Chowning’s Tavern Menu

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Visit below restaurant in Williamsburg for healthy meals suggestion.

Visit below restaurant in Williamsburg for healthy meals suggestion.

  • Mike C.

    Really enjoyed our meal at Chowning's Tavern. Right in the middle of Historic Williamsburg VA a great option for a meal (I have to admit I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality, quantity, taste and price - I know all the things that SHOULD be good but unfortunately usually are not when your in a vacation spot like this) - highly recommend giving Chowning's a try! Excellent service, very pleasant and attentive even in the crush of a Saturday lunch. They have a fiddle player walking around taking requests - just a great atmosphere. The food is really good! Again really good sized portions and very tasty - everything that we tried (6 of us including a 19 year old and a 3 year old so we ran the spectrum). Really good prices - again for someplace that has you "trapped so to speak" because once your in, they are the only options you have. Nicely done!

    (4)
  • Wesley M.

    At 3.5 stars this establishment is over rated ON Yelp! The food is south of average and for what you get it is EXTREMELY overpriced. Authenticity is something you should put out of your mind before you walk through the door. If there was not a captive audience from the tourist flow through the streets of Colonial Williamsburg, this Restaurant/Tavern would fold within 6 months. The only reason why I am ranking if at two stars instead of one is because the Ale was good and the service was efficient enough. But, the food was lacking........and that is being nice.

    (2)
  • Mary B.

    We came here on our first night in Williamsburg. When we walked in the door and heard lots of singing, i wasn't sure if my group was going to enjoy the atmosphere. (They aren't into the group participation stuff.) We were pleasantly surprised at the drink offerings and menu. They had Bold Rock Cider which a few of us like but can never find. We were offered a game to play (Shut the Box) and we loved it! It was a fun way to wait for our food. Two of the members of our party got the beer sampler. They said it was just ok. The actual food was amazingly delicious. My turkey sandwich was easily one of the best I've ever had. The bread, the cheese, everything! The dessert (a tart) was also divine. It gets 4 stars vs. 5 because our waiter wasn't the best and while we enjoyed the performers, it was so loud we couldn't have a normal conversation at our table. But it was a fun experience in Williamsburg and I'm glad we went.

    (4)
  • Chris C.

    The kid's menu is an insult, and I'm still seething. $7 for "Thomas Jefferson's" instant Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese. $6 for an "All Beef" Ballpark microwaved hotdog. Don't bring your kids here unless you want to feed them crap for a bunch of money. Do have a beer. Go to the beer garden in back, seat yourself at the bar or a bar table. If you're starving order a Beef Trencher, it's decent. The Shepherd's Pye (their spelling...) is fine if you mix in the mashed potato, but horribly overpriced at $14.50. Seriously, though...find ANYWHERE else to feed your kids. McDonalds is better value & better food. The proprietors and "chef" should be ashamed.

    (1)
  • Seth B.

    My girlfriend and I decided to try to get an authentic colonial meal after one of the ghost tours. We rolled up at 10:04 and were greeted by a nice hostess with a (German?) accent. Inside, it looked like there were 2-3 people in period dress but no customers in sight. I inquired as to whether they were still open and she stated they had just closed. We dejected strolled away, and checked the internet and every website we found stated they were open to 11 pm! It was a late rainy Wednesday night so they probably had no customers; she probably just told us they were closed so they didn't have to serve us...

    (1)
  • John T.

    I love the new format (alehouse) at Chowning's. Gambols is a great deal of fun - music, games, etc. The staff are kind and attentive. The roasted corn chowder is outstanding. I also like the BBQ sandwich and the gunpowder wings. I love their house made chips. Not terribly expensive for lunch or a light dinner. Well worth the visit!

    (4)
  • Ann Marie G.

    Eh. Overpriced and UnderFlavored. Very limited menu that caters toward the unusual. Barbecue Pork sandwich 0/10- couldn't eat but a few bites. Flatbread Pizza arrived to the table with the dough still raw- server didn't come back to check on us for us to ask them to cook the pizza. House made Chips were good. Cheese Dip was NOT. Better meals at Disney Theme Parks for half the price.

    (1)
  • Danielle H.

    We came here after our Tavern Ghost Walk. We were seated at a side table by the friendly host. We had a few moments with the menu before meeting our server, Buella. She was very helpful explaining the vocabulary of the menu to us. We ordered the Welsh Rarebit and the Veggie Flatbread. The Welsh Rarebit was *terrible*. It was stale bread (this is a fact, not a complaint - I didn't mind this part) covered with cheese sauce. The cheese sauce was supposed to be a beer sauce seasoned with mustard, but it was really bland and tasted off. Upon later reflection, I could see how a child might enjoy it, and so it would help the tavern's family-friendly atmosphere. The Veggie Flatbread was AMAZING. As a vegetarian, I always love having good options, and this one did not disappoint. It had amazing cheese, fresh squash, mushrooms, peppers, and onions. I would recommend this dish to everyone. The beer, wine, and cocktail list is also fine. We got to enjoy balladeers and the atmosphere was convivial. Several families were there with kids, as well as some older couples. I wouldn't go again, but I would recommend it to anyone looking for a bite to eat after the Ghost Walk, like we were.

    (3)
  • Alex S.

    To start with we had a pleasant surprise of being told to expect a 20-30 minute wait but being seated in less than 15. Excellent service continued from there with prompt and professional server. Drinks were unique and good and food was delicious. Homemade potato chips are really good! We had chef's salad, pulled pork sandwich, and turkey sandwich. Everything was fresh and flavorful.

    (5)
  • Pegah Y.

    We visited Chowning's Tavern twice during our visit to Colonial Williamsburg during Memorial Day weekend. It's a quaint little place and offers some good food options. The prices are a lot better than expected as well, especially since there are only a couple of other restaurants in Colonial Williamsburg and for miles around, it seems. The first time we visited, we didn't have reservations so we sat in the garden. We got a late afternoon meal here and drank mint juleps and ate grilled Atlantic salmon with veggies and rice pilaf and beef with veggies and rice pilaf. It was delicious and quite lovely to sit outside under a green canopy. The second time we visited, we visited around 9pm for dinner so it was late enough to not need reservations and sit inside in the restaurant/tavern area. We also stayed for the "Gambols," which I took to mean drinking and games/dancing. There were some colonial entertainers who sang folk songs and played violin for us. It was very fun, as it was interactive and we all got to participate. We both ate the BBQ chicken trencher and it was great. I highly recommend Chowning's. We didn't eat at any other restaurant in Colonial Williamsburg, so I don't have much to compare it with, but the food and service were good, generally speaking.

    (4)
  • Carter P.

    Thanksgiving this year was cold and rainy in Williamsburg, so it was great to be inside Chowning's during the rain seated next to a wood fire. There were eight of us including three kids and so this can be a challenge, but the waitress met all of our needs with ease. For Thanksgiving, they offer a Prix Fixe menu with choices for an appetizer, entree and desert. The options were beef, fish or turkey for the entree. I had the salmon with crab dressing which was very good - probably the best part of the meal was the corn stew. I added hot sauce to it and it was perfect. Everyone enjoyed their choices and the fact that we could walk away from this great meal and head to Jamestown without any worries about doing the dishes later. A great spot.

    (4)
  • Jason D.

    This place is amazing. Stay until 9PM. Between 9-11 PM they have music and games. The period flavored ales are delicious and the food is good for light fair. The amount you get is not a lot, but what you get is delicious. I can't wait to come back to Williamsburg to eat and enjoy the atmosphere.

    (5)
  • Scott L.

    My wife and have been so excited to eat here all week , we finally did and were soooo not disappointed at all . The waiter was very nice the food was amazing and the ministerial was extremely friendly and very very good at what he does . We had the croc of cheese for an app and we both got Shepard's pie which was to die for and we both had tarts for desert , we loved every bite and we were so full and happy when we left .

    (5)
  • Jasmine T.

    I had a solid "no frills" sort of meal at Chowning's Tavern while vacationing in Williamsburg. We decided to have dinner in Colonial Williamsburg before our late night tour was set to start. It was still light out, and since we didn't have a reservation we decided to sit at the outdoor bar. It wasn't too hot that particular day, and the bar is very shady and has a few ceiling fans to keep the air circulating. There is also a very lovely grape arbor which provides a substantial amount of shade if people are interested in dining at a table on the patio. The staff were so friendly; we had a very warm and funny bartender who explained our drink options and some of the menu items. The drinks here are very good. I had the Witches Revenge - a delicious blend of light & dark rum, apricot brandy and pineapple juice. My friend had the Rummer, which was literally all alcohol. She certainly got her money's worth for a drink that's mostly brandy and rum. Those were about $8 each...reasonable in my opinion. My friend and I decided to split the Waterman's Tasting. Definately not as much food as I was anticipating for a platter intended for two. Smoked salmon, a small shrimp cocktail, crab salad, hard bread cube thingies and some dipping sauces. It was refreshing given the humidity. I was a fan of the horseradish sour cream. For our main course, we ordered the Tasting of Soups and the Beef Trencher. I didn't try all of my friend's soups, but the roasted corn chowder was tasty. I really enjoyed my Beef Trencher. Think of a hot roast beef sandwich served on a pita with homemade beer cheese sauce. Very yummy. Although the beef was cooked to perfection, there was quite a bit of fat I had to pick through. We also ordered the Tasting of Tarts which gave us the opportunity to try each of the dessert tarts. I was really impressed with the Honey Pecan Tart - a spin off of Pecan pie. My friend loved the Cheesecake Graham Cracker Tart. All together the tasting was $15, which wasn't bad considering the portions and the fact that we tried three tarts. The prices here weren't as terrible as I imagined. My friend's soup sampler was $9 and my trencher was $12 and came with coleslaw. Given the cost of dinner in D.C. these prices here did not surprise me. However, I didn't think the Waterman's platter was worth $18 at all. We only recieved 4 shrimp, a small scoop of crab salad and three thin slices of smoked salmon. There were also the hard bread cube thingies. Those things are almost inedible. Thank goodness we have all of our teeth, because if we didn't we would have surely cracked a denture that day. Chownings Tavern is delightful - not cheap in terms of prices but not as expensive as other places in Colonial Williamsburg either. We looked at the menu at King's Tavern and it was way more expensive. Overall, we enjoyed our dinner and wouldn't mind going back while visiting Williamsburg.

    (3)
  • James S.

    Had dinner there on Tuesday night (8/18) and ordered the BBQ pulled pork sandwich with the potato salad. Both were prepared well. Excellent flavor on both. Nice smoke in the BBQ. Good service and great musical entertainment of the Colonial period.

    (4)
  • Jacqueline G.

    Tried their beer sampler and tasted five different beers including the historic ales. They were alright. I only liked 2 out of the 5. The place is a little cramped but the set up was cool. Staff were attentive to our needs.

    (3)
  • Mel A.

    Driving on I-64 on the way to NC, we decided to stop at Colonial Williamsburg for dinner. Many times as a kid, the fam would head to CW and to Christiana Campbell's for supper, but unfortunately on this last minute drive-through, both CC and King's Arms Tavern were booked for the evening. Only Chowning's had tables available. Since we were only passing through on the way to the shore, it was nostalgic to walk the cobblestone streets of Colonial Williamsburg. Chowning's Tavern is an 18th Century alehouse featuring colonial-inspired favorites and beer. I was hoping for a more substantial, maybe an even more rustic menu - tavern fare. I tried their Brunswick Stew which was simple, comforting, and warming. I also had their Ploughman's favorite flat bread -- which was a sort of meat lover's pizza (did they even have pizza in colonial times?!). I would have liked to have tried their chicken or salmon dish. The roaming fiddler was a nice addition and added to the ambience. I love history, and Williamsburg, so this was a welcome rest-stop on our way to NC. 3.5 stars.

    (3)
  • Nancy M.

    This tavern was great! You don't have to make reservations. The clam chowder is delicious. Their wings are a perfect blend of hot and sweet. The beer selection is great if you are into local craft beer. The cocktails are good too. The kids enjoyed the atmosphere and everyone is very friendly. We would go again!

    (4)
  • Jennifer N.

    This review is for the garden bar, rather than the restaurant. Walking through Colonial Williamsburg at night is a little sleepy. The houses are all dark, and the only other people on the street are the masses following a ghost tour. We saw some lights behind Chownings Tavern, and found the Garden bar in the back. It's a great set up - with long benches, a pergola, and plenty of peanuts to eat. The drink list is extensive - with a few fun cocktail selections. The only downside is it's incredibly buggy. Read: mosquitos all over us. So, one drink and we moved on, but maybe we'd try it again with bug spray and a citronella candle.

    (3)
  • Frank J.

    Loved the food. The brisket was great. Nice selection on period drinks and beers. The musicians were fantastic. We had dinner and drinks. No bar area so if you want to drink you have to sit at the table. Glad we went.

    (5)
  • Susan P.

    Food was good..too much for one serving though. Best to share. The soup sampler for $9.00 was terrific. Caution about the $25 pint in a souvenir mug. The mug is made in China. Better to enjoy your local brew then go to the shop close by to purchase an authentic mug made by local artisans at Williamsburg Pottery.

    (4)
  • Hungry F.

    The front had a 30 minute wait so we walked around back to the courtyard for immediate seating. Homemade potato chips are great, the brisket wraps rocked. Great service and a great odor dining experience.

    (5)
  • Christopher C.

    Over the years during our many visits to CW we had done all of the taverns in some form with the exception of Chowning's. Why? I don't know but this time it was easy as on Monday's it's only this place and King's Arms and I've been to KA enough to know that they are a big no-no so Chowning's it was. I made a reservation via Opentable for 5:30 on a Monday in mid-September but as soon as we got there I felt silly as they were super dead and only a handful of reservations having been made for the entire night in general (I snuck a look at ye olde Opentable terminal). Our server all night was flat out bad. He mumbled, spoke barely over a whisper, never offered a drink refill, never cleared any plates until the very end and I think he tried to crack a joke or two but since we couldn't hear him it kind of fell to an awkward silence with very awkward glances. Now remember when I say that we couldn't hear him that Chowning's itself was super dead and fairly quiet. When we got there they were able to put everyone in the dining room on the ground floor to the far right and when we left I think they were using two tables in the next room over. Dead & Quiet yet Wee Willie Winkie in his nightcap still couldn't be heard. As for the food, the children's meals of Mac & Cheese were.....Mac & Cheese. The lovely wife went high end with the Salmon & Crab Cake combo that she pronounced as being not only some of the best stuff that she's ever eaten at CW but some of the best stuff that she's ever had anywhere. I started with the Brunswick Stew. It was excellent but the portion size for $7.75 is laughable to the point of being a blatant ripoff. To counteract the wife's extravagant choice I stuck to the Ploughman's Flat Bread which is a fancy way of saying a greasy meatlovers pizza. It was so-so but again it's not even close to being worth $12.25. As for entertainment, ironically the same D-Bag with attitude that I wrote about during our last visit in December over at Shields Tavern showed up to play maybe 60 seconds on pennywhistle before walking out to the next room where he played for maybe another 60 seconds and then I didn't hear him again. I don't know, there are so many CW foamers who espouse the supposed greatness of the tavern experience but personally it must just be me because I don't get it. The menus are all very narrow in their selections. The prices are Disney-esque but at least Disney has gone out of their way over the last ten years to broaden their offerings. Has that happen at CW? Plus the service is honestly never that great at any CW F&B outlet. (Looking at you Raleigh Tavern Bake Shop staff of indifferent jerks.) In the future I'm sure that we'll come back to CW but in an open question to CW that will never get seen-read-answered or cared about: Why should I come back? What's the benefit? What's my incentive? How is the experience going to be made better? Where is the ROI for my dining dollar? What shouldn't I go to the DOG Street Pub or somewhere similar where the prices are cheaper, the food is better and the service isn't so arrogantly stuffy or indifferent? In the meantime, tavern dining is off of our list of things that I can justify throwing money away on at CW.

    (2)
  • Tonya C.

    Excellent food and service. We were seated with another couple who were so nice. We had the shepherd's pie and it was delicious. We had wanted one of he handcrafted Williamsburg mugs but in gift shops were $49 ( yes I said $49 for a mug!). At Chownings we ordered a pint of beer and got to keep the mug for $25.

    (5)
  • Joe P.

    Interested in experiencing a meal in an authentic Colonial tavern, complete with servers in period dress and a wandering fiddle player? This is the place for you. Looking for a good meal with professional service at a reasonable price? You'll have to find it somewhere else. After waiting nearly 90 minutes for a table, we were hugely disappointed with the menu choices, which consisted of little more than soups and sandwiches. My Brunswick Stew was actually pretty good, but not remotely worth the wait or the price. Service was VERY slow, and it took more than 10 minutes for my check to show up after I asked for it. I'm not sure I should have expected anything different, though. The hostess warned me twice that "the kitchen was very slow" after I went back twice to check on my wait time. But being Colonial Williamsburg, our alternatives were few. The saving grace is the better-than-average beer selection, which featured some good local brews I wouldn't have expected to find in a tourist restaurant. All in all, not the worst meal I've had, but the wait time and the service put a big dampener on the experience.

    (2)
  • Cassi F.

    Wonderful food. My Fennel roasted shaved pork trencher was delicious. The potato salad was perfectly seasoned and creamy. We shared the cheese taster and corn chowder as starters and really enjoyed them. My husband had the beef trencher, and the flavors were great. Kids meals were generous portions...we were all so full that we decided to skip the dessert taster. Our server, Tyler, was great. And enjoyed the live entertainment.

    (5)
  • Wxy Z.

    The soup sampler was a great appetizer (could be a meal if you're looking for a lighter meal). Overall the food was satisfying and on the lower end of the price spectrum for Colonial Williamsburg. A rating of 3 1/2 would be a more accurate rating.

    (4)
  • Isabelle K.

    I liked the 18th century experience in A Tavern. Food was ok but overall environment was fun and the violinist was entertaining . But as with all Colonial WB overpriced , but that was to be expected

    (4)
  • Heather S.

    My wife and I visited here our first night in Williamsburg. We really enjoyed the draught beers, the shepherds pie was amazing and the folks that came in to sing sea shanties really made the night. We'll definitely be back here next time we're in Williamsburg.

    (5)
  • Kathy B.

    Overpriced fried chicken greasy and chewy. Historically uncomfortable seating. Expensive. When I was a kid the food here was wonderful but it's totally gone down the tubes. Hope they revamp the food soon!

    (2)
  • Holly M.

    My family and I visited this restaurant on our first day to Colonial Williamsburg. Fantastic service, great food, fun atmosphere. It is a little pricey but for the experience, service and taste it was an awesome place!

    (4)
  • Marisa P.

    This restaurant was highly recommended. We were so disappointed. Our waitress had no expression and the restaurant did not serve bread or rolls with our drinks. So we asked for an order of homemade chips to have something to munch on. The bowl size was so small that it looked like it was for a condiment.

    (2)
  • Marisa S.

    Well, we waited 2 hours to eat here (not a lot of choices and the family was hungry). The employees seemed unhappy to work there. The menu did not have a lot to choose from. My kids did not want anything from the menu. We chose a few things for them to try and a few things for the adults to try. I was not too impressed with most of the food. I did like the homemade root beer. It was delicious!!! My parents were with me and they both enjoyed their meals. The prices were too high for the quality of food. There is a bathroom on the second floor. It was not clean and out of paper towels. Won't be returning here.

    (2)
  • Bri C.

    We visited Chowning's for lunch during our day at CW. I was hoping for some balladeers or something festive but it appears that only happens at night. The food was pretty good. We had the flatbread with meats, the pork trencher, and some chicken tenders for the kids. The food was tasty and it came out fast. We enjoyed our server and the ambiance but we just hoped for a little more out of our dining experience in CW.

    (3)
  • Jorina N.

    Had to go here for the colonial dining experience. All was expected and consistent with all the 3 star reviews but am giving them a 4 overall. Ambiance: 4 stars Entertainment: 4 stars Food: 3 stars, huge portions so be prepared to share and pack some home. Root beer was tasty and the dear old mum beer was just as good. Service was slow. Wished they could bring the bread out earlier but I guess that's how they ate back then....with the meal not before so can't complain. Ragout was bland. The pork ribs were better but the veggies were tasteless. But this is prolly part of the 'theme and setting'. I am putting this all in context with the whole experience. So maybe I am giving them a break but hey, at least I am setting your expectation so you can be prepared and enjoy the moment for what it is.

    (4)
  • Nikki S.

    Great atmosphere. The building definitely has a historic feel. We were seated quickly, even with a large party of eleven. And we had great service. However, the food was nothing special. Nothing bad, just okay. Good signature beers and large portions on the kids meals were the best parts of our lunch.

    (3)
  • Keith P.

    We celebrated our anniversary at Chownings, 9/3/2014. We had the roast. It was excellent. There was enough on the plate to feed two, but we had been walking Williamsburg all day and it was so good , we ate the whole thing. We opted to share a "homemade" cheesecake dessert. It was not homemade. We get the same thing, thawed from frozen, at a local steak restaurant. The service was excellent. Our server maintained her period character and had a good sense of humor.

    (4)
  • Eric H.

    Loved the authentic period correct dialect! Food was outstanding! Dining area was dimly lit, but it made for the authentic feel. Definitely will be a repeat customer

    (5)
  • Jeff S.

    Pretty much what you'd expect for food served to a captive audience. On the positive side: the soup sampler and cheese platter had a nice selection. The rest of the food was "meh." The "Ploughman's Favorite Flat Bread"...is a pizza, badly done. The "Beef Trencher" is an attempt at a shaved steak sandwich, I think, though their bread choice (closer to a focaccio than french bread) didn't go well with the rest of the ingredients.

    (2)
  • Stacie S.

    Better than expected based on reviews. The prices were very reasonable too. Several great options for vegetarians. The white bean dip was great. Mushrooms and veggie flatbread were also good. I saw people complained about slow service, that's because the poor waiters and waitresses have to do a flight of stairs every time they go to the kitchen if you're sitting on the second floor! We were happy to sit and relax a while.

    (4)
  • Nicole P.

    Great fare here. We had white bean dip with fresh assorted veggies, strawberry spinach salad, salmon and crab cake with veggies and red roasted potatoes! They were all awesome! Kids had cheese pizza and mac n cheese with fruit which they both liked. It's a bit more pricey than Food for Thought but meals were good portions and HOT! I would return here. Reservations needed.

    (5)
  • Jacqui B.

    I wanted to like this place, but I can't bring myself to give it more than 2 stars. The flatbread is really pizza. The cheese sampler was ok & the soup was ok. It is unlikely we'll come to this tavern again. The strolling musician was a nice touch, but they needed something to distract from the food.

    (2)
  • Claire W.

    We came here one night while staying in Williamsburg. We came late night so we just had drinks and Welsh rarebit. The rarebit was good as far as rarebit goes. Had some kick to it. I ordered a drink called "witch's revenge" which was very good. My husband has some tavern ale which he liked a lot. We played Shut the Box and listened to some 18th century tavern music. The musicians were awesome! They taught everyone the words to one of the songs and the whole dining room sung along! Very memorable. With definitely stop by on our next trip!

    (5)
  • Paul N.

    In most places, this establishment would not deserve any star. However, the atmosphere of dining in the heart of Historic Williamsburg is somewhat magic. Because of this, Chowning's Tavern is undeniably a tourist trap. A business that seems to thrive based on its location alone, where prices as so unjustifiably high for what you get. Coming from New York, I am not easily afraid of spending $20 for an appetizer, but even in the expensive Manhattan have I ever seen a $20 plate of "tastings to share" consisting of 6 (six) rolled slices of poor quality salami. The kind that you get from any supermarket brand pre-sliced pack. Same for the cheese plate etc. The service from our waiter was unimpressive. We were a party of five. We ordered what on paper sound like would feed well a group of 5. But we left hungry, disappointed and felt taken advantage of. In most places, this restaurant would be out of of business. But hey, with so many stupid tourists why bother making an effort to do any better?

    (1)
  • Lisa W.

    There are several taverns to choose from in Williamsburg. My fiance chose this one because the online descriptions he read prior to our trip appealed to him more than the others. As we were walking to find Chowning's however, I could see why the others may be more popular. Several other taverns are on main roads with their own parking whereas Chowning's is deep inside Colonial Williamsburg and you have to walk to find it.(More walking!) As usual, I was wearing inappropriate footwear for the occasion and was glad to finally see their sign up ahead. There was a group of around six people waiting outside at the podium manned by someone in period dress taking down your name and letting you know of the wait time. We were a party of two and they give you the option of sitting with another couple as this saves time. We were fine with that but another younger couple who arrive after us, was not. Thankfully, the couple who walked up next agreed readily; more on that to come. There are benches out front to sit down on as you wait and if you know Williamsburg, any place to rest is like an oasis. There were friendly squirrels playing at our feet and just down the road was some sort of military enactment about to begin. Outside of the tavern is a complete listing of all their menu options for you to peruse so that when you do get inside, you should be ready to order. Our wait time turned out to be minimal; ten minutes top. Inside the tavern is split into two sides and we moved to the right of the door. It's a small space and we sat at a table with a bench on one side and two low chairs on the other. We ended up sitting with a couple in from Chicago. She was an executive at the Art Institute of Chicago and he was a food executive. We could not have asked for a better experience with them. They were a friendly and fascinating couple and only enhanced our dining experience. Between the four of us we ordered two of the heavy original colonial beers that are stored in barrels, one bottled hard cider and I had a Virginia Vidal Blanc wine. The beer was a bit heavy for my fiance and he went for the lighter version for his second selection. You are given the choice to buy a salt glazed mug with your beer for an additional $25 and they also now have copper mugs engraved with the image that hangs on their sign out front for the same price. Tim, our dining companion went for the mug, laughing, and explaining to us 'We're tourists. What are you gonna do!' By this time, we had explained that we were from Maryland and I suppose that our proximity to VA makes us less touristy? The meal. The menu is pretty limited as I suppose it would have been back in Colonial times. I ordered a cup of the roasted corn chowder. It was thick and hearty and had several pieces of potato and 'ham dust' sprinkled over the top. My fiance ordered the shepherds pie and it was nothing short of amazing. It comes in an oval bowl that is huge. Neither of us are big lamb eaters but it was delicious and probably could serve two easily. Our companions ordered the pulled pork sandwich and chips and it was given a 'meh' rating but the turkey sandwich fared better and was given a thumbs up. We ended up staying for around two hours. There was a minstrel who set up in each room and sang and also a musician who played a Gaelic song and was also outside playing what appeared to be a fife or piccolo when we arrived. All in all, we had an amazing experience here and would highly recommend to any of our friends traveling this way in the future. I do however feel that my sons (14 and 13) would have been bored senseless and would not have found anything to their liking on the menu. I did see kids there but I just can't see it being on their list of favorite things. Cheers!

    (4)
  • Jenny M.

    During our visit to Colonial Williamsburg we like it at Chowning's so much, we ate there twice. My younger daughter liked the mac and cheese, saying the two times we ate at Chowning's were better than Shield's Tavern's mac and cheese. Go figure. The Beef Trencher was a great sandwich with lots of flavor. The other dishes were tasty, too. The beer selection was better than at Shield's, too, and I like the 8 points IPA. My husband enjoyed the local brews, too. Unlike some other reviews, we had no difficulty getting seated and our waitstaff were professional both times. We enjoyed the wandering musicians, and the actors visiting the tables added to the fun. We thought the dinner menu looked similar, but without some of the lunch options, which would make it pricier for us. We stuck to lunch at Colonial Williamsburg. And, again, unlike other reviewers, we discovered many other restaurants in the area, and didn't feel trapped eating on the premises, we really enjoyed it.

    (4)
  • Amy O.

    Ew. So sorry we wasted our lunch hour here. Party of 8. Had a 30 minute wait which was better than expected. That was the best part of the meal. Ordered goat cheese app and mushroom app for us all to share. Came with horrible stale toast squares. Ten years later our adult lunches arrived. Sigh. Kids just sat there staring at us. Had to wait longer for their pizza and a hideous glob of Mac n cheese. Adults ordered the cheese plate for two. Beware, this is no meal. A few slabs of cheese, more stale toast squares. Unappetizing. One had the beef treacher. Just a bust. Can't even remember the last meal since it was so unmemorable. $160 later we ran out. The worst service to boot

    (1)
  • Rich S.

    Went there a little after 9PM for "Gambols" (light meal options, games, singing entertainment). The place has a great atmosphere. Loved the decor & everyone was in character. Had an Old Stitch 17th century style ale. Very different so you can't compare it to anything. It was enjoyable though. Had a bowl of corn chowder (good but overpriced) and the Welsh Rarebit which was large croutons with melted beer cheddar over them (so-so but very overpriced). Was worth the stop for the experience and beverages but not the food.

    (3)
  • Justin D.

    The menu was awful. The service was quick but the server was not a good server. The food was OK but overpriced. I would stay away and go to one of the other choices in Colonial Williamsburg.

    (2)
  • Jennifer K.

    Just OK. They open at 11:30...so being there right in the beginning save a long wait. I got the Brunswick Stew which wasn't even good, 7 dollars for a cup (I know...I can't believe I paid it either!) I was tourist trapped! I also had the Virginia Barbecue which was just OK. The service was fantastic, and it was one of those Bucket List things. It wasn't great though, so try a different one!

    (2)
  • Kip F.

    We have found that if you want dinner before 5:30PM it is possible to get in without a reservation to all the taverns. We elected to share a table with another couple upstairs as this is what many would do at the time. There where a few people eating so our waiter had time to chat with us. We had two strolling minstrels play for us, and could have played games if we had wanted to. We all ordered ale from 18th century recipes, Old Stitch and Bristol ale, $6.50 for a pint and $4 for a 6 oz sample, cute little mug! Both were really good, the Stitch is a nice stout. For dinner I had the soup sampler which had their 3 soup choices in little mason jars. Nice small sized portion with a corn muffin on the side. It was a good light meal, tho the muffin was too dry. My spouse had the Slider and thot it was well prepared. The seasonal tart was a peach baked into an almond cake, and both he and the other couple we were seated with wanted seconds! The cheesecake tart was also very good, not too sweet! Our waiter was engaging, efficient and we were able to enjoy ourselves without any pressure to leave at the end. I would recommend this place for a moderately priced place with good food and entertainment.

    (4)
  • Simon T.

    Delightful setting. Best lunch place in the city. Brunswick stew. Prime stuff.

    (4)
  • Derek K.

    If you don't have the common sense to make a reservation and read the menu ahead of time, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. We checked all of the Colonial taverns to see which one fit our group the best and used their online reservation system to get ourselves in well ahead of time. Chownings is what it is, a tourist place in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg. The food, while not ground breaking, was good and relatively affordable considering the locale. Interesting beer selection as well. The pork & bbq chicken trenchers were solid as was the sour cream & chive potato salad. The cheese platter is not a meal, but it is not advertised as one. It is a starter on the menu and fully serves the purpose. We hung around for gambols and music after, good times were had. They also have a great outdoor bar and dining space under a natural roof of grapevines. The period garb and speak is not a problem as most of the people around town are in character. Do your homework, plan ahead and enjoy a small slice of how our country began. If you don't want to do that, take a short car ride and hit any one of a number of chain restaurants on the strip that give you a ton of bad food for a small price.

    (4)
  • Thomas C.

    Chownings had changed their menu just recently, so we decided to give it a try. The food was much better then two years ago when we ate there. It was so good and tasty that we ended up eating here twice last week, the beef trencher had me coming back a second time for more. My next trip to Colonial Williamsburg will have me stopping at Chownings for more.

    (5)
  • Kelly K.

    Two words: Don't. Go. We wanted to experience an "authentic colonial tavern" for lunch, so we chose this place. The wench taking names out front said to check back in 20 minutes, so we walked up the street to see if anyone else could get us in any sooner. Everyone had a long wait, so we went back after 20 minutes and still waited probably another 45 minutes. We were seated upstairs (where there were plenty of empty tables). Our server (Nikki) was very sweet and helpful, and really put on a show with the "English" accent and using the terms of the day. As far as veggie items, there weren't many, but I got the soup of the day, which was mushroom (Nikki checked and it was vegetarian). It tasted like Campbell's. For my meal, I got a veggie wrap sandwich with potato salad. Nikki brought me chips instead, but told me to keep the chips and she would bring me the potato salad. Nothing special about any of it. My husband got the welsh rarebit, and he said it was actually okay. My kids got the macaroni and cheese plate off the kid's menu. They ate some of it. If you absolutely must come here, come for the ambiance and the "show", not for the food. The food HAS to be premade. I just don't think they make it there. And it's pricey! We paid over $50 for a crappy lunch.

    (1)
  • Mark H.

    After you there for dinner I was only going to give them 3 stars because the prime rib was overcooked and slightly tough but the beer selection was really good. My wife and her friend had a seafood dish that was so-so. The next time we went was later and we just wanted drinks. Like I said I really like their beer. They had live music there that night which was on a Monday. The music was so good and fun we stayed until closing. One of the musicians could play several instruments, even bagpipes played with bellows instead of blowing into it. It sounded great. Another young man played the trombone, who was also good. There was also a young lady who played the fiddle very well too. It was a very festive atmosphere. There were giving customers board games to play, I assume like the did back in the day. I also loved the look of the place with the dark paneling. Everything in the tavern was made as it would have back in colonial days to give it that authentic look. So maybe the food is just okay but the nighttime entertainment is fantastic!

    (4)
  • Jenny R.

    While I would love to tell you how delicious (or not) this restaurant was, I was not given the opportunity as they horribly misquoted the wait time for our lunch. Originally we were given approximately a 50 minute wait. When we returned, they said 25 additional minutes, then when we returned a second time, they said they did not know how much longer it would be. Very unprofessional and disappointing. We were not the only ones leaving because of this mistake.

    (1)
  • pseudo n.

    Flatbread was just so-so, and basically pizza...and that was the highlight. The roasted goat cheese appetizer was really lame and utterly forgettable. Anyone that rates this as a five star experience clearly has never eaten anywhere but McDonald's. This was the worst of a slew of so-so CW food experiences.

    (2)
  • Pete D.

    We stopped for lunch while in Colonial Williamsburg. It's a tourist restaurant in the heart of town and the whole experience is aligned with the rest of CW. Everybody's in period garb acting like it's the 18th century. It's kitschy, but you're probably already in the spirit if you've chosen to eat here. Problematic for me was our server's overly-thick and totally put-on accent. Nobody else in town seemed to be doing this and it kind of railed on me. OMG, just talk normal. The beer was the highlight of the lunch. It's local from Williamsburg Alewerks. I got the Washington Porter and it was very good. Pop got another Alewerks brew and switched over to the porter. We ordered Herb-Roasted Mushroom for the app, and the bang was not there for the buck. Toast sticks that came with it were very tough. Taste was good though on the shrooms and sauce. For the entrees, I got The Ploughman's Favourite Flat Bread, which is meat pizza. It was tasty and there were a bunch of different kinds of tasty meat on there (Hot Coppa Ham, Fennel Salami, Calabrese Salami, Surryano Ham). Pop got the Beef Trencher, which was some kind of clumped-together shredded beef with sauce on a pita bread. He said it was ok.

    (2)
  • Tracie C.

    Decent food. Peanut soup good. Brunswick stew ok, although little tomato-ey. Atmosphere is nice but, for the portions you get the prices are a bit high. Then again, IT IS a tourist restaurant. Hubby and I both had a sandwich which were decent. Something I would make at home BUT not for $12 a piece. Our server wasn't the friendliest... But she got the job done. It was ok for a tourist trap restaurant. i will say.. the Cherry cocktail drink was REALLY good.

    (3)
  • Frank M.

    Generally the taverns at Colonial Williamsburg are very good. On this evening, the Salmon special was dry and lacking freshness. The Prime Rib dinner was lacking flavor, extremely tough and lacked the expected tastes of holiday feasting. The environment lived up to expectation, however, everyone in our party was left with a sense of loss. The food was not very good. For the money, Chowning's lacks the right price point for the lack of quality it serves to its guests. Christiana Cambells, Shields and Kings Arms is well worth the visit, this place lacks taste and freshness. Poor food choices.

    (2)
  • Brian S.

    This place was really good. Decor, service, attire and food were up there. We took someone's advice and got there a little early, as it isn't that big. Showed up at 11:50 and got seated right away. Beer selections were good with some only sold in Colonial Williamsburg. We started with a soup sampler which had a little of the three soups available. There was Brunswick stew, a corn chowder and a kale potato soup. I can't tell you how good the Brunswick stew was. My wife loved the corn chowder and my son, believe it or not, loved the kale soup. I then had some kind of Italian meat lovers flat bread pizza which was terrific. My kids had a kid pepperoni pizza, and my wife had a sandwich. Can't remember which one but we all loved what we had. I would think this would be good for dinner too, but for lunch, it was perfect. I would go again once I tried the other taverns on site.

    (4)
  • Lee D.

    Love this place particularly at nighttime after 9pm when the "dinner and a show" starts. Fun live music, magic acts and table side dice based games to play in a nice rustic Colonial setting with a good mug of ale and some tasty Welsh rarebit...yes please!

    (4)
  • Michael L.

    Bees... wish they didn't like my food as much as I do. Eating in the garden area, the bees could not take a hint that my sandwich was not a flower. The waitress gave an effort for pleasantry sake to flail a towel at it, but knowing that the pesky bees would not be held at bay. We also arrived on a day that the power was out for all of Colonial Williamsburg so on a hot sultry summers day, there was no relief for the patrons. There was no indoor air conditioning option here, as there was no relief in the 1700's. The sandwiches are extremely contemporary in flavor. The Honey-baked Ham and Cheddar Cheese sandwich is served with Dijon spread, which had a surprisingly rich and complex taste. The Braised Short Rib sandwich was made to perfection, and the natural flavors of the beef shown through the well pairing of it's sauce. The drinks selection here is relegated to canned drinks. I did wish there was something besides lemonade, milk and water offered at the times besides the alcoholic choices. We'll here's to living in the past during modern times.

    (3)
  • Stormforger D.

    I took the family to Colonial Williamsburg and decided to stop in Chowning's for lunch. We thought the food was VERY mediocre, especially considering the prices. My family ordered 2 pulled pork sandwiches off the kids menu, a pulled pork sandwich, a turkey sandwich, and a open faced beef sandwich. We also had a cup of soup, 5 - 8 oz root beers, and one piece of cake for dessert. The bill came to $90 before the tip!!! Nothing we ordered seemed freshly made nor did they use quality ingredients. The pulled pork seemed like it came from a tub from Costco. The potato chips, potato salad, and cole slaw served with the sandwiches we all pre-made and not very good. The cup of Brunswick stew that I ordered ($8) tasted like it came from a can. The adult sandwiches were $12... For that, I expect MUCH more. The waiter was very nice and for that I am giving this review one more star that I would if it were based on the food alone.

    (2)
  • Hillary C.

    My husband and I were on vacation visiting Colonial Williamsburg and our "Tavern Ghost Walk" ended in front of Chownings Tavern, they had just started seating for the evening of drinks and games so we decided to partake. We met a lovely couple from Michigan and we all enjoyed great conversation, playing games, making our way through a basket of peanuts and few drinks. We did not eat dinner at this establishment.

    (4)
  • Marisa M.

    Ate lunch out back in the gardens area with take away service to avoid the wait out front. We had a little one with us too, so she could be loud out back. Food was great as usual. I recommend the pulled chicken BBQ sandwich. Buy the souvenir mug for free refills until 5 pm each day. We definitely got our moneys worth. Kids veggie tray is a great option and they have milk even though it's not on the menu.

    (5)
  • Patricia R.

    Did the tavern reluctantantly for lunch but was very pleasantly surprised. Food was great and the drinks were even better. Had the witches revenge cocktail and it was amazing and coming from living in NYC that is definitely a compliment as most drinks are made poorly in comparison. We had the soup tasting and a meat flat bread. All were great. Not oulandishly priced either. Great ambiance , even a roaming guitarist.

    (4)
  • Mac O.

    The Raleigh Tavern Bake Shop -- located behind the Raleigh Tavern -- is a good spot to pick up [overpriced] refreshments after strolling DOG Street. $2.75 for Chowning's Tavern Root Beer or King's Arm's Ginger Ale (both all natural, with cane sugar, ginger, sarsaparilla, and/or honey). $6.00 for a light, eggy Sally Lunn loaf. $7.00 turkey or ham sammies with chips. $2.75 for pretzel rolls. You'll also find sugar cookies, ginger snaps, chocolates, hot cocoa, cider, coffee, wine, beer, and soda. If you're not feeling like dedicating the time or money to one of the CW taverns, RTBS is the way to go: pay at the counter and head outside for excellent people watching in the fresh air.

    (3)
  • WMT W.

    This must be authentic. And if it is all I can say is boy has food improved since the colonial days! What a shame great location. Great in character service. Too bad they rest on those things and don't think food is important. Oh well I guess when you cater to tourist you don't need people to come back

    (2)
  • Paul F.

    Food not good. Overpriced as expected. Eat here for the ambience not the food.

    (2)
  • Mike C.

    This review isn't really for the food, which was probably 3 stars at best. I should also note that I was there for late night, which is actually the reason I liked this place so much. We arrived in Williamsburg on a Sunday night, and it was hard for me to imagine finding a good meal, let alone something fun to do. But my girlfriend had researched and found this place ahead of time. She claimed they had BBQ-style late night food, plus music and "drinking games," even on a Sunday night. When we walked in, it didn't look good. The place looked kind of dead -- there was only one other family in the same room as us. We ordered the sampler plate, which came with pulled pork, ribs, wings and some kind of cheese soup. The pulled pork and wings were pretty good, the ribs were very good, but the cheese soup was cold (deliberately so for historical accuracy, but it was nonetheless it was kind of gross). In a room across the hall, we could hear a band playing. We wondered why we had not been put in the room where all the fun was happening. Then we finished dinner and the tables turned. "The band" was actually a man and a woman in period dress playing instruments of the 18th Century. The music was great and they took the time to explain everything and answer questions. Then our waitress, Nikkia, who was terrific, brought over a game called Shut the Box. It was a simple dice game that took about 10 seconds to learn. But man was it fun and very addicting! We had a great time playing and drinking until they finally kicked us out at 11. If you go to Williamsburg sans-kids, late night at Chowning's is an experience not to be missed.

    (4)
  • Carol M.

    We loved our tavern "wench" from Brazil. She was fun and informative. Definitely fit my visions of a Colonial tavern. Food was good but under spiced, in my opinion. Great ale too. The entertainment felt a bit inserted in the room, but it wasn't bad.

    (3)
  • Nicole M.

    We at here for lunch while spending the day at Williamsburg. The food was DELICIOUS! (I had the Brunswick Stew). The service was DECENT at best. It may have just been because it was lunch time. The atmosphere was nice and cozy. Just like an 18th century tavern should be. Will be eating here when I am in Williamsburg again

    (4)
  • Cindy M.

    Don't go. The food is awful and they charge way too much for the meals which is food that you can get at fast food joint. Flies all over the place! Our server was very caring and nice, but when she spoke to the man who I assumed was management, (he looked fairly young) he was openly rude and disrespectful in front of me and other guests. I think this explains why the workers looked unhappy. Do yourself a favor and don't waste your money.

    (1)
  • David N.

    Stopped in for lunch, we sampled the Welsh rarebit as an appetizer the cheese and ham had a good flavor but the bread was stale and hard, almost inedible. My wife ordered the grilled chicken salad which she said was really good mostly cause the dressing was excellent not sure if it's made or brought, we didn't ask. I had the BBQ pulled pork sandwich came with side of chips and coleslaw. The pork was tender and seasoned well, lots of flavor, you can taste the smoke from the BBQ in the pork, had little spice kick at the end. Overall a good place to stop and relax after walking along the streets and touring the houses. menu was limited and the prices were a bit high. Their cider was really good though. I enjoyed the decor and ambiance at Chownings, if you look closely you can see the burn marks on the walls from where the candles used to be hung. The service was OK I really couldn't rate it, we were the last lunch table, they were cleaning for dinner service. We didn't feel rushed and our server was mostly entertained by my daughter playing with my iphone.

    (4)
  • Dara W.

    Christmas dinner at Chownings this year! Exquisite! The wait staff, and flute player were superb! Prime rib, red potatoes and veggies were simply divine! I have eaten at every tavern in Williamsburg for Christmas! This one surpasses them all! They even had a fortune teller to read your cards for the new year! Thank you Chownings!

    (5)
  • Roro H.

    Lots of Tavern atmosphere! Had a great musician onboard last night playing his Penny whistle and guitar. No, not at the same time. We made a reservation, which seems to be necessary this time of year. Food was hit and miss. We shared a HUGE order of "just ok" fried chicken which came with seasonable veggies and the "Cheese Surprise." Honestly, how could Macaroni & Cheese be SO bad. Yellow/orange stuff that was dry and stuck together. Absolutely NO cheese taste at all. I mean, how difficult is it to make a good Mac & Cheese? The strawberry salad was fresh, crisp and had a very flavorful dressing. The yeast rolls were SUPURB . Service was friendly and plentiful. Would try something else next time. The musician made it a special event.

    (3)
  • Matthew B.

    Our party specifically went for Gambols, a late night of festivities including live colonial music, drinking, light eating, and playing period games while gambling with peanuts. Essentially the ideal pub experience. We were mistakenly informed the festivities started at 7:30. When we arrived at 7:30, we were told there were no available tables as they were still serving dinner and Gambols started at 9:00. While bummed, we certainly weren't disappointed and decided to find a tavern elsewhere until 9:00 came around. As we turned around to leave, they stopped us and said they may be able to get us in. They got us a table as the dinner crowd was leaving. Typically they close down for about an hour to prepare for the event, but they knew we were there for the evening. They allowed us to stay, we had the restaurant to ourselves, and they brought us beer, peanuts, and an excellent appetizer (cheese crock) while we waited. It ended up being an incredible time that I'll never forget. The live music was incredible. The atmosphere was warm and inviting. Everyone had a great time. And our service couldn't be beat. Our waitress was a great girl from Europe and she taught us games and took the time to converse with us. One thing to note: They offer a beer ($6) with a traditional salt glaze mug ($28) for $19. Quite the deal indeed. However, after investigation and inquiry, it was revealed the particular mugs used and sold in the taverns are made in China (keeps costs down with theft and breakage). In order to get an authentic Williamsburg made mug, you must purchase it through one of the Williamsburg stores. Good to know as that is what I later did. Other than that, it was a memorable night that resulted in us leaving 3 and half hours later. I realize the special treatment is probably not the norm but I look forward to attending the Gambols in the future.

    (5)
  • Fran H.

    Very accommodating as I choose to only have dessert, our server suggested our son and his girlfriend share the Fried Chicken given the size of the entree and she was right! My husband had Salmon and Crabcake, very good. Great cornbread!

    (4)
  • Wayne M.

    I was in Colonial Williamsburg and in search for a nice place to have our first dinner. We found Chowning's on Yelp and decided - given that it was the only Tavern open in January - that we would check it out. We were very pleased! Instantly, I feel in love with the intimate decor and live music. The ambiance, menu, and music transports you through time to the 18th centurty. I enjoyed a mushroom dinner with O'Connor's Red Nun Beer on tap. Both were amazing! With moments after sitting, a reenactor came up to our table and played our small room two or three songs on his guitar. The whole experience was really awesome and I recommend it to anyone in the area! From a price standpoint, my girlfriend and I paid $84 for the two of us. We had two entrees, four alcoholic drinks, 2 starters, and 1 shared desert. I also tipped the guitar player $2. I hope you have a chance to check out this unique restaurant!

    (4)
  • Tracy E.

    Took my family of 6 here for lunch while visiting Colonial Williamsburg and we were all disappointed. My French dip sandwich was very mediocre and came with instant mashed potatoes and what tasted like jarred gravy instead of au jus. For the price we paid, none of the food was worth it. Nice atmosphere, but I wouldn't return.

    (2)
  • Ken C.

    OK- really nice looking period place. People play games and get you in a fun mood. Beer is good. Don't go for the food- stay away from the cheese and sandwiches. Good place for just drinks before or after you have eaten dinner. Overpriced food.

    (2)
  • Frank Z.

    It's been quite a while since I've been to Chowning's Tavern, but something made me want to post a review about it recently. I actually once dated a chick who worked here, but that's another story. The whole Colonial Williamsburg thing is really cool to me. Sure, you're probably saying, "Well that's because everyone knows you're easily amused, Frank." Shut up and let me finish. Jerk. Chowning's has a distinct vibe to it. It's not the sort of place that you find very often. It's that uniqueness that adds the appeal to it. The history of the tavern is interesting, especially if you're a history nerd like me. No, the food is not phenomenal or amazing. But you don't go here for ridiculously awesome food. You go to a place like Chowning's for the experience. They have people in Colonial garb doing magic tricks, playing fiddles, and generally entertaining the patrons throughout the tavern. Outside of the tavern, Colonial Williamsburg has a variety of re-enactments and events that are really interesting. The last time I visited, there was a Continental Army encampment set up in a nearby field. If I could give it 3.5 stars, I would. I miss Virginia quite a bit and would definitely like to visit again -- including Chowning's -- sometime soon.

    (3)
  • Gwen T.

    Went here for lunch and it was.. ehhhh, okay. I got the pulled pork sandwich which was good but I've had better. The other sandwiches sort of looked pre-made/pre-packaged. They will seat you with other people to fill up the tables but I won't actually give them any negative points for that because that's just something that I don't like personally but other people might find fun. Our waitress seemed completely detached and unfriendly. We felt rushed to order and she brought the check without asking if we wanted anything else.

    (2)
  • Keith B.

    This is actually two different ratings. I used to live in the Williamsburg area back in the early-mid 1990's. At the time, I really liked the Raleigh Tavern Bake Shop. Things seemed more fresh and not as commercialized. They had a very limited but interesting selection of food items such as Queen's Cake and Sally Lunn bread. I say I would have given it 3.5 stars back then for originality. Went back on a visit this Spring. Much wider selection of items now, but everything is now vacuum packed like a Little Debbie snack cake. In addition the authentic feel isn't there anymore either. Now its just slinging "colonial-like" baked goods with a sales staff forced to wear costumes that you get the impression they don't like wearing and very little attempt to convey colonial history. Even the goods themselves feel like they are less fresh than from two decades ago. Maybe it was faulty memory, but I felt disappointed.

    (2)
  • Gina P.

    Over pricey food for lame entertainment. Just seen one guy play the flute and that was it the entire time we ate. I guess at 9pm is the best time for the gaming. We were too tired and broke from the bill to stay to find out. I had a salad 7.50 and a cup of cup 6.50 and some a beer flight for 8.50.

    (2)
  • Oriana P.

    Atmosphere was GREAT! loved the live music, the magician, and jennifer our server. The "shut-the-box" game made its fair rounds on our table as well. As soon as we came in, we were immediately seated in the cozy room in the left by the fireplace in chairs with long backs, but LOW seats... the girls in our party practically needed "high chairs" as the table leveled at our chins. We kindly snatched a cushion to slightly elevate the behind of only one of the girls in our party. well worth it. On the table there was a big basket with unshelled peanuts which we quickly passed around and started grazing on. AMAZING... too bad we weren't allowed to just throw the shells on the floor (just to go with the whole 18th century feel that is). also,if your party doesn't fill the table, the host will fill it for you. you will get seated with random guests, guess THAT'S also part of the 18th century feel). it's kind of like communal eating in airplanes: you don't necessarily need to converse but that sometimes makes it just more of a social and not just a natural necessity. Ordered the house lager, water, and home-made rootbeer (which tasted truly fresh of the tap, coke tap that is). Cool feel though sipping it through colonial mugs. the beer was delicious, and so were the fancy shmancy cocktails that gave us a lot of laughter for the rest of the evening. My boyfriend and I got the sampler platter, which had ribs (which we devoured, me sucking the marrow out of the bones. HEY, that's the proper way to suck ribs!!!) a mug of gumbo, which i don't go crazy for, but that's because i hate okra, some kind of potato/cabbage/mayo salad which was a-ok, and the cheese ramekin, which just plain SUCKED. This was served with white toast (i could swear it is wonderbread!!!). The rest of our party got the ribs - GREAT GREAT (so def get those), and the grilled salmon on a bed of mixed greens (your typical diet-friendly american fare). A chocolate cake to top it off (but could very well done without it), and it was an inexpensive fun experience that COULD offer just a tad more in respect to taste. I totally recommend the ribs, and beer and cocktails. the other stuff just wasn't good enough. thank god there were plenty of peanuts to solidly fill me up for the next 11 hrs.

    (3)
  • James C.

    HORRIBLE HAMBURGER!! It fits for dogs. Don't order it! The food was VERY mediocre, especially considering the prices. Paid $37 for a hamburger and 4 hot dogs combo.

    (1)
  • Mythic G.

    Disney this ain't. Sure, you're going to pay tourist prices, and servers are costumed, but the bar snacks were disappointing, and the staff weren't welcoming to our group of 4. Note that both of my experiences pertain to The Gambles: the post-dinner event at Chownings, for which I wrote this review but forgot to submit it. Strolling musicians were talented and friendly; however, the staff needs to be more customer oriented. The first time we went (9:30 PM) a staff member informed us they were closing due to lack of business. A couple of nights later we went back but were almost turned away again since dinner reservations are required before 9PM. After explaining our intentions to simply get a drink, we were seated at the bar.

    (3)
  • Timothy E.

    We had dinner here on our first evening. The atmosphere is awesome, there is period-style entertainment provided in each room of the tavern. While we had a musical trio entertaining us, the other room had a magician to perform tricks.The entertainers did alternate rooms, so that all could be enjoyed. The tavern seats family-style, which means, if there are not enough in your party to fill the table, they will seat others at the table. The tavern provides a list of local brews on-tap. My wife had a pilsner and I had a bitter ale. Both were tasty, and well received. After our initial drink order, a younger couple was seated with us, and they, too order beer. We chatted over the peanuts and beer as we perused the menu. The offerings are simple, and were adequate. Service was very quick, almost instataneous after we placed our orders. My wife's Brunswick Stew was piping hot, and well received. My daughter's Virginia Ham sandwich was slightly too salty for her tastes (Virginia Ham is salt cured.) I had the BBQ ribs, and they were good. It was simple food, simply good, and well priced. We would definitely eat here again. The service was friendly and attentive, and the family style offers the opportunity to meet others.

    (3)
  • Andrew K.

    This is NOT a place to go for dinner. Dark candlelit place with Colonial-garbed people who violin serenading your table. So that's fun. It is like going to one of the Disney theme restaurants with subpar food, but the food's par (kids mac and cheese is really the best), and decent prices. It's like food you get on the Amtrak train. My mom liked her Manhattan of all things.

    (3)
  • Emily D.

    I fell completely in love here! I had the peanut soup (which I loved so much I bought the tavern cookbook so I could make it at home) an[d the Brunswick Stew, which is sort of gumbo-y--very creole flavored! It was a delicious lunch that I enjoyed thoroughly. The place can get crowded quickly, and it can be loud, but it's a lot of fun. Server was prompt and attentive.

    (5)
  • Carol S.

    I've been here at least three times at different times of the day. Our last visit was disappointing, as we were told the dice and other table games, as well as other entertainment were not available until 9 pm. I've brought my children here before and they were thoroughly entertained with games at the table and a magician. Frankly that was the only reason we went.

    (2)
  • JoAnn P.

    We made reservations so were seated quickly on arrival. We were a party of 6 adults and 2 teens, all were very happy, lamb shank was tender, seafood "combo" was very tasty but skimpy for the $$$, 2 tiny crab cakes, 3 shrimpy shrimp and 2 scallops. The steaks were barely to order but tasty.The Glouster fried chicken was very generously portioned!! Would recommend!!!

    (4)
  • Joe M.

    Atmosphere was GREAT! loved the live music, the magician, and our server. The "shut-the-box" game made its fair rounds on our table as well. As soon as we came in, we were immediately seated in the cozy room in the right by the fireplace in chairs with long backs, but LOW seats. On the table there was a big basket with unshelled peanuts which we quickly passed around and started grazing on. AMAZING. Ordered the home-made rootbeer (which tasted truly fresh of the tap, coke tap that is). Cool feel though sipping it through colonial mugs. Wife and I got the sampler platter, which had ribs, a mug of gumbo, some kind of potato/cabbage/mayo salad which was a-ok, and the cheese ramekin, which just plain SUCKED. This was served with white toast. It an inexpensive experience. I totally recommend the ribs, and root beer.

    (3)
  • Caitlin C.

    Probably the only place in Williamsburg open past 9 p.m., so when we rolled in late, we were thankful for this place! The food was okay but the atmosphere was even better. Our waiter taught us how to play this game with dice, which we still talk about. I was called on to come help with a magic trick. If it wasn't Colonial Williamsburg, I would have been petrified, but since it was, I found it to be delightfully charming. So much so that we bought a Chownings mug before we left. Cheers!

    (4)
  • Robin G.

    My man took me here on a visit this summer. LOVED it! Authentic and downright awesome. If you go to colonial Williamsburg your experience is not complete without going here. Food is good service is excellent and worth the wait in line.

    (5)
  • Susie B.

    Growing up in Williamsburg a trip to the Raleigh Tavern Bakery specifically for their gingerbread cookies- more of a dense spicy-sweet cake than a cookie- was a special and classic treat.

    (5)
  • Sarah C.

    My parents and I went here for lunch on our vacation to Virginia, we are from California so we were in shock by the cold weather and snow that was not expected. To keep us warm we drank hot Apple cider spiked with captain Morgan rum. The pulled pork sandwich was alright and so was the Brunswick stew. But the peanut butter pie is to die for! I suggest taking home a slice for later and not sharing ;-) . The atmosphere, music and servers put you in an olde time mood.

    (4)
  • robin d.

    Came for the Gambols. Fun experience but the spicy wings . . . You will need a fire extinguisher.

    (3)
  • Julianna K.

    Note: This review is based on the fast food-like lunch options only. It was not open for lunch when I was there, so I cannot comment on the meals that would have been served inside the tavern. OK, so we're walking around Colonial Williamsburg and we're really beat. All we want is some food and drink and to rest our fat asses. Nothing seems to be open except for Chowning's back patio area, where you can order sandwiches and sodas. Ok, that's fine, we're not looking for anything fancy, so we head out back. It looked really cute with picnic tables and this sort of ivy covered thatch awning over the whole thing, providing a good amount of shade. The menu was limited to pulled pork, pulled pork on a bun, and ham on a biscuit. Oh and there might have been a turkey and ham option, but I'm not positive. That's cool, so I ordered the pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and a diet coke. I'm not sure how long before I ordered it was the sandwich made because the bun was super soggy, so I was a little disappointed, but when you're that hungry anything goes, right? The cole slaw wasn't what I was used to, too vinegary, but palatable. My brother-in-law's potato salad was much better, but I didn't have that option, the slaw came with my sandwich and you couldn't substitute for whatever reason. The saving grace was that the little old lady at the counter was really super nice, and they have this plastic mug with a lid that you can purchase for $10, and as long as you are in Colonial Williamsburg you can get it refilled for free anywhere. So you can get your money's worth, since the food is ridiculously priced.

    (2)
  • Jay R.

    There were several colonial taverns to choose from. We chose Chowning's because it was advertised as lively, fun, and authentic. We were not disappointed. The beer was great. Another Yelp reviewer suggested the cream ale. Thanks, it was fantastic. My wife had the wheat ale and loved it. For food, we chose the sampler plate which had a little of everything. There was plenty for both of us. The presentation wasn't special at all, just a plate with food on it., but it was very good. The ribs stood out the most from the things I tried. They were so good we ordered a second helping. There were several performers who would periodically play music or sing. There was also a magician. The service throughout the meal was top notch. Our server was attentive and the food arrived quickly. Toward the end of our meal our server asked us where we were from and what the occasion was. My wife mentioned that it was our anniversary and he congratrulated us. A few moments later the magician stopped by our table and performed a trick just for us. It was very special. All in all we had a great time there. Go for the drinks and entertainment and atmosphere. The food won't kill you and if you're unsure, try the ribs.

    (5)
  • Jessica R.

    Great place to get drunk and laugh!! We had reservations at King's Arms Tavern down the street and wanted to come here for a quick drink (only place in the colonial area to get a drink). What was 'just one drink' turned into many more. We ended up eating 'dinner' here and having a great time!! The Liebotschäner Cream Ale was awesome - light and tasty. Also, the Historic Triangle cocktail was delicious. The food.... was..... pretty bad. There is not one dish I would recommend. But, the drinking and funny atmosphere made up for it. Our waiter was also a doll and very helpful. The entertainment consists of colonial musicians, magicians and games people. We played a colonial board game that kept us entertained amidst our drinking for a long while. Check it out for sure, but make other plans for dinner!

    (3)
  • Amy T.

    Atmosphere: 5/5 for the strolling fiddle player who encouraged singing and dancing, the decor, and the wait staff's knowledge of the history of the building. Drinks: 5/5. Especially recommend the (hard) pear cider--light and refreshing--the (soft) apple cider that had some spices in it, and the wheat beer. Food: 3/5. Good but not great. Limited menu selection. Best cornbread ever--crusty and sweet. Our table tried the fried chicken, the short rib, the barbecued ribs, and the fish with herb cream sauce. Everyone was satisfied but no one raved--except about the cornbread. The Welsh Rarebit appetizer tasted a bit too strongly of the brown ale. Price: 2/5. Portions are generous, but for $30/entree, the food needs to stand out. Total damage for dinner for two was $90 for two drinks, an appetizer, and two entrees. Service: 4/5. They handled our party of 16 with ease, although we ended up at four 4-tops that couldn't be moved. Couples were split up because the staff required an adult at each table with children. I can understand that (and the other patrons probably appreciated it, too), but it did make coordinating the checks tricky at the end. Servers were friendly and cheerful.

    (3)
  • Anpan W.

    I have a crush on the musician who plays twinkle twinkle little star by whistling through his hands. Also appreciated the server who taught us colonial dice games and introduced us to colonial boggle. Try the ales. Enjoy the in house entertainment. Have fun!

    (4)
  • Linda F.

    I've been going to Chownings Tavern since I was a child. I'm very fond of this place. It's my favorite in Williamsburg. I love their Rarebit and the Brunswick Stew. The entertainment is often raucus and fun, sometimes music, sometimes a magician. Always a fun night out.

    (4)
  • Kathy P.

    We needed just a bite, so we split a ham and cheese sandwich. It was good and the waiter was friendly and a pleasure.

    (4)
  • Dani S.

    staff was decent. food was decent. like everythiong else in colonial willaimsburg, was overpriced. major dislike was there were literally flies EVERYWHERE. the girls that work there must be miserable w/ their jobs because they called the cops on the table next to us for permitting their soon to be 21 year old a couple sips of beer- and they werent even being rowdy. this is a vacation/touring area and people are out to enjoy themselves. i can understand wanting a cold drink on a hot summer day. i cannot understand making a big commotion out of nothing. not very pleasant to watch.

    (2)
  • Russell M.

    Old world colonial charm but remiss in their food handling. We happened upon Chowning's the day after our arrival. We managed to get in without a reservation for the last half hour of lunch service. As is turned out, that was a mistake. I became seriously ill with food poisoning about 3 to 4 hours later that evening. I know it was from Chownings because I was the only one with the entree I ordered (braised short rib on a bun with provolone cheese.) I was pretty much down for the count for 3 days feeling weak and without energy. I emailed Colonial WIlliamsburg because I could not find a phone number to report my experience to anyone. They replied via emal and asked for more details which I provided. I have not heard back from them since revising this review. I will say that the service was pleasant and the location charming. I suspect that Chowning's and perhaps some of the other taverns do not have kitchens where food is prepared but it is probably delivered from a central kitchen and is supposed to be held at the appropriate temperature to prevent spoilage. Anyway, you owe it to yourself to visit at least one of the taverns to experience their colonial charm. The food is nothing spectacular but the experience is worth it.

    (3)
  • James C.

    HORRIBLE HAMBURGER!! It fits for dogs. Don't order it! The food was VERY mediocre, especially considering the prices. Paid $37 for a hamburger and 4 hot dogs combo.

    (1)
  • Gwen T.

    Went here for lunch and it was.. ehhhh, okay. I got the pulled pork sandwich which was good but I've had better. The other sandwiches sort of looked pre-made/pre-packaged. They will seat you with other people to fill up the tables but I won't actually give them any negative points for that because that's just something that I don't like personally but other people might find fun. Our waitress seemed completely detached and unfriendly. We felt rushed to order and she brought the check without asking if we wanted anything else.

    (2)
  • Ken C.

    OK- really nice looking period place. People play games and get you in a fun mood. Beer is good. Don't go for the food- stay away from the cheese and sandwiches. Good place for just drinks before or after you have eaten dinner. Overpriced food.

    (2)
  • Roro H.

    Lots of Tavern atmosphere! Had a great musician onboard last night playing his Penny whistle and guitar. No, not at the same time. We made a reservation, which seems to be necessary this time of year. Food was hit and miss. We shared a HUGE order of "just ok" fried chicken which came with seasonable veggies and the "Cheese Surprise." Honestly, how could Macaroni & Cheese be SO bad. Yellow/orange stuff that was dry and stuck together. Absolutely NO cheese taste at all. I mean, how difficult is it to make a good Mac & Cheese? The strawberry salad was fresh, crisp and had a very flavorful dressing. The yeast rolls were SUPURB . Service was friendly and plentiful. Would try something else next time. The musician made it a special event.

    (3)
  • Frank Z.

    It's been quite a while since I've been to Chowning's Tavern, but something made me want to post a review about it recently. I actually once dated a chick who worked here, but that's another story. The whole Colonial Williamsburg thing is really cool to me. Sure, you're probably saying, "Well that's because everyone knows you're easily amused, Frank." Shut up and let me finish. Jerk. Chowning's has a distinct vibe to it. It's not the sort of place that you find very often. It's that uniqueness that adds the appeal to it. The history of the tavern is interesting, especially if you're a history nerd like me. No, the food is not phenomenal or amazing. But you don't go here for ridiculously awesome food. You go to a place like Chowning's for the experience. They have people in Colonial garb doing magic tricks, playing fiddles, and generally entertaining the patrons throughout the tavern. Outside of the tavern, Colonial Williamsburg has a variety of re-enactments and events that are really interesting. The last time I visited, there was a Continental Army encampment set up in a nearby field. If I could give it 3.5 stars, I would. I miss Virginia quite a bit and would definitely like to visit again -- including Chowning's -- sometime soon.

    (3)
  • Oriana P.

    Atmosphere was GREAT! loved the live music, the magician, and jennifer our server. The "shut-the-box" game made its fair rounds on our table as well. As soon as we came in, we were immediately seated in the cozy room in the left by the fireplace in chairs with long backs, but LOW seats... the girls in our party practically needed "high chairs" as the table leveled at our chins. We kindly snatched a cushion to slightly elevate the behind of only one of the girls in our party. well worth it. On the table there was a big basket with unshelled peanuts which we quickly passed around and started grazing on. AMAZING... too bad we weren't allowed to just throw the shells on the floor (just to go with the whole 18th century feel that is). also,if your party doesn't fill the table, the host will fill it for you. you will get seated with random guests, guess THAT'S also part of the 18th century feel). it's kind of like communal eating in airplanes: you don't necessarily need to converse but that sometimes makes it just more of a social and not just a natural necessity. Ordered the house lager, water, and home-made rootbeer (which tasted truly fresh of the tap, coke tap that is). Cool feel though sipping it through colonial mugs. the beer was delicious, and so were the fancy shmancy cocktails that gave us a lot of laughter for the rest of the evening. My boyfriend and I got the sampler platter, which had ribs (which we devoured, me sucking the marrow out of the bones. HEY, that's the proper way to suck ribs!!!) a mug of gumbo, which i don't go crazy for, but that's because i hate okra, some kind of potato/cabbage/mayo salad which was a-ok, and the cheese ramekin, which just plain SUCKED. This was served with white toast (i could swear it is wonderbread!!!). The rest of our party got the ribs - GREAT GREAT (so def get those), and the grilled salmon on a bed of mixed greens (your typical diet-friendly american fare). A chocolate cake to top it off (but could very well done without it), and it was an inexpensive fun experience that COULD offer just a tad more in respect to taste. I totally recommend the ribs, and beer and cocktails. the other stuff just wasn't good enough. thank god there were plenty of peanuts to solidly fill me up for the next 11 hrs.

    (3)
  • Mythic G.

    Disney this ain't. Sure, you're going to pay tourist prices, and servers are costumed, but the bar snacks were disappointing, and the staff weren't welcoming to our group of 4. Note that both of my experiences pertain to The Gambles: the post-dinner event at Chownings, for which I wrote this review but forgot to submit it. Strolling musicians were talented and friendly; however, the staff needs to be more customer oriented. The first time we went (9:30 PM) a staff member informed us they were closing due to lack of business. A couple of nights later we went back but were almost turned away again since dinner reservations are required before 9PM. After explaining our intentions to simply get a drink, we were seated at the bar.

    (3)
  • Keith B.

    This is actually two different ratings. I used to live in the Williamsburg area back in the early-mid 1990's. At the time, I really liked the Raleigh Tavern Bake Shop. Things seemed more fresh and not as commercialized. They had a very limited but interesting selection of food items such as Queen's Cake and Sally Lunn bread. I say I would have given it 3.5 stars back then for originality. Went back on a visit this Spring. Much wider selection of items now, but everything is now vacuum packed like a Little Debbie snack cake. In addition the authentic feel isn't there anymore either. Now its just slinging "colonial-like" baked goods with a sales staff forced to wear costumes that you get the impression they don't like wearing and very little attempt to convey colonial history. Even the goods themselves feel like they are less fresh than from two decades ago. Maybe it was faulty memory, but I felt disappointed.

    (2)
  • Gina P.

    Over pricey food for lame entertainment. Just seen one guy play the flute and that was it the entire time we ate. I guess at 9pm is the best time for the gaming. We were too tired and broke from the bill to stay to find out. I had a salad 7.50 and a cup of cup 6.50 and some a beer flight for 8.50.

    (2)
  • Timothy E.

    We had dinner here on our first evening. The atmosphere is awesome, there is period-style entertainment provided in each room of the tavern. While we had a musical trio entertaining us, the other room had a magician to perform tricks.The entertainers did alternate rooms, so that all could be enjoyed. The tavern seats family-style, which means, if there are not enough in your party to fill the table, they will seat others at the table. The tavern provides a list of local brews on-tap. My wife had a pilsner and I had a bitter ale. Both were tasty, and well received. After our initial drink order, a younger couple was seated with us, and they, too order beer. We chatted over the peanuts and beer as we perused the menu. The offerings are simple, and were adequate. Service was very quick, almost instataneous after we placed our orders. My wife's Brunswick Stew was piping hot, and well received. My daughter's Virginia Ham sandwich was slightly too salty for her tastes (Virginia Ham is salt cured.) I had the BBQ ribs, and they were good. It was simple food, simply good, and well priced. We would definitely eat here again. The service was friendly and attentive, and the family style offers the opportunity to meet others.

    (3)
  • Andrew K.

    This is NOT a place to go for dinner. Dark candlelit place with Colonial-garbed people who violin serenading your table. So that's fun. It is like going to one of the Disney theme restaurants with subpar food, but the food's par (kids mac and cheese is really the best), and decent prices. It's like food you get on the Amtrak train. My mom liked her Manhattan of all things.

    (3)
  • Emily D.

    I fell completely in love here! I had the peanut soup (which I loved so much I bought the tavern cookbook so I could make it at home) an[d the Brunswick Stew, which is sort of gumbo-y--very creole flavored! It was a delicious lunch that I enjoyed thoroughly. The place can get crowded quickly, and it can be loud, but it's a lot of fun. Server was prompt and attentive.

    (5)
  • Carol S.

    I've been here at least three times at different times of the day. Our last visit was disappointing, as we were told the dice and other table games, as well as other entertainment were not available until 9 pm. I've brought my children here before and they were thoroughly entertained with games at the table and a magician. Frankly that was the only reason we went.

    (2)
  • JoAnn P.

    We made reservations so were seated quickly on arrival. We were a party of 6 adults and 2 teens, all were very happy, lamb shank was tender, seafood "combo" was very tasty but skimpy for the $$$, 2 tiny crab cakes, 3 shrimpy shrimp and 2 scallops. The steaks were barely to order but tasty.The Glouster fried chicken was very generously portioned!! Would recommend!!!

    (4)
  • Joe M.

    Atmosphere was GREAT! loved the live music, the magician, and our server. The "shut-the-box" game made its fair rounds on our table as well. As soon as we came in, we were immediately seated in the cozy room in the right by the fireplace in chairs with long backs, but LOW seats. On the table there was a big basket with unshelled peanuts which we quickly passed around and started grazing on. AMAZING. Ordered the home-made rootbeer (which tasted truly fresh of the tap, coke tap that is). Cool feel though sipping it through colonial mugs. Wife and I got the sampler platter, which had ribs, a mug of gumbo, some kind of potato/cabbage/mayo salad which was a-ok, and the cheese ramekin, which just plain SUCKED. This was served with white toast. It an inexpensive experience. I totally recommend the ribs, and root beer.

    (3)
  • Caitlin C.

    Probably the only place in Williamsburg open past 9 p.m., so when we rolled in late, we were thankful for this place! The food was okay but the atmosphere was even better. Our waiter taught us how to play this game with dice, which we still talk about. I was called on to come help with a magic trick. If it wasn't Colonial Williamsburg, I would have been petrified, but since it was, I found it to be delightfully charming. So much so that we bought a Chownings mug before we left. Cheers!

    (4)
  • Robin G.

    My man took me here on a visit this summer. LOVED it! Authentic and downright awesome. If you go to colonial Williamsburg your experience is not complete without going here. Food is good service is excellent and worth the wait in line.

    (5)
  • Susie B.

    Growing up in Williamsburg a trip to the Raleigh Tavern Bakery specifically for their gingerbread cookies- more of a dense spicy-sweet cake than a cookie- was a special and classic treat.

    (5)
  • Sarah C.

    My parents and I went here for lunch on our vacation to Virginia, we are from California so we were in shock by the cold weather and snow that was not expected. To keep us warm we drank hot Apple cider spiked with captain Morgan rum. The pulled pork sandwich was alright and so was the Brunswick stew. But the peanut butter pie is to die for! I suggest taking home a slice for later and not sharing ;-) . The atmosphere, music and servers put you in an olde time mood.

    (4)
  • Julianna K.

    Note: This review is based on the fast food-like lunch options only. It was not open for lunch when I was there, so I cannot comment on the meals that would have been served inside the tavern. OK, so we're walking around Colonial Williamsburg and we're really beat. All we want is some food and drink and to rest our fat asses. Nothing seems to be open except for Chowning's back patio area, where you can order sandwiches and sodas. Ok, that's fine, we're not looking for anything fancy, so we head out back. It looked really cute with picnic tables and this sort of ivy covered thatch awning over the whole thing, providing a good amount of shade. The menu was limited to pulled pork, pulled pork on a bun, and ham on a biscuit. Oh and there might have been a turkey and ham option, but I'm not positive. That's cool, so I ordered the pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and a diet coke. I'm not sure how long before I ordered it was the sandwich made because the bun was super soggy, so I was a little disappointed, but when you're that hungry anything goes, right? The cole slaw wasn't what I was used to, too vinegary, but palatable. My brother-in-law's potato salad was much better, but I didn't have that option, the slaw came with my sandwich and you couldn't substitute for whatever reason. The saving grace was that the little old lady at the counter was really super nice, and they have this plastic mug with a lid that you can purchase for $10, and as long as you are in Colonial Williamsburg you can get it refilled for free anywhere. So you can get your money's worth, since the food is ridiculously priced.

    (2)
  • robin d.

    Came for the Gambols. Fun experience but the spicy wings . . . You will need a fire extinguisher.

    (3)
  • Linda F.

    I've been going to Chownings Tavern since I was a child. I'm very fond of this place. It's my favorite in Williamsburg. I love their Rarebit and the Brunswick Stew. The entertainment is often raucus and fun, sometimes music, sometimes a magician. Always a fun night out.

    (4)
  • Kathy P.

    We needed just a bite, so we split a ham and cheese sandwich. It was good and the waiter was friendly and a pleasure.

    (4)
  • Jay R.

    There were several colonial taverns to choose from. We chose Chowning's because it was advertised as lively, fun, and authentic. We were not disappointed. The beer was great. Another Yelp reviewer suggested the cream ale. Thanks, it was fantastic. My wife had the wheat ale and loved it. For food, we chose the sampler plate which had a little of everything. There was plenty for both of us. The presentation wasn't special at all, just a plate with food on it., but it was very good. The ribs stood out the most from the things I tried. They were so good we ordered a second helping. There were several performers who would periodically play music or sing. There was also a magician. The service throughout the meal was top notch. Our server was attentive and the food arrived quickly. Toward the end of our meal our server asked us where we were from and what the occasion was. My wife mentioned that it was our anniversary and he congratrulated us. A few moments later the magician stopped by our table and performed a trick just for us. It was very special. All in all we had a great time there. Go for the drinks and entertainment and atmosphere. The food won't kill you and if you're unsure, try the ribs.

    (5)
  • Jessica R.

    Great place to get drunk and laugh!! We had reservations at King's Arms Tavern down the street and wanted to come here for a quick drink (only place in the colonial area to get a drink). What was 'just one drink' turned into many more. We ended up eating 'dinner' here and having a great time!! The Liebotschäner Cream Ale was awesome - light and tasty. Also, the Historic Triangle cocktail was delicious. The food.... was..... pretty bad. There is not one dish I would recommend. But, the drinking and funny atmosphere made up for it. Our waiter was also a doll and very helpful. The entertainment consists of colonial musicians, magicians and games people. We played a colonial board game that kept us entertained amidst our drinking for a long while. Check it out for sure, but make other plans for dinner!

    (3)
  • Amy T.

    Atmosphere: 5/5 for the strolling fiddle player who encouraged singing and dancing, the decor, and the wait staff's knowledge of the history of the building. Drinks: 5/5. Especially recommend the (hard) pear cider--light and refreshing--the (soft) apple cider that had some spices in it, and the wheat beer. Food: 3/5. Good but not great. Limited menu selection. Best cornbread ever--crusty and sweet. Our table tried the fried chicken, the short rib, the barbecued ribs, and the fish with herb cream sauce. Everyone was satisfied but no one raved--except about the cornbread. The Welsh Rarebit appetizer tasted a bit too strongly of the brown ale. Price: 2/5. Portions are generous, but for $30/entree, the food needs to stand out. Total damage for dinner for two was $90 for two drinks, an appetizer, and two entrees. Service: 4/5. They handled our party of 16 with ease, although we ended up at four 4-tops that couldn't be moved. Couples were split up because the staff required an adult at each table with children. I can understand that (and the other patrons probably appreciated it, too), but it did make coordinating the checks tricky at the end. Servers were friendly and cheerful.

    (3)
  • Anpan W.

    I have a crush on the musician who plays twinkle twinkle little star by whistling through his hands. Also appreciated the server who taught us colonial dice games and introduced us to colonial boggle. Try the ales. Enjoy the in house entertainment. Have fun!

    (4)
  • Dani S.

    staff was decent. food was decent. like everythiong else in colonial willaimsburg, was overpriced. major dislike was there were literally flies EVERYWHERE. the girls that work there must be miserable w/ their jobs because they called the cops on the table next to us for permitting their soon to be 21 year old a couple sips of beer- and they werent even being rowdy. this is a vacation/touring area and people are out to enjoy themselves. i can understand wanting a cold drink on a hot summer day. i cannot understand making a big commotion out of nothing. not very pleasant to watch.

    (2)
  • Joe P.

    Interested in experiencing a meal in an authentic Colonial tavern, complete with servers in period dress and a wandering fiddle player? This is the place for you. Looking for a good meal with professional service at a reasonable price? You'll have to find it somewhere else. After waiting nearly 90 minutes for a table, we were hugely disappointed with the menu choices, which consisted of little more than soups and sandwiches. My Brunswick Stew was actually pretty good, but not remotely worth the wait or the price. Service was VERY slow, and it took more than 10 minutes for my check to show up after I asked for it. I'm not sure I should have expected anything different, though. The hostess warned me twice that "the kitchen was very slow" after I went back twice to check on my wait time. But being Colonial Williamsburg, our alternatives were few. The saving grace is the better-than-average beer selection, which featured some good local brews I wouldn't have expected to find in a tourist restaurant. All in all, not the worst meal I've had, but the wait time and the service put a big dampener on the experience.

    (2)
  • Hungry F.

    The front had a 30 minute wait so we walked around back to the courtyard for immediate seating. Homemade potato chips are great, the brisket wraps rocked. Great service and a great odor dining experience.

    (5)
  • Cassi F.

    Wonderful food. My Fennel roasted shaved pork trencher was delicious. The potato salad was perfectly seasoned and creamy. We shared the cheese taster and corn chowder as starters and really enjoyed them. My husband had the beef trencher, and the flavors were great. Kids meals were generous portions...we were all so full that we decided to skip the dessert taster. Our server, Tyler, was great. And enjoyed the live entertainment.

    (5)
  • Wxy Z.

    The soup sampler was a great appetizer (could be a meal if you're looking for a lighter meal). Overall the food was satisfying and on the lower end of the price spectrum for Colonial Williamsburg. A rating of 3 1/2 would be a more accurate rating.

    (4)
  • Isabelle K.

    I liked the 18th century experience in A Tavern. Food was ok but overall environment was fun and the violinist was entertaining . But as with all Colonial WB overpriced , but that was to be expected

    (4)
  • Heather S.

    My wife and I visited here our first night in Williamsburg. We really enjoyed the draught beers, the shepherds pie was amazing and the folks that came in to sing sea shanties really made the night. We'll definitely be back here next time we're in Williamsburg.

    (5)
  • Kathy B.

    Overpriced fried chicken greasy and chewy. Historically uncomfortable seating. Expensive. When I was a kid the food here was wonderful but it's totally gone down the tubes. Hope they revamp the food soon!

    (2)
  • Marisa P.

    This restaurant was highly recommended. We were so disappointed. Our waitress had no expression and the restaurant did not serve bread or rolls with our drinks. So we asked for an order of homemade chips to have something to munch on. The bowl size was so small that it looked like it was for a condiment.

    (2)
  • Jorina N.

    Had to go here for the colonial dining experience. All was expected and consistent with all the 3 star reviews but am giving them a 4 overall. Ambiance: 4 stars Entertainment: 4 stars Food: 3 stars, huge portions so be prepared to share and pack some home. Root beer was tasty and the dear old mum beer was just as good. Service was slow. Wished they could bring the bread out earlier but I guess that's how they ate back then....with the meal not before so can't complain. Ragout was bland. The pork ribs were better but the veggies were tasteless. But this is prolly part of the 'theme and setting'. I am putting this all in context with the whole experience. So maybe I am giving them a break but hey, at least I am setting your expectation so you can be prepared and enjoy the moment for what it is.

    (4)
  • Nikki S.

    Great atmosphere. The building definitely has a historic feel. We were seated quickly, even with a large party of eleven. And we had great service. However, the food was nothing special. Nothing bad, just okay. Good signature beers and large portions on the kids meals were the best parts of our lunch.

    (3)
  • Keith P.

    We celebrated our anniversary at Chownings, 9/3/2014. We had the roast. It was excellent. There was enough on the plate to feed two, but we had been walking Williamsburg all day and it was so good , we ate the whole thing. We opted to share a "homemade" cheesecake dessert. It was not homemade. We get the same thing, thawed from frozen, at a local steak restaurant. The service was excellent. Our server maintained her period character and had a good sense of humor.

    (4)
  • Eric H.

    Loved the authentic period correct dialect! Food was outstanding! Dining area was dimly lit, but it made for the authentic feel. Definitely will be a repeat customer

    (5)
  • Jeff S.

    Pretty much what you'd expect for food served to a captive audience. On the positive side: the soup sampler and cheese platter had a nice selection. The rest of the food was "meh." The "Ploughman's Favorite Flat Bread"...is a pizza, badly done. The "Beef Trencher" is an attempt at a shaved steak sandwich, I think, though their bread choice (closer to a focaccio than french bread) didn't go well with the rest of the ingredients.

    (2)
  • Stacie S.

    Better than expected based on reviews. The prices were very reasonable too. Several great options for vegetarians. The white bean dip was great. Mushrooms and veggie flatbread were also good. I saw people complained about slow service, that's because the poor waiters and waitresses have to do a flight of stairs every time they go to the kitchen if you're sitting on the second floor! We were happy to sit and relax a while.

    (4)
  • Nicole P.

    Great fare here. We had white bean dip with fresh assorted veggies, strawberry spinach salad, salmon and crab cake with veggies and red roasted potatoes! They were all awesome! Kids had cheese pizza and mac n cheese with fruit which they both liked. It's a bit more pricey than Food for Thought but meals were good portions and HOT! I would return here. Reservations needed.

    (5)
  • Jacqui B.

    I wanted to like this place, but I can't bring myself to give it more than 2 stars. The flatbread is really pizza. The cheese sampler was ok & the soup was ok. It is unlikely we'll come to this tavern again. The strolling musician was a nice touch, but they needed something to distract from the food.

    (2)
  • Claire W.

    We came here one night while staying in Williamsburg. We came late night so we just had drinks and Welsh rarebit. The rarebit was good as far as rarebit goes. Had some kick to it. I ordered a drink called "witch's revenge" which was very good. My husband has some tavern ale which he liked a lot. We played Shut the Box and listened to some 18th century tavern music. The musicians were awesome! They taught everyone the words to one of the songs and the whole dining room sung along! Very memorable. With definitely stop by on our next trip!

    (5)
  • Paul N.

    In most places, this establishment would not deserve any star. However, the atmosphere of dining in the heart of Historic Williamsburg is somewhat magic. Because of this, Chowning's Tavern is undeniably a tourist trap. A business that seems to thrive based on its location alone, where prices as so unjustifiably high for what you get. Coming from New York, I am not easily afraid of spending $20 for an appetizer, but even in the expensive Manhattan have I ever seen a $20 plate of "tastings to share" consisting of 6 (six) rolled slices of poor quality salami. The kind that you get from any supermarket brand pre-sliced pack. Same for the cheese plate etc. The service from our waiter was unimpressive. We were a party of five. We ordered what on paper sound like would feed well a group of 5. But we left hungry, disappointed and felt taken advantage of. In most places, this restaurant would be out of of business. But hey, with so many stupid tourists why bother making an effort to do any better?

    (1)
  • Lisa W.

    There are several taverns to choose from in Williamsburg. My fiance chose this one because the online descriptions he read prior to our trip appealed to him more than the others. As we were walking to find Chowning's however, I could see why the others may be more popular. Several other taverns are on main roads with their own parking whereas Chowning's is deep inside Colonial Williamsburg and you have to walk to find it.(More walking!) As usual, I was wearing inappropriate footwear for the occasion and was glad to finally see their sign up ahead. There was a group of around six people waiting outside at the podium manned by someone in period dress taking down your name and letting you know of the wait time. We were a party of two and they give you the option of sitting with another couple as this saves time. We were fine with that but another younger couple who arrive after us, was not. Thankfully, the couple who walked up next agreed readily; more on that to come. There are benches out front to sit down on as you wait and if you know Williamsburg, any place to rest is like an oasis. There were friendly squirrels playing at our feet and just down the road was some sort of military enactment about to begin. Outside of the tavern is a complete listing of all their menu options for you to peruse so that when you do get inside, you should be ready to order. Our wait time turned out to be minimal; ten minutes top. Inside the tavern is split into two sides and we moved to the right of the door. It's a small space and we sat at a table with a bench on one side and two low chairs on the other. We ended up sitting with a couple in from Chicago. She was an executive at the Art Institute of Chicago and he was a food executive. We could not have asked for a better experience with them. They were a friendly and fascinating couple and only enhanced our dining experience. Between the four of us we ordered two of the heavy original colonial beers that are stored in barrels, one bottled hard cider and I had a Virginia Vidal Blanc wine. The beer was a bit heavy for my fiance and he went for the lighter version for his second selection. You are given the choice to buy a salt glazed mug with your beer for an additional $25 and they also now have copper mugs engraved with the image that hangs on their sign out front for the same price. Tim, our dining companion went for the mug, laughing, and explaining to us 'We're tourists. What are you gonna do!' By this time, we had explained that we were from Maryland and I suppose that our proximity to VA makes us less touristy? The meal. The menu is pretty limited as I suppose it would have been back in Colonial times. I ordered a cup of the roasted corn chowder. It was thick and hearty and had several pieces of potato and 'ham dust' sprinkled over the top. My fiance ordered the shepherds pie and it was nothing short of amazing. It comes in an oval bowl that is huge. Neither of us are big lamb eaters but it was delicious and probably could serve two easily. Our companions ordered the pulled pork sandwich and chips and it was given a 'meh' rating but the turkey sandwich fared better and was given a thumbs up. We ended up staying for around two hours. There was a minstrel who set up in each room and sang and also a musician who played a Gaelic song and was also outside playing what appeared to be a fife or piccolo when we arrived. All in all, we had an amazing experience here and would highly recommend to any of our friends traveling this way in the future. I do however feel that my sons (14 and 13) would have been bored senseless and would not have found anything to their liking on the menu. I did see kids there but I just can't see it being on their list of favorite things. Cheers!

    (4)
  • Jenny M.

    During our visit to Colonial Williamsburg we like it at Chowning's so much, we ate there twice. My younger daughter liked the mac and cheese, saying the two times we ate at Chowning's were better than Shield's Tavern's mac and cheese. Go figure. The Beef Trencher was a great sandwich with lots of flavor. The other dishes were tasty, too. The beer selection was better than at Shield's, too, and I like the 8 points IPA. My husband enjoyed the local brews, too. Unlike some other reviews, we had no difficulty getting seated and our waitstaff were professional both times. We enjoyed the wandering musicians, and the actors visiting the tables added to the fun. We thought the dinner menu looked similar, but without some of the lunch options, which would make it pricier for us. We stuck to lunch at Colonial Williamsburg. And, again, unlike other reviewers, we discovered many other restaurants in the area, and didn't feel trapped eating on the premises, we really enjoyed it.

    (4)
  • Amy O.

    Ew. So sorry we wasted our lunch hour here. Party of 8. Had a 30 minute wait which was better than expected. That was the best part of the meal. Ordered goat cheese app and mushroom app for us all to share. Came with horrible stale toast squares. Ten years later our adult lunches arrived. Sigh. Kids just sat there staring at us. Had to wait longer for their pizza and a hideous glob of Mac n cheese. Adults ordered the cheese plate for two. Beware, this is no meal. A few slabs of cheese, more stale toast squares. Unappetizing. One had the beef treacher. Just a bust. Can't even remember the last meal since it was so unmemorable. $160 later we ran out. The worst service to boot

    (1)
  • Rich S.

    Went there a little after 9PM for "Gambols" (light meal options, games, singing entertainment). The place has a great atmosphere. Loved the decor & everyone was in character. Had an Old Stitch 17th century style ale. Very different so you can't compare it to anything. It was enjoyable though. Had a bowl of corn chowder (good but overpriced) and the Welsh Rarebit which was large croutons with melted beer cheddar over them (so-so but very overpriced). Was worth the stop for the experience and beverages but not the food.

    (3)
  • Justin D.

    The menu was awful. The service was quick but the server was not a good server. The food was OK but overpriced. I would stay away and go to one of the other choices in Colonial Williamsburg.

    (2)
  • Jennifer K.

    Just OK. They open at 11:30...so being there right in the beginning save a long wait. I got the Brunswick Stew which wasn't even good, 7 dollars for a cup (I know...I can't believe I paid it either!) I was tourist trapped! I also had the Virginia Barbecue which was just OK. The service was fantastic, and it was one of those Bucket List things. It wasn't great though, so try a different one!

    (2)
  • Kip F.

    We have found that if you want dinner before 5:30PM it is possible to get in without a reservation to all the taverns. We elected to share a table with another couple upstairs as this is what many would do at the time. There where a few people eating so our waiter had time to chat with us. We had two strolling minstrels play for us, and could have played games if we had wanted to. We all ordered ale from 18th century recipes, Old Stitch and Bristol ale, $6.50 for a pint and $4 for a 6 oz sample, cute little mug! Both were really good, the Stitch is a nice stout. For dinner I had the soup sampler which had their 3 soup choices in little mason jars. Nice small sized portion with a corn muffin on the side. It was a good light meal, tho the muffin was too dry. My spouse had the Slider and thot it was well prepared. The seasonal tart was a peach baked into an almond cake, and both he and the other couple we were seated with wanted seconds! The cheesecake tart was also very good, not too sweet! Our waiter was engaging, efficient and we were able to enjoy ourselves without any pressure to leave at the end. I would recommend this place for a moderately priced place with good food and entertainment.

    (4)
  • Simon T.

    Delightful setting. Best lunch place in the city. Brunswick stew. Prime stuff.

    (4)
  • Derek K.

    If you don't have the common sense to make a reservation and read the menu ahead of time, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. We checked all of the Colonial taverns to see which one fit our group the best and used their online reservation system to get ourselves in well ahead of time. Chownings is what it is, a tourist place in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg. The food, while not ground breaking, was good and relatively affordable considering the locale. Interesting beer selection as well. The pork & bbq chicken trenchers were solid as was the sour cream & chive potato salad. The cheese platter is not a meal, but it is not advertised as one. It is a starter on the menu and fully serves the purpose. We hung around for gambols and music after, good times were had. They also have a great outdoor bar and dining space under a natural roof of grapevines. The period garb and speak is not a problem as most of the people around town are in character. Do your homework, plan ahead and enjoy a small slice of how our country began. If you don't want to do that, take a short car ride and hit any one of a number of chain restaurants on the strip that give you a ton of bad food for a small price.

    (4)
  • Jenny R.

    While I would love to tell you how delicious (or not) this restaurant was, I was not given the opportunity as they horribly misquoted the wait time for our lunch. Originally we were given approximately a 50 minute wait. When we returned, they said 25 additional minutes, then when we returned a second time, they said they did not know how much longer it would be. Very unprofessional and disappointing. We were not the only ones leaving because of this mistake.

    (1)
  • pseudo n.

    Flatbread was just so-so, and basically pizza...and that was the highlight. The roasted goat cheese appetizer was really lame and utterly forgettable. Anyone that rates this as a five star experience clearly has never eaten anywhere but McDonald's. This was the worst of a slew of so-so CW food experiences.

    (2)
  • Russell M.

    Old world colonial charm but remiss in their food handling. We happened upon Chowning's the day after our arrival. We managed to get in without a reservation for the last half hour of lunch service. As is turned out, that was a mistake. I became seriously ill with food poisoning about 3 to 4 hours later that evening. I know it was from Chownings because I was the only one with the entree I ordered (braised short rib on a bun with provolone cheese.) I was pretty much down for the count for 3 days feeling weak and without energy. I emailed Colonial WIlliamsburg because I could not find a phone number to report my experience to anyone. They replied via emal and asked for more details which I provided. I have not heard back from them since revising this review. I will say that the service was pleasant and the location charming. I suspect that Chowning's and perhaps some of the other taverns do not have kitchens where food is prepared but it is probably delivered from a central kitchen and is supposed to be held at the appropriate temperature to prevent spoilage. Anyway, you owe it to yourself to visit at least one of the taverns to experience their colonial charm. The food is nothing spectacular but the experience is worth it.

    (3)
  • Kelly K.

    Two words: Don't. Go. We wanted to experience an "authentic colonial tavern" for lunch, so we chose this place. The wench taking names out front said to check back in 20 minutes, so we walked up the street to see if anyone else could get us in any sooner. Everyone had a long wait, so we went back after 20 minutes and still waited probably another 45 minutes. We were seated upstairs (where there were plenty of empty tables). Our server (Nikki) was very sweet and helpful, and really put on a show with the "English" accent and using the terms of the day. As far as veggie items, there weren't many, but I got the soup of the day, which was mushroom (Nikki checked and it was vegetarian). It tasted like Campbell's. For my meal, I got a veggie wrap sandwich with potato salad. Nikki brought me chips instead, but told me to keep the chips and she would bring me the potato salad. Nothing special about any of it. My husband got the welsh rarebit, and he said it was actually okay. My kids got the macaroni and cheese plate off the kid's menu. They ate some of it. If you absolutely must come here, come for the ambiance and the "show", not for the food. The food HAS to be premade. I just don't think they make it there. And it's pricey! We paid over $50 for a crappy lunch.

    (1)
  • Mark H.

    After you there for dinner I was only going to give them 3 stars because the prime rib was overcooked and slightly tough but the beer selection was really good. My wife and her friend had a seafood dish that was so-so. The next time we went was later and we just wanted drinks. Like I said I really like their beer. They had live music there that night which was on a Monday. The music was so good and fun we stayed until closing. One of the musicians could play several instruments, even bagpipes played with bellows instead of blowing into it. It sounded great. Another young man played the trombone, who was also good. There was also a young lady who played the fiddle very well too. It was a very festive atmosphere. There were giving customers board games to play, I assume like the did back in the day. I also loved the look of the place with the dark paneling. Everything in the tavern was made as it would have back in colonial days to give it that authentic look. So maybe the food is just okay but the nighttime entertainment is fantastic!

    (4)
  • Thomas C.

    Chownings had changed their menu just recently, so we decided to give it a try. The food was much better then two years ago when we ate there. It was so good and tasty that we ended up eating here twice last week, the beef trencher had me coming back a second time for more. My next trip to Colonial Williamsburg will have me stopping at Chownings for more.

    (5)
  • Pete D.

    We stopped for lunch while in Colonial Williamsburg. It's a tourist restaurant in the heart of town and the whole experience is aligned with the rest of CW. Everybody's in period garb acting like it's the 18th century. It's kitschy, but you're probably already in the spirit if you've chosen to eat here. Problematic for me was our server's overly-thick and totally put-on accent. Nobody else in town seemed to be doing this and it kind of railed on me. OMG, just talk normal. The beer was the highlight of the lunch. It's local from Williamsburg Alewerks. I got the Washington Porter and it was very good. Pop got another Alewerks brew and switched over to the porter. We ordered Herb-Roasted Mushroom for the app, and the bang was not there for the buck. Toast sticks that came with it were very tough. Taste was good though on the shrooms and sauce. For the entrees, I got The Ploughman's Favourite Flat Bread, which is meat pizza. It was tasty and there were a bunch of different kinds of tasty meat on there (Hot Coppa Ham, Fennel Salami, Calabrese Salami, Surryano Ham). Pop got the Beef Trencher, which was some kind of clumped-together shredded beef with sauce on a pita bread. He said it was ok.

    (2)
  • Tracie C.

    Decent food. Peanut soup good. Brunswick stew ok, although little tomato-ey. Atmosphere is nice but, for the portions you get the prices are a bit high. Then again, IT IS a tourist restaurant. Hubby and I both had a sandwich which were decent. Something I would make at home BUT not for $12 a piece. Our server wasn't the friendliest... But she got the job done. It was ok for a tourist trap restaurant. i will say.. the Cherry cocktail drink was REALLY good.

    (3)
  • Frank M.

    Generally the taverns at Colonial Williamsburg are very good. On this evening, the Salmon special was dry and lacking freshness. The Prime Rib dinner was lacking flavor, extremely tough and lacked the expected tastes of holiday feasting. The environment lived up to expectation, however, everyone in our party was left with a sense of loss. The food was not very good. For the money, Chowning's lacks the right price point for the lack of quality it serves to its guests. Christiana Cambells, Shields and Kings Arms is well worth the visit, this place lacks taste and freshness. Poor food choices.

    (2)
  • Hillary C.

    My husband and I were on vacation visiting Colonial Williamsburg and our "Tavern Ghost Walk" ended in front of Chownings Tavern, they had just started seating for the evening of drinks and games so we decided to partake. We met a lovely couple from Michigan and we all enjoyed great conversation, playing games, making our way through a basket of peanuts and few drinks. We did not eat dinner at this establishment.

    (4)
  • Brian S.

    This place was really good. Decor, service, attire and food were up there. We took someone's advice and got there a little early, as it isn't that big. Showed up at 11:50 and got seated right away. Beer selections were good with some only sold in Colonial Williamsburg. We started with a soup sampler which had a little of the three soups available. There was Brunswick stew, a corn chowder and a kale potato soup. I can't tell you how good the Brunswick stew was. My wife loved the corn chowder and my son, believe it or not, loved the kale soup. I then had some kind of Italian meat lovers flat bread pizza which was terrific. My kids had a kid pepperoni pizza, and my wife had a sandwich. Can't remember which one but we all loved what we had. I would think this would be good for dinner too, but for lunch, it was perfect. I would go again once I tried the other taverns on site.

    (4)
  • Lee D.

    Love this place particularly at nighttime after 9pm when the "dinner and a show" starts. Fun live music, magic acts and table side dice based games to play in a nice rustic Colonial setting with a good mug of ale and some tasty Welsh rarebit...yes please!

    (4)
  • Michael L.

    Bees... wish they didn't like my food as much as I do. Eating in the garden area, the bees could not take a hint that my sandwich was not a flower. The waitress gave an effort for pleasantry sake to flail a towel at it, but knowing that the pesky bees would not be held at bay. We also arrived on a day that the power was out for all of Colonial Williamsburg so on a hot sultry summers day, there was no relief for the patrons. There was no indoor air conditioning option here, as there was no relief in the 1700's. The sandwiches are extremely contemporary in flavor. The Honey-baked Ham and Cheddar Cheese sandwich is served with Dijon spread, which had a surprisingly rich and complex taste. The Braised Short Rib sandwich was made to perfection, and the natural flavors of the beef shown through the well pairing of it's sauce. The drinks selection here is relegated to canned drinks. I did wish there was something besides lemonade, milk and water offered at the times besides the alcoholic choices. We'll here's to living in the past during modern times.

    (3)
  • Stormforger D.

    I took the family to Colonial Williamsburg and decided to stop in Chowning's for lunch. We thought the food was VERY mediocre, especially considering the prices. My family ordered 2 pulled pork sandwiches off the kids menu, a pulled pork sandwich, a turkey sandwich, and a open faced beef sandwich. We also had a cup of soup, 5 - 8 oz root beers, and one piece of cake for dessert. The bill came to $90 before the tip!!! Nothing we ordered seemed freshly made nor did they use quality ingredients. The pulled pork seemed like it came from a tub from Costco. The potato chips, potato salad, and cole slaw served with the sandwiches we all pre-made and not very good. The cup of Brunswick stew that I ordered ($8) tasted like it came from a can. The adult sandwiches were $12... For that, I expect MUCH more. The waiter was very nice and for that I am giving this review one more star that I would if it were based on the food alone.

    (2)
  • Marisa M.

    Ate lunch out back in the gardens area with take away service to avoid the wait out front. We had a little one with us too, so she could be loud out back. Food was great as usual. I recommend the pulled chicken BBQ sandwich. Buy the souvenir mug for free refills until 5 pm each day. We definitely got our moneys worth. Kids veggie tray is a great option and they have milk even though it's not on the menu.

    (5)
  • Patricia R.

    Did the tavern reluctantantly for lunch but was very pleasantly surprised. Food was great and the drinks were even better. Had the witches revenge cocktail and it was amazing and coming from living in NYC that is definitely a compliment as most drinks are made poorly in comparison. We had the soup tasting and a meat flat bread. All were great. Not oulandishly priced either. Great ambiance , even a roaming guitarist.

    (4)
  • Mac O.

    The Raleigh Tavern Bake Shop -- located behind the Raleigh Tavern -- is a good spot to pick up [overpriced] refreshments after strolling DOG Street. $2.75 for Chowning's Tavern Root Beer or King's Arm's Ginger Ale (both all natural, with cane sugar, ginger, sarsaparilla, and/or honey). $6.00 for a light, eggy Sally Lunn loaf. $7.00 turkey or ham sammies with chips. $2.75 for pretzel rolls. You'll also find sugar cookies, ginger snaps, chocolates, hot cocoa, cider, coffee, wine, beer, and soda. If you're not feeling like dedicating the time or money to one of the CW taverns, RTBS is the way to go: pay at the counter and head outside for excellent people watching in the fresh air.

    (3)
  • WMT W.

    This must be authentic. And if it is all I can say is boy has food improved since the colonial days! What a shame great location. Great in character service. Too bad they rest on those things and don't think food is important. Oh well I guess when you cater to tourist you don't need people to come back

    (2)
  • Paul F.

    Food not good. Overpriced as expected. Eat here for the ambience not the food.

    (2)
  • Mike C.

    This review isn't really for the food, which was probably 3 stars at best. I should also note that I was there for late night, which is actually the reason I liked this place so much. We arrived in Williamsburg on a Sunday night, and it was hard for me to imagine finding a good meal, let alone something fun to do. But my girlfriend had researched and found this place ahead of time. She claimed they had BBQ-style late night food, plus music and "drinking games," even on a Sunday night. When we walked in, it didn't look good. The place looked kind of dead -- there was only one other family in the same room as us. We ordered the sampler plate, which came with pulled pork, ribs, wings and some kind of cheese soup. The pulled pork and wings were pretty good, the ribs were very good, but the cheese soup was cold (deliberately so for historical accuracy, but it was nonetheless it was kind of gross). In a room across the hall, we could hear a band playing. We wondered why we had not been put in the room where all the fun was happening. Then we finished dinner and the tables turned. "The band" was actually a man and a woman in period dress playing instruments of the 18th Century. The music was great and they took the time to explain everything and answer questions. Then our waitress, Nikkia, who was terrific, brought over a game called Shut the Box. It was a simple dice game that took about 10 seconds to learn. But man was it fun and very addicting! We had a great time playing and drinking until they finally kicked us out at 11. If you go to Williamsburg sans-kids, late night at Chowning's is an experience not to be missed.

    (4)
  • Carol M.

    We loved our tavern "wench" from Brazil. She was fun and informative. Definitely fit my visions of a Colonial tavern. Food was good but under spiced, in my opinion. Great ale too. The entertainment felt a bit inserted in the room, but it wasn't bad.

    (3)
  • Nicole M.

    We at here for lunch while spending the day at Williamsburg. The food was DELICIOUS! (I had the Brunswick Stew). The service was DECENT at best. It may have just been because it was lunch time. The atmosphere was nice and cozy. Just like an 18th century tavern should be. Will be eating here when I am in Williamsburg again

    (4)
  • Cindy M.

    Don't go. The food is awful and they charge way too much for the meals which is food that you can get at fast food joint. Flies all over the place! Our server was very caring and nice, but when she spoke to the man who I assumed was management, (he looked fairly young) he was openly rude and disrespectful in front of me and other guests. I think this explains why the workers looked unhappy. Do yourself a favor and don't waste your money.

    (1)
  • David N.

    Stopped in for lunch, we sampled the Welsh rarebit as an appetizer the cheese and ham had a good flavor but the bread was stale and hard, almost inedible. My wife ordered the grilled chicken salad which she said was really good mostly cause the dressing was excellent not sure if it's made or brought, we didn't ask. I had the BBQ pulled pork sandwich came with side of chips and coleslaw. The pork was tender and seasoned well, lots of flavor, you can taste the smoke from the BBQ in the pork, had little spice kick at the end. Overall a good place to stop and relax after walking along the streets and touring the houses. menu was limited and the prices were a bit high. Their cider was really good though. I enjoyed the decor and ambiance at Chownings, if you look closely you can see the burn marks on the walls from where the candles used to be hung. The service was OK I really couldn't rate it, we were the last lunch table, they were cleaning for dinner service. We didn't feel rushed and our server was mostly entertained by my daughter playing with my iphone.

    (4)
  • Matthew B.

    Our party specifically went for Gambols, a late night of festivities including live colonial music, drinking, light eating, and playing period games while gambling with peanuts. Essentially the ideal pub experience. We were mistakenly informed the festivities started at 7:30. When we arrived at 7:30, we were told there were no available tables as they were still serving dinner and Gambols started at 9:00. While bummed, we certainly weren't disappointed and decided to find a tavern elsewhere until 9:00 came around. As we turned around to leave, they stopped us and said they may be able to get us in. They got us a table as the dinner crowd was leaving. Typically they close down for about an hour to prepare for the event, but they knew we were there for the evening. They allowed us to stay, we had the restaurant to ourselves, and they brought us beer, peanuts, and an excellent appetizer (cheese crock) while we waited. It ended up being an incredible time that I'll never forget. The live music was incredible. The atmosphere was warm and inviting. Everyone had a great time. And our service couldn't be beat. Our waitress was a great girl from Europe and she taught us games and took the time to converse with us. One thing to note: They offer a beer ($6) with a traditional salt glaze mug ($28) for $19. Quite the deal indeed. However, after investigation and inquiry, it was revealed the particular mugs used and sold in the taverns are made in China (keeps costs down with theft and breakage). In order to get an authentic Williamsburg made mug, you must purchase it through one of the Williamsburg stores. Good to know as that is what I later did. Other than that, it was a memorable night that resulted in us leaving 3 and half hours later. I realize the special treatment is probably not the norm but I look forward to attending the Gambols in the future.

    (5)
  • Fran H.

    Very accommodating as I choose to only have dessert, our server suggested our son and his girlfriend share the Fried Chicken given the size of the entree and she was right! My husband had Salmon and Crabcake, very good. Great cornbread!

    (4)
  • Wayne M.

    I was in Colonial Williamsburg and in search for a nice place to have our first dinner. We found Chowning's on Yelp and decided - given that it was the only Tavern open in January - that we would check it out. We were very pleased! Instantly, I feel in love with the intimate decor and live music. The ambiance, menu, and music transports you through time to the 18th centurty. I enjoyed a mushroom dinner with O'Connor's Red Nun Beer on tap. Both were amazing! With moments after sitting, a reenactor came up to our table and played our small room two or three songs on his guitar. The whole experience was really awesome and I recommend it to anyone in the area! From a price standpoint, my girlfriend and I paid $84 for the two of us. We had two entrees, four alcoholic drinks, 2 starters, and 1 shared desert. I also tipped the guitar player $2. I hope you have a chance to check out this unique restaurant!

    (4)
  • Tracy E.

    Took my family of 6 here for lunch while visiting Colonial Williamsburg and we were all disappointed. My French dip sandwich was very mediocre and came with instant mashed potatoes and what tasted like jarred gravy instead of au jus. For the price we paid, none of the food was worth it. Nice atmosphere, but I wouldn't return.

    (2)
  • Dara W.

    Christmas dinner at Chownings this year! Exquisite! The wait staff, and flute player were superb! Prime rib, red potatoes and veggies were simply divine! I have eaten at every tavern in Williamsburg for Christmas! This one surpasses them all! They even had a fortune teller to read your cards for the new year! Thank you Chownings!

    (5)
  • Chris C.

    The kid's menu is an insult, and I'm still seething. $7 for "Thomas Jefferson's" instant Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese. $6 for an "All Beef" Ballpark microwaved hotdog. Don't bring your kids here unless you want to feed them crap for a bunch of money. Do have a beer. Go to the beer garden in back, seat yourself at the bar or a bar table. If you're starving order a Beef Trencher, it's decent. The Shepherd's Pye (their spelling...) is fine if you mix in the mashed potato, but horribly overpriced at $14.50. Seriously, though...find ANYWHERE else to feed your kids. McDonalds is better value & better food. The proprietors and "chef" should be ashamed.

    (1)
  • Seth B.

    My girlfriend and I decided to try to get an authentic colonial meal after one of the ghost tours. We rolled up at 10:04 and were greeted by a nice hostess with a (German?) accent. Inside, it looked like there were 2-3 people in period dress but no customers in sight. I inquired as to whether they were still open and she stated they had just closed. We dejected strolled away, and checked the internet and every website we found stated they were open to 11 pm! It was a late rainy Wednesday night so they probably had no customers; she probably just told us they were closed so they didn't have to serve us...

    (1)
  • Pat L.

    I had a great time here. But I think it was more the company that I was with. First we had drinks outside and they were good. Then we went inside for lunch. Among 5 of us we had 5 dishes that we shared, because isn't that the best way to try all the food. I wasn't the biggest fan of the food but the waitress (serving wench) was a hoot. I would go back just because Jennifer was such a sport for putting up with us. I think people around us were wondering why they weren't having the same experience. I can't say the food made much of an impression but then it is English food. We had the trio of soup, wings, pasty, and a couple of other dishes along with the berry pie and bread pudding. I wasn't thrilled. I'd go back but I would try something else. As for the experience it cannot be duplicated.

    (4)
  • William D.

    A bit pricey for what we got. Got the Plow Mans Flat Bread and Beef Trencher to eat. Had the root beer and Dear Old Mum to drink. Nothing was bad and the waitress was really nice. However, I had expected something different. Something revolutionary. Or at least that would make me think like I was being transported back in time. The food was essentially a pizza and a beef pastry. Good but we have had better. And we have been more entertained with reenactment kind of food in places like Philly. The staff were dressed up and in character (including the nice violinist) but there was still something special missing that I can't place my finger on. In hindsight, we would have gotten a snack here and saved more of an appetite for a Merchants Square. Not a bad place to stop by for a break though as you are touring around Colonial Williamsburg!

    (3)
  • Wesley M.

    At 3.5 stars this establishment is over rated ON Yelp! The food is south of average and for what you get it is EXTREMELY overpriced. Authenticity is something you should put out of your mind before you walk through the door. If there was not a captive audience from the tourist flow through the streets of Colonial Williamsburg, this Restaurant/Tavern would fold within 6 months. The only reason why I am ranking if at two stars instead of one is because the Ale was good and the service was efficient enough. But, the food was lacking........and that is being nice.

    (2)
  • Mike C.

    Really enjoyed our meal at Chowning's Tavern. Right in the middle of Historic Williamsburg VA a great option for a meal (I have to admit I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality, quantity, taste and price - I know all the things that SHOULD be good but unfortunately usually are not when your in a vacation spot like this) - highly recommend giving Chowning's a try! Excellent service, very pleasant and attentive even in the crush of a Saturday lunch. They have a fiddle player walking around taking requests - just a great atmosphere. The food is really good! Again really good sized portions and very tasty - everything that we tried (6 of us including a 19 year old and a 3 year old so we ran the spectrum). Really good prices - again for someplace that has you "trapped so to speak" because once your in, they are the only options you have. Nicely done!

    (4)
  • Mary B.

    We came here on our first night in Williamsburg. When we walked in the door and heard lots of singing, i wasn't sure if my group was going to enjoy the atmosphere. (They aren't into the group participation stuff.) We were pleasantly surprised at the drink offerings and menu. They had Bold Rock Cider which a few of us like but can never find. We were offered a game to play (Shut the Box) and we loved it! It was a fun way to wait for our food. Two of the members of our party got the beer sampler. They said it was just ok. The actual food was amazingly delicious. My turkey sandwich was easily one of the best I've ever had. The bread, the cheese, everything! The dessert (a tart) was also divine. It gets 4 stars vs. 5 because our waiter wasn't the best and while we enjoyed the performers, it was so loud we couldn't have a normal conversation at our table. But it was a fun experience in Williamsburg and I'm glad we went.

    (4)
  • John T.

    I love the new format (alehouse) at Chowning's. Gambols is a great deal of fun - music, games, etc. The staff are kind and attentive. The roasted corn chowder is outstanding. I also like the BBQ sandwich and the gunpowder wings. I love their house made chips. Not terribly expensive for lunch or a light dinner. Well worth the visit!

    (4)
  • Ann Marie G.

    Eh. Overpriced and UnderFlavored. Very limited menu that caters toward the unusual. Barbecue Pork sandwich 0/10- couldn't eat but a few bites. Flatbread Pizza arrived to the table with the dough still raw- server didn't come back to check on us for us to ask them to cook the pizza. House made Chips were good. Cheese Dip was NOT. Better meals at Disney Theme Parks for half the price.

    (1)
  • Danielle H.

    We came here after our Tavern Ghost Walk. We were seated at a side table by the friendly host. We had a few moments with the menu before meeting our server, Buella. She was very helpful explaining the vocabulary of the menu to us. We ordered the Welsh Rarebit and the Veggie Flatbread. The Welsh Rarebit was *terrible*. It was stale bread (this is a fact, not a complaint - I didn't mind this part) covered with cheese sauce. The cheese sauce was supposed to be a beer sauce seasoned with mustard, but it was really bland and tasted off. Upon later reflection, I could see how a child might enjoy it, and so it would help the tavern's family-friendly atmosphere. The Veggie Flatbread was AMAZING. As a vegetarian, I always love having good options, and this one did not disappoint. It had amazing cheese, fresh squash, mushrooms, peppers, and onions. I would recommend this dish to everyone. The beer, wine, and cocktail list is also fine. We got to enjoy balladeers and the atmosphere was convivial. Several families were there with kids, as well as some older couples. I wouldn't go again, but I would recommend it to anyone looking for a bite to eat after the Ghost Walk, like we were.

    (3)
  • Alex S.

    To start with we had a pleasant surprise of being told to expect a 20-30 minute wait but being seated in less than 15. Excellent service continued from there with prompt and professional server. Drinks were unique and good and food was delicious. Homemade potato chips are really good! We had chef's salad, pulled pork sandwich, and turkey sandwich. Everything was fresh and flavorful.

    (5)
  • Bri C.

    We visited Chowning's for lunch during our day at CW. I was hoping for some balladeers or something festive but it appears that only happens at night. The food was pretty good. We had the flatbread with meats, the pork trencher, and some chicken tenders for the kids. The food was tasty and it came out fast. We enjoyed our server and the ambiance but we just hoped for a little more out of our dining experience in CW.

    (3)
  • Pegah Y.

    We visited Chowning's Tavern twice during our visit to Colonial Williamsburg during Memorial Day weekend. It's a quaint little place and offers some good food options. The prices are a lot better than expected as well, especially since there are only a couple of other restaurants in Colonial Williamsburg and for miles around, it seems. The first time we visited, we didn't have reservations so we sat in the garden. We got a late afternoon meal here and drank mint juleps and ate grilled Atlantic salmon with veggies and rice pilaf and beef with veggies and rice pilaf. It was delicious and quite lovely to sit outside under a green canopy. The second time we visited, we visited around 9pm for dinner so it was late enough to not need reservations and sit inside in the restaurant/tavern area. We also stayed for the "Gambols," which I took to mean drinking and games/dancing. There were some colonial entertainers who sang folk songs and played violin for us. It was very fun, as it was interactive and we all got to participate. We both ate the BBQ chicken trencher and it was great. I highly recommend Chowning's. We didn't eat at any other restaurant in Colonial Williamsburg, so I don't have much to compare it with, but the food and service were good, generally speaking.

    (4)
  • Carter P.

    Thanksgiving this year was cold and rainy in Williamsburg, so it was great to be inside Chowning's during the rain seated next to a wood fire. There were eight of us including three kids and so this can be a challenge, but the waitress met all of our needs with ease. For Thanksgiving, they offer a Prix Fixe menu with choices for an appetizer, entree and desert. The options were beef, fish or turkey for the entree. I had the salmon with crab dressing which was very good - probably the best part of the meal was the corn stew. I added hot sauce to it and it was perfect. Everyone enjoyed their choices and the fact that we could walk away from this great meal and head to Jamestown without any worries about doing the dishes later. A great spot.

    (4)
  • Scott L.

    My wife and have been so excited to eat here all week , we finally did and were soooo not disappointed at all . The waiter was very nice the food was amazing and the ministerial was extremely friendly and very very good at what he does . We had the croc of cheese for an app and we both got Shepard's pie which was to die for and we both had tarts for desert , we loved every bite and we were so full and happy when we left .

    (5)
  • Jason D.

    This place is amazing. Stay until 9PM. Between 9-11 PM they have music and games. The period flavored ales are delicious and the food is good for light fair. The amount you get is not a lot, but what you get is delicious. I can't wait to come back to Williamsburg to eat and enjoy the atmosphere.

    (5)
  • Jasmine T.

    I had a solid "no frills" sort of meal at Chowning's Tavern while vacationing in Williamsburg. We decided to have dinner in Colonial Williamsburg before our late night tour was set to start. It was still light out, and since we didn't have a reservation we decided to sit at the outdoor bar. It wasn't too hot that particular day, and the bar is very shady and has a few ceiling fans to keep the air circulating. There is also a very lovely grape arbor which provides a substantial amount of shade if people are interested in dining at a table on the patio. The staff were so friendly; we had a very warm and funny bartender who explained our drink options and some of the menu items. The drinks here are very good. I had the Witches Revenge - a delicious blend of light & dark rum, apricot brandy and pineapple juice. My friend had the Rummer, which was literally all alcohol. She certainly got her money's worth for a drink that's mostly brandy and rum. Those were about $8 each...reasonable in my opinion. My friend and I decided to split the Waterman's Tasting. Definately not as much food as I was anticipating for a platter intended for two. Smoked salmon, a small shrimp cocktail, crab salad, hard bread cube thingies and some dipping sauces. It was refreshing given the humidity. I was a fan of the horseradish sour cream. For our main course, we ordered the Tasting of Soups and the Beef Trencher. I didn't try all of my friend's soups, but the roasted corn chowder was tasty. I really enjoyed my Beef Trencher. Think of a hot roast beef sandwich served on a pita with homemade beer cheese sauce. Very yummy. Although the beef was cooked to perfection, there was quite a bit of fat I had to pick through. We also ordered the Tasting of Tarts which gave us the opportunity to try each of the dessert tarts. I was really impressed with the Honey Pecan Tart - a spin off of Pecan pie. My friend loved the Cheesecake Graham Cracker Tart. All together the tasting was $15, which wasn't bad considering the portions and the fact that we tried three tarts. The prices here weren't as terrible as I imagined. My friend's soup sampler was $9 and my trencher was $12 and came with coleslaw. Given the cost of dinner in D.C. these prices here did not surprise me. However, I didn't think the Waterman's platter was worth $18 at all. We only recieved 4 shrimp, a small scoop of crab salad and three thin slices of smoked salmon. There were also the hard bread cube thingies. Those things are almost inedible. Thank goodness we have all of our teeth, because if we didn't we would have surely cracked a denture that day. Chownings Tavern is delightful - not cheap in terms of prices but not as expensive as other places in Colonial Williamsburg either. We looked at the menu at King's Tavern and it was way more expensive. Overall, we enjoyed our dinner and wouldn't mind going back while visiting Williamsburg.

    (3)
  • James S.

    Had dinner there on Tuesday night (8/18) and ordered the BBQ pulled pork sandwich with the potato salad. Both were prepared well. Excellent flavor on both. Nice smoke in the BBQ. Good service and great musical entertainment of the Colonial period.

    (4)
  • Jacqueline G.

    Tried their beer sampler and tasted five different beers including the historic ales. They were alright. I only liked 2 out of the 5. The place is a little cramped but the set up was cool. Staff were attentive to our needs.

    (3)
  • Mel A.

    Driving on I-64 on the way to NC, we decided to stop at Colonial Williamsburg for dinner. Many times as a kid, the fam would head to CW and to Christiana Campbell's for supper, but unfortunately on this last minute drive-through, both CC and King's Arms Tavern were booked for the evening. Only Chowning's had tables available. Since we were only passing through on the way to the shore, it was nostalgic to walk the cobblestone streets of Colonial Williamsburg. Chowning's Tavern is an 18th Century alehouse featuring colonial-inspired favorites and beer. I was hoping for a more substantial, maybe an even more rustic menu - tavern fare. I tried their Brunswick Stew which was simple, comforting, and warming. I also had their Ploughman's favorite flat bread -- which was a sort of meat lover's pizza (did they even have pizza in colonial times?!). I would have liked to have tried their chicken or salmon dish. The roaming fiddler was a nice addition and added to the ambience. I love history, and Williamsburg, so this was a welcome rest-stop on our way to NC. 3.5 stars.

    (3)
  • Jennifer N.

    This review is for the garden bar, rather than the restaurant. Walking through Colonial Williamsburg at night is a little sleepy. The houses are all dark, and the only other people on the street are the masses following a ghost tour. We saw some lights behind Chownings Tavern, and found the Garden bar in the back. It's a great set up - with long benches, a pergola, and plenty of peanuts to eat. The drink list is extensive - with a few fun cocktail selections. The only downside is it's incredibly buggy. Read: mosquitos all over us. So, one drink and we moved on, but maybe we'd try it again with bug spray and a citronella candle.

    (3)
  • Nancy M.

    This tavern was great! You don't have to make reservations. The clam chowder is delicious. Their wings are a perfect blend of hot and sweet. The beer selection is great if you are into local craft beer. The cocktails are good too. The kids enjoyed the atmosphere and everyone is very friendly. We would go again!

    (4)
  • Frank J.

    Loved the food. The brisket was great. Nice selection on period drinks and beers. The musicians were fantastic. We had dinner and drinks. No bar area so if you want to drink you have to sit at the table. Glad we went.

    (5)
  • Susan P.

    Food was good..too much for one serving though. Best to share. The soup sampler for $9.00 was terrific. Caution about the $25 pint in a souvenir mug. The mug is made in China. Better to enjoy your local brew then go to the shop close by to purchase an authentic mug made by local artisans at Williamsburg Pottery.

    (4)
  • Marisa S.

    Well, we waited 2 hours to eat here (not a lot of choices and the family was hungry). The employees seemed unhappy to work there. The menu did not have a lot to choose from. My kids did not want anything from the menu. We chose a few things for them to try and a few things for the adults to try. I was not too impressed with most of the food. I did like the homemade root beer. It was delicious!!! My parents were with me and they both enjoyed their meals. The prices were too high for the quality of food. There is a bathroom on the second floor. It was not clean and out of paper towels. Won't be returning here.

    (2)
  • Christopher C.

    Over the years during our many visits to CW we had done all of the taverns in some form with the exception of Chowning's. Why? I don't know but this time it was easy as on Monday's it's only this place and King's Arms and I've been to KA enough to know that they are a big no-no so Chowning's it was. I made a reservation via Opentable for 5:30 on a Monday in mid-September but as soon as we got there I felt silly as they were super dead and only a handful of reservations having been made for the entire night in general (I snuck a look at ye olde Opentable terminal). Our server all night was flat out bad. He mumbled, spoke barely over a whisper, never offered a drink refill, never cleared any plates until the very end and I think he tried to crack a joke or two but since we couldn't hear him it kind of fell to an awkward silence with very awkward glances. Now remember when I say that we couldn't hear him that Chowning's itself was super dead and fairly quiet. When we got there they were able to put everyone in the dining room on the ground floor to the far right and when we left I think they were using two tables in the next room over. Dead & Quiet yet Wee Willie Winkie in his nightcap still couldn't be heard. As for the food, the children's meals of Mac & Cheese were.....Mac & Cheese. The lovely wife went high end with the Salmon & Crab Cake combo that she pronounced as being not only some of the best stuff that she's ever eaten at CW but some of the best stuff that she's ever had anywhere. I started with the Brunswick Stew. It was excellent but the portion size for $7.75 is laughable to the point of being a blatant ripoff. To counteract the wife's extravagant choice I stuck to the Ploughman's Flat Bread which is a fancy way of saying a greasy meatlovers pizza. It was so-so but again it's not even close to being worth $12.25. As for entertainment, ironically the same D-Bag with attitude that I wrote about during our last visit in December over at Shields Tavern showed up to play maybe 60 seconds on pennywhistle before walking out to the next room where he played for maybe another 60 seconds and then I didn't hear him again. I don't know, there are so many CW foamers who espouse the supposed greatness of the tavern experience but personally it must just be me because I don't get it. The menus are all very narrow in their selections. The prices are Disney-esque but at least Disney has gone out of their way over the last ten years to broaden their offerings. Has that happen at CW? Plus the service is honestly never that great at any CW F&B outlet. (Looking at you Raleigh Tavern Bake Shop staff of indifferent jerks.) In the future I'm sure that we'll come back to CW but in an open question to CW that will never get seen-read-answered or cared about: Why should I come back? What's the benefit? What's my incentive? How is the experience going to be made better? Where is the ROI for my dining dollar? What shouldn't I go to the DOG Street Pub or somewhere similar where the prices are cheaper, the food is better and the service isn't so arrogantly stuffy or indifferent? In the meantime, tavern dining is off of our list of things that I can justify throwing money away on at CW.

    (2)
  • Tonya C.

    Excellent food and service. We were seated with another couple who were so nice. We had the shepherd's pie and it was delicious. We had wanted one of he handcrafted Williamsburg mugs but in gift shops were $49 ( yes I said $49 for a mug!). At Chownings we ordered a pint of beer and got to keep the mug for $25.

    (5)

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Opening Hours

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Specialities

  • Takes Reservations : Yes
    Delivery : No
    Take-out : No
    Accepts Credit Cards : Yes
    Good For : Lunch, Dinner
    Parking : Private Lot
    Bike Parking : Yes
    Wheelchair Accessible : No
    Good for Kids : Yes
    Good for Groups : Yes
    Attire : Casual
    Ambience : Touristy
    Noise Level : Average
    Alcohol : Full Bar
    Outdoor Seating : Yes
    Wi-Fi : No
    Has TV : No
    Waiter Service : Yes
    Caters : No

Chowning’s Tavern

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