The City Tavern is a replica of a historic 18th-century building located at 138 South 2nd Street, at the intersection of Second and Walnut Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, part of Independence National Historical Park. Owner and Executive Chef Walter Staib cooks a variety of entrees using authentic 18th-century recipes, served in seven period dining rooms, three wine cellar rooms and an outdoor garden.
Called the "most genteel tavern in America" by John Adams, it was the favorite meeting place of many of the Founding Fathers and of many members of the First Continental Congress. The land on which City Tavern was built was conveyed in 1772 by Samuel Powell to a group of seven wealthy citizens. The City Tavern was built by subscription in 1773 at a cost of more than £3,000. On May 20th, 1774, over two hundred men gathered in the long gallery of the City Tavern to respond to the request for assistance from Bostonians following the passage of the Boston Port Bill.
Many important things happened at City Tavern in the first few decades of the new nation. The first Fourth of July Celebration was held at City Tavern in 1777 to celebrate the anniversary of America's Independence from Britain. General George Washington first met the Marquis de Lafayette at City Tavern in 1777. When Paul Revere took his famous midnight ride, he stopped at City Tavern in Philadelphia to alert the patriots that the British were coming. The building was partially destroyed by fire on March 22, 1834 and the structure was demolished in 1854.
The entire building was reconstructed in the 1970s and re-opened in 1976 for the United States Bicentennial as a functioning tavern and restaurant. City Tavern is now operated by Chef Walter Staib, an internationally acclaimed chef and TV host of the Emmy Award winning A Taste of History and World Cuisine of the Black Forest. On October 1, 2013, the tavern was temporarily ordered to close by the National Park Service as a result of the United States federal government shutdown of 2013.
City Tavern was featured in the novel The Riddle of Penncroft Farm by Dorothea Jensen. In it, it was the place where Will spied on the British during their occupation of Philadelphia in 1777 while pretending to be an apprentice of Little Smith. "Little" Daniel Smith was, in real life, the name of its proprietor. City Tavern has also been featured on 60 Minutes and USA Today. City Tavern is rated among the top 10 restaurants to dine in Philadelphia by TripAdvisor Reviewers, and has an ongoing Award of Excellence.