Taverns at Williamsburg VA: Which One is Best?

During your next trip to Virginia, make a reservation at any of Colonial Williamsburg’s historic taverns.

Imagine candlelight flickering and music by balladeers filling the air as you dine on savory cuisine. At restaurants in Colonial Williamsburg, you can experience 18th century taverns with historic settings, complete with servers dressed in fashions from the 1700s and meals designed from actual tavern receipts. Pull up a chair to any of the dinner tables found at Colonial Williamsburg’s historic taverns to sample dishes enjoyed by patriots like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry.

Colonial Williamsburg’s historic taverns are enchanting and immersive experiences. Visitors connect with 18th century history as the atmosphere, entertainment and food bring this revolutionary era to life.

Unsure where to start your Colonial Williamsburg dinner experience? Follow along as we share comprehensive insights into each tavern, making it easier for you to choose the ideal spot that suits your taste.

King’s Arms Tavern

Dine like a king, or at least pretend to, at King Arms Tavern. This genteel establishment offers present-day diners meals from 18th-century recipes with adaptations for 21st-century tastes. After opening in 1772, Kings Arms Tavern Williamsburg became one of the most noble establishments in the area. The tavern’s popularity remains true today.

Feel the regal ambiance that sets it apart among the taverns in Colonial Williamsburg. Choose from a menu featuring tantalizing Southern fare and sumptuous desserts to suit your tastebuds.

Colonial game pie and a chop of shoat are the house favorites. Also, save room for the tavern’s decadent desserts and specialty drinks, such as Chocolate Fudge Torte, Colonial Williamsburg ice cream, or Chardonnay and creme de cassis served over ice. Trust us, you’ll want to try it all!

Close up of a small sign with a crest on it for King’s Arms Tavern Washington Wine Dinner in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
photo credit: Cindy Graden Franks via Facebook

Chowning’s Tavern

Josiah Chowning originally opened Chowning’s Tavern in 1766 to appeal to the ordinary folk of Williamsburg. Today, the menu rings true to his testament with lunch and dinner offerings from Welsh rarebit to Virginia pulled pork sandwiches.

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Enjoy the feast in front of you, as well as the entertainment that fiddlers and servers in 18th-century costumes provide. Weather permitting, remember to take advantage of the garden seating. Strong beer and porters are also featured on the late-night Gambols menu.

While at one of Colonial Williamsburg’s historic taverns, raise your glass for a toast or your voice during sing-alongs! No need to hold back on the culinary delights and beverages as you can always stay at the area’s many lodging accommodations like the Brickhouse Tavern Williamsburg.

Christiana Campbell’s Tavern

America’s first commander in chief – George Washington – loved the seafood at Christiana Campbell’s Tavern, and you will, too. Drop by and try delicious dishes based on Mrs. Campbell’s original recipes.

Adorned with the aesthetics of the 18th century, guests of this Colonial Williamsburg dining tavern are immersed in history. From the pewter candlesticks, brass sconces, and framed prints to the reproduction chairs patrons are seated in, it’s easy to see why the local gentry chose this tavern as a place of conversation and political discussion.

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While its incredible food steals the spotlight, the tavern’s dessert selection and delightful ice cream add the perfect touch to your gastronomic adventure. This famous ice cream in Williamsburg promises to be the highlight of your day, infusing your exploration with the perfect dose of sweetness.

Wide shot of Christiana Campbell’s Tavern on a winter afternoon in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
photo credit: Daniel Baynes via Facebook

Shields Tavern

Williamsburg’s rich history unfolds as you wander through iconic sites like Wetherburn’s Tavern and Raleigh Tavern. Feel the hunger pangs? Fear not, as Shield Tavern serves an array of eats and drinks, ready to appease your appetite and rejuvenate you after an enriching exploration of the city’s historical gems.

Plus, you can experience cuisine and beverages from around the world at Shields Tavern. This reconstructed dining haven has a history all its own. Since Colonial Williamsburg was originally a port of call for ships worldwide, Shields Tavern’s menu also reflects the global nature of the town. Inside the tavern, guests will find candlelit tables, fiddlers serenading tables and delicious menu items like ale-potted beef (a dish similar to pot roast).

Dine on colonial resident favorites including  black eye pea soup, butter chicken, and West African stew. Or, sip wines from Portugal and teas from Asia. After a large meal (and of course, dessert), don’t forget to also try the coffee from Africa.

Be sure to place an order for one of the house favorite drinks. The Rummer, made with dark rum and apricot and peach brandies, and the “Pimm’s cup,” a spiced gin and ginger ale, are two popular sections. Its wide range menu and drink selection secure its place as one of the best taverns in Williamsburg VA.

Extend your historical journey into a sensory feast by tasting the essence of the past at the best tavern in Colonial Williamsburg. No matter your palate’s preferences, the Colonial Williamsburg restaurants promise an array of diverse delights.

Make Your Reservation at Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Taverns

Sample 18th century cuisine and immerse yourself in historic decor at Colonial Williamsburg taverns. Book your admission tickets now and quench your curiosity with interesting facts and a delightful dining experience.

What Did We Miss?

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Written by Anne Joyce Raymundo

Anne is a Filipino writer who formerly managed and created marketing strategies and materials for numerous websites and eCommerce platforms. Now, her voice...

2 comments about “Taverns at Williamsburg VA: Which One is Best?”

Karen Varney

February 8, 2022 at 7:10 pm

How do I make a reservation to dine at Chownings Tavern? We will be in the area and would like to dine there on Wednesday, April 6. Reservation for 3 of us.
Thank you


February 11, 2022 at 10:26 am

Hi Karen! Unfortunately, Chowning’s Tavern does not accept reservations, but Kings Arms Tavern does! Kings Arms’ phone number to reserve your table for 3 is 800-828-3767. Enjoy Colonial Williamsburg!

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