlin November 14, 2014 at 9:17 pm

The Better Tickle
The Laughing Flea

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