If you’d like to eat and drink as the Colonists did, you’re in luck: There are at least four taverns in Colonial Williamsburg that have been serving patrons drinks and meals since the 1700s. And they do by offering patrons a Colonial dining experience similar to those experienced by Williamsburg’s long ago residents (with important modern amenities, of course).
For more information on these historic Williamsburg taverns, continue reading below.
Shield’s Tavern offers diners an 18th century menu of ale-potted beef with mashed potatoes smothered in mushrooms, carrots and pearl onions, as well as other traditional meals from Colonial times. The tavern also provides Southern meals such as bangers and mash, Carolina-style barbecue sandwiches and other staples well known by residents of the South.
Williamsburg is also known for its many ghosts and the Shield’s Tavern provides a guided walking tour of haunted buildings. The tours start right outside the tavern’s door.
Gourmands looking for something a bit out of the ordinary should check out Chowning’s Tavern. This restaurant/tavern offers a menu that includes Brunswick stew, Virginia pulled pork sandwiches and – are you ready? – Welsh rarebit.
Fiddlers break out their instruments and play tunes from the 1700s as you eat. Colonial-costume-clad characters perform and encourage patrons to join in for some loud and boisterous sing-alongs. You also can enjoy local ales and wines.
If you like seafood as much as George Washington, then you’ll want to visit Christina Campbell’s Tavern, Washington’s favorite when he had a hankering for a meal from the sea. The menu includes filet beef with crab-stuffed shrimp, crab cakes, clam chowder, Gloucester chicken, Chesapeake Bay jambalaya and the house specialty, sweet potato muffins. You’ll be eating as singers entertain you with songs from the Colonial era.
The Gabriel Archer Tavern actually is rather new. Built in 1987 at the location of an old barn that once stood on the land now occupied by the Williamsburg Winery, the tavern offers great wines (mostly Bordeaux varietals from the winery’s Gabriel Archer wine list), as well as meals such as salmon filet, braised pork belly, New York strip (12 ounces), pan-seared chicken breast, and more.
The tavern may not be historical, the property on which it sits is: The Williamsburg Winery is located on property that was first planted with grape vines by its first owner, John Johnston, in 1619.
Any of the innkeepers of the bed and breakfasts listed here at BandBWilliamsburg.com will be happy to help you make reservations at one or more of these historic taverns. Book your stay today!
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