|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Place|
|The Three Broomsticks|
|Location||Hogsmeade main street|
|Permanent Residents||Madam Rosmerta|
|First Appearance||Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban|
The Three Broomsticks is one of the major attractions of Hogsmeade for the staff of Hogwarts, and the students on their infrequent Hogsmeade weekends. Located on the main street of Hogsmeade village, it is a warm and cheerful place, presided over by Madam Rosmerta, a warm, cheerful, and curvaceous witch.
We should note that many major revelations occur in the Three Broomsticks. The subsections below are intended to serve as spoiler warnings.
It is in this pub in Harry's fourth year that Harry is invited by Hagrid to come and see the dragons that will make up the First Task of the Triwizard Tournament; at the same time, we learn that Alastor Moody's magical eye can see through Harry's Invisibility Cloak. Later in the same year, Harry is offered information on beating the Second Task by Ludo Bagman, and Hermione tells off Rita Skeeter, an action that results in Rita writing a scurrilous story for Witch Weekly about Hermione.
In Harry's fifth year, needing a place to meet with other students, Hermione chooses to meet at the Hog's Head, rather than the Three Broomsticks, as there would be more privacy there. This privacy proves illusory, which may be why Hermione chooses the Three Broomsticks for a later meeting with Harry, Luna Lovegood, and Rita Skeeter. At this meeting, Harry talks briefly with a morose Hagrid, who is thinking about his family, then is interviewed by Rita about his experience the previous year when Voldemort had returned.
While Harry, Hermione, and Ron do visit the Three Broomsticks in Harry's sixth year, it is a cheerless visit, and culminates in the Trio seeing Katie Bell being jinxed by a package she had apparently received there. As a result, Hogsmeade Weekends are canceled for the rest of the year. Harry does pass the Three Broomsticks later in the year, with Professor Dumbledore, but they do not enter: Dumbledore tells Madam Rosmerta that he fancies a quieter drink and heads towards the Hog's Head. Returning from that trip, which had been cover for retrieval of one of Voldemort's Horcruxes, Harry and a greatly weakened Dumbledore return to Hogsmeade, where they are met by Madam Rosmerta who warns them of the Dark Mark floating over Hogwarts. She loans them brooms, and Harry and Dumbledore fly to the school.
It turns out that Draco Malfoy, who has been given the mission of killing Dumbledore by Voldemort, has placed Madam Rosmerta under the Imperius curse, and thus has been aware of Dumbledore's absences. Madam Rosmerta, under Draco's control, had given the jinxed necklace to Katie Bell, had apparently provided poisoned mead to Professor Slughorn, and had provided Draco with information about Dumbledore's absences from the school.
Harry does not attend Hogwarts in the seventh book, but he does return there to hunt down a final Horcrux. Apparating into Hogsmeade, Harry triggers an alarm, the Caterwaul, which brings Death Eaters out of the Three Broomsticks hunting him.
Wizards, much like anyone else, like to have a place where they can unwind and relax, and for the residents of Hogsmeade and the teachers at Hogwarts, that place is the Three Broomsticks. This is where wizards go to get Butterbeer, mead, and Firewhisky, among other things. As is usual among pubs, there are those that cater to the more regular class of clients and those that cater to the fringes of society; the Three Broomsticks serves the regular wizards, leaving the more shady customers to the Hog's Head Inn.
The Three Broomsticks is something of a leveled playing field; it is here that some of the distinction between student and teacher is lifted, so that Harry can speak relatively freely with Hagrid, and so that he can eavesdrop on private conversations between teachers. Of course, the alcohol helps this, and in fact at one point when we see Hagrid, he is rather morosely drunk. It is worth mentioning that the drinking age in the UK is much lower than it is in the United States; it is legal to drink at age 18 in a pub, or at 16 in a restaurant with a meal, and at age 5 at home. The laws in the Wizarding world must be even more lenient, as the Three Broomsticks and the Hog's Head are clearly pubs, yet third-years (age 13 and 14) can order Butterbeer (which is apparently mildly alcoholic).
Given how crowded the Three Broomsticks is, one might wonder why there are no other pubs apart from the unsavory Hog's Head Inn. One must consider, however, that whenever we see the Three Broomsticks, it is a Hogsmeade weekend, and the pub is full of Hogwarts students. It is almost certain that business on regular days is slow enough that a third pub would not be supported by the population. However, it is equally certain that the Three Broomsticks pub would not fail even with the ending of Hogsmeade weekends. The pub is so central to the British way of life that every town must have at least one; it is unthinkable that a village without a pub could exist.
It is not surprising that the first stirrings of Ron's sexual awareness should happen in the Three Broomsticks. When we first see the pub, Harry notes that Madam Rosmerta is a curvaceous witch; this, combined with the more casual atmosphere of the pub is likely responsible for Ron's paying her a rather inordinate amount of attention. Ron's low-level infatuation with Madam Rosmerta continues well into the sixth book, as it is mentioned that he is apparently looking around for her in the one Hogsmeade visit that occurs in Harry's sixth year. To the observant reader, this may seem somewhat odd, as Ron is actually present at the conversation where Madam Rosmerta admits to having served Harry's father when he was a student, making her necessarily old enough to be Ron's mother.
We note that the Death Eaters who are on guard in Hogsmeade in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows appear out of The Three Broomsticks when the caterwaul sounds. It is worth speculating briefly on the author's reasons for having them there, rather than in the Hog's Head Inn, which seems more attuned to the Death Eater psyche. There is, of course, the story requirement that the Trio meet up with Aberforth in order to complete the story line; this would be more difficult to arrange with Death Eaters in the Hog's Head around the clock, certainly. So why are the Death Eaters not staying there? Aberforth seems to have some power over the Death Eaters; the threat of closing his pub and moving out does seem to dismay them, as it would leave them with no place to transact their shadier business. Because of this, Aberforth can unilaterally shut his doors at, say, 1AM as usual, leaving the all-night business to The Three Broomsticks, who either do not have a way of exerting that power over the Death Eaters, or who do not choose to use it. So while it is a story requirement, the author has managed to give a valid reason for the vacancy of the Hog's Head.