- READER REVIEWS
Fraunces Tavern & Museum
Tue-Sun, noon-6pm; Mon, closed
Nearby Subway Stops
R at Whitehall St.-South Ferry; 4, 5 at Bowling Green
- Nearby Parking Lots
- Street Parking
$10, $5 students and seniors, free for children under 6
Restored to its colonial appearance by William Mersereau in 1907, this charming three-story, red brick building—complete with a signpost, American flag, decorative balcony and chimney—is best known as the site of George Washington’s 1783 farewell to his officers. Nowadays, Fraunces treats visitors to a peek at a handful of period rooms accompanied by exhibitions on colonial life and the tavern’s pivotal role in New York history. Downstairs, dine at the cozy, worth-the-price-tag restaurant or toast Washington and his pals with a beer at the still functional (but not-so-worth it) tavern itself. If it all starts to look eerily familiar, perhaps it’s a result of the numerous films that have been shot at picture-perfect Fraunces, like American Psycho, Two Weeks Notice and National Treasure.Background
Samuel Fraunces purchased the property, originally the Delancey family residence, in 1762 and it quickly became a vibrant center of the city life: The New York Chamber of Commerce was founded here in 1768 and the Sons of Liberty met here to plot the New York Tea Party.
After the revolution, New York enjoyed a brief stint as the nation’s capital and the building was put to official use, housing John Jay’s Department of Foreign Affairs from 1785-88 and the Departments of the Treasury and War from 1787-88. The tavern was later transformed into a boarding house and saloon.
On the centennial of Washington’s farewell, the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York met in the Long Room for a founding ceremony. In 1904, the Sons would come to the building’s rescue, striking a deal with owners bent on its demolition; Fraunces opened as a museum three years later.
The Long Room
A long, communal table littered with pipes, candles, tin dishes and bottles dominates the modest room where Washington delivered his farewell. There's also a portrait of Samuel Fraunces and a tiny bar, outfitted with bowls for the popular rum punch.
The Clinton Room
Take a close look at the elaborate wallpaper. Hand-printed by the French firm of Jean Zuber, it depicts West Point, Niagra Falls, and other scenic spots, inserting famous American historical moments with little regard for geographic accuracy. Zuber is still in business and was Jackie O’s choice when restoring the White House interior.
The Flag Room
Early American flags and standards hang from the rafters and drape the brick walls. There’s the classic “Don’t tread on me” rattlesnake standard and all sorts of stars and stripes—though purists should be warned that most flags are reproductions.
Sons of the Revolution
Of little interest to anyone who is not a Son of the Revolution, this permanent exhibit displays photographs of current members, explains the rules of eligibility, offers tips on tracing genealogy, and showcases a smattering of fire arms and facsimiles of obscure plaques. The biggest selling point? Benjamin Tallmadge’s diary, opened to the page in which he recorded Washington’s farewell.