Shaw’s Tavern to Turn into a Coffee House?

Back in late Aug. we learned that Shaw’s Tavern would be closing at 520 Florida Ave, NW until they got a liquor license.

On the Shaw listserv this morning the CCCA President wrote:

“StevenMay of #ShawsTavern walked passed the casa and told me the jont may reopen as coffeehouse w/o ABRA license. They r working on sidewalk”

I thought Mr. May was no longer affiliated with the project but maybe he heard some scuttlebutt? As of 11am there was no update on Shaw’s Tavern facebook page.

Do you think Shaw’s Tavern reopening as a coffee house would be a good idea?

37 Comment

  • I think it is too big for a coffee house, although I guess they could do sandwiches and food. Would this just be until they get a license, or is it coffee for good? I don’t think they can sustain as just a coffee house. Thank knocks out a huge portion of your revenue day.

  • it’s certainly better than a tea shop.

  • While not at all opposed to the idea, I’m wary of the likelihood that this would be successful. Two reasons: Big Bear is just down the street, and well-established. With a liquor license. Second, it’s reasonably assumed that the reason they closed to begin with was the difficulty of operating a restaurant in that location without the profit margins that alcohol sales provide. That said, I’d patronize it.

  • why would anyone believe that steve may had severed his ties? would you really take him, or the ownership, at their word? best thing for him and abbas fathi would be an apprenticeship at the boundary stone.

  • the same team is doing the firehouse on north cap. they deleted their facebook page and website. maybe that will be a coffeeshop too.

  • Well, maybe that would be a good outcome, but it would be a huge coffee house, with a full kitchen. It seems the owners of Shaw’s have–how shall I put this politely–“screwed the pooch” in every imaginable way on this project.

  • Let it die, man. After their epic fail with ABRA, they don’t deserve money from the good people of Shaw.

    • andy

      However screwed up, people want the opportunity to go to the place over no opportunity to go to the place, right?

      • The people of the area deserve to have a business run by honest individuals. Not by someone manipulating the neighborhood’s desire to have something better than a blighted building.

        I fear for the north cap firehouse as May and co have been completely unwilling to sign any volultary agreement. This after promising reasonable outdoor hours (not 2am) and promising to be good neighbors when they accused the community of holding up their development.

        I want to see business grow in our neighborhood. I want to see scum like this run out of the city.

  • ledroittiger


    This keeps getting more and more stupid.

    Why doesn’t he just sell it to a new owner (read “partner”), change the name of the bar, and reopen it after applying for a liquor license?

  • The whole thing is a shame cause the food and service were fantastic. But for the hubris and ignorance of the ownership, they’d have had a successful business. Until the place is sold, I’ve given up on it and Fire Engine. Thank god for Rustik, Boundary Stone, Big Bear and Beau Thai.

    What’s up with that boarded up place just across the street? 600 something.

  • I’d love a coffeeshop/pattiserie that does nice brunches. Or an upscale Tryst. Coming from San Francisco, there can never be too many coffehouses. We loved Shaw Tavern. The food was top notch and it was a great ambiance. We were excited to go back and were so disappointed it had to close. I dont think it’s easy by any means to be a small business owner, or to open a restaurant, so I can understand if the management made mistakes. But having a high-quality restaurant in our neighborhood that draws people from across the city is a good thing in my book and I wish them the best of luck in reopening.

  • The holier than thou blogosphere has their say. I’m certain that Shaw’s is the only bar in the district that has resorted to “dubious” methods due to suffocating and restrictive DC laws.

    • Yeah, but if you’re dumb enough to get caught, then you probably deserve the public castigation.

    • Yeah, I doubt too many establishments that are currently open have forged their documents. The only evidence I’ve seen that the law is “suffocating and restrictive” is that they refused to issue a license to a liar and possible criminal. Thats actually what I am paying my government to do, so good for them.

      Now, if you dont believe in liquor licenses from a philosophical standpoint, thats fine, but dont act like DC is somehow alone with their system. In fact, they are less restrictive than a few cities that I am familiar with.

    • Well, some people are happy with the status quo, the way it’s been for decades here, and some people are tired of that shit.

  • I hear the Arthur Treature’s is open now on Florida Ave.

  • Steven May is NOT affiliated with that restaurant anymore, he was let go after the ABRA debacle.

    • Exactly. According to the owner, it was May who fucked the whole thing up by lying about the license to wholesalers and serving without a license. The owner’s fault, if you believe him, was not paying close enough attention to what his manager was doing.

    • i’m skeptical.

  • If he is not at the restaurant anymore why do I see him in there everyday when I walk by? Steve May sank this place!

  • Probably because of his big Ego he feels like he still have to be around there to prove something ..what an asshole he just dont get it.

    • he is still involved???????? wtf.

      • No he is not involved the owner being a nice guy gave him a job in charge of his rental properties in the area ie collecting rents and making sure the toilets flush LOl. But definately not in the restaurant. You can only sink a ship once but with his name he will do it again if given another chance

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