Tun Tavern has a religious significance for Marines, revered in Marine Corps lore alongside the Halls of Montezuma and knife hands.

The Marine Corps was founded at the tavern in 1775, before the United States had officially declared its independence from Great Britain. Countless generations of Marines have bragged ever since that the Corps was born in a bar.

Now a non-profit group plans to build a reproduction of Tun Tavern, which burned down in 1781. The Tun Tavern Legacy Foundation, Inc. recently announced that it had purchased land on which to build a replica of the Marine Corps’ birthplace, which will be located around 250 yards from the original Tun Tavern site on the Philadelphia waterfront.

The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported about the latest efforts to recreate Tun Tavern, which is also the site where John Adams wrote the Navy’s organizing document.

A groundbreaking ceremony has been planned for November, and the Tun Tavern replica is expected to open in 2025 to coincide with the Navy and Marine Corps’ 250th Homecoming Celebration, a Tun Tavern Legacy Foundation news release says.

“With the Tun Tavern Legacy Foundation leading the way, Marines of past, present and future will have their rightful gathering spot in the very city where the Marine Corps was formed,” retired Lt. Gen. Charles G. Chiarotti, president and CEO of the Marine Corps Association, said in a release. “The Marine Corps Association is a major supporter of bringing the Tun back for all to enjoy.”

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When it opens, the replica will serve as a functioning tavern that offers customers food and refreshments influenced by Philadelphia’s colonial period. The tavern will also include historical documents, educational exhibits, and special events, a foundation news release says.

The project is expected to generate an initial economic impact of $16.1 million along with $34.6 million annually.

“Several attempts have been made to rebuild the Tun Tavern since it was razed in 1781, however, this is the first time that a coalition of members of the organizations with a heritage at the Tun are joining together in the effort,” a news release from the group says. “The Foundation aims to replicate the architecture, materials, and layout as it existed in the 1770s to offer a homecoming place for the millions of Americans who can trace their organization’s lineage back to this one tavern.”

The site of the original Tun Tavern is identified by a historical marker in Philadelphia’s Old City.  The establishment served as the Marine Corps’ first recruiting headquarters, where men were offered just over six dollars a month to enlist, according to the Navy. The nation’s first Marines received a daily ration of a pound each of bread, beef, or pork, potatoes or turnips, or half a pound of peas, and half a pint of rum.

“The Tun is revered and celebrated not only in U.S. Marine history but in five other organizations’ histories that pre-date the Continental Marines connection, and we will honor it with a deep appreciation for its historical significance to Philadelphia and America,” Patrick Dailey, the foundation’s president and founder, said in a news release. “Once we are operational, all profits will be donated in perpetuity to support the causes of the organizations founded at The Tun.”

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