Martin’s Tavern Throws ‘Epic’ 90th Birthday Party (photos)

It was a 90th birthday party but seemed like a party for a 19-year-old. There was so much energy, joy and good vibrations — with a couple of hundred people saying hello and congratulations — that the police closed part of N Street in front of Martin’s Tavern. Never did the phrase,”Meet me at Martin’s,” mean so much. 

“When you’re 90, you can close the street,” Louis Everard of Everard Clothing said.

Fourth-generation tavern owner Billy Martin was in his element, thanking everyone and everyone thanking him. His family-owned Georgetown business has stood on the same corner at Wisconsin Avenue and N Street since 1933. It holds lots of history, of course. And everyone has their own Martin’s story to tell.

The Sept. 12 party kicked off at 4:30 p.m. and lasted way into the night — and was a special homecoming for many.

Photographer Patrick Ryan remarked he met friends he’d not seen since before the pandemic. “It’s going to be epic,” exclaimed Krista Johnson of Ella-Rue last month of the 90th anniversary celebration. And yes … yes, it was.

Drinks flowed all around, as oysters, clams and shrimp sat on an ice tower in the restaurant — along with hamburger sliders, crab cakes, beef tacos, veggies, cheese and charcuterie. Macarons, cookies and several birthday cakes did not survive the evening.

The special spirit of the evening was reflected in the sparkling purple dress of Gina Martin, wife and co-owner. The vests of the wait staff also showed off the royal purple and added to the familial atmosphere of the evening.

“We’re honoring staff tonight,” Martin told Mayor Muriel Bowser and Ward 2 Council member Brooke Pinto after their congratulatory remarks. “Especially the 15 who together make up 340 years of cumulative service to Martin’s Tavern and are responsible for its survival and thriving during the pandemic.”


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