McCrady’s Tavern: Linking Past and Future
It all began with a hankering for an excellent drink. In 1778, Edward McCrady built a four-story Georgian house on East Bay Street and opened McCrady’s Tavern. Unbeknownst to him, this eponymous watering hole was the origin of what would become part of this very restaurant over 200 years later.
Serving as a collective retreat for notable Charlestonians before and during the American Revolution, Lowcountry luminaries all congregated at the tavern to imbibe, socialize, and discuss the country’s ever-evolving political climate. During the war, McCrady was imprisoned with Revolutionary leaders in St. Augustine, FL, and when he returned, he was determined to secure McCrady’s as a high society establishment. In 1788, McCrady built a new building connected to McCrady’s via a second story double piazza. Named The Long Room, the space became an instant favorite venue for many of the city’s festive celebrations, including a grand 30-course dinner for President George Washington in 1791.
Following McCrady’s death in 1801, the property passed through many owners who used it for various purposes, including a tavern, coffeehouse, paper company and warehouse. The building then stood as an abandoned relic until 1982 when it was restored to its former glory, leading to its recognition on the National Register of Historic Places and Landmarks.