And why not?
Up until the advent of the internet and smart phones you went to the bar to meet people and get into incredibly stupid situations with a high potential for death. Speaking just for myself I've had knives pulled on me in bars, dodged chairs flung from across the room, been hit on by gay men and transvestite hookers, and insulted a biker gang for their pussy-assed bikes. So it makes sense to me that walking into a smoke filled bar looking for trouble would lead to adventure - but in many ways those days are over.
Today when you walk into a bar you can see everything because there is no smoke to obscure the vomit stains on the walls or the blood on the floor. You can hear everybody too, because no one's talking; they're all too busy surfing the internet on their phones and playing Candy Crush. So it's not surprising that newer players bitch about the tavern concept because it a trite, played out methodology used by tired old Dungeon Masters.
Yeah, well, I'm a Dungeon Master who uses fucking taverns because I still remember when they were fun. I remember getting blind drunk while my roommate got in a fight with a three hundred pound body builder and I finished both their drinks before I left the bar with the body builder's girlfriend. I remember trying to ride an ox that a drunken cowboy had ridden there and tied to the front of the bar on a five dollar bet. I remember watching two girls beat the shit out of a guy who'd been fucking both of them.
I run my taverns like the bars I remember.
I have nice places where you couldn't get drunk without getting kicked out and nasty, disgusting dives where if you don't have a knife or a gun they give you one at the door. I have bouncers and barmaids who give as good as they take and I bring in all the people who sat in those bars I used to frequent. And yeah, I have a lot of drug dealers and gangs that crop up in there because I've seen a lot of them.
What I'm saying here is that if the taverns you're using in your games aren't exciting then you have no one but yourself to blame. Bars, taverns, saloons and the like are where adventures started for centuries because where alcohol and people looking for trouble meet bad things happen. So stop running trite, boring shit and crank up the excitement.