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City Tavern
City Tavern

City Tavern Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.citytavern.com
  • Email: info@citytavern.com
  • Phone: (215) 413-1443
  • Hours of Operation:

    Lunch:

    Monday - Saturday: 11:30am - 4:00pm

    Sunday: 11:30am - 3:00pm


    Dinner:

    Monday - Thursday: 4:00pm - 9:00pm

    Friday & Saturday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm

    Sunday: 3:00pm - 9:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Carte Blanche, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: American, Comfort Food, Wild Game
  • Executive Chef: Chef Walter Staib
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Beer, Farm to Table, Fireplace, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Area, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Smoking Area, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Private Party Facilities: City Tavern's ten elegantly appointed dining rooms create the perfect atmosphere for every type of affair, from elegant cocktail receptions to smaller, intimate sit-down dinners. Our in-house Special Events Coordinator will assist you with every detail, from menu planning to period music and horse-drawn carriage rides. Contact us at info@citytavern.com for more information.
  • Private Party Contact: Tahera Hasan (215) 413-1443
  • Entertainment: City Tavern's service staff is dressed in period costume. It is not unusual to see colonial re enactors visiting as well.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: 2nd & Walnut Streets
  • Public Transit: The Market-Frankford "El" has a stop at 2nd and Market Streets as well as the 21 & 42 bus lines drops at our door
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: A parking garage is located on 2nd Street between Chestnut & Walnut just before reaching City Tavern. There is also a community valet available at 2nd & Dock Streets after 5:000 PM
A word from City Tavern
Once called "the most genteel tavern in America" by John Adams and the first unofficial "White House," Chef Walter Staib's City Tavern has boasted the finest celebrations since 1773. With over 230 years of hospitality, City Tavern has been the centerpiece of affairs now immortalized in history. An evening at City Tavern is certain to be remembered. Just imagine sampling specialties, such as pepperpot soup, colonial turkey pot pie, roast duckling, Thomas Jefferson's sweet potato biscuits paired with ales the ales of the revolution made from George Washington & Benjamin Franklin's recipes -- all served by costumed wait staff.

Watch an episode of A Taste of History on PBS, our Chef Proprietor Walter Staib will give you glimpse of what we do here at City Tavern.
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Diner Reviews
  • "This would be an important place to spend a few minutes drinking a 'shrub' or a Madeira or tasting Thomas Jefferson's favorite bread recipe even if the food and service were not as good as they are. Rebuilt for the U.S. bicentennial in 1976 the building is a great place to consider the arguments and celebrations our Founding Fathers had as they helped define a new country. On top of that, the owner is making a serious effort to do some really interesting things with the menu and beer/wine pairings. Not always a home-run, but no real misses either. Go, enjoy some revolutionary fare and libations and don't forget to check out both floors and the reading room. "
    Dined on 7/22/2013
  • "I've been to this restaurant many times and when relatives or friends come to town I usually suggest this place. The food is absolutely amazing! It has a nice historical feel that really fits with the historical Philadelphia crowd. "
    Dined on 4/17/2014
  • "In the spirit of our trip back in tome, our high school aged son wanted to eat in an old time restaurant. The City Tavern, rebuilt to match the original from the late 1700's certainly qualified. It is a true neighborhood gem in the heart ofthe historic district. With ales based on recipes from Revolutionary days and a varied menu that included venison, I was uncertain what to expect in taste and preparation. However, everything we ordered turned out to be delicious from the Jefferson Ale to the medallions of veniso plus medallions of beef and crab cakes. I understand they have a top chef and the quality shows. Also, we enjoyed our pewter water cups so much that we bought a set for home. They do a great job keeping the water cool."
    Dined on 4/14/2014
  • "City Tavern used to be a quaint lovely place for drinks and a nice dinner. Now it is more like the good that you get in a theme park. The prices were also much higher than those reported on the web page."
    Dined on 4/14/2014
  • "Interesting beverages, hearty fare, wonderful setting, great friendly service. A very pleasurable evening."
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "I'm not in town for dinner very often, but when I am, I often come here for the historical background. There now is a new reason - the food is really good! Three is us all had different dishes and all enjoyed greatly. The server helped with food allergies, too."
    Dined on 4/5/2014
  • "Had a wonderful lunch with a colleague during a conference at a nearby hotel; the day was windy and cold and the warm toddy and delicious kielbasi special were perfect. We were easily able to chat at the early part of the meal, and the rooms were all filled to capacity when we left. Everyone appeared happy and content with their meals; this is a hot spot for tourists but definitely worth a trip for even die-hard locals who tend to migrate to everything new and different. The authentic early American fare is a nice change from the new, more inventive cuisines; would try dinner on a return trip. The wait staff is eager to please and dressed in period clothing- all in all a great experience."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "Our experience was a serendipity! We were visiting Elfreth's Alley and the tour guide suggested we go to City Tavern that evening. We walked there after the tour and had a lovely dinner. From the moment we stepped in the door and were greeted by two friendly gentlemen we felt welcomed and immediately relaxed. Our server was perfectly attentive and we never felt rushed. Our food was delicious and perfectly timed. Good wine and the mushroom toast was heavenly! It was a wonderful evening and we will return soon. We felt like Ben Franklin would certainly show up before the night was over!"
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "We loved the ambience of this place. Everyone was dressed in colonial period clothing including some of the guests. You dine under candlelight which can be very romantic. I loved the water goblets, they were icy cold and very refreshing. But really the star here was the food. Starting with the tasty bead plate and crab cakes. We had the Franklin chicken, chicken madeira and beef tenderloin tips. Every plate was delicious. We also shared the chocolate mousse."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "I took a date with me on a Friday night. They were very accommodating. I went in hearing good things, and was surprised they were even better than I expected. A little history, and a lot of great food. One of the best crab cakes I've had in years, and the steak special was not only a great value, but also excellently prepared. I will definitely be going back."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "City Tavern was a must-see on my day trip to Philadelphia from NYC. I have been reading John Adams by David McCullough and tried to see as many places as I could that are mentioned in the book. Independence Hall, Carpenter's Hall, the Powel House, and City Tavern were all on the list. The food, waitstaff, and overall atmosphere felt very authentic which is exactly what I was hoping to experience. I would highly recommend having lunch or dinner here as part of your historical tour of Philadelphia."
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "A birthday celebration where my step daughter loved it."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "When our future son-in-law visits from North Carolina we try to give him a taste of the best that Bucks County and Philadelphia have to offer by way of historic inns, taverns and restaurants. City Tavern did not disappoint. The entire staff was gracious, friendly, helpful and accommodating. The food was a feast for our eyes, bodies and souls. From the hot cider to our dessert of apple/ cranberry crisp with cinnamon ice cream, the entire evening was an absolute delight."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "We went for a late enjoyable lunch. Great Philadelphia historic experience.. food and service very good. .Wonderful place to take houseguests Will come back without houseguests."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "We made reservations to eat here after attending the Phila Flower Show and visiting Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. The tavern had several rooms upstairs, and we were seated at a table next to an original fireplace. Plank floors, pewter mugs and wait staff in colonial clothes and live harp music complimented the overall dining experience. Although the wait for our food bordered on long, it was well worth it. The Turkey Pot Pie was a flakey, pastry delight, and my husband's Chicken Marsala was tasty and generous. He skipped dessert, but I had warm apple, cranberry crisp warm with vanilla ice cream. Menu was varied, prices reasonable, and service was good. This was a great place for dinner to complete a day in Philadelphia."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "The historical atmosphere, service and food were very good! Highly recommend City Tavern, not only for what I already mentioned, but also the beautiful live harp music played during dinner."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "Eat & drink where are founding fathers did! Going back in time is awesome!"
    Dined on 3/2/2014
  • "Excellent food, fantastic, fun service! Worth the trip from NY."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "Had a great lunch at City Tavern on George Washington's birthday last Saturday. Our server, Jessica, was super, the food was delicious, and we even had the privilidge of sitting in Washington's favorite spot in the tavern. The porter made from his own recipe was fantastic, too. Very enjoyable meal."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "Decor is lovely/colonial on entry level floor. But on lower level the rooms are a spare, cold white and echo-ey — can be noisy. The non-stop harpist doesn't help. Food was quite heavy starting with the breads. Pepper-pot soup was more like a stew of coarsely chopped collard greens. Main course portions were overlarge, twice what a normal good eater would eat. Some sauces were thick and gloppy."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "I was expecting more authentic period food and more explain action if the foods. Our server was surprised and a bit put out that we had questions. The ale samer was good but again the server just tossed the card with the explain actions as an after thought. I would go back for a drink but not to eat. The harp music was nice."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "Great spot and lunch was amazing. We have pre-teens who wil try anything and had crab cakes and duck. I wouldn't recommend for younger kids who may not be able to handle a sit down dinner and conversation. The home brews were delicious. The staff was accommodating for a food allergy we had. Meeting the chef and chatting with him was one of our highlights on our trip."
    Dined on 2/19/2014
  • "A taste of Colonial Philadelphia; excellent service, excellent food, excellent atmosphere!"
    Dined on 2/16/2014
  • "My boyfriend and I went here for a restaurant week reservation recently, and we weren't sure what to expect. My appetizer was nice (corn chowder) but the sirloin entree was dry and difficult to swallow, even though it was covered in gravy. And in a fairly empty restaurant it still took more than two hours for us to get our three courses ordered and served. The restaurant has a cute historical charm that may appeal to others, but it isn't enough to bring us back."
    Dined on 1/28/2014
  • "City Tavern's reputation among Philadelphians has long been one of a tourist attraction -- but not a "go-to" restaurant. The food IS better now and a visit makes for a fun (and a little different) evening. It still is an historic tourist attraction but you'll get a comfort-food-oriented menu as well that's worthwhile ordering from -- as well as a harp player who arrived around 8:30pm. Service was energetic and attentive. Recommended to take out-of-town guests to as well as an occasional visit yourself. Most entrees are in the high $20's price range. With wine, 2 1/2 courses each plus tax and tip, our bill came out around $75-$80 per person."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "As an innkeeper, I suggested the City Tavern to my guests since it is not only representative of Philadelphia history but also of fine cuisine. My guests were thrilled and I will continue with confidence to send our guests to this unique and ideal destination."
    Dined on 1/19/2014
  • "What we loved: Shrimp cocktail, salmon entrée, home-made bread, the impressive architecture/building, no wait at the entry (we had a reservation and there were about 4 hosts to help us) and the awesome gauntlets you drink your water out of What was okay: Service (Our server was great, but he had 1 too many tables it seemed, our water cups tended to be empty most the night, but terrible considering it was restaurant week!), Lapin (rabbit < but that totally may just be a matter of "Hey, turns out I don't like eating bunnies") What we didn't love: The chairs and tables fit the colonial feel, but they were pretty uncomfortable because you couldn't push the chairs in much"
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "My husband and I took two neices (12 and 13) here for dinner as we were looking for something different to do with them. They really enjoyed the food and the place. One neice had the trout and the other had the seafood pasta special (as I did) which was delicious. There was a lot of shrimp, scallops and snow crab claws in this so it was a good seafood to pasta ratio. The only thing that was not as good was the rabbit dish. The desserts were also very good - raspberry tart warmed with ice cream, chocolate cake and a berry crumble with ice cream. The wine list is also nice. It was an enjoyable night and one of the girls said she wants to go back there for her birthday."
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "Our server Sarah was very friendly and knowledgable about the menu. The oysters were just ok coming out of the kitchen entirely too fast. We had not yet received our drinks. The corn chowder is hearty and delicious. The trout buttery and wonderful melting in your mouth. My husband had the Benjamin Franklin chicken and he was very pleased. Overall experience was very relaxing and enjoyable. Will definitely go back!!"
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "City Tavern is located in a historical building where you feel connected to the founding fathers of our country. We were told that the first Fourth of July was celebrated there and also the second inaugural of George Washington. The staff is costumed in historical garb, the decor is of the period and a musician serenaded us with the harp. None of this was corny. Our waiter was very knowledgeable of the menu and related it to foods of the period. We ordered an ale sampler, and he told us the history behind each drink. Both my husband and I loved the pumpkin and pecan biscuits, and we both order the seafood pasta which was excellent. I would definitely recommend City Tavern."
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "To me the goal of Restaurant Week is to encourage people to come to a restaurant that they would not usually pick and to get those people to come back by showcasing the restaurants food and service. City Tavern did not put their best foot forward. The food was fair at best. An item described as "colossal shrimp cocktail" was baby shrimp salad. The service was not great. We were not asked if we wanted drinks until we ordered, we had to remind the server and received at the same time as our main course. We were not asked if we wanted coffee, we had to ask. No one checked to see how our meals were. We enjoy having a drink in City Tavern's courtyard during the summer and have wanted to try for dinner for a while. We will not return."
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "My bf and i went to the restaurant for his bday. i asked that a candle be put in his dessert if possible. everyone was so friendly. at one point my bf started asking questions about the chef bc he watches the show and a couple mins later the manager walks over and hands us a copy of season 5 bc he was told by our waiter that my bf likes the show. then, at dessert a candle accompanied his tart. the food was very good and it was an overall pleasant experience. i would definitely recommend this to people."
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "Apparently the food was really bland in the 18th century. The recipes were all based on a colonial family's recipe. They probably should've stayed there. Sorry chef, but the food had little taste. The historical ambiance is cool, but I'm thinking a lunch would be a better option."
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "This was the second time we’ve come for restaurant week to take advantage of the lower prices. Both times has been fun. Of course the food is amazing but what’s more amazing is the service. The place was quite busy but we would have never known by the service we’ve received. Our waitress took excellent care of us. Even the manager came to talk with us and listen. As my mother walked down memory lane about her childhood and the memories invoked by Chef Walter Staib, the manager could have rushed away to attend to other customers but he didn’t. He engaged and listened with a smile. We have to go back soon so that my mother can chat with Chef Staib."
    Dined on 1/30/2014
  • "I love this place. the great historical location. The great food. The service is always great! It is a wonderful experience every time."
    Dined on 1/30/2014
  • "Our dining experience at City Tavern was, again, a most notable occasion. We absolutely love Chef Walter Staib's expertise and flourish! Such a wonderful time!"
    Dined on 1/29/2014
  • "The service was fabulous and the ambiance was great, but the food wasn't all that spectacular. I would return only for drinks and desert."
    Dined on 1/29/2014
  • "City Tavern is a tasty way to "time travel" to the Philadelphia of Franklin and Jefferson. The tavern itself is owned by the National Park Service and faithfully recreates the original structure and furnishings. The food is deceptively simple and completely delicious. The Russian Eggs, and Salmon Frittata are scrumptious, and the sauerkraut is amazing. Yes, amazing sauerkraut, so much so that I bought one of Chef Staib's cookbooks to make it at home. The Herb and Veal sausage that is served with the sauerkraut is out of this world. However, reading the menu in the dim lighting was difficult; we solved that with our phone flashlights. Also, the entrance steps front and rear could be a problem for someone with mobility issues."
    Dined on 1/26/2014
  • "The food was great! Pennsylvania Dutch combined with fancy spin on comfort foods! The experience and ambiance was like none other in Phila. Everyone dress's in period garb and they have live music sometimes in the front room. The place settings and love Pewter mugs etc...really bring an authenticity to the period dining! They even tell you a bit of history while your there! I give it lots of stars and stripes!"
    Dined on 1/26/2014
  • "I always wanted to go to City Tavern. Was part of a group of friends. The drinks were great and the food was good. But it was expensive for the type of food. Also our server had a large group and we then had to wait for everything."
    Dined on 10/24/2013