Familiar with the movie National Treasure? The one where Nicholas Cage steals the declaration of independence? It’s a modern classic. Recently, the pandemic tried to pull a Nick Cage and steal a piece of history right out from under our noses. But COVID failed...
Let’s rewind 107 years. William Gloyd Martin made his major league debut as shortstop for the Boston Braves on October 6, 1914. He had a hitless performance. Unfortunately, it was also the only Major League game he ever played.
Done with playing in the Majors, Billy Martin was forced himself the question, “What now?” How could he fill the void left behind by an abandoned dream? So, he founded Martin’s Tavern in 1933—the same year prohibition ended. It was located on 1264 Wisconsin Avenue, about a 10 minute drive from the white house.
It’s still there on the corner. And it’s still family-owned and operated after more than 80 years. Martin’s Tavern is basically a historical monument at this point. Here’s why the restaurant should be in a museum:
1. In 1942, a WWI hero, William “Wild Bill” Donovan became director of the Office of Strategic Services. He’d hold meetings in a back room at Martin’s tavern called “The Dugout”. The plans they made would eventually help the allies in winning WWII.
2. Harry Truman and his wife, Bess frequently dined in Booth #6 with their daughter when she was attending George Washington University.
3. Have a ring burning a hole in your pocket and a significant other who’s a huge history buff? Call Martin’s Tavern and make a reservation for Booth #3, the proposal booth. That’s where JFK proposed to Jackie Bouvier on June 24, 1953.
4. In 2020, Martin's Tavern was featured on an episode of Man V. Food.
The restaurant has survived, among other things, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the Great Recession, and, most recently, the Pandemic. When the restaurant was struggling due to shutdowns amid the pandemic, it was saved by a relief fund. It received a call from Dave Portnoy, the president of Barstool, to let the family know that they had been added to the Barstool Fund. Not today, COVID. At this point, we’re looking at 100 years—easy.
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