by Christina Parrella, 10/16/2012
Fraunces Tavern. Photo: Marley White
Fraunces Tavern Museum
54 Pearl St., 212-425-1778, Financial District, Manhattan
Before the Revolutionary War, Fraunces Tavern was a hub of early-American ideals. Alliances were made, ideas discussed and patriotic factions formed—likely over copious amounts of beer. Built in 1719 as a private residence, the Pearl Street building was purchased by Samuel Fraunces in 1762 and converted into a tavern. It served up colonial fare to the likes of Alexander Hamilton and George Washington, as well as the Sons of Liberty, who used the venue as a meeting place to rally support for the American Revolution. No surprise, then, to learn that the place was a target for the British, who fired a cannonball through its roof at the start of the conflict.
The tavern managed to survive the attack, and, at the end of the war, was the location where Washington bid the troops his famous adieu. Afterward, it went on to house the offices of the Continental Congress, as well as government agencies like the departments of Foreign Affairs, Treasury and War. Today, visitors can see reconstructed period rooms, paintings and exhibitions that explore the tavern's role in American history. (You can also eat where Washington did at The Porterhouse at Fraunces Tavern, where whiskey, beer and American and Irish grub are served in a room that features photos of past patrons.)