The Tavern

A Social History of Drinking and Conviviality

by Steven D. Barleen


In 1773, the Sons of Liberty plotted the details of the Boston Tea Party at the Green Dragon Tavern in Boston, Massachusetts, a place said to be the "Headquarters of the Revolution."

Print Flyer
Cover image for The Tavern

May 2019


Pages 175
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Popular Culture/General
  American History/General

Since the first Europeans settled in North America, much of American life and politics have happened around the tavern. Readers of all kinds will appreciate this in-depth analysis of the tavern and its influence on American life and society throughout history.

From public houses in Puritan New England to Gilded Age saloons, and on to the modern sports bar, drinking establishments have had a significant and lasting presence in American life. This book analyzes the role of drinking establishments throughout American history through an examination of their unique interior spaces.

The book considers the objects that define the space and the customers who give the space relevance and provides an overview of the space throughout history, showing how the physical attributes of the tavern and its role within society have changed over time. This work will consider the tavern from the perspective of the tavern keeper as well as the patrons, and will show how drinking establishments have found a permanent home within American life.


  • Generates interest in the history of drinking establishments among scholars and the general public
  • Includes a relatable history and analysis of drinking establishments, connecting them with representations of the American tavern in popular culture
  • Includes 20 images that help readers to visualize different taverns through history and how they functioned within American life
  • Brings the interior space of the tavern to life using historical and contemporary examples
Series Description

History of Human Spaces

The History of Human Spaces series explores different rooms and social locations that humans have occupied throughout U.S. history, from the earliest colonial period through the present day. Focusing on the evolution of both private and public spaces, such as the bathroom and the schoolroom, each title in the series provides the history of a specific space as well as an overview of its architecture, materials, and design. Delving further into the social, cultural, political, and economic significance of each space, the series uncovers how these spaces have impacted American life and history.
Author Info

Steven D. Barleen, PhD, teaches history at Clinton Community College in Clinton, Iowa. His research investigates the role of the saloon in working-class communities. He has published articles related to this topic, including: "The Saloon on the Prairie: Miners, Families, and the Role of the Saloon in Braidwood, Illinois, 1865-1883" (Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society) and "Rushing the Growler": Can Rushing and Working-Class Politicization in the Gilded Age/Progressive Era" (Labor History). He was awarded the 2014 Harry E. Pratt Memorial Award for outstanding scholarly publications in Illinois History.

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