korchma

The barrelhouse was a quite visible place in the community area of those times. Proof on this account can be found in many artistic works and folk stories. There were no particular rules regarding the construction of the barrelhouses. It could be a simple peasant house, uninhabited, brought into operation by the owner. Most of the times, the barrelhouse keeper was a new comer, not a local folk. They did not put emphasis on the comfort of customers in terms of furniture, decorations and the demands of the clients weren’t very fancy either. But sometimes barrelhouse keepers were wealthy and wise householders, having welcoming and neat places. Such a barrelhouse is exhibited in the museum (the one from Novoseliţa village, Kelmeneţi district).
The main parts of this barrelhouse are the bar and the larder, built at the beginning of the1920s. The keeper’s living room was added later. That is why the barrelhouse has an L-shape. The construction is erected on a wood framework and on a solid foundation. The free spaces between the construction pillars are filled with wooden splintered material. The walls are covered with clay and whitewashed. The multi sloping roof is covered with shingle. The ceiling is made of plank. The bar and larder windows have bars. The entrance door leads directly to the bar, the place where customers were welcomed. A third of the surface is taken by the counter, which is protected by long planks. This constructive solution is based on a good knowledge of the permanent clients, for whom the scandal and beatings were a normal stitches of behaviour.
On the counter and on the shelves are the tools used by the keeper: knives, scales, bottles, barrels and the tableware: bowls, plates, spoons, forks. On the right of the counter there is a long, massif table for guests. On both sides of the table are the benches. The bar has a door leading to the larder – the place when a multitude of aliments were kept on shelves, in barrels of different shapes and sizes, in ceramic pots and in baskets. This food was served to the clients by the barrelhouse keeper. The pickles, the salty cheese, the sweet cheese, the bacon, sausages and mackerel were to be found in the larder as well. In a wooden chest, the flour and grits were kept.
The living room was reached directly from the larder or through the outside door. The interior of this room is not different from the interior of a peasant house, but there are some pieces of furniture and factory items, bought from the town, which prove that the keeper was quite wealthy. In the barrelhouse yard there is the cellar, which was used to keep food as well as the ice to cool the drinks. The barrelhouse was a social place for the peasants, where they discussed current matters. The agreements for selling and buying land, cattle as well as the deals on employing people for work were done in here. The keeper could give food and drink to his customers on credit. This led to a continual indebtedness of clients, even to the ruin of the people who would drink alcohol on a daily basis. That is why the tradition calls the barrelhouse “the place of women’s tears”.