One could be forgiven for thinking that the Restoration Bar is named for the rejuvenating powers of its relaxing atmosphere. I wouldn’t want to squash such sentiments because the small lounge in the Williamsburg Inn is indeed a special spot.
Those in the know recognize the value of this hidden treasure offering respite just steps away from the Historic Area. The Restoration Bar was established in this century, but its charm is in sync with the Inn’s great history.
The walls are decorated with original architectural drawings by Perry, Shaw & Hepburn, the Boston architectural firm that John D. Rockefeller, Jr. picked to restore Colonial Williamsburg.
Regency style design details complement the Inn’s décor. From hand-tooled gold leaf leather borders on the wall to the drum tables, there’s a casual elegance to the bar. The stools at the green marble bar were custom made by Harrison Higgins Cabinetmaker of Richmond. They include a laurel wreath design that echoes the Inn’s logo. It’s luxury without stuffiness.
This month the barkeeps are serving up some great summertime gin specials. They’re perfect refreshment on a hot Virginia afternoon. Stop by to try one of them next time you are in town, or make your own at home with the recipes below.
And if you’re looking for a connection to the Revolution, here’s one: In January 1776, the Virginia Gazette reported that an American privateer intercepted a ship supplying British troops in Boston. The Americans seized rum, cocoa, oranges (“to please the delicate appetite of Lord Howe!”), and 100 cases of, yes, gin.
SOUTH ENGLAND COCKTAIL
1 1/2 oz Bombay Gin
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
Muddled Basil, Pineapple
Combine the gin, juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to blend and chill before straining into a highball glass. Garnish with a basil leaf.
1 1/2 oz Tanqueray Gin
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Creme de Cassis
Combine the gin, juice, and creme de cassis in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to blend and chill before straining into a highball glass. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with a berry skewer and lime wedge.
1 oz Hendricks Gin
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Strawberry Simple Syrup
Squeeze of 1/2 lemon
Combine all ingredients except champagne in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to blend and chill before straining into a stemmed glass. Add champagne to taste. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Good Neighbor Pass holders, don’t forget that you can save 10% off your food and beverage purchases at the Williamsburg Inn and all Colonial Williamsburg dining taverns, restaurants, and cafés (but alas, no discount on alcohol).