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 WinnerNeigborhood Gem
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
Chowning's Tavern reviews from OpenTable diners
135 reviews since June 22, 2014
Overall Rating3.9
  • Food3.7
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance4.3
    Noise LevelModerate
83% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
kid-friendly (68)special occasion (45)neighborhood gem (34)great for lunch (30)good for groups (26)fit for foodies (22)romantic (22)scenic view (20)late-night find (18)great for outdoor dining (6)notable wine list (6)great for brunch (4)hot spot (4)vibrant bar scene (3)Show More
  • Entertaining
    kml23185VIP
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    We arrived late, towards the end of dinner and the start of nightly gambols. We were entertained though out the meal, palm-reader, musicians, etc. Food was very good. BE advised that Chownings has a more limited lower priced menu than the other Williamsburg Taverns. We had out of town guest who were pleased by the experience.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • change of menu and entertainment
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    I took my extended family to Josiah Chownings back in 2011 and we had a great time. We constantly had magicians and entertainers at our table. When I made a reservation for 10 of my extended relatives again, I checked the menu on trip advisor's link to the restaurant just to make sure there would be something for everyone. When we arrived we found out there was a completely new menu. The picky eaters in my family could not find what they wanted. We were at the table for 2 hours and spent hundreds of dollars in food and alcohol. But we only had one musician play 2 songs. Our meal at Chownings was not what we had hoped.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    The food, entertainment and service were really great!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • It's about the ambiance
    Omnivore
    Dined on 10/13/2014
    It's fun to go to Chowning's Tavern because you're in an historic building in an historic town, eating by candlelight (mostly). Actually, I wish there were more historic food options on the menu. But, in spite of that, it's a semi magical experience.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • hmmm
    paxt
    Dined on 10/13/2014
    The food was less than impressive. Pricey for what it was. The mushrooms should have been listed as mushroom soup. The seafood to share was okay but obviously not prepared to order. Our waitress was pleasant but after having such knowledgeable and outstanding service at the Kings arms the night before this was a great disappointment. I would not recommend this. The table next to us that had a family with grandparents - left most of their meal also. It would have been nice had the waitress interacted with us. or even told us something about the restaurant.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Historic tavern fun
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    Very nice tavern. The menu is somewhat limited, but there is enough variety to satisfy most. The food was very good, and the setting was hospitable and fun.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • 21st Anniversary -Chowning's Tavern
    Shawn
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    The staff at Chowning's Tavern made a very rememberable occasion for us for our 21st anniversary!! With the help of the staff, I was able to present a special night to my wife by having the Tavern's musician present my wife with the Past, Present, and Future ring I bought her and the host take some pictures with my iPhone. My wife was very surprised and never new anything was going on. I would highly recommend this place to anyone! Thanks Chowning's Tavern!!
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, kid-friendly, late-night find, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Very disappointing!
    ppan
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    Of course, the ambiance of an 18th century historical tavern is inviting. However, that is where it ends. Food must have been pre-cooked and reheated for service...totally dry, over-cooked and inedible. I had the salmon...terrible. I will say that the trio sampler of soup was good. All else was really poor. Women's' upstairs restroom was dirty. Actually, there was evidence of a general lack of care. Not a good experience.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • No so hot dinner, shines after 9pm
    funtraveler
    Dined on 9/29/2014
    This is the casual restaurant offering at Williamsburg colonial city. Fine for lunch, now have an outdoor bar in the rear. Selection for dinner is not good, ate a salad and a dessert. Do enjoy the strolling musician. Go after 9 pm for evening entertainment, 18th century style fun.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The Most Casual of the CW Taverns
    Alison
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    My husband and I were engaged in Colonial Williamsburg (CW), and we have made it a tradition to go to a different CW restaurant each year on our anniversary. This year we went to Chowning's (my first time there, his second) and had a nice meal. Everyone was in the restaurant from families with young children to elderly groups and everyone seemed to have a great time. The troubadour with the flute was a nice touch to the evening. The food was not as high end as some of the other taverns, but the prices certainly reflected that as well. Prices here were by and large quite reasonable, and the quality of the food was delicious. Would highly recommend the 3 soup sampler!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome experience at Chowning's
    DannyANDLori
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    We were on the second night (Sunday) of our honeymoon, and looking for some evening entertainment. We found there was a event happening at Chowning's called Gambols. We made a reservation, and were fortunate enough to get a table. We had a great time, and it really set the tone for our trip to Colonial Williamsburg.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Chowning's Tavern
    lovefood5
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Chowning's Tavern was pretty much what we expected, Colonial Times' charm. The atmosphere was great, the roving musician's added to the fun of the evening, was not overwhelming. We had various age groups represented and everyone walked away satisfied and in good spirits.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A tavern above~!
    bdaygirl
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    We had a fabulous experience at Chownings Tavern. The atmosphere is warm and friendly as you are met at the door with people dressed in 'character' and the experience gets better from there. The food was some of the best we have had, but I have to say the best part was our server! She was a riot and made our experience even more fun! Would recommend this tavern to anyone wanting a fun Williamsburg tavern experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Let Down at Chown
    RipOff
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    Big waste of $50 for 2 "historic" appetizers and 2 pizzas. The music consisted of 2 songs during the entire meal. Only the historic interpreter Daniel Mackenzie lingered to interact and enrich the experience enough to slightly set it apart from just a mediocre, overpriced evening. Since we HAD to select a category, I reluctantly chose "a special occasion": that being a sudden windfall of money where you have enough to pour it straight down the drain.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • 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