Tourism Ireland

Colonial-Era Eats in Philadelphia

by Akhil Kalepu

Aug 27, 2016

City Tavern, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania © Norman Maddeaux | Flickr

Trends / Food & Drink

John Adams called it, “the most genteel tavern in America,” when he came to Philadelphia for the First Continental Congress in 1774. Founded the year before, City Tavern was a favorite for many of America’s Founding Fathers, and continues to satisfy patrons to this day with its authentic colonial-era style.


A photo posted by Hannah Camille (@hannahcbee) on


The restaurant saw many historical events that offer a glimpse into the everyday lives of colonial revolutionaries, the first being Paul Revere’s lesser known ride into Philadelphia to warn about the rising tensions in Boston due to the closing of their port. It was also an unofficial meeting place for members of the first Continental Congress, who would often stop there before and after their assemblies at Carpenters’ Hall.   City Tavern would later be where the first Fourth of July celebration was held, in addition to hosting a dinner with George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocratic and military officer who was also a close friend of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson.



Today, the waiters are still dressed like it’s the 18th century. The food is colonial, although the menu balances authentic colonial-style cooking with more modern flavors. Being in operation for more than 200 years, it’s consistently rated as one of the best restaurants in Philadelphia.


Learn more about the restaurant and its history by visiting



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