A Bit of History

The Washington Tavern

The building was built in 1884, on the Great Western Turnpike – now Western Ave – by Sebastian Frolhick. It has operated as a bar and restaurant ever since.

In 1885, Frolhick sold to Andrew Kean, who operated it for 25 years. In 1910, it was purchased by a fireman on the steamboats, Thomas F. Donovan. Six years later, in 1916 he sold to Patrick McAuliffe. The next owner was Daniel E. Sullivan, who purchased it in 1923. It was again sold in 1925, to the John Carney Beverage Company.

In 1927, It was known as Kendrick’s Bar and Grill. They later changed the name to the Western Grill. During Prohibition, they operated the business as a speakeasy. During this time they had a built-in wall elevator to deliver food and beverages to the second floor, where a thriving betting parlor existed.

In 1942, the Kendrick Family sold it to Frances Cippollo, who operated it for 29 years. She changed the name to the Washington Tavern. During those years it became affectionately known as the W.T. She operated a bar/restaurant on Madison Avenue across from Washington Park, from where she brought the name.

Michael and Pat Byron, the present owners, purchased the premises in 1971. In addition to maintaining the rich traditions of this century-old establishment, they have established the W.T. as a landmark in the community. The host of private parties and corporate luncheons, the W.T. welcomes all of their Friends that have never met.

The latest chapter of the Washington Tavern was revealed in 2006. The renovations included a new look Sligo Room and Banquet Area and a facelift to the facade. Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings proudly christened the occasion with the cutting of the ribbon for the Grand Re-Opening.

In May 2011, The Byrons celebrated 40 years at The Washington Tavern. A small celebration took place and they were honored by Senator Neil Breslin, County Executive Mike Breslin, as well as longtime friend Mr. Michael Corso. A proclamation was given by Albany County as well as a commemorative plaque marking the many successes of a true Albany icon.