Gadsby's Tavern

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138 North Royal Street, Alexandria, VA, USA
Gadsby's Tavern - The private dining room with a cone of sugar on the table
Gadsby's Tavern - The ball room
Gadsby's Tavern - Gadsby's Tavern
Gadsby's Tavern - City Hall across the street

Gadsby's Tavern Alexandria Reviews

Zagnut66 Zagnut66
112 reviews
Gadsby's Tavern Aug 03, 2012
Gadsby's Tavern in Old Town Alexandria opened its doors around 1785 with a hotel addition added a few years later. Run by Englishman John Gadsby, the tavern was the center of Alexandria social life at the turn of the 19th century. Six of the first seven presidents visited the establishment. George Washington was a frequent guest and Andrew Jackson spent the night of his first inauguration while drunken revellers trashed the White House.

Today the site is run by the city of Alexandria as both a museum and a restaurant. Gadsby's Tavern Restaurant features servers in colonial-era garb and a menu with items George himself supposedly enjoyed. The food is decent if a little pricey, though you're paying for the historical surroundings more so than the grub. For lunch I had the peanut soup, the schnitzel platter, and beer based off George's own recipe (from a Philadelphia microbrewery). Most of the diners appeared to be tourists in casual attire. There is a Sunday brunch that I have not tried.

The museum requires a separate admission fee of $5 with tours lasting a half hour. You get to see the marked difference between the cramped lodgings for regular guests (a dozen men to a room, no women allowed) and the finer quarters for wealthy gentlemen; the ballroom where parties were held for Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette; and a recreation of a meal once prepared for the first president (grits and roast duck). Gadsby's Tavern is an Alexandria landmark that locals should check out at least once and a great place for lunch and a bit of history for travelers. The tavern is right by City Hall and Market Square on Royal Street, a short walk from the main drag of King Street.
The ball room
City Hall across the street
Gadsby's Tavern
The private dining room with a con…
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photo by: missandrea81