History of Tun Tavern

Tun Tavern Philadelphia was the first brew house to be built in the city of Philadelphia in 1685.  It was built by Samuel Carpenter to develop the waterfront area of the city.  The original location of the tavern was built at the intersection of Walter Street and Tun Alley.  The word “tun” derives from the old English word for cask, barrel, or keg.  The name Tun Tavern was an obvious pick for the name of the establishment.

Tun Tavern Raising The Bar Marine Corps Challenge Coin

Tun Tavern Raising The Bar Marine Corps Challenge Coin

The Tavern gained a reputation for serving the finest beer in Philadelphia.  One could go there, get a pint of beer, a meal, and discuss ideas openly.  Before the internet and Television, hanging out at the Tavern was entertainment.


Tun Tavern Philadelphia 1775

Second Continental Congress raised two battalions of Marines.  These Marines served alongside the Navy at sea.  The Marines also participated in amphibious land operations.  The logical site to begin the recruiting drive was Tun Tavern, Philadelphia.  The bar and eatery was frequented by very prominent members of society.  George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson are just a few of the figures that graced the presence of the tavern.

The proprietors of Tun Tavern were Robert and Peggy Mullan.  They are the first Marine Corps recruiters.  Their work was instrumental in gathering recruits to fulfill the duty of US Marines.

The local tavern was a natural gathering place of all types of people.  There, you could get something to eat and drink.  Furthermore, you could catch up on the local gossip.  At Tun Tavern the word was spread.  The word was, the Continental Marines were looking for a few good men!

USMC Tun Tavern Alumni Vintage Sign

Tun Tavern Alumni

The first Marines recruited from Tun Tavern engaged in many fruitful missions to aid America’s cause.  Most notably the battle of Nassau.  Nassau is located on the island of New Providence.  The island was a way point for British shipping to rearm before harassing shipping lanes in the American colonies.  It was stocked to the brim with weapons and munitions.

On March 1, 1776, the Continental Navy and Marines invaded Nassau.  The Marines packed into the boats on the side of the ship and set toward land.  This was the very first amphibious landing performed in our Corp’s history!  The Marines seized Fort Montagu on the east size of the harbor.  They stood fast as a ship was loaded with gunpowder and set sail.  As soon as they left the Marines seized the opportunity to take the poorly defended town.

Tun Tavern Sign over original site

Marines: Drinking and Fighting Around the World

During the 1700’s radio communication did not exist.  When a ship left port for the open seas, it was all alone.  This is what allowed piracy to thrive.  This is what made the open seas a dangerous venture.  It took a special kind of person to sign up as a sailor then.  It took an even crazier person to sign up as a Marine.  These guys were required to keep the sailors in-line and lead the charge during boarding parties and landings.  It was not by accident that these recruits needed to be picked up at the bar!

As St Patrick’s Day draws near, let us remember the first of us at Tun Tavern Philadelphia, 1775.  The very first men,warriors, sailors that signed the dotted line at Tun Tavern surely did not realize the magnitude of their actions.  These recruits would father generations of warriors in one of the greatest fighting forces in human existence!

Tun-Tavern-Alumni-Marine Corps Challenge Coin