One of Sandpoint’s most popular taverns, especially among fishermen and gamblers, the Hagfish is also Sandpoint’s best bet for a good old-fashioned seafood meal. Owned by a gregarious one-legged man named Jargie Quinn, the Hagfish gets its name from the large glass aquarium that sits behind the bar, the home of a repellent Varisian hagfish that Jargie affectionately calls Norah (despite the fact that he’s had “Norah” replaced dozens of times—Varisian hagfish don’t live all that long in Quinn’s aquarium). Hanging from a nail next to Norah’s tank is a leather pouch bulging with coins: prize money for anyone who can drink down a single tankard of “water” scooped from Norah’s tank. It costs a single silver coin to try, but the trick is that, since she’s a hagf ish, the water in Norah’s tank is thick and horrif ically slimy and foultasting. Few can stomach the stuff, but those who do get to keep however many coins have accumulated in the pouch, and then get to carve their names in the ceiling beam above the bar. To date, there are only 28 names carved there, and the Hagfish has been in business for nearly 10 years.
But there’s certainly more to this tavern than Norah. Jargie’s game tables are always well attended, with games ranging from cards to checkers to dice to darts. Tall tales are a favorite pastime here, with one popular game called “yarning” involving seeing how long a local can string along an impromptu fable without contradicting himself. The most popular subject of these tales is traditionally Old Murdermaw, a legendary giant red snapper that might or might not dwell in the depths of the Varisian Gulf. Jargie himself is quite an accomplished yarner, with the ever-changing story of how he lost his leg being his favorite starting point for his tales.