Dine at one of Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Taverns

July 23, 2018

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.

King’s Arms Tavern

King’s Arms Tavern/Facebook

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

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, Williamsburg ice cream, or Chardonnay and creme de cassis served over ice. Trust us, you'll want to try it all!

Chowning’s Tavern

Chownings Tavern/Flickr: Ken Lund

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.

Enjoy the feast in front of you, as well as the entertainment that fiddlers and servers in 18th-century costume 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!

Christiana Campbell’s Tavern

Christiana Campbell’s Tavern/Flickr: Tonamel

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 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.

Shields Tavern

Shields Tavern

Experience cuisine and beverages from around the world at Shields Tavern. This reconstructed tavern has a history all its own. Since Colonial Williamsburg was originally a port of call for ships around the world, 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.

Make Your Reservation at Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Taverns

Sample 18th century cuisine and immerse yourself in historic decor at Colonial Williamsburg's taverns.

Written By Ashley


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  1. Karen Varney says:

    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

    • 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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