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Tavern icon preview.png

A tavern or inn is a place where people drink, lodge, socialize, and entertain with each other. They exist in both fortress and adventure mode.

Fortress mode[edit]

A tavern in adventure mode. ASCII mode.
A tavern in fortress mode, v50.

Taverns are establishments where patrons gather to socialize and can partake in alcoholic beverages and meals, while tavern keepers and performers serve drink and provide entertainment, with the occasional risks of a bar brawl. Taverns can be an integral part of social life for idling citizens, and may cater to long-term residents and visitors, becoming a window to the outside world where rumors from nearby civilizations can be shared. Long-term residents will seek to rent rooms here.

Tavern Activities[edit]

Art by ncorva

Once a character is in the tavern, they can do the following:

  • Socialize: So long as there are at least two characters in the tavern, they may socialize. This can involve telling each other stories, reciting poetry, or sharing music. The only requirement for the latter is that you include a moderate amount of empty space in the tavern's floor plan, which the game recognizes as a "dance floor." Stocking the tavern with a variety of instruments will improve the quality of the music, as performers will simply improvise the sound of any missing instruments. Selecting a socializing creature with v and then pressing Enter will allow you to see the details of the story, song, or poem being performed, though this only works for fortress dwarves and long-term residents. For seeing visitors' performances, press u in main menu to go into the unit list, navigate Right twice to select Others tab, and use Down to scroll to the visitor you're interested in, then press j to view their current activity.
  • Rent Rooms: If you build a bedroom and assign it to the tavern (select the bedroom with q, then press l to bring up a list of locations to assign it to.), it will now be known as a "rented room" and become available for rent by visitors who were granted long-term residency. These vistors don't actually pay you anything for use of the room, but will offer their services in exchange for room and board, essentially joining your fort but refusing to accept labors until they petition for citizenship (with military ones never doing so while alive). You can assign multiple bedrooms to a single Tavern.
Note: Because of Bug:12061, Long-term residents do not sleep in rented bedrooms.
  • Share information: Citizens and visitors alike can share information with each other, especially when plied with alcohol. This can include rumors about the wider world, the location of your artifacts, learning songs and dances of other civilizations, or even a report on what happened to the squad you sent on a mission that never returned.

Because locations help your fort mood and focus and let jobs finish in them, there's little gameplay reason to not ensure your dwarves often visit them by combining them with dining halls, drinking mounds, or even dormitories and barracks. Lavishly decorating your tavern and filling it with such mood-enhancing items as mist generators will greatly boost your fort's happiness, as every dwarf will eventually need to visit the place to eat or drink. However, should your fortress dwarves be Intelligent undead and/or just plain incredibly distracted from a tavern need, doing so will bring them to a halt, as they start to


to try to fill their needs⁎. In such a state, they'll stop doing regular jobs you assign them until satisfied, finding this way more important. This can be stopped by deleting the zone with i-x-X; or by unassigning the location with q-l and pressing Enter on the 'Remove assignment' option, but they'll have to start over next time.

Tavern Setup[edit]

Taverns are designated locations in fortress mode. You may designate them from any meeting area or dining room. Upon creation, the new tavern will be given a random name and added to the location list, where you can rename it.

In the location menu, you can assign dwarves to the occupations associated with taverns: performers and tavern keepers. However, assigned performers do not appear to actually perform more often than unassigned dwarves, and both performers and tavern keepers will serve drinks in mugs to tavern-goers if your tavern has mugs in a container* and a drink stockpile. Serving dwarves tend to provide more alcohol than a creature would normally drink, which can lead to issues with drunkenness and even death, particularly for your non-dwarven long-term residents!

(* Note that a bin, which can be set in a 1-tile stockpile to hold only mugs, is not a substitute for a container in a tavern. Instead, those mugs would be used by your citizens and long-term residents when thirsty. Mugs stored in the tavern's containers are solely for the use of the tavern keeper and performers to serve drinks.)

Although taverns attract foreign visitors by default, you can change the Tavern patron restrictions in the location menu, and the total number of visitors in d_init.txt . If you feel that your dwarves would be better off without fraternization with other peoples, you can simply change the tavern's policy on guests to serve locals only on creation, or have visitor cap of 0†. You can also adjust the number of mugs and instruments the tavern will keep on hand from this menu.

(† If visitors already arrived, no new visitors will arrive past this point, but the old ones will leave on their own time.)

Dwarves will eat and drink in taverns if tables and chairs are available. If the tavern was designated from a dining room, then these dwarves may receive a thought about "dining in a [quality] dining room". If the tavern does not contain a zone designated as a dining room, dwarves will not receive this thought.

Tavern risks[edit]

Alcohol problems[edit]

Although it may be fun to see your dwarves singing, dancing, and socializing their spare time away, be aware that having a Tavern Keeper or Performer assigned to a tavern in your fort puts tavern-goers there at risk of both alcohol poisoning and drunken brawls. Drunk creatures are more prone to violence, especially those with weak, tiny livers. Although these outbursts usually begin as a simple fist fight between peasants or children, they can escalate quickly; friends and family of combatants will often join in, leading to huge, undesirable melees which may include highly-trained military dwarves. Even if soldiers don't get involved, lucky punches and scratches can deal permanent wounds or even kill. Worst of all, unless you have a massive hospital with multiple doctors, you can find yourself suddenly buried under dozens of lightly injured dwarves, watching their wounds grow fatally infected as they wait for preliminary diagnosis.

For the overdrinking itself, dwarves will consider alcohol harmless and not a cause to move people to hospitals on its own. For this, including some bee hives or cage traps in your tavern can help ensure unconsicious patrons are removed from the dance floor.

However, there is not much you can do to control for fights besides getting your medical industry up and running before opening the tavern doors, or outright not assigning any alcohol, mugs, tavern keepers or performers to your tavern. But hey, if you want, you can simply think of it as an exciting source of hands-on experience for your med team!


Taverns are your window to the external world, with all the good and bad it has to offer. If you happen to be in possession of a much coveted artifact, foreign agents will eventually venture to your tavern to gather information, assuming your dwarves can't hold their tongues. They will pose as any other visitor, chat with your dwarves and other tavern patrons, potentially trying to corrupt them, before reporting back home. If your fortress is confirmed to hold artifacts that other entities have laid a claim on, you may attract a lot of unwanted attention. Should you happen to notice a group of visitors who are asking about one of your artifacts, you can force them to either leave or act on their plan immediately by setting your tavern to allow only Citizens and Long-Term Residents. Doing this after surrounding the group with military dwarves greatly improves your odds of ending the conflict with minimal loss to your fortress, after which you can resume allowing visitors to your fortress.


You know the problem with opening a public tavern? Anyone can come right in and have a good time. And anyone who comes in could very well be a secret werebeast. One moment, everyone is having a fine drink and a good dance. Next thing you know, a Wereskink appears and turns the Tavern's dance party into a bloody rave. Be careful if you make your tavern public, or don't and sit back and watch the fun play out.

Adventure mode[edit]

Taverns can be found in fortresses, forest retreats, towns, and dark fortresses. They are listed in the structures tab in the legends. In the fast travel screen, their names will be in yellow with a brown background (example). In towns and forest retreats, taverns are represented with a symbol. "Tavern trees" are constructed in forest retreats but are considered taverns nonetheless. As their name implies, they are completely made of tree trunks and branches.

You can order drinks and rent rooms at most taverns in exchange for coins. To do this, speak to the tavern keeper and choose to Ask about available services, drinks, rooms, etc. then choose the drink you want to order or the room you want to rent. Drink options are different for each tavern and change every week. Because elven and goblin civs cannot brew drinks, their taverns lack alcohol. Tavern trees additionally do not provide lodging.

You can hold off on paying your debts until you leave the tavern. To pay off your debts, talk to the tavern keeper and choose to Trade or settle debts. You can pay in currency or trade items of equal or greater value than what you owe them in order to pay off your debts. You can ignore your payment and run off if you aren't planning to return any time soon, but you will be labeled as a thief.

Drinking mound[edit]

In hillocks, a drinking mound can be found, but instead of alcohol, drunken dwarves fill up the hollow structure. You can easily recruit them as your companions. Drinking mounds are not considered taverns.

Custom taverns[edit]

The build menu gives you the zoning option to allocate a tavern area. Companions left here will behave as if they are in a tavern - even without a tavern keeper, drinking vessels, furniture or instruments, they will mill about, gossip and perform.

A Dutch tavern from the olden times.


  • Tavern keepers/performers repeatedly serve alcohol until visitors and even dwarves drink themselves to death.Bug:9653
  • Tavern keepers, particularly in retired forts, sometimes claim "I don't work here" and refuse to serve drinks.Bug:9327
  • Long-term residents do not sleep in rented bedrooms Bug:12061
  • Long-term residents only claim bedrooms assigned to tavern. Bug:9665
  • Fights with visitors can result in loyalty cascades. Bug:11046
  • Bringing store-bought furniture to rooms you're renting at NPC taverns can result in a crash. Bug:9582
  • Tavern restrictions don't prevent visitors from showing up. Bug:10749
  • Visitors keep arriving to reach the visitor cap during sieges, resulting in a quickly mounting death toll. Bug:9184
D4Dwarf.png This article or section has been rated D for Dwarf. It may include witty humour, not-so-witty humour, bad humour, in-jokes, pop culture references, and references to the Bay12 forums. Don't believe everything you read, and if you miss some of the references, don't worry. It was inevitable.

A little-known idiom about taverns and cats is the ancient dwarven expression, "Oh Urist, curiosity didn't kill the cat, the booze did." This became popularized early on due to cats liking booze just as much, if not more, than dwarves did, which led to a century-long friendship between cat and dwarf kind – and many cats dying of alcohol poisoning in taverns. Many, many cats. Sadly, cats have recently become less inclined to drink booze. Scholars claim this is probably due to the process of natural selection.

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