Holiday Spirits and Spirit Holidays

It’s National Tavern Day

…but what is a tavern, exactly?

March 4, 2010

Ye olde drinkery. “Tavern Scene” by David Teniers II

Today is National Tavern Day, as I learned from Robert Hess via the Washington State Bartenders Guild via Twitter. Like you do.

But what exactly, you might ask, is a tavern? Let’s check in with the County.

King County Health Services defines a tavern as: “A food service establishment serving beer or wine only with a menu limited to exempt food items, prepackaged potentially hazardous foods, and hot dogs.”

Both parts of this definition confuse me, the second half more egregiously. It seems to be stating that the menu at taverns can only include three things: 1. exempt food items 2. prepackaged potentially hazardous foods 3. hot dogs. Can that be?

Let’s leave the food thing alone for a moment and move to the front of the definition. If Taverns can serve “beer and wine only,” then the following liquor destinations are not really taverns: Linda’s Tavern, Sunset Tavern, the Tractor Tavern, and, most especially, since it is a cocktail bar with a name that verily laughs in the face of King County tavern guidelines, Tavern Law.

Uber Tavern and Eastlake Zoo Tavern don’t stock the hard stuff, so I suppose those would be proper venues for celebrating National Tavern Day—though I can’t tell you that with 100 percent confidence because the food menu thing still has me all mixed up.

Anyway, Happy National Tavern Day!

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