Classics Revisited: Martin’s Tavern
The restaurant world is notoriously fickle, but these15 places—all a half century old or more—have withstood the test of time.
Comments () | Published November 12, 2013
Martin's Tavern
Address: 1264 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20007
Phone: 202-333-7370
Neighborhood: Georgetown
Cuisines: Seafood, Steaks, American
Opening Hours: Open Monday through Thursday 11 AM to 1:30 AM, Friday 11 to 2:30 AM, Saturday and Sunday 9 to 2:30 AM.
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Oysters on the half-shell; oysters Rockefeller; oyster stew; fried oysters; shad roe; bread pudding with bourbon-butterscotch sauce.

Georgetown’s oldest dining spot—it opened the day Prohibition ended in 1933—maintains the feel of a neighborhood tavern, even with tour groups stopping outside to see where John F. Kennedy allegedly proposed to Jacqueline Bouvier. (For more on that legend , see page 151.) The Martin family has hosted every President from Truman through George W. Bush. Today nearby residents dominate the space, outfitted with dark wood and vintage sports photos.

Affable barman John Blair holds court, topping off gin martinis and pints of Guinness or recommending snacks such as crab-stuffed mushrooms. You can make a meal of these appetizers, especially the Welsh rarebit, a skillet of lager-spiked molten cheese with bread for dunking. Such dishes don’t deliver fireworks so much as the comfort of a hearth. We like holing up in the “dugout,” a cozy room off the main area, and digging into the Irish classics: oyster stew, corned beef and cabbage, and tender pot roast alongside lightly caramelized vegetables. Daily breakfast fits a night owl’s schedule with service until 4 pm, from bacon and eggs to homey creamed chipped beef on toast.

Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch.

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Posted at 02:55 PM/ET, 11/12/2013 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Restaurant Reviews