City Tavern

138 S. 2nd St.

Mid-day fare at 11:30 a.m., Dinner starting at 4 p.m., 3 p.m. on Sundays.


Back in 1774, City Tavern was the center of the world. George Washington and crew brought the party, drank their 17%-alcohol beer, ate their mince pie and venison and engaged in some friendly and borderline-offensive banter with the serving wenches. The likes of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and even our homeboy Ben Franklin made the major decisions there, though they never failed to enjoy a hearty man-laugh and a drunken brawl every now and again.

It's not hard to imagine our forefathers getting down with the corner wench, and that is because, as far as City Tavern goes, not a whole lot has changed. Creepily so. A self-proclaimed "Triumph of Tradition," the restaurant boasts waiters that have the game face on -- literally -- in full 18th century costume. They serve historically-appropriate meals, brew their own G. Washington-recipe beer and never lose that proud American spirit. The team gives 100% to the experience. You may not like it, and you may certainly find it a little disturbing, but at the very least, you have to respect what the team does at City Tavern. Because they are putting themselves out there in an incredibly embarrassing way on a daily basis.

City Tavern has always been a city center, representative of all of Philly's glory. And by "always," that means since 1975, when it was rebuilt after having been demolished in the 1800's. A newspaper reporter at the time was quoted as saying, "City Tavern will not be remembered except by some curious delver into the past." It's a shame that those curious delvers are largely uncool tourists who could never have hung with the forefathers. Nonetheless, as is proven by City Tavern, no matter who you are or how lame you are, if you are American, you are entitled to an enjoyable evening of ale, meat, hearty man-laughs and the occasional serving wench.


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