The City Tavern Club is a private social club in Washington, DC’s Georgetown area that is housed in a building of the same name, the City Tavern. Constructed in 1796 as an inn, the City Tavern building changed hands many times throughout its history until it became the home of the City Tavern Club after it was restored in 1962. In January of 1992, the City Tavern was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the City Tavern is still the hosting clubhouse of the City Tavern Club, and it continues to host some of the elite of Washingtonian high society.
Backstory and Context
In 1796, the City Tavern building was constructed as a tavern and quickly became one of the most frequented spots in Washington, DC during the Federal period of the United States. Many of the Founding Fathers, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, frequented the tavern fairly often and held many a conversation within its walls. Additionally, due to its location, the tavern was more or less Georgetown’s central hub. During the 1800s, the tavern would change hands numerous times, finding various degrees of success. As the 1800s reached an end, so too did the tavern’s function as an inn, leaving it solely as a bar. Even this status did not last long, however.
The City Tavern was repurposed numerous times for commercial business operations between 1900 and 1960, no longer being a bar or tavern. In 1960, however, a small group happened upon the building and formed the City Tavern Association in order to restore the building to its former glory. The association purchased the building outright, and began a restoration effort that same year. In 1962, the association completed renovations and re-opened the building as the City Tavern Club, a private social club. On January 17th of 1992, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the City Tavern continues to host the City Tavern Club.