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  • Chowning's Tavern

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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 Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/do/restaurants/historic-dining-taverns/chownings/
  • Phone: (855) 546-7748
  • 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
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerKid Friendly
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeighborhood Gem
Diner Reviews
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/24/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/23/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/21/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    Dined on 8/19/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/17/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "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."
    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"
    Dined on 8/13/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/8/2014
  • "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"
    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."
    Dined on 8/4/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/3/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/31/2014
  • "A fun way to experience Williamsburg. Great for a large group."
    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."
    Dined on 7/29/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/28/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/27/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/26/2014
  • "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"
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "very low key for the early diner mostly quiet with some entertainment. food was very good and satisfying"
    Dined on 7/23/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/22/2014
  • "Nice atmosphere. Food was ok for the price you paid for it."
    Dined on 7/21/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "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"
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "Food was surprisingly good. Very good salmon and beef entries. Plenty of food."
    Dined on 7/16/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 7/14/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "Servers were fun and informative, also very accommodating! Food was delicious. Games, music, and sing-alongs were all very entertaining!"
    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!"
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/10/2014
  • "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!!!!!!!!"
    Dined on 7/9/2014
  • "Great for family with children. Entertainment was very appropriate for all ages."
    Dined on 7/9/2014
  • "We had a great time. The wandering musicians were great, as was our server."
    Dined on 7/8/2014
  • "The food was very good and ambience was wonderful. The entertainers came around and did a great job playing and talking to the room. Our server was wonderful, our three year old wasn't feeling 100% and she brought him extra applesauce since that was the one thing he would eat. As mentioned in a few other reviews, there were a few flies buzzing around, which was a little obnoxious, but hey I'm sure there were a lot more in colonial days! Overall a very good dining experience. Would definitely go back."
    Dined on 7/6/2014
  • "This was the first time we ever went into the Taverns in Colonial Williamsburg VA. We we pleasantly surprised by the entertainment, atmosphere and menu. It was a fun time, we will definitely visit again next time we go to Williamsburg!"
    Dined on 7/6/2014
  • "food was outstanding. service great. Our server was one of the best I ever had. She was pleasant and let my try the new wines they had till I found one I enjoyed. We did go for dinner but I think it would be a better lunch place because the limited menu and mostly sandwiches but all in all everything was great . We even got to hear music ."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Looked forward to trying a new place as we typically go to Kings Arms. Decided on Chowning's for our holiday special dinner. We were seated early which was a plus. Cheese plate was ok.... A bit pricey for a few small pieces of cheese on a slate. Expected something a bit more special I guess. Reminded me of leftover cheese on a party plate. Entrees were so disappointing all around. Ordered a $32 beef dish and couldn't eat the meat because it was so tough. Horrible actually and considering the price I felt a bit taken. Orzo and a veggie side was again just OK. Setting was nice. Musician came by which was quaint. Food was horrid. Not worth the money! I realize it's a tourist place but for the price hire a real chef!"
    Dined on 7/1/2014