This essay examines the significance of inns and taverns in the early modern period. Drawing above all on a series of registers from the French and German lands of the Swiss Republic of Bern, the discussion is presented in two parts. A first section investigates structural aspects such as ownership, clientele, and the remarkably multifunctional character of these establishments. The second part illustrates the continuing growth in provision during the Ancien Régime and the limited impact of government regulation. It is argued that inns and taverns became the most prominent social centres in early modern local communities and that popular demand for their services prevailed over sustained campaigns to restrict numbers and discipline patrons.