Liberty through Libation…Redemption through Rum

The City Tavern - Philadelphia

The City Tavern - Philadelphia

Doctor Franklin adhered to this simple prescription for the better part of his life, Liberty through libation.Certainly this was evident during the founding of the “Junto” in 1727, at the public house of Nicholas Scull and again in his later years while providing counsel to his fellow rebels at Philadelphia’s City Tavern.

In between  laying down the groundwork for a new city and a new nation, Benjamin Franklin helped to protect Pennsylvania’s western frontier as a colonel in command of the Philadelphia militia during the French and Indian War. The following excerpt from Franklin’s autobiography comes by way of Kathleen Zingaro Clark, the author of  Buck’s County Inns and Taverns and a contributing editor to American Public House Review.

“We had for our chaplain a zealous Presbyterian minister, Mr. Beatty, who complained to me that the men did not generally attend his prayers and exhortations. When they enlisted, they were promised, besides pay and provisions, a gill of rum a day, which was punctually serv’d out to them, half in the morning, and the other half in the evening; and I observ’d they were as punctual in attending to receive it; upon which I said to Mr. Beatty, “It is, perhaps, below the dignity of your profession to act as steward of the rum, but if you were to deal it out and only just after prayers, you would have them all about you.”

He liked the tho’t, undertook the office, and, with the help of a few hands to measure out the liquor, executed it to satisfaction, and never were prayers more generally and more punctually attended…”

Doctor Franklin

Posted by: Chris Poh

You’ll find the good captain in the tavern

So, you’ve come seeking adventure and salty old pirates, aye?  Sure, you’ve come to the proper place…

The USS Constellation

Those immortal words are from Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean and serve as a welcome warning to those who have arrived for what lies ahead.  This week we take you back to the city the British used to refer to as America’s “Nest of Pirates”, Baltimore.


In Fells Point, Baltimore’s immersive old port section, the history seems to come up through the cobblestone in the streets.  Walk along its roads and you could swear you hear the whispers of privateers conspiring to raid a British merchant vessel coming from one of the numerous taverns.  Has the brash Captain Thomas Boyle come back to add to his tally of sunken British ships? 


Captain Boyle was perhaps America’s most famous and feared privateer captain. He commanded the clipper Chasseur, a ship born and bred in Baltimore, the city that boasted America’s largest privateer fleet during the War of 1812.   With it he wreaked havoc upon British commerce.  During the war, while taking many prizes along the coast of Great Britain, he even sent ashore a proclamation to the crown that declared a blockade of the entire conutry…by only his ship!  Yes, we can imagine the good Captain taking great pride in his own sense of humor.  Soon Fells Point and all of Baltimore would refer to the Chasseur as the “Pride of Baltimore”. 


Now I can’t say this for certain, but Captain Boyle, or at least the large majority of those who served under him, probably enjoyed a mug or two of grog after a long voyage.  If he were around today, I would point the good captain in the direction of the Wharf Rat.  It is  certainly a place where a group of privateers could grab a few pints and make the rafters roar.

Posted by: David McBride @ American Public House Review

Bringing the world together, one pint at a time

A few weeks ago, I posted a picture on this blog of one of my favorite bar tricks, performed at the Rose and Crown Pub found at Walt Disney World’s Epcot.  This past week I got to spend some time at the pub and talk again to the famous Carl, bartender at this pub for as long as I can remember.  This time he upped the ante by magically balancing two glasses…











And then he made the barflies  “ooh” and “aah” by balancing a pint of Guinness, which makes it look as though some ghost is having a drink…











Now the tricks are great fun, and watching a customer try and figure it out is always entertaining.  But like any great bartender, Carl is about much more than glass tricks.  In a pub where there seems to be new faces behind the bar every time you visit, Carl’s is the one exuberant and welcoming face that always makes you feel like you stepped into your local pub.  He has that certain something that makes people smile and enjoy their time at a great tavern.

I have been coming to Walt Disney World for decades and have come across literally hundreds of employees, which Disney calls Cast Members, and have had many great experiences.  Disney is a company known across the world as the standard of excellence in customer service.  And no one I have ever met there exemplifies that standard as much as Carl does.  You are always made to feel welcome and part of the circle of friends that make up the Rose and Crown.  Folks from across the world make their way into this pub on a regular basis and somehow Carl seems to pull them all together.











He recently received Disney’s “Partners in Excellence” award, which is the highest honor a Cast Member can receive.  To win you must be nominated by your peers and then go through a lengthy review process.  It is not given out to a certain number of people every year.  It is only awarded when the Disney brass feels they have a deserving Cast Member.  Carl’s father recently passed away, and he said he dedicated his award to him.  Carl’s face would light up with pride when he mentioned it to his regulars.  And he should be proud.  He deserves to be recognized for the over two decades of exemplary service he has put in for us weary and thirsty wonderers. 

As I was drinking at the bar on a hot Florida afternoon a woman walked in and said hello to Carl.  She said to him, “This is always our first stop at Epcot!”  I could certainly understand where she was coming from.  We laughed about it a bit and Carl said to me, “I’m always amazed how many people come back to see me each year.”  Don’t be my good man.  It’s because you perform a noble job, and you do it as well as anyone I have come across.  Those of us who love a good bar will all agree that a place can be beautiful and the drink delicious.  But without people like Carl to make the experience great, it would be just another bar.

And here’s a tip if you should ever make it to the Rose and Crown and meet Carl.  While you are listening to one of his great stories, or trying to figure out the secret behind his bar tricks, ask him what he did for a living before he was behind the bar.  You won’t believe him when he tells you.  That is until he produces a picture of him, a great hat, and a really mean looking alligator!

Posted by: David McBride,  American Public House Review

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