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This article is about the current version of DF.
A tavern in adventure mode

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

Fortress mode[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, but you can rename it by pressing n in the locations screen.

Taverns are places where your fortress's idle dwarves can mingle with visitors from nearby civilizations. These visitors can be members of any nearby humanoid race, and will come with one of five occupations: performer, mercenary, bandit, monster slayer, or diplomat. Once a character is in the tavern, it 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. Its only requirement 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.
  • Eat/Drink: If you've built thrones and tables in your tavern, and have food and drink stockpiles within its boundaries, then tavern goers will eat and drink while here. You should also include containers* full of mugs and goblets in your tavern, as drinkers receive bad thoughts when drinking without one.
(* 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.)
  • 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 long-term mercenary and performer visitors whose petitions you've accepted. These visitors 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. Mercenaries can be assigned to serve in any military squad, but not as a leader, while performers simply socialize with tavern goers.

Because taverns serve all the same purposes as dining halls (and then some), there is no reason why you can't have them be one and the same. 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 and drink. You can also 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 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!

Although taverns attract foreign visitors by default, you can adjust this option in the location menu. 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. You can also adjust the number of mugs and instruments the tavern will keep on hand from this menu.

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 in your fort puts your citizens 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.

There is not much you can do to control for this event besides getting your medical industry up and running before opening the tavern doors, or outright not assigning any alcohol 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 at your tavern to gather information, assuming your dwarves can't hold their tongue. They will pose as any other visitor, chat with your dwarves and other tavern patrons 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.

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.

Adventure mode[edit]

Taverns are founded in fortresses and towns in adventure mode. They are also visible in the structures list of legends mode. In the fast travel screen, their names will be in yellow with a brown background (example). Taverns are represented with a symbol.

An adventurer can order drinks and rent rooms at taverns. To do this, simply talk 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. The drinks are different for each tavern and they occasionally change, so going to a tavern one week and coming back the next will mean you will likely have different options of drinks you can order. Just remember that you have to pay the tavern keeper - of course, you could just ignore your payment and run off if you aren't planning to return any time soon, but that will get you labeled as a criminal.

You don't have to pay off your debts immediately unless you plan to leave the tavern, you can even pay them off the next day, if you have a room at the tavern. However, if you do plan on leaving the tavern and you wish to pay off your night of debauchery or your room, 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.

Other types of taverns[edit]

Other forms of drinking establishments exist, but are highly dubious in the "drinking" aspect. Drinking mounds are found in hillocks, but instead of mounds of alcohol, drunken dwarves fill the hollow structure. Fortunately, the drunks make easy meat shields for early playthroughs.

"Tavern trees" are built by elves in forest retreats. As their name implies, they are completely made of tree trunks and branches, and resemble modern outdoor picnic shelters. Despite having a tavern keeper, they provide no services nor drinks, just instruments and a place for elves to group together and sing about their usual nature stuff.

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 all kinds of entertainment.


  • 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