Taverns serve as information centers for each town somewhat akin to castles, though instead containing mostly lower class civilians as opposed to nobles.
The Tavern Keeper is in charge of the tavern who sells drink and shares information. You can purchase drinks for your party (morale bonus) or the town (relations bonus), or if you are looking for a quest the Innkeeper can point you in the right direction.
You can also find people looking to accompany your party for pay. Companions idle in taverns and can be hired for an initial fee plus a weekly wage. Mercenaries of variable quality can sometimes be found in taverns and demand a hiring fee plus a weekly cost depending on their level and number.
Taverns may hold wandering merchants and information traders. Travelers share information with the player, slavers purchase slaves and ransom captured prisoners, book merchants sell books and can buy various items, and poets teach poems and discuss courtship.
Belligerent Drunks can randomly be found taverns and may physically confront the player. Killing them wins you their weapon and can alter the Tavern Keeper's opinion of you depending on how you handle the situation.
Random civilians can be found resting and drinking in taverns. They do not interact with the player.
The player can enter the tavern either by accessing it through the town's main menu or by walking around the town and looking for the door to the tavern.