Located by the docks, it was recognized for its signboard: an enormous but bunt war helm, polished to a gleam and hanging from a spar by a thick chain. It was said to have been worn by a giant in a battle fought a long time ago but only a short distance north of Elturel. The giant was slain by a dwarf king, jumping high and slamming his axe into the helm, leaving it bent sharply to the right halfway up.
The building itself was a large open barn, lacking a loft and revealing its hammerbeam roof. It had a flagstone floor and its walls and pillars were covered in rusty metal cladding, mostly comprising old, hammered-flat shields, placed as high as they could go. Illumination and heating were provided by a few driftglobes, fixed in place high out of reach. The bar was situated at one end of the room. There were no tables or chairs, only benches at elbow height ringing each pillar where patrons could prop themselves up and drinks could be placed between punches.
The bar-staff were brawny and hairy fighters themselves. If things got too out of hand, they were armed with hand crossbows and sleep-poisoned bolts, or could just throw blunt objects, hard and true.
Despite everything, the Bent Helm had a somewhat strict policy against weapons. Patrons with noticeable weaponry were expected to hand them over at the door. They were first asked nicely by a curvy young woman (always in different, daring attire), and then not-so-nicely by the pair of friendly yet unyielding club-wielding ettins behind her. Those who refused were turned away, one way or another. The doorclerk, a minor mage with a ready wand of paralyzation provided additional back-up.
Drinks on offer were unremarkable light and dark ales, a rather robust stout, and a rough, potent sherry. All were only 2 copper pieces a tankard. The liquors were strong and served in earthenware tankards, which were easily broken so as to limit serious injuries and deaths. Pipe tobacco was also available at 6 coppers a pouch, with a free light via taper extended across the bar. There was no food at all.
Circa 1358 DR, it was popular with both noisy revelers and shady characters like smugglers. Foot patrols of the Hellriders were regularly sent to The Bent Helm tavern to break up the regular brawls.
By 1366 DR, the Bent Helm was known as an unofficial brawling pit, frequented by the city's bashers, visiting adventurers, and passing caravan guards who liked nothing more than to get roaring drunk and have a knock-down brawl. They also hurled tankards. Weapons were forbidden, but knifings remained all too common.
Thus, priests of Tempus with healing powers were sometimes sent by the Hand That Swings the Sword shrine to work in the tavern's back room to patch up the injuries. This was lucrative: the usual fee for a spell was a 1000 gp.