City Tavern

City Tavern in Philadelphia is located at 138 South 2nd Street. It’s a recreation of  the 18th century building that used to sit there. The original tavern was a favorite spot of our founding fathers.

Old City architecture.

Front of City Tavern.

The original tavern was built in 1773 and the first 4th of July celebration was held here in 1777.

Back of City Tavern.

The tavern was partially ruined in a fire on March 22, 1834. In 1854 the building was demolished.

City Tavern was rebuilt in 1975 for the bicentennial celebration using images from the past, written accounts, and historic records. In 1976, the newly built City Tavern reopens.

Chef Walter Staib is the owner and Chef Jason Wilkinson is the executive chef. The tavern whips up dishes using authentic recipes from the 1700s.

We ate here for the novelty of it. The servers wear period clothing from the 1700s. I can’t remember what Vic ate but I had the turkey pot pie and New England Clam chowder. It was good. Our food wasn’t bad and it was well prepared but it wasn’t stand out. This is a touristy place that one should go to once in their life if you are a history buff and want to see what it was like back in colonial times. The history of the place is amazing but we couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed the building is a replica. All in all, eating at City Tavern is a very enjoyable experience and they let you explore the building. It was really cool being able to walk in and out of the period rooms, getting a glimpse of the past.

What adds to the experiences is Old City itself. A lot of old buildings from the 1700s have been preserved so when you walk around, you get a glimpse into the past.

Philly is a great walking city. We enjoy the architecture.

Shane’s Confectionery. This candy store is a bit of a time machine.

I like their caramels but wasn’t able to get any since we didn’t get here before closing.

RIP Anthony Bourdain

He was a man that brought people together with his passion for food and cultures. These cocky New Yorkers would never have gone to Philly if it wasn’t for Anthony Bourdain’s episode about Philly on his show, The Layover. We visted Magic Gardens and ate at Amis, and Reading Terminal Market on our first overnight to the city of Brotherly Love like the episode suggested and quickly fell in love. We’ve been visiting Philly the last 5 years and consider it a home away from home, in some ways, we love it more than NYC. He taught us to always keep an open mind. Those of us that consider ourselves open can be quite closed minded sometimes. It happens, we’re human, and is the way of people, it’s nature, we all have it in us. But living also means growing, exploring, and learning. Bourdain’s show brought the world to our living rooms, along with a love of exploration that would inspire our hearts to roam and eat for a lifetime. What a legacy he leaves behind and it will live on, unfortunately, without him.


8 thoughts on “City Tavern

  1. I lived here all my life
    Just recently I took my daughter to South street she’s never been she’s been to new York,so at Easter break we had our first cheese steak and saw the band get off the tour bus……its the Fillmore could
    You image her face lighting up
    It was just one of those priceless moments……As Sheldon Yoursly

    1. We don’t really get to experience stuff in NY either unless we have visitors. The lines are too long. Sometimes we like to do the touristy stuff. I really wanna go to the Freedom Tower but the line looks painfully long.

      Think our equivalent of City Tavern is Fraunces Tavern and it’s a recreation too. Checked out the museum with another blogger. Have to try eating there one day. Tales say it’s haunted but can’t figure that out since its a recreation. Maybe a remnant of energy from the past?

      1. We will. This was a entry from fall I didn’t get around to posting. We’ll be headed there this fall, not sure when. We like to go to terror Behind the Walls.

  2. The colonial costumes and decor sound kind of Disney theme park, but I’d still want to see the City Tavern for myself. I’m sure a lot of historical landmarks I’ve seen are reconstructions due to fire and subsequent owners remodeling the buildings for their own purposes. (I mean, does anyone want to stay or eat in a building where the restroom is an outhouse located 20 feet away in the back? :D)

    I’ve yet to eat ‘great’ food in any of these places, but then real 18th century fare probably wouldn’t measure up to our standards anyway. From what I’ve read and seen—there’s a great YouTube channel on American 18th century cooking and daily life, Townsends—they didn’t have many spices or herbs to season their food with, and even salt and sugar weren’t cheap. Beer was a common drink, though, as was hard cider.

    1. It does feel like a tourist trap but it’s all in good fun 🙂 Good point about updating, real bathrooms 🙂 Guess, the pit toilets on our trails are outhouses 😦 Some are so gross.

  3. I admit I’ve never thought of a “tavern” as a multi-story house with white linen dining, even if the fare is basic 18th century. But perhaps that’s where “the room where it happened” was (Hamilton reference).

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