We went to St. Augustine for the weekend a couple of weeks ago. The Spanish Colonial Quarter Museum is a small compound which features active workhops: leather, carpenter, blacksmith and our favorite: the tavern. The Taberna de Gallo opens onto St. George Street and is open until 11 pm on the weekends. The specialty of the house is Sangria. They also have a small beer and exotic soda menu.
The weekend we were there, the tavern was staffed by Jeannie and Gili. Jeannie-on the right in the sketch- is an enthusiastic history buff with a gift for passing her interest on. Her husband, Jim, stopped by on Saturday evening in full 'sailor-about-town' regalia: he was wearing a vest with lots of buttons, which was the equivalent of waving a wallet full of cash at the ladies. Gili is a children's writer with an interest in history. This is her in her working costume.
The atmosphere of the tavern is very congenial. With no televisions blaring news or sports and no loud rock music, patrons were able to actually talk to one another and to the staff. We got caught up in playing "Shut-the-Box"-an addictive game of the period involving dice and numbered tiles. The tavern is lit by candle lanterns on the tables and hanging from the beams. It does have an electronic cash register for state-required receipts but that's hidden. People come in, drink beer or sangria and sit for hours. I wish there were more places like this.