The Infamous Proposal …She Said “Yes” Martin’s Tavern, Washington, D.C.

After spending a day of walking the cobblestone streets in the historic neighborhood of Georgetown, filled with designer shops, art galleries, and pubs my boyfriend and I had worked up a serious appetite. We were pleased to finally arrive at the highly recommended Martin’s Tavern for lunch which is the oldest family-owned eatery in Washington, D.C.  William S. Martin and his son opened up Martin’s Tavern in 1933, and since then, the warm atmosphere has welcomed locals and travelers looking for great food, fantastic service, and years of history within its walls.   It’s well known that a young [amazon_textlink asin=’0316907928′ text=’John F. Kennedy’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’3db8eab7-d523-11e7-92e8-89c68b3431c9′] proposed to [amazon_textlink asin=’1250070252′ text=’Jacqueline Bouvier’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4b316747-d523-11e7-9201-e17682c6396b’] at Booth number three on the evening of June 24, 1953, following her coverage of the [amazon_textlink asin=’000792481X’ text=’coronation of Queen Elizabeth’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’7416ea97-d523-11e7-832a-e10938c75810′] for the Washington Times-Herald.

Location:  1264 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC

Menu: The menu items feature American comfort food such as meatloaf and crab cakes, including corned beef hash, bread pudding, and Irish coffee, which are a tribute to Martin’s family Irish heritage.  Our favorite lunchtime dishes include:


  • 4 Petite Crab Cakes which were moist and served with a side of mandarin orange aioli
  • Creamy Oyster Stew which is made to order and incredibly delicious
  • Smoked Salmon served with dilled crème fraiche and toast points

Main Entrees:

  • Shepherd’s Pie topped with garlic mashed potatoes and freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • Grandma Martin’s Meatloaf sliced thick and topped with mushroom gravy

They serve a late breakfast, which includes French toast, pancakes, several omelets, including corned beef. There are a variety of salads and sandwiches including many gluten-free options.  Brunch is served daily until 4 pm, and then the dinner and happy hour specials take over.  The food entries are incredibly generous, mouthwatering, and well worth the splurge.

Thoughts: When you arrive, you’ll immediately notice the formality amongst the staff in an intimate dining room filled with the old charm of a neighborhood tavern.  The white tablecloths and dark wood trim throughout the restaurant give the casual pub a formal look in a laid-back atmosphere.  The [amazon_textlink asin=’B00DPNMCSC’ text=’Tiffany style lamps’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’8fd5e232-d523-11e7-9247-e3ca675e55cc’] hang above an original mahogany bar which leads its way to the “dugout room”, a cozy cavern where [amazon_textlink asin=’0195159217′ text=’President Lyndon B. Johnson’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’9adc9b17-d523-11e7-bdc3-8b5a2133d41f’] sipped his favorite cocktail.

Martin’s Tavern is uniquely fixed in time, with dark wood booths and gold plaques mounted in the booths, indicate the names of famous people who have dined there in the past.   Martin’s Tavern was where they met, drank, and made history. The tavern has had the honor of serving several presidents from [amazon_textlink asin=’0544617347′ text=’Harry S. Truman’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’b22fd465-d523-11e7-8c5d-ed08f83fd595′] (Booth 6) to George W. Bush (Table 12).  [amazon_textlink asin=’0743227190′ text=’Richard Nixon’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e8d0828c-d523-11e7-9c95-9f9b3eae4e87′], who has his very own booth number 2, was a frequent diner and often enjoyed ordering Martin’s meatloaf while enjoying the company of congressional colleagues. Many professional baseball players, such as [amazon_textlink asin=’0060883537′ text=’Mickey Mantle’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0ad9bcac-d524-11e7-aaa7-13d58b21ee1f’] have retreated to the cozy “dugout” room to sip their favorite drinks.

JFK and Jackie frequently dined at Martin’s Tavern, which was where he popped the question as they sat in their favorite Booth 3 known as the Proposal Booth.  JFK lived two blocks from the tavern and would frequently stop in and order a bowl of clam chowder, according to the restaurant’s marketing director.

The servers were incredibly attentive, and I loved the ambiance and charm of Martin’s Tavern.  The appetizers were incredibly tasty with top quality ingredients prepared perfectly.  The creamy oyster stew was plentiful and filled with creamy milk and butter.  I thought I’d pass out after one bite of the Grandma Martin’s Meatloaf which is piled high and served with lump-free mashed potatoes.  I requested a side of spinach instead of the potatoes, which was very fresh.  Although we should have saved room for dessert, we were stuffed.

The dessert choices included bread pudding with bourbon caramel sauce, New York style cheesecake, crème brulee, apple pie, and ice cream.

I’d highly recommend Martin’s Tavern for lunch, brunch, or dinner for anyone traveling to Georgetown or in the vicinity of Washington D,C.

Note: Street parking is limited.  Taking a cab or public transportation would be highly recommended.

Price Range: Lunch $8.95-$21.95


Tracey Ingram
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