8 Restaurants And Bars Where U.S. History Was Made

Add these famous spots to your summer road trip list.

Since 1637 when America's first bar, the White Horse Tavern in Rhode Island, opened, bars and restaurants in America have served up more than drinks and meals. While a great deal of these establishments are known for the number of decades they've been in business or the cuisine they've made famous, there are a few places where American history was made alongside the dishes and drinks.

With summertime travel in full swing, it's a great time to hit the road and visit any of the following dining establishments and watering holes that have hosted important moments in our country's history.

Boston, Massachusetts: The Green Dragon Tavern

The Green Dragon Tavern was founded in 1654 and is the oldest bar of the Revolutionary period. Frequented by Paul Revere and John Hancock, the basement tavern was used as a meeting spot for several secret groups, including the Sons of Liberty, the Boston Caucus, and the Boston Committee of Correspondence. Known as the "headquarters of the Revolution," this tavern is where the Boston Tea Party of 1773 was planned and later where the Patriots met to draw up a resolution in support of the Federal Constitution.


New York, New York: Fraunces Tavern 

Fraunces Tavern, established in 1762, was once a place where the founding fathers and members of the Continental Congress regularly met. On December 4, 1783, George Washington invited his officers to the tavern to share the news that he would be resigning his commission after six years of leading the men against the British, ultimately ending the war with a win over General Cornwallis at Yorktown. Washington then left for Annapolis, where he officially resigned on December 23 of that same year. Still at its original location of 54 Pearl Street, Fraunces Tavern now includes a bar, restaurant, and museum.


New York, New York: Stonewall Inn 

In the early morning of June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar on Christopher Street. While raids like this happened frequently in the 1960s, this time the patrons fought back, causing violent clashes that lasted for days and spread across Greenwich Village and launched the LGBTQ rights movement. A year later, in June of 1970, the first LGBTQ Pride parade was hosted by activists to mark the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots. And 53 years later, the Stonewall Inn is still standing as a place to remember and celebrate all year long.


Washington, D.C.: Old Ebbitt Grill

Touted as the oldest saloon in Washington, the Old Ebbit Grill was founded in 1865 as a boarding house where many important people in U.S. history ate, drank, or stayed. President McKinley is said to have lived there during his tenure in Congress, while Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt and Warren Harding are all rumored to have enjoyed a drink at the saloon's stand-around bar. While not linked to a single historic event, you can bet that many important meetings were had within the walls of this establishment. Old Ebbitt Grill has moved locations several times, but you can find it now at 675 15th Street NW, complete with a priceless collection of antiques and memorabilia collected over the years.


Chicago, Illinois: The Berghoff

The history of the Berghoff began when original owner, Herman Joseph Berghoff founded a brewery in Indiana to sell beer at the World's Fair in 1893. After that, he opened a men's-only salon in the Chicago Loop area. In 1933, when prohibition was repealed, the Berghoff was given both of Chicago's first two liquor licenses–one for the bar and one for the restaurant. One of its most meaningful historic moments took place in 1969, when seven members of the National Organization of Women, including Gloria Steinem, sat down at the men's-only bar and demanded service, which they were eventually granted. The Berghoff is now in its fourth generation of family ownership and is the second-oldest restaurant in the city, serving up traditional German and modern American fare.


Atlanta, Georgia: Paschal’s Restaurant

Located in downtown Atlanta, in the Castleberry Hill Arts District, Paschal's Restaurant's history dates back to 1947 when the Paschal brothers, James and Robert, opened the first location on West Hunter Street. In the early 1960s, James and Robert became involved in the civil rights movement and welcomed both Black and white patrons into their establishment, often serving complimentary meals for protestors and activists. Paschal's Restaurant became a meeting place for civil rights leaders and strategists, including Dr. Martin Luther King. Its current location is less than one mile from the original and is known for its fried chicken and Creole dishes.


San Antonio, Texas: The Menger Bar

Not only is the Menger Bar the oldest bar in Texas, opening its doors in 1887 on the site of the Battle of the Alamo, but its guest list has grown quite impressive over the years including everyone from Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Harry Truman, and Bill Clinton to Robert E. Lee and Oscar Wilde. It is also the place where Teddy Roosevelt recruited 1,250 Rough Riders to fight in the Spanish American War. Currently, it is designed as an exact replica of London, England's House of Lords Pub and has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.


Jackson, Mississippi: Big Apple Inn

One of the few remaining restaurants on Farish Street, a once thriving African-American neighborhood on the outskirts of downtown Jackson, Mississippi, Big Apple Inn played a key role in the civil rights movement. Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers was known to hold meetings in the eatery and the 1961 Freedom Rides, in which buses of Black and white college students traveled across the South to protest segregation, were planned and strategized within its walls. Still in the family with fourth generation owner Geno Lee at the helm, the Big Apple Inn is a meaningful place to stop for a pig ear sandwich and a heaping helping of history.