History of Tavern Talk

Turn of The Century Tavern Talk.

One hundred years ago…

“The “Working Man’s Club” was the tavern where “schooners of beer and jiggers of whiskey” were the drinks of choice. The cocktail culture was rejected and to order anything other than whiskey was considered the height of “dandified pretension.” A ”garnish” and “garbage” were synonymous and to dilute liquor with mixers was considered fit only for “dudes and weaklings.””

Excerpt from “Faces Along the Bar” by Madelon Powers


Clubbing was “pulling together a group’s resources.” A young printer named Ben Franklin used to club books with friends at a Philadelphia Ale house. Over rounds of beer, the first public library was created in 1730.

Clubbing by Treat:  

“Treat” was to buy the group a round of drinks.


“Collection” was to give the bartenders the group’s money up front.

Dutch Treat:

“Dutch Treat” was to treats one’s self.

Ginks & Sitters:

A “Gink” was a dutch Treater who didn’t buy a round.

A “Sitter” was a person who couldn’t afford to buy a round.

However, sitters were permitted to loiter as long as his friends bought him drinks.

Getting Trusted & the Tick:

“Getting Trusted” was being welcomed into the club and being able to drink on “Tick,” which was to run a tab. “Selling on Tick” was to allow trusted customers to pay their tab on payday.


A special can To-Go-Beer. “Rushing the Growler” was going to get beer for the home. “Can Rackets” were “Growler Fests” held in alleyways and atop tenements.

Saint Monday:

Also referred to as “Blue Monday.” Yes, there was a time when employees were allowed to slow down or stop working to nurse hangovers.


A small glass of foam that bartenders did shots of because “no nipping while on watch” was the policy.


A “pretty boy”.  A man who cared about his personal appearance.