Where does this silly (but fun) cliche come from? I couldn't find a definitive answer online.
The value of the tavern as a place where characters can meet, find new adventure hooks, and spend gold is obvious. And there are no shortage of inspiring taverns & inns in fantasy fiction.
Did multiple gamers independently start using inns & taverns as a launching pad in the early days of D&D? Or maybe Gary Gygax or Dave Arneson were in the habit of dropping their players into taverns and it caught on as a narrative device?