News & Politics

Taste of the ’60s: Love Story

A booth at Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown may have been the place JFK and Jackie made it official.

Was table number three at Martin’s Tavern where JFK popped the question? Many think so. Photograph of Martin’s Tavern today by Scott Suchman
Joe White, who manned the bar in the 1950s. Four generations of William Martins have run Martin’s Tavern, which opened in 1933. Photograph of black-and-white photograph courtesy of Billy Martin.

Few perches are more popular at Martin’s Tavern (1264 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-7370) than table number three, the snug “proposal booth” where John F. Kennedy purportedly asked for Jacqueline Bouvier’s hand in marriage. (He lived a few blocks away from the Georgetown restaurant.) A number of institutions, including Boston’s Parker House Hotel, have claimed that they hosted the engagement moment, and no hard evidence exists to prove where the era of Jack and Jackie actually began. Still, owner Billy Martin believes his father, who passed down the story, as do several Kennedy insiders. On a recent visit, Maria Shriver—JFK’s niece—called the table her “family booth.”

This article appears in the November 2013 issue of Washingtonian.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.