The basement of the historic Dobbin House in Gettysburg, Penn. is home to the Spring House Tavern. The Spring House Tavern offers tourists and locals alike a unique dining experience. The Battle of Gettysburg took place in Gettysburg on July 1-3, 1863 but the ambiance of the Spring House Tavern is of the mid 17th century as diners and pub goers dine and drink by candlelight. Patrons are served by drink wenches. The menus are printed in Olde English style and even some Olde English favorites, such as spit chicken are found on the menu.
The ambiance is second to none in the Spring House Tavern and it really transports diners to a different place in time. It is a bit dark in the Springhouse Tavern even with the candlelight and three fireplaces but diners don’t seem to mind a bit. Unfortunately, the basement is also quite small so diners are crowded during busy meal hours and another negative about the basement, depending on your preference, is that the basement, with its stone foundation is always chilly. Even during the hottest days of July, diners often find that they need sweaters.
The Tavern’s menu also includes some modern American favorites such as tuna salade (written in Olde English), and steak. There is quite a selection of lunch and dinner items and they all are numbered. Instead of telling the serving wench the name of a dish that you wish to order you will give her a number. It makes it easier for both the server and the diner. Most lunch plates come with a side choice of potato chips, cole slaw or potatoe salade. The Springhouse Tavern also has a wine and beer menu as well.
The food is always served in a timely fashion and it is always well prepared and delicious. Spit chicken is the specialty. If spit chicken, which is roasted over a real spit, isn’t to your liking the Springhouse Tavern’s menu offers a wide variety of different types of foods including homemade soups and desserts. The souvenir menu is yours to keep. The history of the Dobbin House is printed on the back.
The Springhouse Tavern is located in the basement of the Dobbin House. The Dobbin House was built in 1776 by Reverend Alexander Dobbin and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the oldest free standing structure still standing in Gettysburg today. When the house was built, Reverend Dobbin and his wife had quite a large family and needed such a spacious home. During the years preceding the Civil War, Dobbin House was used as part of the Underground Railroad. It was the first stop on the Underground Railroad north of the Mason- Dixon line. During the war, Dobbin House served as a field hospital. Upstairs visitors can visit a slave hideout and the Dobbin House Museum which displays the history of the house.
Dobbin House is located at 80 Steinwehr Ave. in downtown Gettysburg. The telephone number is 717-334-2100. Reservations aren’t necessary to dine at the Spring House Tavern although the wait can be quite lengthy especially on weekends during the month of October, Gettysburg’s busiest tourist month.