Taverns in colonial North Carolina, as in other parts of the country, were a vital part of the local economy and lifestyle. Travelers could find a place to sleep and a meal to eat as they made their way across the state. Local citizens used taverns for meetings, entertainment, and business transactions including the sale of land and slaves.
The quality of the accommodations found in taverns varied greatly. A town like Halifax with its river port and county courthouse probably had finer taverns than those found in rural areas. Still, a traveler might be forced to share a room or even a bed with a stranger. Meals were generally served three times a day with the main meal served at midday.
Taverns also hosted traveling performers, exhibitions, and various types of gaming. Billiards was a popular tavern pastime as were numerous card games, dice, and table games such as backgammon and chess.