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March 4: America’s First Tavern Opens

On this day in 1634, America’s first licensed tavern opened up in Boston. Imagine the line outside the door. It was called Samuel Cole’s Inn, after the owner, though some evidence suggests it was also known as The Three Mariners. Sam was a  Puritan, as were most of the inhabitants of Boston, and when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a play about the pub and Sam, one detects a certain defensiveness. And I quote. “But the Three Mariners is an orderly house, Most orderly, quiet, and respectable. And have I not King Charles Twelve Good Rules, all framed and glazed, Hanging in my best parlor?” So what were these 12 Good Rules hanging in Sam’s pub? “Profane no Divine ordinance. Touch no state matters. Urge no healths. Pick no quarrels. Encourage no vice. Repeat no grievances. Reveal no secrets. Maintain no ill opinions. Make no comparisons. Keep no bad company. Make no long meals. Lay no wagers.”  Those “healths” the rules were urging one not to urge were toasts. Leave it to the Puritans to make drinking in a pub as fun as digging a grave.