The Tie Bar Now Open, Le Labo coming to Shaw

1939 9th Street, NW

Thanks to a couple of readers for sending word on more retail news for Shaw – Tie Bar has opened on 9th just south of Florida/U Street:



And Le Labo is coming on the Florida Ave side. Their website says:


We believe that there are too many bottles of perfume and not enough soulful fragrances

We believe the soul of a fragrance comes from the intention with which it is created and the attention with which it is prepared

We believe fine perfumery must create a shock – the shock of the new, combined with the shock of the intimately familiar

We believe that fine perfumery must be irreverent

We believe it is more humane to test cosmetics on New Yorkers than on animals

We believe celebrities should pay full price

We believe the future of luxury (hence of perfumery) lies in craftsmanship

We believe in the soulful power of thoughtful hands: hand-picked roses, hand-poured candles, hand-formulated perfumes and handshake agreements

We believe in the passionate souls who work close to us

We believe in Hafiz’s take on life : “Act great, dear. Always act great”

We believe New York made us this way, with a dose of Wabi-Sabi and a few lines from Thoreau

We believe we/you should put away our modern tools and take the time to smell the roses along the way

We believe that we are only young once, but we can be immature forever

And we believe that explanation kills art. Therefore, forget about all of this !”



75 Comment

  • God, The Shay has really ruined Shaw for the non-pretentious.

    • Although, you have to admit this is easily the most ludicrous of the hipster bait there.

    • Seriously. This area does not have the kind of foot traffic needed to keep extremely “specific” stores in business in new fancy storefront digs (can only imagine the rent). These types of stores struggle to stay in business at a busy mall, let alone on 9th Street. How many skinny ties does it take to pay 1 months rent?

      • Frank & Oak and Warby Parker were slammed this weekend. I think certain of these stores will do quite well. Others, probably not.

        • Well, there still is a “newness” about them. I think a Warby Parker will be fine – they also have a bigger profit margin considering their glasses are $100-$300 vs. $15 skinny ties.

  • I BELIEVE Le Labo won’t last a year.

    • I would be surprised if it lasted that long.

      • agreed. I don’t know if this is really the market for $50 body wash and $65 lotion.

        • Just because you’re not in the market for a particular item doesn’t mean others are not…

          • This. When I prendre la douche, I only do so using $65 body wash.

          • I actually do own le labo rose products. but this isn’t exactly Sephora where you can pop in and grab a few things from different brands, at a variety of price points. you either like le labo products or you don’t. considering they have a relatively small distribution, I’m curious why they picked shaw.

        • bll, I was wondering the same thing, but this choice sort of makes sense to me. This retail segment, whatever we decide to call it, has been available in other cities for a while. but there hasn’t been any real place in DC for it to “land. ” Georgetown and Friendship Heights aren’t urban enough and City Center is either too high-end or didn’t have the right space available.
          I think the Shay and Atlantic Plumbing have been trying, pretty successfully, to make the case that “North End Shaw” is the place for this segment that hasn’t been able to find a home elsewhere. It’s definitely weird for those of us who lived there for any length of time, but I can see why the developers would have made this argument and why stores think it’s a good bet to make.

          • this was supposed to respond to bll’s post at 10:57.

          • @fkashawess–that’s a great point. For me it’s always hard to look at a niche store (one that you might not shop at regularly–how many perfumes from the same brand do you need?) and see how/why it makes sense. I guess you come for le labo (or whatever else) and then check out the rest of the stores…kind of like a mini mall.

          • I think that’s exactly it. I don’t think many people would come to that part of town *just* to buy Le Labo products, but they might come to check out a bunch of the new shops and restaurants all at once and might find a new place they like in the process. It’s totally an urban mini-mall with only small-ish chains and local stores. Makes me think of Nolita in New York or Fillmore Street/Pacific Heights in San Francisco. And both of those places have Le Labo stores.

          • justinbc

            I’m really hoping they bring in some similar retailers to the Hine School redevelopment in Capitol Hill.

  • There have been times when I had wished that I lived in Shaw. Shit like this makes me thankful that I don’t.

    • justinbc

      It’s not like they would aggressively come after you lathering you up with fancy soap. I’m sure every neighborhood has some shops you wouldn’t go in.

      • That’s a priceless image:
        There I was, just trying to Duffy’s for some wings, when an impeccably dressed bearded man approached me with a patchouli-scented horsehair scrub brush and wouldn’t take “no” for an answer…

  • On the contrary, it really nice to see some interesting retail here in DC, period. We definitely do not have enough of it. Especially menswear. I totally support the Shay’s retail cluster, yes it is a bit precious but it’s also an impressive array of retail in a very under-served area of the city. And, before everyone starts talking about the expense, check out Frank and Oak for some really nice, fairly priced stuff.

    • I love it when retail comes to the city, because really, one can only go to so many restaurants, but does it have to be $200 t-shirt type establishments? I know that there’s quite a bit of young money coming to Shaw, but it is still a fairly mixed neighborhood.

      • Tie Bar is actually cheap. I’m pretty excited about that one.

      • Good Lord, yes to the $200 T-shirt establishments! Not that I, personally, will spend more that $165 for a t-shirt (unless an intimidatingly fashionable salesperson tells me that it looks good on me and hints that it makes me look younger, in which case I’ll take two). But in a world of plentiful Gaps, on-line, mid-priced wardroberies and hipster used clothing boutiques, someplace unique, amusingly pretentious and potentiality splurge-worthy is a fine addition to the street-shopping scene. (Although, even I was a little stunned at Loro Piano in City Center this weekend, where a seven foot tall salesman in a hundred dollar haircut and a thousand dollar suit tried to sell me a $1,250 muffler). I’m all about the aspirational thing.

      • Prices at Frank and Oak aren’t to expensive. Shirts going for $40 and sweaters for 60. Some of the other places gave me sticker shock for sure.

  • I believe, that the use of “I (we) believe” statements, especially to excess, shows a lack of writing skill. The whole j/k thing at the end also doesn’t help.

  • samanda_bynes

    i believe that i would pants the nerds who founded this company if i ran into them

  • Anyone else really disappointed that “Tie Bar” isn’t an actual bar, with cocktails named after various neckwear-related puns?

  • Le Labo soap is divine. Sorry, but it really is.

    • Yup, and I’m not sorry to agree with this. All the ingredients are natural and it’s one of the only fragrance lines that doesn’t make me sneeze or get a headache.

  • Places like this make me think that a kite store is really no longer all that far fetched. Of course it would now have to sell only very expensive, artisanal kites that are assembled in America (*even though they’re actually imported from Indonesian sweat shops).

    • It’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure that there was a kite store in DC 20 years ago. And the kites were indeed expensive if not, perhaps, artisanal.
      Trivia: Kite flying was illegal on the monument grounds until 1976 or so.

    • As the spouse of an international kite flying celebrity, I have visited my share of kite stores. They tend to be located proximate to open, windy spaces, very few of which can be found around 8th & Florida. The Kite Loft, which has a huge store on the Ocean City, Md. boardwalk, had a tiny DC branch in National Place in the early 1990s, but it did not last long. Incidentally, the Ocean City store is a good source for Revolution Kites, an “artisianal” brand of stunt kites made in San Diego. But the most expensive items in my spouse’s collection were imported from New Zealand.

  • What exactly do people want in these retail spaces? There are complaints when the storefronts are empty, complaints when it’s a 7/11 or some other sort of chain, and now complaints that the retail is too “hipster” and/or “pretentious”? Can’t win. For what it’s worth, I like the tie bar, great place to get reasonably priced accessories for work.

    • I think many of us wonder why there seems to be little between 7-Eleven and, say, a place selling $65 body wash.
      Sounds like the Tie Bar is reasonably priced, even if it’s of no interest to me. (Do they sell anything for women?)

      • SouthwestDC

        Because online shopping fills in the gap.

        • justinbc

          To some degree, if you want a known quality level like J Crew or something similar. But with smaller vendors it’s nice to actually get your hands on the goods, check how sizes fit, etc. My partner can’t buy anything online, because she’s short and has certain parts that are bigger than others, so just buying a S or XS without trying on usually results in returning the merchandise. Same for me buying “medium” from independent retailers. It can be something that balloons out like crazy at the waist, or fits tight like a gym shirt.

          • Yeah. The only clothing I’m willing to buy online is 1) from companies where I can avoid paying shipping and can return stuff easily if it doesn’t fit, doesn’t look right, etc., or 2) reasonably big-ticket items (e.g., winter coat from Land’s End) where the shipping charge is small enough compared to the overall cost that I’m willing to risk it.

          • SouthwestDC

            I actually shop online because few brick-and-mortar stores carry petite sizes, and the ones that do usually have a very limited selection of styles. Same with shoes– my feet are smaller than average, so I can’t just walk into DSW and expect to find much. Not to mention all the non-clothing items that are a million times easy to order on Amazon.

      • justinbc

        Shouldn’t that question be posed to entrepreneurs though, rather than the building owners who house them?

      • I would like to see more places like Hill’s Kitchen, Glen’s, a furniture store, more moderately priced boutiques where I can find a cute purse or a dress for work or for the weekend. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having higher end stores, but maybe just not SO high end. Warby Parker and it seems Tie Bar and positive additions that I think adequately fit the market.

  • First thought: Another precious, pretentious specialty store for rich yupsters in the Shay.
    Second thoughts after perusing website: …hmm $19 for some good looking ties…that’s actually reasonable…I might actually shop here.

  • Kind of amuses me that these fancy new stores now exist in a space where, just a few years ago, I was perusing probably stolen DVDs and electronics in the flea market.

  • If Salt&Sundry can last so can these.

    • Good point. I like to walk through that place and browse, but there’s no way in hell I’d ever buy a single thing in there for what they’re asking. Clearly somebody is gullible enough, though.

      • A lot of people have a lot more money than [you] do. As such, people see “value” in starkly different terms.

        • THIS – I’m not exactly making wall street money, but I’ve certainly had my eye on a $75 le labo candle since smelling it in their Soho shop.

          Also, this: some people spend $100+ a weekend on booze, others drink table water and buy a fancy f#cking candle once or twice a year…to each his/her own, mate

          • justinbc

            +1, this is an absurdly wealthy town. It’s not Beverly Hills or Manhattan level, but let’s not kid ourselves on the amount of expendable income available to residents here.

          • And here I go thinking that people only drank perfume out of necessity, but low and behold – it’s now a hobby for the well-heeled? Guess I’ll try anything once…

      • justinbc

        I’ve bought many things in there. Color me gullible.

      • My GF and I walked through Shinola last weekend for the first time and we laughed and laughed and laughed.
        Is anyone actually buying an “old timey” 1920’s style leather basketball or football?

        • i’m sorry, did you miss all the WATCHES…that people ARE buying?

          I mean, I don’t personally go in for Shinola watches, but they certainly aren’t an “old timey football and basketball store…” who gives a sh!t if 2% of their product line doesn’t appeal to you?

          • You mean the re-branded Fossil watches that people are paying big bucks for at Shinola? OK then.
            (ya’ll realize that Shinola is owned and manufactured by the Fossil holding company, right?)

          • Blue Peter- do a little more research on the watches and get back to us. I was all about it too at first, especially since it’s “made in Detroit” (grew up there). But digging deeper…anonymous’ comment pretty much nails it.

          • thanks, hoodley park – I do my research and have a hobby in watches, mostly vintage seikos. I know that shinola’s quartz movements and fossil-esque gaudy aesthetics are mostly marketing and not much quality, hence “I don’t personally go in for shinola watches.” point was more about the store being a “watch shop” not an old timey leather football/basketball shop.

            as you were

        • justinbc

          As someone who actually would buy an “old timey” leather football, I have to say I would probably do so from a reputable vendor actually selling the antique item, rather than one designed to look vintage. (I haven’t been in Shinola, so I don’t know whether their wares are genuine or fabricated)

        • They are gonna have to sell a lot of something to pay for that space. The old “wrestling” building next to Barcelona is supposed to be a J Crew. That seems to make more sense.

  • Is everyone mad that they can now get stylish $19 ties? I mean, do some homework before posting. (not all are skinny, they have pretty much every tie pattern imaginable in most thicknesses, bow ties, and pocket squares. As someone who shops online at the tie bar a lot, this is a great addition to the city for me. Super cheap, and can try on a bunch of stuff. Win win.

    • Right there with you. I didn’t even know they were opening up here in DC! They’ve been my go-to for ties for a few years now.

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