City Tavern Restaurant

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City Tavern RestaurantCity Tavern Restaurant
33 Ratings
City Tavern RestaurantCity Tavern Restaurant

Type: Bar, Eatery

138 S 2nd St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19106-2827
United States

(215) 413-1443 | map

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Added by WilliamPhilaPa

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Ratings: 33 |  Reviews: 22
Reviews by NeoClassicist:
Photo of NeoClassicist
4.64/5  rDev +15.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.5

More User Reviews:
Photo of Barleycorn
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of 952melvin
4.29/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Busy but fun, Ales of the Revolution for the win

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Photo of beerded_drunk
4.04/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of mjstern70
4.11/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3

This is a historic pub where many of the country's early decisions were made. Also, Yards has made several beers from the founding fathers' recipes and drinking them at this pub was wonderful.

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Photo of therealJAYZ
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of LehighAce06
3.61/5  rDev -10%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3 | food: 4.25

Photo of bluehende
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of TheBeerdedCharmer
2.75/5  rDev -31.4%

Photo of JohneHoodlum
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of jgasparine
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 2.5 | food: 5

Went here for the 4 course beer dinner during Philly Beer Week, 2011. Didn't see a bar... but I didn't need to. The history of the establishment, the decor, and the period attire of the staff made for an incredible atmosphere.

The beer was brought to the table in glasses... presumably poured from bottles. The Yards Ales of the Revolution were surprisingly good.

The service was above average- quick and friendly... and the food was simply amazing! And the beer paired exquisitely well with each and every course.

This was a fantastic beer dinner, and I look forward to my next visit to City Tavern... it was quite an experience!

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Photo of VegasBill
4.25/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

This is definitely a tourist destination and guess what, while I was there a tour bus pulled up out front. But with that said it is a must see at least once.
I had the Mallard Duck appetizer and it was excellent. For beer the Thomas Jefferson Tavern Ale, which was $8.00, wow a little pricey for me.
I was there at lunch and it was not busy so I could walk the different rooms and take in the history, of course very impressive.
There is also a pleasant area outside but I would think one would want be inside in this great old building.

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Photo of DAAnderson
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

The beer flight was exceptional, especially's Alexander Hamilton's pale ale - citrusy and smooth and George Washington's dark porter - rich, hoppy, and smooth. For the price ($10.75), the flight was a very nice progression of 4 beers. The food was comfort food at its best on a cold night. Tasty lentil soup, hearty turkey or lobster pot pie, a delicious braised rabbit, and a fine hot cobbler for dessert. Excellent period background music, and very friendly staff. Overall, a great and memorable evening. Delicioso.

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Photo of Gavage
3.59/5  rDev -10.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3

I've walked by this place numerous times so we decided to check it out. We went to the bar area and grabbed a seat at a table. The waitresses were dressed in period garb adding to the colonial vibe of the building. Definite tourist spot here and when checking out the beer list I was surprised they only served the four colonial beers brewed by Yards - Gen Washington Tavern Porter, Thomas Jefferson's 1774 Tavern Ale, Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce, and Alexander Hamilton's Treasury Ale.

The waitress brought us our beers quickly and with a smile. The beers were quite expensive at $7.25 a glass which is just a 12 oz bottle pour. A sampler of four 4 oz tasters is $10.75.

Is this a Philly beer destination ? Maybe if you are in the mood to check out a touristy spot and feel some history, but all in all this was a one time trip for me.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

If you're visiting the historical parts of Philly, this is a must try. "The most genteel tavern in all the land." The service was excellent. Your metal goblet was never low on water. The food was pretty good as well. A bit pricey but such is the places in a tourist site. All of the staff were dressed in colonial outfits. The tables are set decently well and the drinks are great. We ordered the George Washington's Porter, one that still uses Mr. Washington's original recipe. $7.50 for a large wine glass of it but it was quite worth it. The atmosphere was warm and classy, but still fit for the random tourist to walk in. You can sit inside or out depending on the weather. We chose to sit inside to see the decor. Various paintings adorn the walls and the trimming is nice, a little victorian style too. I ordered the Mallard Sausage and a Porter which went very well together. Will return for more!

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Photo of Seanibus
3.33/5  rDev -17%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

The food quality has taken a notable dip in recent months, but it is still a fun place to hang out. Skip the dining room and go straight to the bar area,which has a handful of large booths and a few bench type seats around the wall and fireplace. The atmosphere is scruffy and friendly, exactly what you'd expect from a well-worn colonial tavern (albeit a recreated one). The food is simple and direct (though, as I say, it used to be better). There isn't a lot of choice in beer, but what they have is fun - offerings from local brewery Yards that seek to recreate historic recipes from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin. Go for the sampler tray, which offers four good-sized samples of the three historic beers and one of Yard's very nice Philly Pale Ale.

Update from 3/4/09: We went back a week or so ago and the food was back up to its old standards. So I still give it a big thumbs up as a fun place to visit.

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Photo of scoobybrew
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4

My wife and I stopped at the city on a recent trip to Philly. The building is supposed to be a faithful reconstruction of the old City Tavern that George Washington and many of the founding fathers of the United States ate and drank at back in the 18th century. From what I could tell, they succeeded in doing just that. The wait staff were all dressed in period clothing and the menu items seemed true enough to the period. The food was very good; both of us enjoyed our meal thoroughly.

Ok - so about the beer because that probably what you're interested in(this is a beer site right and not a gourmet food or historical one right?). The beer quality is top notch. The Thomas Jefferson pale was my favorite, but the porter and summer ales were also done well. They had an IPA - which was perhaps a bit out of context from a historical perspective (particularly the Pacific NW type hops) - but was also good. The only bummer was the variety, as only 4 were on hand. But, quality over quantity any day and these did just that.

If you're out site seeing in Independence Park, I'd recommend stopping in. While it is a bit expensive ($7.50/pint), it was a good experience.

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Photo of tstegman
4/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Just like most have said, this is a good place to go with good beer and good food. I had a German special dish, and my wife had the pot pie. Both were good, a little overpriced, but the beers and the colonial atmosphere made the difference. No Philly Steak sandwiches here. Tried the Gen. Washington Porter, which was very good, and the Pale Ale, which was good, and the Martha Washington Wit Beer, which was very good. Overall, I certainly would return. Service was good, and I thought the historical aspect was worth the trip.

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Photo of leftmindedrighty
4.29/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

Stopped in here on a Sunday afternoon with a friend of mine celebrating his birthday.

You step into the City Tavern, and you're magically in the year 1776. No kidding, the atmosphere is strictly Colonial. From the solid wood floors and walls, to the staff being dressed in Colonial attire.

The beer list is quite small, but very unique. They always have all three of the Yard's Ales of the Revolution on tap. Which is by far the City Tavern's claim to fame as far as beer goes. You can order a flight of all three, plus the Yard's Philly Pale Ale for $10. Not bad considering the area. They also have many ciders and other old world drinks to choose from. By far the most unique drink list in the area.

The food menu was also quite small, but again, very unique. Colonial recipes, plus some of them are told to be recipes from Revolutionary times people.

Overall, a very unique place, and one everyone should visit to hum the sceneray of Colonial Philadelphia.

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Photo of michael573114
3.71/5  rDev -7.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 2.5

Neat place. I love the historical aspect, it's a really good idea. Seems it's not the original place, but it was built as a replica - I'd say they got it right, down to the distressed wood on the tables and benches.

Beer was good indeed. I had a pint of Mr. Washington's beer, and my friend had a pint of Mr. Jefferson's. Both were excellent, but as I'm more a fan of porter, I thought Mr. Jefferson's was a bit thin for my tastes.

I was a bit disappointed that the beer was served in nice goblets, and CHILLED, rather than served on cask in a big mug. Points off there, they should have done this one right.

I'd have liked to stay for food, but we had just had lunch at Monk's Cafe, and thus were quite stuffed.

Definitely check it out for both the beer and the historical aspect.

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Photo of jwc215
4.25/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

Visited for lunch on a weekday with a friend of mine. Worth visiting for historical and food reasons, but the beer is a plus. Both my hobbies - history and beer - are combined here. It has a colonial setting. Very comfortable. Bright with small wooden tables. The staff is dressed in colonial garb. The waiter was very pleasant, polite and efficient The food, though rather expensive was tasty. I had the turkey pot pie and my friend had the rabbit. We were both pleased with the size and taste of our meals. The menu consists of a variety of food from colonial recipes. The desert - a chocolate cake - was rich and delicious. The waiter said that it was from Martha Washington's original recipe.
The beer selection was limited. But, it's a place of quality over quantity. Three offerings of Yards were avaliable - Jefferson Ale, Franklin Ale and the Washington Porter. I had the last, which went well with both the pot pie and the chocolate desert. It was served just a tad colder than expected for a representation of colonial times, but it was okay, as it didn't take long for it to warm up a bit. No real complaint there, especially as they are serving modern people, and it was still not nearly as cold as most of the general public would probably be accostumed to anyway.
It was a very pleasant experience. Something different than the modern beer bar. If you are in Philly and looking for a historic place with good eats, and have some extra money, this place is certainly worth-while!

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Photo of TheDeuce
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 3 | food: 5

Simpy a must-go place.

"The most genteel tavern in all the land" -John Adams

Easy to find in the historic park, feel of a historic Revolution-time building is well done. The servers are in historic garb and everything on the menu except for the lobster is something that would have been served around the time of the revolutionary war (be sure to ask the servers why lobster wasn't, interesting story). Decor is hisoric, water is served in old school metallic chalices, beer is served in glass chalices. As for food, I had roast duck which was fantastic, the girl had venison, also great. As for beer I had Thomas Jefferson's 1774 Ale, very good, and Poor Richard's Spruce Ale, which was interesting, but tasting like I was (somehow) drinking a Christmas tree. Go figure.

You can walk upstairs to see the ballroom (now for private parties) where the gentlemen who signed our Constitution dined and ate, very cool. You can if you want to go upstairs one more floor but it is just offices.

Overall, a great dining expierience, lots of history, great food, interesting and historic beer, crazy dishes, decent service. An absolute must-try. You can go whenever you want for lunch, but dinner you need reservations (this is what the server told me).

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Photo of Suds
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

I’ve been wanting to go to this place since I first heard of it several years ago. I’m a serious history buff, so I was very excited about the entire project. The restaurant is very easy to find, located in the Philadelphia Historic park. Together with my wife and son, I had lunch at City Tavern during our recent vacation. The inside is appropriately dark and Spartan, with a seriously historic feel (nice, considering that the building is a reconstruction). The service staff is authentically dressed, and very knowledgeable. I had a beef pie and mushroom soup. My wife had a rabbit pie and pepper pot soup. All of the food was exceptional. We sampled both the Poor Richard’s ale and the Washington Porter. Both were outstanding. The place is pricey, no doubt, but for a historic experience, it’s certainly worth it.

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City Tavern Restaurant in Philadelphia, PA
Place rating: 4.01 out of 5 with 33 ratings