Back in 1774, when it was barely a year old, John Adams dubbed this "the most genteel tavern in America." This was where Paul Revere rode to tell members of the First Continental Congress that the British had closed Boston Harbor. It is also where, in 1777, America's inaugural class of Congressional delegates gathered to celebrate our nation's very first Fourth of July.
OK, so technically that tavern burned in 1834 and the remains were torn down in 1854. But in 1948, Congress commissioned a historically accurate reproduction to be built on the site, one finished just in time for the bicentennial celebrations of 1976.
This faithful reconstruction of the original pub where Adams and Washington knocked back more than a few features Colonial-garbed servers, Martha Washington’s turkey pot pie, and homebrews—based on recipes from Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and Ben Franklin—made exclusively for City Tavern by Philly's own Yards Brewing Company. The pub even discourages the use of cell phones (supposedly to maintain the colonial atmosphere, but really, you shouldn't be using your mobile at the table no matter what the era).
A bit cheesy? Sure, but nonetheless fun—and a wonderfully interactive way to get into the sprit of the Revolutionary era. It's not every day you can walk in the footsteps of our Founding Fathers so very literally.
The menu—carefully maintained since 1994 by chef Walter Staib (who is also now the Emmy Award-winning host of PBS's globe-trotting "A Taste of History")—has plenty of modern choices.
The stars, however, are those re-creations of 18th-century favorites, from West Indies pepperpot soup to salmagundi (a meaty salad including ham, turkey, chicken, salami, and egg, along with cheddar and olives) to a Colonial turkey pot pie Washington himself would have recognized. Heck, even the fried tofu supposedly comes from a recipe found in a letter by Benjamin Franklin.