After a long, hard day’s Witchering, all you need is a good, hard drink in your favourite watering hole…
JD says: “As a passionate Witcher 3 player, I have often wondered where best to go in game to get rat-arsed after a long sweaty play session – now I need wonder no longer, thanks to forensic research by fellow virtual booze enthusiast Riley MacLeod, who has created this comprehensive review of all the bars the game has to offer. From the poshest wineries to the filthiest chav-dens, it’s all here. Cheers!”
Read the guide here (originally published on Kotaku):
Whether you’re looking for a dive to drink to your sorrows, a romantic hideaway, or the perfect place for a party, the Continent has the spot for you. Here’s a review of every bar in The Witcher 3.
A note: I found these bars using a combination of The Witcher wiki, the wonderfully useful Witcher Interactive Map, and my own experience. I’m pretty sure I got them all, but The Witcher 3 is a big game. If a spot slipped me by, feel free to review it yourself in the comments. (It’s really fun!) I also skipped the brothels; they might sell alcohol, but you aren’t going there to drink.
The White Orchard Inn: An inconsistent pitstop
Ambiance: The White Orchard Inn is conveniently located by the Woesong Bridge, in White Orchard’s busiest town (not that that’s saying much). It has a rough charm, with unfinished outdoor space that’s disappointingly underutilised. It’s a colourful place with plenty of seating for singles and groups. The atmosphere seems to depend on when you go; it’s been rough around the edges on some of my visits, but other times it’s been so empty that the only other patron there commented on it when I came in. I wouldn’t linger; it’s best as a spot to have a quick drink before getting back on the road.
Clientele: On past visits I’ve gotten in a fight, played cards, and met some shady characters. The crowd seems to shift wildly—a bar without regulars is never a good sign.
Food and drink: No one was around to serve me on my visit, though I hung around for a while. I could have sworn they used to serve food. Maybe it’s under new ownership?
Velen and Novigrad
Lindenvale Tavern: An unwelcoming local haunt
Ambiance: Located in out-of-the-way Lindenvale, this is a no-name dive in a mainly military town. There’s a guard tower that provides a nice view, not that you’ll want to gaze at the desolate countryside. The unfinished floors and walls might be attempting a country look, but mostly they just feel depressing. Badly-lit and claustrophobic, with limited seating.
Clientele: Patrons were sad and unfriendly, and one even called me a “shit-eater.” It mostly seems like a hangout for the Baron’s men, none of whom were inspiring conversationalists. The bartender was surprisingly perky, maybe to make up for the unpleasant clientele.
Food and drink: Spirits but no beer, though it has juice and milk if you’re trying to take it easy. Limited food includes meat and fish; the baked potato is a nice, if unambitious, vegetarian option.
Inn at the Crossroads: When you don’t want to drink at home
Ambiance: An unpretentious place with family-style seating. The slanted ceiling and exposed thatch make it seem smaller than it is. There was live music when I went, which was a nice touch, but overall it feels a little too similar to other country bars to be a destination. There’s the beginnings of what could be a stage outside; outdoor music could really give this place some character.
Clientele: A surprising amount of people were drunk when I showed up at 9:30 in the morning. I got the feeling some of the patrons were people from Crow’s Perch looking to get wasted where the Baron wouldn’t find them, which speaks volumes about the clientele.
Food and drink: A thin selection of spirits, plus some meat, chicken, and fruit. Orange juice and water for non-drinkers or people nursing hangovers. Pepper appears to cost extra, which is all you need to know about the food.
The Alchemy: A sip while shopping
Ambiance: The Alchemy is near a small market in Oxenfurt, making it perfect for a pick-me-up after you’re done running errands. A small patio (no seating) leads into a bustling side room that feels like walking into a friend’s house. The kitchen dominates the small place, which is made more crowded by shelves full of vases and knickknacks. The exposed brick walls and stone floor give it a weathered character. It’s not quite elegant and not quite a dive, but it has its own special something.
Clientele: The Alchemy sounded rowdy from outside, but inside was surprisingly subdued. It’s slightly off the harbour, which could attract a rowdy crowd, though proximity to the market might tone the rowdier elements down. It seems like a place anyone could be comfortable, though not quite standout enough to be a destination in itself.
Food and drink: A range of beer on tap from across the Continent, as well as some spirits and juice. The hot food offerings are meat-heavy, including ham and chicken sandwiches; mutton stew; and fried, roasted, and grilled meats. Despite being near the harbour, there’s only one fish dish, and potato wedges are the only choice for vegetarians. Eat elsewhere if you’re looking for healthy options.
Cunny of the Goose: Diverse and divisive
Ambiance: This surprising spot is right on the lake, with a small boat dock you can pull up to. The bar is spacious and well-lit, with a sectioned-off seating area that offers more privacy than the open main room. There’s live music and dancing, perfect for getting a little rowdy after a day on the water. However, it’s also a little seedy—it might be the carpets and the red curtains, which give it the slight air of a brothel. The decor suggests Cunny of the Goose isn’t quite sure what kind of people it wants to attract, and the name doesn’t help matters.
Clientele: The patrons were generally friendly and were a welcoming mix of rich and poor. The barkeep welcomed me heartily, but also offered to sell me fisstech. There’s definitely a seedier element here. I’d go elsewhere if you brought the kids with you.
Food and drink: The usual array of spirits and beer. No non-alcoholic or vegetarian options. If you’re looking to save some money, a roast chicken leg is 15 (or 19 for the vaguely-named ‘chicken’ leg), which is a more affordable choice than the whole chickens on offer. No goose products.
Seven Cats Inn: A country getaway, but bring your allergy medication
Ambiance: Just to the southeast of Novigrad, The Seven Cats is aptly named after the number of cats that surround it. (Tragically, I wouldn’t recommend trying to pet the cats.) There were a lot of children running around outside, and this plus the bucolic view of the city makes it feel a little bit like a theme park. Inside is big, with ample seating, though an unfinished swatch in the middle of the floor gives it a dirty look that conflicts with its family-friendly exterior. I was told it was “the luckiest tavern in town,” which might suggest illegal gambling. A bit more Vegas than Disneyland, maybe.
Clientele: There weren’t any children inside, though I couldn’t tell if that was policy or if they were just more interested in the cats. The patrons were friendly, though less so the staff. One server called me “a boor,” “scum,” and “a freak.” The staff is all women, though, which is nice to see.
Food and drink: Beer and spirits, including playful options in the Nilfgaardian lemon and cherry cordial. Water is the only non-alcoholic choice. Baked potato and baked apple make for disappointing vegetarian options. The potato wedges or roast chicken leg would make a good meal for kids’ tinier appetites.
The Golden Sturgeon: A breath of sea air in the city
Ambiance: This nautically-themed bar is convenient to the fish market and the harbor, with a lovely view of the tall ships. The high ceilings make it feel spacious, no matter how crowded. The walls are adorned with fishing nets, anchors, and even some actual boats, all of which manage to be thematic without being hokey. The main floor has live music that’s energetic but won’t overpower your conversation. If it does get too loud, there’s a huge downstairs with tables for more quiet conversation. No dress code.
Clientele: The Golden Sturgeon is popular with witch hunters, soldiers and sailors alike, all of whom mingle amiably. There’s a rough edge—I saw some sailors playing a knife game downstairs, while a Gwent game went on between soldiers above me. The bartender was well-dressed and friendly. Not the place for kids or people you’re looking to impress, but great for a group of adults on holiday, after a fishing trip, or a crew team looking for a pint after practice.
Food and drink: Beer and spirits, though I’d stick to beer. Good non-alcoholic range, including milk, juice, and water. Both dried and gutted fish are available, though not quite the seafood range the decor suggests. Lighter noshes include dried fruit and nuts. The sweet bun is a tempting choice if you want to cheat on your diet.
The Kingfisher: A castle of culture and class
Ambiance: More toward the centre of the city, The Kingfisher’s proximity to The Golden Sturgeon and The Nowhere might make it seem good for a pub crawl, but don’t be tempted: once you’re here, you won’t want to go anywhere else. Its three-story exterior, latticed with balconies, feels like a castle from a fairy tale, but the magical vibe was marred on my visit by a book-burning in the square outside. The Kingfisher boasts nightly performances by Priscilla, the Callonetta. Inside is lively and colourful, with family-style seating arranged to give as many people as possible a view of the decorative stage and live music. The second floor has a few private alcoves and some rooms with good views of the square. The third floor has a large suite, maybe for honeymooning couples? Make sure to stop by the bank so you can tip the performers.
Clientele: This is an upscale place, and most of the clientele appeared to be there for the music. It’s a mixed-gender crowd that skews toward women, but people looking to meet someone new will have to compete with the music for that pretty stranger’s attention. It’s an artsy crowd, but not so artsy as to make you uncomfortable.
Food and drink: Cordials, herbals, and wine; no beer. The menu is mostly fish, though there’s also bread and dumplings (no ingredients listed; ask first if you have dietary restrictions). A nice place for a light but elegant meal and some dinner theater.
The Nowhere: Somewhere to be
Ambiance: A bit of outdoor seating might be welcome on warmer nights, but it’s not the best neighbourhood. Inside is small and crowded, with a lot of unfinished wood and graffiti on the walls. It doesn’t feel dangerous, though; instead, it has a welcoming, unpretentious charm. You might not set out to find it, but you’ll be glad you did.
Clientele: Everyone seems to know each other. It’s not quite the place to drink alone, but you won’t stand out if you’re flying solo. A less affluent crowd than the Kingfisher and Golden Sturgeon; a nice runner-up if you’re looking to save some cash.
Food and drink: Despite the large amount of fish being prepared, I couldn’t find a server. Maybe you have to know someone.
Harviken Inn: Where everyone knows each other’s names, but no one wants to know yours
Ambiance: This place is small and hard to find, though that seems to fit right in in this town off the beaten path. The outdoor seating is nice, with a cooking pit providing a bit of heat and a preview of the menu. The inside is somewhat bare and haphazard. Exposed beams and rough-hewn windows make it feel like a cross between a ship and a cabin in the woods.
Clientele: The Harviken Inn is definitely a local place; multiple patrons pointed out that I wasn’t from around there. Given that you’d have to be a local to even find it, it’s likely they don’t see outsiders that often. People were polite and willing to have a few words, but I wouldn’t expect a warm welcome. Not a good place if you’re looking for tips on what to see and do in town.
Food and drink: Only spirits on offer, despite it seeming like a great place for a beer. A disappointing lack of fish; only chicken, pork, and meat. Many people seemed to be eating borscht, but I wasn’t offered any. Possible it was a private party.
Warrior’s Hall: Crack open a cold one with the boys
Ambiance: This building is at the centre of town, clearly reflecting its prominent place in the social life of Larvik. It’s a raw space, dominated by pits for roasting animals that make it feel a little wild. The walls are decorated with shields, and the overall vibe is sporty and masculine. The big tables and open space would make it perfect for a stag party or getting rowdy after a football match. Good for groups.
Clientele: A bartender told me the place has brawls, but it was an older, subdued crowd the night I went. I was told most people come to “eat, drink, and talk;” as such, everyone seemed to keep to themselves, but no one was unfriendly.
Food and drink: The bartender called the mead “brewed wisdom,” but the only alcohol on offer was spirits. No pescetarian or vegetarian options. It’s a place for meat lovers, but that might be just what you’re looking for.
Urialla Harbor Inn: Where no one’s a stranger
Ambiance: This out-of-the-way spot is a hidden gem. There’s a lovely outdoor space with heating, which was pleasant even in the snow. Inside is warmed by a large stone fireplace, perfect to cozy up to after skiing. The big tables are great for groups. An upside-down boat on the ceiling is a whimsical touch.
Clientele: Skews older; this is definitely a place to hear some tall tales and soak up the local culture. Everyone seems like they have a story to tell and would love to tell it to a stranger, since they’ve already worn out their stories on each other. From the bartender to the clientele, everyone seemed more eager to talk than listen. Trust me—that’s a good thing.
Food and drink: Not much, but hearty fare of meat and chicken. No fish or vegetarian options. Only spirits on offer, but they’ll make the old men’s stories even more engaging.
Arinbjorn Inn: The worst bar in Skellige
Ambiance: The hastily nailed-up awning suggests something is wrong with the Arinbjorn Inn before you even step inside. The layout is open and airy, with a roasting pit. There was a bard the night I went, and two glum women who appeared to be captives dancing half-heartedly nearby. It feels seedy and unwelcoming. Physically, the layout would be great for a private event or big group, but I’d advise going elsewhere.
Clientele: The patrons were grim and impolite, and many were excessively drunk. The bartender greeted me with a gruff “Well? What?” that further drove the point home. I’d say they just don’t like outsiders, but the locals didn’t seem to like each other much either.
Food and drink: The bartender claimed to have “speciality goods” but didn’t expect “someone from the Continent to get them.” Food is the usual chicken, meat, and pork. Only two cordials on offer. I picked up a Gwent card as a souvenir of an uncomfortable, unwelcoming evening.
The New Port: Something old, something new
Ambiance: This haunt in Kaer Trolde harbour is the second bar of owner Jonas, whose previous bar, The Old Port, was destroyed by the Ice Giant in Undvik. There’s no trace of sadness at The New Port, though. The mismatched wood exterior hints at the playful, active space within. The stone walls and floor and exposed beam ceiling are rustic, but this is offset by the sophisticated U arrangement of the tables and the open kitchen arrangement. Live music, but not overpowering; you’ll still be able to have a peaceful game of cards.
Clientele: Patrons are warm and happy, and everyone seems grateful to be enjoying each other’s company. Jonas told me people come to “reminisce about the old days,” but they don’t seem quite as haunted as the clientele of the Urialla Harbor.
Food and drink: The food looks as good as it smells, and there’s more variety than other bars in Skellige. There’s fish, as well as bread for vegetarians, and possibly the dumplings (ask first). Only spirits, but it’s fitting for such a spirited place.
Svorlag Inn: Nothing to write home about
Ambiance: By now these no-name local watering holes are starting to blend into one another, right down to the same fireplace I saw at Urialla Harbor (maybe they’re a chain?). Svorlag has two fireplaces, but strangely they make the place feel cold and divided. It’s not as bad as Arinbjorn, but it’s not bad—or good—enough to be worth talking about.
Clientele: “Looking for some kind of entertainment?” the barkeep asked, and when I asked what they had he incredulously listed alcohols, somewhat bemused I’d fallen into his trap. “This here’s a calm village,” one patron told me, and I’m inclined to agree. No one here has much going on, and the Svorlag Inn isn’t doing much to change that.
Food and drink: Despite the bartender offering me beer, there were only spirits. Food is two kinds of chicken, grilled pork, and raw meat. There’s nothing I’d say to avoid, but there’s nothing I’d recommend either.
The Pheasantry: Where the party never stops, even if you want it to
Ambiance: This place feels like one big party, but it has a slightly desperate edge. The hulking reddish building is hard to find your way into, but if you follow the sound of revelry around the corner you’ll find stairs onto a wide patio brimming with food and plenty of seats to enjoy it in. Inside, you’ll find several floors of food and fun, with flowers and art giving things a sensual vibe. It’s a bit ostentatious and try-hard, though. There’s an undercurrent of gluttony and forced cheer that make it a place that’s hard to linger in.
Clientele: The patrons are bon vivants and nobles, mostly focused on stuffing themselves with food and drink. They’re friendly, but they’re not necessarily good company.
Food and drink: The food is the star of the show here, with offerings including cheese, ratatouille, flamiche, pork rillettes, fish pate and more. There are cheeses and herb toasts for vegetarians, and juice, milk, and water on offer. There’s a variety of wine, but you wouldn’t expect different in Beauclair.
The Clever Clogs Tavern: A Pheasantry for the peasantry
Ambiance: This small bar has classic murals on the walls and dark red lighting, giving it an air of artistic pretension. It’s small, but there’s extra seating upstairs. It might make for a nice date night, if you don’t need too much privacy. It looks a little like The Pheasantry, but it’s more laid-back.
Clientele: The patrons are mostly average townspeople, and they seem a bit glum to be here instead of somewhere with more ambition. They’re quiet and not unfriendly, but they reek just so of regret.
Food and drink: Despite the fact that I could see other people eating, the only merchant in the place didn’t sell food. It might be a carry-in sort of place, without the capital to provide The Pheasantry’s feasts.
The Scarlet Cardinal: The cutest brunch spot in Toussaint
Ambiance: The charming country town of Francollarts hides an equally charming country inn. The first thing you’ll see is a huge patio with outdoor seating. Inside is quaintly decorated with reclaimed wood floors and shutters, and the whole building seems like a refurbished barn. There’s a small stage for performances and a lot of cute seating in nooks. It would be a great place to go for a celebratory brunch or to host a baby shower.
Clientele: A few people were drinking alone, but the arrangement of the seating makes it feel more like a place for groups. It’s popular with workers and travellers alike; a welcoming spot for all. Patrons mostly kept to themselves, more interested in the delicious food than meeting new people.
Food and drink: A glance at the menu explains why the food outshines the clientele. The wine menu is a tour of Toussaint (one more reason to come for brunch!). The food is varied and indulgent, including duck confit, boeuf bourguignon, and chicken liver pate. Lighter fare includes herb toast, grilled chicken sandwiches, and honey croissants. Don’t skip the dessert—chocolate souffle and tarte tatin are a must. Milk, juice, and water will help you pace yourself.
Adder and Jewels Winery: A weekend in wine country in the middle of the city
Ambiance: The Adder and Jewels looks like a real country vineyard, from its abundance of barrels, stone basement decor, and indoor and outdoor trellises. It sits on a sunny square with a beautiful big tree; lack of outdoor seating is a wiff. The decor is a little bit over-the-top in its pretensions, but this place clearly has a theme, and it wears its inspirations with pride. It’s a place for adults to enjoy a relaxed, festive afternoon with friends without having to get a babysitter for the kids.
Cliente: There are children everywhere, many of them unsupervised while their parents sip wine. Entertainment for the children would probably help keep them in line. Not a good pick if you don’t like kids.
Food and drink: As you’d expect, Adder and Jewels only sells wine, but there’s an accomplished mix of reds and whites. Food is some fruit and cheese, good for keeping the alcohol in check, but nothing substantial. Eat before you come.
The Barrel and Bung Inn: A local haunt that might actually be haunted
Ambiance: This place is dark, even in the middle of the day. It’s a shame, because the bar is full of frivolous touches like murals and musicians, but you can barely make any of it out. The seating is a maze of crevices that feel secretive and sketchy instead of romantic. It lacks the character of a dive and the charm of a country inn. I didn’t sense any ghosts, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
Clientele: A mix of peasants and travellers; no one seemed very unique, nor very keen to talk. If you’re a vampire looking to brood in the dark, no one will think twice.
Food and drink: The food and drink give this place an extra point in my book. The bartender is incredibly knowledgeable about wine, which shows in the varied menu. For a place I thought I’d hate to sit and eat, the food is impressive, with tarts, cheeses, sandwiches, soups and pate. You don’t need to see your lunch to enjoy it, I guess.
The bar at the tourney grounds: No name, but it doesn’t need one
Ambiance: This place doesn’t need a name; if you’re coming for a tourney, this is the go-to spot for food and drink. It’s completely open to the air, with huge patios that give a wonderful view of the palace. There isn’t much seating, but I presume it’s standing room only during events. The red lanterns over one of the patios must look wonderful at night.
Clientele: It was empty when I visited during the day, but I imagine it gets pretty rowdy when a tournament’s in full swing. Expect to rub shoulders with knights, nobles, and wannabes alike.
Food and drink: There are spirits and wine, as well as milk and juice if you have kids in tow. Given how crowded I imagine it gets, I’d stick with hand food—a fish tart or grilled chicken sandwich would be a good on-the-go choice. I wouldn’t eat soup standing up in a crowd, but if you want to live on the edge be my guest.
The Cockatrice Inn: A daytripper’s paradise
Ambiance: Right up on the river, a bit north of the city, this is the perfect place for a drink before or after a barefoot stroll along the beach. Most people seem to hang out on the narrow walkway outside, which is no surprise given the weather. (The lack of outdoor seating is a missed opportunity.) Inside is small but elegant, but you’re better off getting your food and drink to go.
Clientele: Inside was mostly taken up by travellers, perhaps weary from the road. Nobles and musicians lingered outdoors. If you’re willing to stand, you’ll definitely meet some colourful characters.
Food and drink: A few spirits, but mostly wine, juice and milks. Plenty of appealing to-go options, like the baguette with camembert or the grilled chicken sandwich. Load up on provisions and spend the day enjoying what the countryside has to offer.
The Ruddy Brush Auberge: An artists’ haven not long for this world
Ambiance: A new place in a recently inhabited town, get to this gem of a hideaway before it’s gone. Inside is utterly charming, with creative decor made of barrel tops and jars. From the uneven flooring to the knickknacks in every corner, The Ruddy Brush oozes character. A wonderful place to while away an afternoon scribbling poetry or digging into a novel—if you don’t mind being proselytised to now and then.
Clientele: For such a great place, it was disappointingly empty, with only a few workers wandering in and out. Part of that might be due to the bartender, a religious zealot who insisted I was brought there by the prophet Lebioda and talked my ear off about signs and portents. It’s possible she wants it to be an artistic gathering place that the local populace just can’t live up to. It’s equally possible it has a sordid underbelly as a cult recruitment centre. When I left, the bartender told me I was “sorely missed already,” and I felt the same way about her bar.
Food and drink: Wine, spirits, milks and juices. There’s an array of delightful foods too—you’ll eat too many honey croissants before you know it.
The Silver Salamander Inn: Your wedding destination
Ambiance: Way up north in Toussaint, I can’t imagine a better place for a wedding. The wide open main space, with an unfinished wooden floor, would be perfect for dancing, while a trellised seating area provides a place to catch your breath. The quaintest touch is the wooden benches that look to be carved straight from the trunks of trees. It feels woodsy but still civilised; your guests will love it.
Clientele: Further proving its status as an event hall, The Silver Salamander was mostly empty when I visited. The bartender was eager to talk and told me all about his family’s past in Nilfgaard. The tragic past that led to this place makes it beg all the more to be a place of life and cheer.
Food and drink: Wine and some spirits, plus juices and milks. The food is a mix of light fare and heartier options to give you energy for hiking. If you’re having a wedding you’re best off catering yourself; ask the bartender for local recommendations.