The City Tavern
138 South 2nd St
The City Tavern is the spot where General Washington first met the 19-year-old French volunteer, the Marquis de Lafayette. The childless Washington and the fatherless Lafayette eventually became such close friends that many described them as being like father and son.
My family lived close to Philadelphia for five years in the 1970s. We moved there just a day or two before the Bicentennial, July 4, 1976. (On the day itself, we took the train into Center City, and en route we joined all the other passengers in singing "Happy Birthday" to the USA!) During our time in Pennsylvania, we went many times to the City Tavern, Independence Hall, Valley Forge, the site of the Battle of Brandywine, etc. Those experiences so whetted my interest in the Revolution that I ended up writing two historical novels about it for young readers, The Riddle of Penncroft Farm and A Buss from Lafayette. In Riddle, I set two scenes, one "modern" and one during the American Revolution, at the City Tavern.
In fact, someone (no idea who) put a reference to this on Wikipedia:
We moved from Philadelphia to Minnesota in 1981 (that's where I wrote Riddle), and it wasn't until 1991 that I had a chance to visit The City Tavern again. Here is a picture from that visit.
At the time, I imagined that the door to the right of the staircase went down to a basement, and I had Geordie's brother, Will come up from the basement through that door. I learned on this visit that it actually goes out to a back yard. Oops.
Several weeks ago, my husband and I dined at the City Tavern for the first time in many years. It was such fun! I brought along a copy of The Riddle of Penncroft so I should shamelessly pose with it in the pix below.
I cleared and wiped the table, then swept the plank floor while Aunt Cass did the dishes. Then she picked up a sweater and put it on. “Better wear your jacket,” she said. “Sandra put it in one of the settles last night.”
“The settles—those high-backed benches. The seats open up. That’s where I keep“open up. That’s where I keep hats and mittens and things.”
I flipped open one of the wooden benches. My jacket was inside. “It looks like my coat is already settled in,” I punned.
“You’re a punster—good,” remarked Aunt Cass without a glimmer of a smile. “Always liked puns; never much good at making ’em up. Come on.” She pushed open the door and we went outside.”
- The Riddle of Penncroft Farm, © 1989 by Dorothea Jensen
Finally, a couple of members of the costumed waitstaff were obliging enough to be in this picture.
Anyway, I highly recommend that you visit The City Tavern sometime. The food is delicious, and the setting really does "bring history alive."
But I also highly recommend that you read The Riddle of Penncroft Farm first!
I am shamelessly including buy links to make it easy for you - here they are:
(It is also available as an e-book on Amazon, B & N, Kobo, etc.)