In the old days, taverns were the central drinking establishment because there weren't many other places to choose from. Nowadays, they're still a popular place to gather for people who enjoy a warm atmosphere of cheer and a low level of pretension. As with any public place, the key to creating an inviting spot is in the details.
Choose a dark, rich color scheme that includes browns, taupes and greens instead of bright or white-washed colors. When paired with low lighting, a dark color scheme will create a warm, inviting atmosphere.
Consider such features as stained-glass windows, arid scrubbed tables and wood paneling if you don't already have them in your tavern. These features add an old-style German feel, which people most often associate with tavern decor.
Decorate with signs, both inside and outside. Many taverns hang a sing outside that shows off their own personal crest and often features a picture of a beer mug. Also, be sure to decorate inside with signs that feature colonial-style lettering and images that represent the tavern.
Position candles or lanterns near each table. These offer an easy way to decorate and give off a warm glow that invites patrons to kick back and relax. Be careful utilizing open flames, however, if your patrons tend to get rowdy after a few drafts.
Scatter antiques and collectibles such as cigar boxes, old jugs and pipes about the tavern. Be sure to keep smaller items out of reach from patrons who've indulged in a bit too much brew and might want to collect their own souvenirs.