Episode 219: Adrian Covert, Taverns in Early America

Inns and taverns played prominent roles in early American life. They served the needs of travelers who needed food to eat and places to sleep. They offered local communities a form of poor relief. And they functioned as public spaces where men could gather to discuss news, organize movements, and to drink and play cards.

Adrian Covert, author of Taverns of the American Revolution, helps us explore taverns and the many roles they played in early American life.

About the Show

Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.

It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.

Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.

Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.

Episode Summary

Adrian Covert, author of Taverns of the American Revolution, guides us on an exploration of taverns and the many roles they played in early American life.

As we explore these roles, Adrian reveals the differences between country and city taverns; The types of beverages early Americans might order and consume in a tavern; And how revolutionaries, loyalists, and the British Army made use of taverns during the American Revolution.


What You’ll Discover

  • Origins of an American Revolution tavern road trip
  • Number of taverns from the period of the American Revolution
  • How to research early American taverns
  • City taverns and country taverns
  • How the term “bar” came to be used to describe drinking establishments
  • Food and drinks offered by revolutionary-era taverns
  • Who served as tavern keepers in early America
  • Women and taverns
  • Tavern regulations
  • European traditions in American taverns
  • The public nature of taverns
  • The roles taverns played during the American Revolution
  • Interacting with history by drinking in old taverns
  • How to plan an early American tavern road trip
  • Early American beverages worth sampling


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Time Warp PlainTime Warp Question

In your opinion, what might have happened if 18th-century America had lacked taverns? How would the history of the American Revolution be different?


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