Colonial Williamsburg® The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Official History and Citizenship Website

Page content
Reset text sizeResize text larger

May 5, 2009

Historic Area taverns offer new menus

Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area taverns offer dining choices throughout the day for hungry travelers and local residents alike. Inspired by “receipts” (recipes) from our colonial past and prepared to suit today’s discerning palates, tavern selections are sure to please. In the 18th century, patriots savored their meals and hoisted pints of ale as they contemplated revolution at taverns in Virginia’s colonial capital. Today, wait staff in 18th-century dress serve guests and enhance the dining experience with explanations of colonial dining habits and food preferences accompanied by lively exchanges with character interpreters or music of the era played on period instruments.

Christiana Campbell’s Tavern, 101 S. Waller St., is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. Reservations are required. The summer menu includes fricassee of shrimp, scallops and lobster, grilled tenderloin of beef and a crabcake, Gloucester chicken and fried oyster salad.

Chowning’s Tavern, 109 E. Duke of Gloucester St., is open daily for lunch from 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. inside the tavern or until 4 p.m. in the garden bar. From 5 p.m., the tavern’s Gambols menu offers light fare that includes soups and stews, grilled salmon salad, pulled pork and coleslaw, beers, ales, mint juleps, cocktails and tempting desserts.

King’s Arms Tavern, 416 E. Duke of Gloucester St., is open Thursday through Monday for lunch from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and for dinner from 5 p.m. Dinner reservations are required. In the 18th century, King’s Arms was the tavern frequented by the gentry of the colonial capital. Today, the menu includes such choices as peanut soup, corn chowder, prime rib, catch of the day, salads, chicken with cornbread stuffing, whiskey brined pork chop and a full selection of cocktails, ales and desserts.

Thomas Jefferson is often credited with introducing fine wines to Virginia, and King’s Arms Tavern offers a comprehensive and intriguing wine list that includes wines by the glass and bottles in many price ranges. Selections include sparkling wines from Italy, France and California; a wide variety of white wines from Virginia, Washington, Oregon, California, New Zealand and France; reds from France, Italy, California, Washington, Oregon, Australia and Spain. A nice selection of sauternes and ports completes the dining experience.

Shields Tavern, 422 E. Duke of Gloucester St., is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. Reservations are required. Shields serves tavern favorites such as barbecued ribs, pork, chicken seafood gumbo and fried oysters and desserts that include crumble berry pie, ice cream and pudding.

Free parking is available for tavern patrons across Francis Street or behind Campbell’s Tavern. Wheelchair accessible restrooms are located in the newly remodeled Purdie Kitchen behind King’s Arms Tavern.

For those who need a quick snack on the go, the Raleigh Tavern Bakery is open daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. for soups, sandwiches, baked treats and beverages in the garden courtyard.

Call 757-229-2141 for dinning reservations. Tavern menus are posted online at

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as the nation’s largest living history museum. The Colonial Williamsburg Company, a subsidiary of the Foundation, operates a Resort Collection with more than 1,000 guest rooms among five hotels including the landmark Williamsburg Inn, four historic dining taverns and six restaurants, and 66,000 square feet of conference space centered at the Williamsburg Lodge, as well as a new 20,000-square-foot spa, and the Golden Horseshoe golf courses. Each purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the Foundation’s preservation, research, and educational programs.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at or

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280