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      A TAVERN MOST GENTEEL
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STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS POH
There can't be good living where there is not good drinking.”
                                                       - Benjamin Franklin



CITY TAVERN IN PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA


Though commissioned by fifty-three of Philadelphia’s most notable and prosperous citizens in 1772, one might make the case that the legendary CITY TAVERN had its roots in the somewhat less august setting of Nicholas Scull’s public house on a Friday evening in 1727. It was here that Benjamin Franklin conducted the first meeting of the Junto. The party of twelve intellectual, inquisitive and inspired, civil minded gentlemen that would lay the foundation of this New Jerusalem in the New World.




REAR ELEVATION
ENTRANCE


In addition to their loftier theoretical and cultural endeavors the Junto concerned itself mainly with the wellbeing of Philadelphia and its inhabitants. They proposed and helped to enact policies that promoted education, domestic security, public health and city planning. Without the work of this spirited brain trust Philadelphia would not have established itself as the commercial, social and political center of the American colonies. Through the efforts and labors of Franklin and the Junto, Philadelphians were led to a better way of life, and ultimately to a better place to drink.




UP THE STAIRS  
   SHAWN AT THE DESK IN THE FOYER


Historians may argue the value of individual contributions, or the degree of influence each of the founding fathers had on the American cause; bur none could argue the fact that whenever the founders of the new republic were in Philadelphia they found their way to the CITY TAVERN.


For a brief period prior to the British occupation in 1777, the CITY TAVERN served as Washington’s military headquarters. Delegates to the first and second Continental Congress partied, planned and pow-wowed in the lavish banquet rooms and quiet corners of the barroom. John Adams, who described the establishment as “the most genteel tavern in America,” would often share a repast there with Thomas Jefferson. And of course the convivial Doctor Franklin would hold court in his favorite dining room on a regular basis. For a young nation that had yet to establish an official place from which to govern, here in this elegant colonial edifice was the equivalent of the White House, Pentagon and Capitol Hill.





MAGDY PROPOSES A TOAST IN THE BARROOM

 THE BACK PORCH IS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL


In 1854 the tavern was demolished as a result of economic obsolescence and structural damage caused by a fire some years earlier. The grand house that had provided shelter, solace and sustenance to those extraordinary souls that had designed and prosecuted the most brilliant revolution in the history of mankind was quickly forgotten.

Perhaps the costly struggle to preserve liberty and democratic ideals during the Second World War drove home the need to preserve and protect our own historic past; because in 1948 the Congress voted to establish Independence National Historical Park. This authorization allowed the site of the former CITY TAVERN to be acquired as part of that park. And after twenty seven years of painstaking research a precise recreation of that most genteel of American taverns rose again in Philadelphia.




YARDS BREWERY BREWS AUTHENTIC BEERS
FROM 18th CENTURY RECIPES FOR CITY TAVERN

THE ATTENTION TO DETAIL IN THE
RECONSTRUCTION IS EXTRAORDINARY


I for one tend to be a bit leery and circumspect of our attempts to re-enact and reconstruct the past; but in this instance I declare a total exception. It might just be the passion, devotion and resolute commitment to care that the proprietor, Walter Staib and his staff attach to their stewardship, or just maybe there is some metaphysical transcendence occurring here. Whatever the case - the spirit and spirits of 76 continue on at the CITY TAVERN!



MARQUITA SMITH ADDS SOME COLONIAL GRACE AND BEAUTY TO THE LAVISH  DINING ROOM






  CITY TAVERN

138 SOUTH 2nd STREET
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA 19106

(215) 413-1443

www.citytavern.com

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