September 9, 2015

Middleton Tavern in Annapolis, Maryland

Middleton Tavern exterior

photo by: 1FlatWorld, Flickr

Middleton Tavern was established in 1750.

Annapolis, Maryland is America’s sailing capital and thrives on its nautical roots and colonial history. Located in downtown’s City Dock, just a block from the United States Naval Academy, Middleton Tavern is a testament to both of these local storylines.

Bought by Horatio Middleton in 1750, the building operated as an “inn for seafaring men” and as the base for Middleton’s Ferry Service that connected Annapolis to Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The ferry carried Tench Tilghman on his way to deliver the news of Cornwallis’ surrender in 1781, Thomas Jefferson on his way to Rock Hall in 1783, and George Washington on his way to…somewhere.

Middleton Tavern interior decoration

Middleton Tavern serves up Maryland classics like crab cakes and oysters with a side of history.

After Middleton’s death, the tavern was operated by his widow, Anne, and then his son, Samuel, who expanded the family business to include ship building and overseas trade. During this time, the tavern enjoyed some of its most sensational customers. A stone’s throw from the Maryland State House, members of the Continental Congress visited the tavern after the ratification of the Treaty of Paris and the official end of the Revolutionary War in January 1784.

James Monroe, a friend of the elder Middleton, may have even visited the tavern in 1818 as a sitting president.

Middleton Tavern historic plaque

Middleton Tavern is one of the oldest remaining taverns in the United States.

The bar’s history throughout the rest of the 1800s is a little hazy, but in 1968, current owner Jerry Hardesty, bought and restored the property. In 1983, Hardesty expanded the restaurant to include the new Tavern and Oyster Bar.

In the old days, gardens surrounded Middleton’s and stretched from Prince George Street to the water. Today, the gardens are no longer, but the front porch provides for some of the greatest people watching in town. Add in some fresh seafood from the raw bar and a Category 3 Dark and Stormy, and you’ve got a recipe for a fantastic evening in Annapolis.

Location: 2 Market Space, Annapolis, MD 21401

Hours: Mon – Sat 11:30am – 1:30 am, Sun 10:00am – 1:30am

Don’t Miss: Their famous Piano Bar on Friday and Saturday nights

You’re Having: Middleton’s Electric Lemonade (Smirnoff Citrus Vodka and Blue Curaçao mixed with the Tavern’s homemade lemonade)

Best Yelp Review: “I can't speak for everything on their menu, because I didn't have anything else there besides their oyster shooters, but those things were TO DIE FOR! It'll have you constantly craving for more.”

Kirsten Hower

Kirsten Hower is a former member of the National Trust’s social media team. When she’s not helping save places, you’ll find her reading, wandering around art museums, or hiking along the Potomac River with her dog.

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