The Tabard Inn is the oldest continuing running hotel in Washington DC opening its doors in 1922 by Marie Willoughby Rogers. The name Tabard Inn was drawn from Chaucer’s Canterbury tales and the place would forever revive itself in the hospitality of an old English Manor. The Inn’s early years were of social gatherings and afternoon tea, and the additions of the adjacent townhomes of 1741 and 1737 N St in the late 20s and early 30s completed what today is the entire property of the Tabard Inn. During World War II, the Inn became a boarding house for the Waves, (Navy Women Accepted to Emergency Services).
In 1975 the Hotel was put up for auction by Ms Rogers family. Edward Cohen, a financial editor with the Washington Post, and his wife, Fritzi, a political activist & lawyer, became the Tabard’s new owners. The Cohen’s had no experience except for a vision which was to preserve the buildings and business, no TVs in the rooms, and in the kitchen everything made from scratch, ingredients sourced from local farmers and most importantly no microwaves to heat the food. At the time, their vision was new and unheard of contrasting with what the hotel and restaurant industries paradigm for profitability was. Those looking for a unique experience, something beyond the standard fair that the chain hotels may have offered began to discover the Tabard. And while the world outside became more burgeoning, more modern, more chaotic, patrons began to find their way more and more to the country inn in the urban city. The kitchen would gather its own notoriety and for many chefs and cooks it was a stepping stone for starting their own successful restaurants. In the last 40 years, since the Cohens have owned it, many have walked through its doors, many stories written--it’s a quilt of experiences, unwritten stories of new love, romance, merriment, old friends, a companion of sorts tantalizing the senses, from artists abound, to its eclectic furniture. Not everyone is going to like it, but those who do, will enjoy it. Behind all the art, furniture and food, there is a labor of love that emanates from all around.