Chowning's Tavern
Chowning's Tavern
  • Address:
    109 East Duke of Gloucester Street
    Williamsburg, VA 23185
    Neighborhood:
    Colonial Williamsburg
  • Cuisine:
    American
    Price: $30 and under

Chowning's Tavern

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/do/restaurants/historic-dining-taverns/chownings/
  • Phone: 855-546-7748x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Daily: 11:30am-2:30pm
    Dinner: Nightly: 5:00pm-7:45pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: American
  • Executive Chef: Florence Allen
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Entertainment, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Entertainment: 18th Century Roving Musicians

Getting there

  • Cross Street: South Queen Street
  • Public Transit: Colonial Williamsburg shuttle stop at the Magazine.
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Public lots are available at Merchant's Square, and at the Tavern Parking lot on Francis Street.
A word from Chowning's Tavern
Step into this 18th-century alehouse for an experience that is anything but ordinary.

Enjoy a menu of colonial-inspired favorites and specialty beer, such as our own Old Stitch and Dear Old Mum. Take in lively period entertainment inside, or dine outside under the grape arbor in our newly redesigned garden. There you’ll enjoy a full-service bar, shareable plates, and kid-friendly offerings. Chowning’s Tavern is conveniently located in the center of town, so you never know who will stop by to share the latest gossip…
Continued
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerKid Friendly
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
Chowning's Tavern reviews from OpenTable diners
117 reviews since May 22, 2014
Overall Rating3.9
  • Food3.8
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance4.4
    Noise LevelModerate
84% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
kid-friendly (68)special occasion (34)neighborhood gem (28)good for groups (25)great for lunch (25)fit for foodies (20)scenic view (19)romantic (17)late-night find (15)great for outdoor dining (7)notable wine list (5)great for brunch (4)hot spot (3)vibrant bar scene (3)Show More
  • REVIEW
    Patt
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    The service is good, but the food is mediocre and overpriced at best.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A truly memorable experience!
    BurgResident
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    We celebrated our 20th Wedding Anniversary at Chowning’s Tavern. The colonial ambiance and in-character staff made this event a memorable one. The food and service was excellent. I suggest staying after 9pm for Gambols…. Lots of fun. I look forward to dining at Chowning’s Tavern again in the near future.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Experience
    wannabefoodie
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    Our server was friendly, helpful and attentive. The food was delicious from start to end! We'll definitely go back!
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • happycouple
    Dined on 9/1/2014
    The music, food and service was provided in a charming setting. This was our 40th wedding anniversary. Thank you for a wonderful experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fun Place to Eat
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    Hadn't been there in years, and the food was better than I remembered. The salmon and crab cake was excellent! And, of course, there are the interpreters coming in to talk and play music. Very good time.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Luv old timey
    Ladysmith
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    We came to Chownings for our wedding anniversary. It was like going back in time and very romantic. However, considering the prices, we thought the food should have been better. Ambience was great.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Chowning's Tavern - Lovely Dinner
    Wildonva
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    I have been to several taverns in Williamsburg, and I recommend Chowning's as a good, reasonably priced option for lunch or dinner. The menu has good vegetarian options (probably not authentically colonial, but good for my family) and there are options at a variety of price levels. I especially liked the bar menu - lots of fun mixed drinks like shrubs and other unusual options. The Brunswick stew was hearty and tasty.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    We enjoyed stepping back in time and the staff stayed in character and entertained us. The kids loved it. The food was good but not much of a variety.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • limited menu but great food
    Dave
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    Went on the first night of a Williamsburg get away. Had been to other CW taverns but not here. We were a little disappointed that many of the online menu items were not available, but what they had was really good. Will go back again.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Enjoyable Experience
    Techboy
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    In addition to the great fold and service there are romping musicians who played violin and guitar as you dine. It was the perfect way to complete our day at Williamsburg.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Fun Dining Experience
    BDhokie
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Overall we liked our dinner at Chowning's Tavern. It's a little like traveling back in time, if you ignore the hostess with a laptop on the front porch or the air conditioning! The menu is somewhat limited, but again it is supposed to be reminiscent of what you might find back in the 18th century. One modern addition is the kids menu, making it easier to bring young children along for the experience. Unfortunately our server was not particularly engaging or knowledgeable about the menu or tavern. She was less than enthused about playing the part. However, we were entertained by a violinst who was fantastic and told us plenty about that time period.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    They should tell people that they bring out peanuts everywhere at the end of the night. Our peanut-allergic son had a reaction use being in the restaurant.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Historically fun place
    Seventythbirthday
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    We enjoyed a cold drink and place to wind down in this charming tavern . Period dress of staff was nice touch. Interaction with entertainers was extra fun. I even got a personal serenade for my 70th birthday
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, late-night find, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A little disappointed
    amandaj
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    The ambiance at Chowning's was wonderful. From the costumed staff to the fiddle and flute player to the building itself we truly felt that we were in colonial times. However, the prices were definitely not from old Williamsburg. We order the Butcher Block platter to "share" but it was almost impossible to do this considering it came with only 8 slices of meet and a few crackers and for $20 it was definitely not worth it. Luckily we ordered the vegetable flatbread and the warm goat cheese as well, both of which were delicious. Overall we were a little disappointed.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/4/2014
    The food, the service and the ambience at Chowning's Tavern was first rate. We did not expect to experience very well prepared food in what is essentially a tourist area. We did. The salmon was well done and flavorful, the beef was tender and expertly seasoned and our waitress was efficient and delightful. The colonial era musicians were a VERY pleasant extra. We'll be back. Frank, Susan and Lauren Owens
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, late-night find, scenic view, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Too little food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 8/4/2014
    It was nice being in a tavern for dinner but the menu had very few options. One had too pay thirty dollars for one small plate of food that wasn't even very good. It wasn't worth the over priced meals and will not go back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Don't expect a culinary hot spot
    FletchVIP
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    This is what it is. A restaurant in an historic town and an historic inn, recreated to give you the experience of dining in an authentic 1700's inn. Unfortunately, the food and the people make it feel like something out of Universal Studios. It has that processed, mass-marketed feel that you get in a tourist spot. They could so easily put a little effort into food and make it feel and seem authentic, but it is served in a way that makes you realize that they are there just to get the food out the door. Additionally, the hostesses were awful. Extremely overweight, mean, and grumpy, you would have thought that we had asked them to climb Mt. Everest when we asked them for our table.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Colonial Fun
    DraLisa
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    We loved the ability to sample/share food here. A tasting of soups, flight of colonial beers (quite unique flavors) and cheese plate. We enjoyed thus moderately priced tavern more than the more expensive one. We also stayed for Gambols and enjoyed not only the games, but the sassy tavern workers.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great Williamsburg tavern
    food4fun
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    A fun way to experience Williamsburg. Great for a large group.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good 18th Century Atmosphere
    PnutBuddha
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    If you are visiting Colonial Williamsburg, and want a taste of the 18th Century dining experience, then try this place. The food choices are kind of limited, and not particularly memorable. The service was at a very relaxed pace and very friendly. Again, there are other restaurants near the Colonial City that have much better food, but for that one of a kind experience of sitting in the same building where Thomas Jefferson might have dined, it is definitely an option.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/28/2014
    I understand it's a period restaurant but the fun choices were minimal. Unless I wanted a Flatbread (which I could make myself) my only other choices were chucked for $27 or steak for $32. Unless I'm at Peter Lugars in NYC I'd never pay an outrageous price for beef. I'm not sure how you justify that to yourselves. On a bright side, my kids enjoyed the Mac and cheese. They only had a hat because I wasn't spending $27 for chicken for each. It would have cost $42 to get them both chicken..... Chicken.... Not Mahi Mahi..... But chicken. Needless to say we went somewhere afterwards for something else to eat. Lastly, our servers were extremely pleasant and informative. You should be proud of all of them.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Small selection, bland food
    LadyCroc
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    The selection was small and the food was very bland. Not worth the money! One bright spot were the musicians that came and played Scot-Irish folk songs on their ukelele and violin.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good to do for the location.
    Wegone
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    For the Williamsburg theme, location, was good/fair enough for the effect. Food was decent. We really liked the candlelight meal, the singers/actors and fortune card reader. Wished the waitresses were able to act the part. Did not at all, but if they did would make it really worth the amount you spend. I would still recommend the restaurant but do not have anything to compare to.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Frowning from Chownings
    DiningwithWMF
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    The scenic location was unfortunately the best part of the meal. Parking was difficult. Menu very limited and pre-prepared so both of our meals were overcooked. Waitress brought appetizer salads out with our entrees. Bread was dry from heatlamp. It was difficult to get the attention of the waitress even though it was not busy. Did I mention the flies? :P
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/23/2014
    very low key for the early diner mostly quiet with some entertainment. food was very good and satisfying
    Special Features:
    late-night find, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Don't miss this
    NJvisitor
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    My family had dinner here. The food was high quality, and the waitress was top notch. There were performers providing music and entertainment throughout the meal, and one of the performers even sat down with us. If you only go to one restaurant in the Revolutionary City, make it Chowning's.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • good ambiance
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/21/2014
    Nice atmosphere. Food was ok for the price you paid for it.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Chowning's Tavern is great at night
    OldTimeyBarScene
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    Dinner on the upper floor is quiet & romantic, while the main floor is lively. The best part of Chowning's Tavern starts at 9pm when dinner is over, the wee ones leave, & the adults get to act like naughty kids. The musicians play bar songs from back in the day & you get to play table games from back in the day. It gets pretty loud & some of the songs may offend those without a sense of humor. I would HIGHLY recommend going at least once, it's way more fun than I can describe.
    Special Features:
    late-night find, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Great Atmosphere But Menu is Off
    joeh
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    The location and atmosphere are outstanding. Service wasn't too friendly but the live music was great. The menu was not the wholesome country food one would look for in a tavern but rather a very small list of contemporary items which were not filling or fitting of the environment. I would recommend other taverns in the area as Chowning's was not impressive.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • obx14
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    Very good atmosphere, very pleasant and helpful waitress. Very interesting ambience. Unfortunately the big-guy storyteller? did not come to our table. The muscians were good
    Special Features:
    special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Chowings
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    Food was surprisingly good. Very good salmon and beef entries. Plenty of food.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Not as expected
    LindaT
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    We were looking forward to a tavern experience while visiting Williamsburg, VA and chose Chownings because of the online menu. The actual menu was considerably abbreviated from what we expected. The chowder was very good and the children's menu acceptable, but the entrees were few in number and the quality of the food fair. We would not reccomend this tavern!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A step back in history.
    Cosette
    Dined on 7/14/2014
    We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at Chownings Tavern, the menu was varied and even offered a vegetarian dish. Our server was wonderful and took excellent care of us. Entertainment was provided by strolling musicians who were very knowledgeable about the songs and their background. The food was served hot and presented in a very pleasing way. We finished the meal with a shared pecan/honey tart, to die for!!! Perfect way to end a very good meal!
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Service, Ok Food
    FoodieOnTheRun
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    Having been here before a long, long time ago...I was excited to come back! Unfortunately it has changed a bit. The food was overly salted and pretty bland. The kitchen probably doesn't get much room for variance and things are likely over commercialized. Not worth the money and left me with a headache. Where they won me over still though, was with their service and entertainment. Our waitress was FANTASTIC!! Hilarious, witty, so pleasant and had fun with her character while still providing excellent service. The wandering bards were pretty great too, made the room more lively but didn't stay so long as to prevent conversations from continuing. I'll return but likely just for a salad and coffee.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great food and fun!
    Pennsylvania
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    Servers were fun and informative, also very accommodating! Food was delicious. Games, music, and sing-alongs were all very entertaining!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • good place for visitors to Wmbg
    localyokal
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    We took relatives with children there for an evening meal with 5:45 reservations, just in time to see the Fife and Drum contingent march down Duke of Gloucester right outside the Tavern while we were waiting to be seated. I thoroughly enjoyed the Mint Julep before dinner. The visit from the musician in period garb, to talk a bit about the 18th century Tavern scene and sign a few songs was fun. the Food was good, service excellent, chairs were "authentic" to the period (uncomfortable for some in our group) cost was not cheap, but I figured we were paying for the experience and supporting the Restoration. Our server had no problem with folks in the group who wanted to share portions by bringing extra plates. A big hit for our guests!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Charming, reasonable, tasty.
    MJKpartyof6
    Dined on 7/10/2014
    Great old-world ambiance. Our waitress was friendly, informative and attentive. The food was delicious and the menu offered a good variety at reasonable prices. The two musicians who came around playing colonial songs were a fun and unexpected treat.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful
    Romatic1
    Dined on 7/9/2014
    We were given this vacation from our son for our 25 wedding anniversary present!!! We are staying at the Inn and have thoroughly enjoyed the dinners and Gambols that we have attended at your restaurant!!! The food, atmosphere are wonderful!!!!!!!!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • glulu
    Dined on 7/9/2014
    Great for family with children. Entertainment was very appropriate for all ages.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/8/2014
    We had a great time. The wandering musicians were great, as was our server.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic