Hawk ‘n Dove Sold on Capitol Hill Will Undergo Major Renovations in October

“Dear PoPville,

Thought your readers might enjoy this story and weighing in on the pros/cons of a renovation. First (the old) 4Ps, now the Hawk!”

The Hawk ‘n Dove is located at 329 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. It’s Web site says:

“The Hawk ‘n’ Dove has proudly catered to Washingtonians, tourists, and Hill workers since 1967. It is a historic part of Capitol Hill and nearly everyone who has ever spent time in the Nation’s Capital has a story about a night spent at the Hawk. Despite the changing decades, the Hawk ‘n’ Dove remains steadfast on Pennsylvania Ave and the interior is virtually unchanged from when the doors opened on Christmas Eve over 40 years ago.”

Hill Rag broke the news yesterday:

“The new face of the Hawk is Xavier Cervera, another impresario of Capitol Hill eateries, The Hawk will join the Chesapeake Room, Senart’s Oyster and Chop House, Molly Malone’s, Lola’s and a host of other in-the-works establishments in Cervera’s portfolio. He waxes enthusiastic about his plans (closing in October and re-opening in about six months), and has not only purchased the name, but a good deal of the memorabilia (including the clock, some wall sconces and photographs) which will be returned to the walls. But he adds that it will be a “100% renovation.” He will open three heretofore hidden fireplaces, and plans to panel the walls and bar with the 30,000 pounds of dark mahogany he has already purchased.

The most radical change—but the one probably least unexpected—will be the replacement of the many small rooms, both upstairs and down, with what Cervera describes as a welcoming, open space overlooked by a mezzanine, and featuring a 50-foot exhibition bar, dispensing 25 beers on tap and 16 wines by the glass.”

You can read more about the planned changes here.

Does these renovations sound good to you?

52 Comment

  • so why isn’t this place being bought by the cap lounge/granville’s/fling some crap on the wall like a drunk ape crowd?

  • i can’t wait for this. hawk n dove is a dump. and not even a good dump. great news.

  • I, for one, am totally pro-progress. A fancy Eastern Market. Fixed up H ST NE. Irish bar in the shadow of Howard University. Flattening of Market Inn. I get it. I buy into most of the development ‘density’ mantra, tolerate the sanctimonious bike riders and dog owners (and their respective ‘rights’ to dedicated lanes and parks)…basically, any and everything that makes the modern yuppie and hipster content. To each his own…mostly. That said, a dwindling stock of what reminds natives that we’re still in DC – yes, besides the monuments – makes one feel very…wistful. Yes, the Hawk and Dove being sold to an ‘impressario’ is very distressing news. The Hawk and Dove was a place to unplug from the fluffy new DC – the kind of place where you could pull up next to a Library of Congress retiree and eat a (basically) great meal off of suspiciously ‘clean’ silverware without someone else’s dog from the next table curled up under your feet. Hawk and Dove is dark, smelly, musty (yup, it’s both) and – for when it’s ‘business time’ – there’s a condom machine in the men’s room. They’ve divey beers on tap not because the hipsters like to pose with them but because old-timers love and can afford them. Great friendly staff that operates the place with a pride of ownership (even though they didn’t). Of all of the ‘new chapters’ mentioned on POP this has got to be one of the biggest chinks in the armor that was DC’s historical character. Watch out Tune Inn, Monocle and Macombo Lounge =)…..there’s an impressario looking for you….and he’s got artisanal beers and tuna tartar on crackers to go with your new ‘mezzanine’…..

    • That was beautiful. Btw – this impresario has a history of blandness that might contrast with the character of the Hawk.

    • Great comment!

    • “The Hawk and Dove was a place to unplug from the fluffy new DC – the kind of place where you could pull up next to a Library of Congress retiree and eat a (basically) great meal off of suspiciously ‘clean’ silverware without someone else’s dog from the next table curled up under your feet.”

      This – and it’s in no small part BUILT from pieces of an older DC (some of the paneling comes from the Tuckerman House at 16th and I, razed in ’67, for example: (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/23/AR2010102304004.html)

      There's no getting around it being a dump w/roaches, but I suspect I'll feel a lot less comfortable in the impresario's mahogany bunker.

    • That’s the funny thing about running a business, you have to go where the money is. And the money will never be in serving people who like things crappy. That might get you over the hump from obliterated to dodgy, but it will never sustain you past dodgy.

      Plenty of RE in Anacostia to open a dive bar.

      • “And the money will never be in serving people who like things crappy.”

        One person’s crappy is another person’s comfortable – what I miss is a DC where real estate was affordable, and every businessperson didn’t have to slavishly cater to the richest common denominator or be forced out.

        But, yeah, I accept that that DC is gone for good.

        • AMEN – well said. It bothers me that the H&D is being so casually described as a dive – it’s not The Tune Inn, it’s not Millie & Al’s – it’s just comfortable. Worn yes, but not tattered. I think this change bothers not just because the Hawk has been a regular haunt since high school (many many years ago) but because I am more used to this kind of random (seeming) change in neighborhoods other than the Hill. U Street? Gallery Place? Bring on the new and shiny! But the Hill always seemed more hometown than that. But, as you say, it’s time to accept that that DC is gone for good. Sad

      • “Plenty of RE in Anacostia to open a dive bar.”

        True. And the advantage to Anacostia real estate is there’s so much burnt out / busted / just plain open space, that when you stagger out of your bar to bleed out after being stabbed for drug money, you looked at somebody funny, or just on general principle, you won’t have to worry about wrecking anybody’s nice garden or irritating people eating in a nice little sidewalk patio. You can bleed out in the street amongst the broken glass, on the busted up sidewalks, in a nearby abandoned building, or atop the hood of a late 70’s domestic car. Lotta great options in Anacostia, too many to count, really… But personally I can’t wait to get some $8 12 ounce “pints” of beer at this new eatery.

    • First they came for the Raven,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a regular there.

      Then they came for Toldeo Lounge,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a regular there.

      Then they came for the Hawk N Dove,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a regular there.

      Then they came for me
      and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  • DMarx

    Guess we are all going to have to find a new Packer’s bar. I have a few ideas…

    • For what it’s worth, this was in the Hill Rag piece that broke the story…I suppose it’s up to you if you want to watch Packers games in a “bistro,” though:

      “In addition, he is positive about wanting the Hawk to retain its stature as a haven for both national and local pols, its welcome for out-of-town visitors, its friendliness as a celebratory stop for summer softball players, and its “home” status for the “cheese heads” who currently jam the place for Green Bay Packers games—in other words to maintain its historic flavor in its new environment.”

      • Uh, no. What about the Green Bay Packers says “bistro?” Real football deserves a real bar, not some hipster hangout.

  • There’s a lot of places I miss in DC: AV, Blackie’s House of Beef, Trader Vic’s, Gusti’s, Roma, Sherrill’s. I particularly miss the divier places off U Street circa 1990, but the neighborhood has changed and businesses have to change to meet the needs of the neighborhood. That’s the flipside of living urban. The key here is that H&D is going from divey to open-air family-friendly because the owner thinks that will sell, and I’m inclined to agree. I just wish it wasn’t going to be another cookie-cutter establishment.

  • It’s a complete shame that the owners sold to somebody with this vision rather than somebody who would run the place for what it was and appreciate the history there. I understand you need to make the most money that you can. Clearly the new H&D will have prices that reflect the cot of the gut reno that is on its way. Sounds like this place will be the Applebees of CapHill now.

  • Price out the intern crowd!

    • Just remember, we were all interns once … unpaid ones to boot!

      • As a federal attorney, I’m paid and treated like an intern… Priced out of DC and home ownership, over-managed to the point of worthlessness, under-managed to the point of not much to do.

        • Why are you there then?

        • go make some coffee.

        • Oh boo hoo. I just looked up attorney jobs on USAjobs and the lowest paid position is 75k. Plenty of people would kill to make that kind of money, myself included.

          I’m so sorry your nice apartment is in Falls Church instead of Dupont, and you had to settle for GE appliances instead of Viking.

          • Yeah, I’m an electrical engineer with 6 years of experience and I make less than that. But I also didn’t spend a fortune on law school. I imagine the student loan payments really eat into that $75k.

          • Law school costs what, 100k? My girlfriend manages to get by with half as many student loans on less than half of 75K, and with at least 50% less bitching.

        • “over-managed to the point of worthlessness, under-managed to the point of not much to do.”

          Wow, thank you for expressing this reality so succinctly. I feel you, brother.

      • saf

        No, no we weren’t.

        • I always managed to find internships that paid pretty well. I can’t imagine any internship experience being so valuable that I would do it for free.

  • Odd that the Capitol Hill News makes it appear Stuart Long just decided to sell. WTOP.com goes a little further to explain why it happened, “I lost my lease,” says owner Stuart Long. “They’ve leased the premises out to somebody else.” “I’ve been here 44 years,” he says. “I tried to make 50, but I didn’t make it.”

    http://wtop.com/?nid=41&sid=2521532

    • If that is true, I probably will never step foot in the restaurant again. I understand it’s business but where I’m from people, relationships, community mean more than a few extra bucks.

  • This is just disgusting and wrong.

  • I hate to break it to you, but probably not. Money is money, even in small towns. The only difference is nobody has people throwing it at them in quite the quantities Cervera can throw at the building’s owners to force out HnD. If you don’t believe me, look at the folks in Pennsylvania and Ohio selling out the next generation and their current neighbors to natural gas drilling companies. Let’s not pretend middle America is so fucking righteous. I grew up in the midwest and I know there are plenty of shady, backstabbing, money-grubbing jerks there, too.

  • Theere goes the neighborhood! No more 10 cent wings and cheap beer on tuesday..

    • The Ugly Mug on 8th St SE has both of these on Tuesday nights and still retains most of its neighborhood bar-type charm.

  • I’m generally not into dives so I’m happy to hear this place is getting a rennovation. However, I’m not thrilled with the open floor plan concept and I do wish someone other than Xavier Cervera was doing it. Can’t that guy branch out to other neighborhoods? I guess I should be happy he’s not opening yet another restaurant on Barracks Row.

  • I’m pretty sure these exact arguments we’re happening in 1967 when Hawk n Dove replaced Marmot n Meerkat. Give it 30 years and this place will again be a dive bar. We just won’t live here then.

    • Sure maybe the replacement of institutions that define the character of a neighborhood and city is not a new phenomenon, but that doesn’t make it any less difficult to see happen.

  • Hawk and Dove wasn’t a dive, and the renovation plans sound like shit.

  • Well, this Hill resident is happy about this. I like my dive bars, but Hawk and Dove is gross. Their food is just as greasy but much less tasty than Tune Inn, and their beer is just as cheap as Cap Lounge or Pour House. The last time I ate there, service was terrible and the food left all of us feeling sick for the rest of the day (if I’m going to eat a ball of grease, I at least want it to taste good). I can get the same thing (or better) that I get at Hawk ‘n’ Dove at any of the other bars on Penn and not have to deal with that disgusting smell or the underage interns (or high school kids on the weekends). There are plenty of dive bars in the neighborhood.

    I do hope they retain some of the history and charm of the building and at least have occasional good deals. This stretch of Penn is missing a comfortable, non-sticky, drinking establishment. That said, I will throw a fit if Cervera opens another Barracks Row place. As much as I love me a mahogany interior, it’s getting a little ridiculous, and they do all look the same. At least the Matchbox guys have variety.

  • I’ll be a little sorry to see the change. I’ve got a lot of memories from the place, most recently from my daughter’s time as a waitress.
    Still, it had a good run, and even if Stuart had made it to 50 years, something similar would most likely have happened then. (Someone mentioned Sherrill’s, which was a block west on Pennsylvania and closed IIRC simply because the last owner decided to retire.)
    I’ll go to the new version at least once, mostly to compare it with the memories but also to see if it’s worth going to for itself. (25 beers on tap sounds intriguing.)

  • Beer is not just as cheap at the Pour House of Cap Lounge.You can get $1.50 beer at Hawk & Dove and $1 off a draft ($5 or $6 bucks) at Cap Lounge. I’m about to start having to fly to San Francisco to get a beer (cheaper by far) with the way things are going around here. When did the $8 beers start becoming the norm in DC? It’s a travesty.

  • This is depressing news. I’ll always remember this place from the mid 90s and my group house days. I had happy hours and birthday parties here for years. It was musty but it had tons of charm. I’ll have to hit it up before it dies.

  • Nobody talks about the staff at the Hawk n Dove. Many have worked there for decades. The cook’s father had that position before him, and now the cook’s daughter works there hostessing. I hope the staff all find suitable new employment.

  • Sadly, and we ALL know it, the Hawk’n’Dove has turned into an absolute dump. Heavily scented candles are on the bar, not for the ambiance, but to ‘try’ to hide the smell of dead rats that have crawled up in the walls of the Hawk to die. Roaches and rats can be found inside at different times of the day, but mostly come out at night.

    Stu Long, the soon-to-be, ‘former’ owner of the Hawk, really gave up on cleaning the place and making a strong go of it many years ago. You can tell by how grungy the place looks, how musty it smells inside (it really smells bad) and how the food is way below par for what he charges.

    Back in 1967, Stu Long was a hero on Captiol Hill in transforming the property to creating the Hawk’n’Dove, but, time moves on and the Hawk’s glory days are sadly way in its rear view mirror. Back in the seventies and eighties, the Hawk was a great place to go with friends to hang out, drink, eat and talk politics and sports. While you can still do that at the Hawk, it has a ‘death warmed over’ look inside.

    Edgar, one of the long tenured ‘bartenders’ who must have pictures of Stu Long doing unimaginable things to sheep, has also stayed on way too long. Edgar has probably run away more customers than Stu Long could ever realize, and Xavier Cervera would be wise not to rehire him in six months too.

    On very early Monday, October 3, the lights will finally go out on the current rendition of the Hawk’n’Dove, closing a chapter of restaurant/bar history on Capitol Hill. Hopefully fans of the Hawk, from yesteryear to today will give it a great send off, worthy of saying “thanks Stu, and all the best in retirement!”

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