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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
    Colonial Williamsburg
  • Cuisine:
    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
  • "A fun way to experience Williamsburg. Great for a large group."
    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
  • "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
  • "It was the first time we ate at Chowning's Tavern and it will not be the last. The food was great, the atmosphere was very nice, the service was excellent. It is hard to find space for our whole family to go to eat and still feel like a family dinner. We loved the musicians that came around and the fun games that were brought to our table. I would recommend Chowning's Tavern to anyone wanting a good meal and fun atmosphere."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "There were 2 lovely dining rooms that had available tables, but our party was seated in a small room with uncomfortable chairs and a number of flies. Our server was not very knowledgeable about some items on the menu, and was not was not very attentive. We asked for more bread to go with our appetizer (which came with once piece of bread cut into 6 slices), and were charged $1.50 for the "extra" bread. The other dining rooms seemed to have more character, and perhaps our dining experience might have been more enjoyable in either of those dining rooms. If I return, I would ask to be seated in the dining room on the right (of the entrance) or upstairs."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "The food was unexpectedly not bad, but definitely not good."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "We chose Chowning's Tavern because it was in Colonial Williamsburg and we wanted authentic dining. Our reservation was at 7:00. We had a group of 4. We were waiting at our reservation time and many groups of diners arrived after us and were called in before us. The groups were all sizes, most larger than our group of four. 20 minutes later, we asked when we would be seated for our 7:00 reservation. The hostess looked very surprised and spent another 10 minutes looking busy until they called us in. At 7:30 we were seated. It took another 10 minutes to get our drink order. After that, the times were normal. Food was quite good and the beer tasting was fun. We loved the atmosphere and the singer."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "There were flies EVERYWHERE. The flatbread we ordered was soft and not fully cooked. The fiddler who came through and entertained us was great- the pocket fiddle was especially interesting. We called and tried to move our 5:45 dinner res back so that we could stay in the pool longer and not have a lot of dead time between the two reservations. There was a 7:15 reservation available but I was told we needed 2 hours to eat at Chownings due to the entertaining, etc.. As it turned out, our meal took less than an hour. In fact, the entire room for our seating had emptied out in an hour. The 7:15 dinner res would have been perfect. Can the he call center be trained to provide more accurate info? I probably would not go back to Chownings."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "Wonderful experience, worth the cost!!! Highly recommend this experience for everyone....you feel as if you have stepped back in time!!!"
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "Had a nice evening and fun playing games by candlelight. Food was good."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "We had an enjoyable evening at Chownings Tavern. Nice glass of wine, delicious beef sandwiches and potato salad and the ice cream is fabulous. We stayed for colonial board games which was quite enjoyable along with the complimentary peanuts. Would highly recommend"
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "We were shown upstairs to a nice table beside the window. We ordered an appetizer of a tasting of soups. Most of the soups were pretty bad. The Brunswick stew tasted like old vegetable soup. The corn chowder was passable. Fortunately, the meal was much better. We had the beef trencher and it was cooked perfectly. Very flavorful. The potato salad on the side was also very good. Dessert was a honey pecan tart. It was too sweet for my husband, but I ate it all! A balladeer came by and played several instruments. all in all, a very nice evening."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "The service was excellent, the music enjoyable and there was a nice selection of wine and draft beers; however, the dinner menu was quite limited and expensive for the fare received. I recommend this place for a drink, an appetizer, or for desert, but their are better chices for dinner. I did enjoy my quart size draft and the service was awesome, so you will enjoy the time you spend here. The games place after 9 is a marketing tool as you are at the same table and place, but I enjoyed this part and this is more in line with what the operation has to offer."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "Very quaint Colonial Tavern with Live period music and similar fare. Not too expensive and very tasty. See you again some day."
    Dined on 6/22/2014
  • "Food was decent but with small portions and a high price tag. Our server seemed more interested in getting us out for the next seating than in engaging and waiting on us. A musician does play periodically, but this doesn't overcome the other issues. Overall, not somewhere we will visit again."
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "My family and I made reservations online for a 5:30 pm dinner which was perfect after the 5 pm end of day fun at Colonial Williamsburg - this spot was right next door and perfect for getting to just after enjoying some cannon fire! We had the goat cheese appetizer, Chowning's Tavern Root Beer, Ploughman's flatbread, kids' half trencher (note they DO put a sauce on it which my kiddo didn't like but we did), and a kids cheese pizza. Everything was delicious!!! Great atmposphere getting to experience a real tavern - they even had live musicians entertaining us! A great, affordable stop along our Colonial journey!"
    Dined on 6/16/2014
  • "Well the folks at Colonial Williamsburg have done it up right at Chowning's Tavern. The new menu is great - diverse enough for everyone. The "trenchers" or sandwiches are innovative and very tasty. My wife had the BBQ chicken trencher, of course I had to taste it, and it was wonderful. Nice size, the coleslaw and BBQ sauce on it are very tasty, and the chicken was done to perfection. I had the Ploughman's Favorite Flat Bread. It was just outstanding - crispy flat bread, enough meat and cheese to make it a meal. We started off with the White Bean Dip with fresh veggies as an appetizer. Definitely enough to share for two people, fresh crisp vegetables and sippets - crispy bread for dipping. We can't wait to try the other menu items!"
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "Great food in historic Colonial Willimsburg. The experience of dinner in the tavern was just as I imagined it to be. The dinner was very good. The pecan tart was the best I have had."
    Dined on 6/8/2014
  • "We had a wonderful dinner and thoroughly enjoyed the strolling musicians and period dressed wait staff"
    Dined on 6/7/2014