Martin's Tavern

Photo by Janet Donovan
Bill Martin in Martin's Tavern
Bill Martin in Martin's Tavern

“My grandfather was a very stocky, good looking Irishman with blond hair and I was told at one point that when they were bringing a caravan of whiskey down from up north, there was a scene almost out of Elliott Ness, if you will. The convoy was stopped in the dark of night, a line of headlights went on, stopped the caravan, a voice told everybody to get out of the cars that were bringing the caravan down and had them all line up out front of the headlights. A voice did holler out at that time and said, ‘The stocky guy with the blond hair, you stand over to the side.’ With that, everybody else lost their life. They took these tommy guns and they shot everybody and confiscated and/or stole the whiskey but let my grandfather go. A lot of people asked why do you think or ‘Why was your grandfather spared?’  I think it probably was because Sam Rayburn was one of his best friends and he was very good friends with Lyndon Johnson. I think that just with his connections, to keep from getting any backlash, they let my grandfather go.”  Excerpted from a one on one interview with Billy Martin by Hollywood on the Potomac.  And so began Billy Martin’s Tavern.

Located in the heart of Georgetown at the corner of Wisconsin and N Street in DC, Billy says: “Martin’s Tavern has been here for 85 years continuously: The same family, the same location, same corner.  What more could we ask for? Martin’s is one of the few Washington, D.C. establishments at the heart of the city since the Great Depression. This is the best party in the city. We like it in February because nobody has anything to do. So what are we doing tonight? This is the customer and employee appreciation party in February, the coldest week ever.  Free food, free drinks.”  And, the staff was off for the night to mingle with their customers.