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Shaw’s Tavern Coming to 520 Florida Ave, NW Hopes to Open in June

by Prince Of Petworth March 23, 2011 at 11:30 am 49 Comments

“Dear PoP,

Any news about the commercial spot at 512-520 florida ave, NW Between 6th and 5th?? Everything I read back in September sounded like it was going to have something by the new year! I’m dying to know what ends up there!”

Last night @LeDroitParkDC tweeted:

“Shaw’s Tavern at 520 FL Ave NW scheduled to open in June. Wood oven pizza, pastas & tavern classics on the menu.”

Left for LeDroit shares a floor plan and writes:

The restaurant, slated to open in mid-June, will seat 65 – 70 people inside and 15 – 18 people on a sidewalk patio on the 6th Street front. On Florida Avenue near the eastern end of the building, the restaurant will feature a special door just for take-out pizza orders.

Inside, however, the restaurant will feature a variety of entrées priced from $12 – $18.  Mr. May distributed a tentative menu.

Left for LeDroit wrote earlier in the week:

“we are told it will be similar to Clarendon’s Liberty Tavern”

Anyone ever been to Liberty Tavern?

More updates as progress continues on the space.

  • MSF

    Awesome! Opening (theoretically) just as I’ll be moving to Shaw.

    • Awesome! Opening (theoretically) just as I’ll be moving out of LeDroit Park.

  • Thomas H


  • Andy

    This is great! I just moved from Clarendon a few months ago so I’ve been to Liberty Tavern quite a few times. Hopefully this will be slightly less cramped and have a better mix of people (not 100% yuppie).

    So excited to see Shaw starting to come alive!

  • NM

    If this turns out to be like Liberty Tavern it will be great for the area.

  • Polytasker

    Wow, the menu looks great. I live a couple blocks away, and really look forward to trying it!

  • Devoe

    I know nothing about Liberty Tavern other than Yelp reviews. Seems like it would be nothing but good for the hood, but what is the basis for the comparison to Liberty Tavern? Will the management team be the same? or this just an assertion of the owners?

  • houseintherear


  • Tim

    I was disappointed to see the curb at the front door when I drove by the other day. The exterior looks amazing, but I can’t imagine how an accessible entrance was overlooked with such an extensive renov. If the owners are reading this, please ramp that before you open. We need more accessible bars/restaurants in DC. Thanks.

  • Charlie Jones

    how’s the bar at liberty? i live around the corner in shaw and would love a hyper local place to grab a drink

  • fl

    That menu looks phenominal and I could not be more excited for this to open. When I first moved to U St, I found myself typically walking West to get to restaurants and bars. I’m really enjoying the fact that in the past year I’ve had more and more reasons to walk East.

  • Devoe

    Also, mark my words, the development at NoMa and U Street is going to link up via the Fl. Ave. corridor from 9th st NW to N. Cap. Evidence is as follows – Howard Theater, Zee’s Restaurant, Shaw’s Tavern, Big Bear, N. Cap Firehouse Restaurant, 50 Fl. Ave. NE Condos – these are all built or being built soon – leaves some gaps, but large parcel on south side of Fl. Ave btwn 9th and 7th Streets NW sold for millions, and it seems every month another new building on Fl. Ave gets rehabbed.

    • Anonymous

      The real gem, retail-wise, will be at 8th and Florida. It’s a cafe/coffehouse and bar combo coming in called “The Independent”.

      • I’m constantly on the hunt for details about the independent. Do you have any? Like an opening date, website, etc.?

      • Anonymous

        why will that be more important than anything else going on?

    • Anonymous

      I totally agree. That stretch of road is really primed for development. I also expect that within two years or so, we can expect to see a major commercial tenant go into that Douglas Development property at the corner of 7th & Florida that is sitting vacant (because we all know Douglas will only rent to big name chains). With all the development going on around it, it’s only a matter of time before someone decides to invest. That intersection has all the infrastructure in place (great buildings that look good) to be a great one, but what is currently occupying (or not occupying it) makes it incredibly obnoxious.

      • C Money

        Yeah, but we all thought this would happen on 14th St between U Street and Columbia Heights, especially with DCUSA up and running. Now we have more big overpriced apartments and condos but not the retail/dining options that should go with them! Maybe it will happen for you guys down on FL Ave, but don’t think it will be all that soon.

        • Tres

          I think the game to play when trying to predict retail development is look at the stock: are there vacant lots, dilapidated buildings, or abandoned/ailing storefronts? If so, expect development. If you’re thinking long, long term, I think then you can make a purely geographic prediction.

          Florida is ripe. North Cap is ready. I think 7th has lots of potential, but maybe there will be a small dead zone between 7th/Fl and 7th/N. That’d mimic what happened on 14th, with the Section 8 sort of breaking up the development.

        • Kev29

          Large scale developments like DCUSA don’t help spark diverse restaurant scenes – and in a lot of instances they help discourage them. I don’t think that Columbia Heights and this portion of Shaw/LeDroit have that much in common – other than being generally “neighborhoods in transition”.

          Columbia Heights reminds me more of Silver Spring. A monster development, which led to the recruitment of corporate chain restaurants that could pay the rent. Smaller, more interesting restaurants were pushed to the periphery. South Silver Spring – or the eastern portion of Columbia Heights (11th St). NoMa looks to be heading in this direction too, monster developments and rents leading to restaurant turnover.

          • Tres

            Right. The density in CH precludes development nearby. I don’t think there’s any demand for retail between U and CH. If you live on 14th, you walk north or south for 5 – 10 minutes, and you’re in two of the most developed parts of non downtown lower NW. Does there really need to be retail options closer than that? How would they survive so close to an abundance of other options, each with a vastly superior location.

            Meanwhile, Florida has the capacity, the demand. There’s nothing there now, and yet there’s been an influx of disposable income types nearby. Ripe.

        • fl

          I don’t think it will happen overnight, but I think it will happen at least as quickly as it is occurring between U St and CH on 14th. As someone said, the infrastructure is there for places to do a quick remodel and move in. You see tons of new places slated to open up on the small scale in terms of restaurants and cafes and the development isn’t relying on the inclusion of any massive development sites (although the big projects that are planned for the area, like the thing over the Shaw metro and the parcel between 9th & 7th, will only help).

          I don’t want to place too much importance on any one venture, but I think what will really anchor the area will be The Brixton at 9th & U. Already the 900 block of U St has begun filling in nicely and with that major corner of the intersection taken up by something that will undoubtedly be very popular and visually appealing (at least more so than an abandoned building), it will further extend what many people consider to be the truly “gentrified” portion of U St Eastward a couple of blocks.

    • Tres


    • Anonymous

      the so called Florida Mile will definitely redevelop and link u to noma. but it will be a long time. big projects will be the condos at 50 florida that you mentioned, the empty lots across the street, the lot at north cap and florida, the lots north cap/florida/q, the entire “FRINJ” intersection. that’s a lot to hoe, but someday.

      • Anonymous

        I think that it will be a long time before it becomes fully developed, but I think it will only be a year or so before you start to see a pretty distinctive change in the strip. Restaurants and cafes to serve the neighborhood are huge assets for real estate in an area that already is getting a lot of attention for young, educated homebuyers with disposable income looking to buy in the city. I don’t think it will be the giant commercial corridor that 14th is, but that’s kind of the point. Instead, it will probably be something along the lines of the development you see in parts of Cap Hill.

        • eastof9

          I agree with the second post. The development just north along RI is important too — e.g., Rustik, the awesome Yoga District, and the incoming Boundary Stone. The point to me is not full development like 14th St., but enough development to serve the many needs of this great neighborhood.

          • ecktoplasm

            just to make it less desolate to walk around at night is all i really want. i walk from north capitol to u street about once a week for the past 8 years. every week i’ve noticed some improvement or another on that route. it is slowly becoming a pleasant walk. less trash. fewer drunks harassing me, fewer people pissing on walls or the sidewalk. more flowers and renovated buildings, more parents not screaming at their children. fewer people that say “fuck you” when you say hi to them.

            and first street where rustik and the yoga place are? unbelievable changes.

  • JayCee

    Any idea what the beer situation will be like? Menu looks great!

    • Kev29

      Liberty Tavern beers…

      TAP BEER
      Bell’s Winter White (5.0 % Alc) 5.50
      Stella Artois (5.2 % Alc) 5
      Magic Hat #9 (4.6 % Alc) 5
      Dales Pale Ale (6.5 % Alc) 5
      Brooklyn Lager (5.2 % Alc) 5.50
      Miller Light (4.2 % Alc) 4
      Budweiser (5.0 % Alc) 3.50
      Seasonal Selections MKT

      Delirium Tremens (8.5 % Alc) 8
      Kasteel Rouge Belgian Triple with Cherries (8.0 % Alc) 8
      Blackthorn Cider (5.0 % Alc) 6
      Staropromen Premium Lager (5.0 % Alc) 6
      Tilburg Dutch Brown (5.0 % Alc) 6.5
      Seasonal MKT

      • JayCee

        I’m still not sure what they mean by the comparison with Liberty (never been there), but I hope they don’t emulate the beer selection.

        • Kev29

          The sample food menu is very similar to Liberty Tavern – so I imagine the beer selections will be similar if not exact. A few micros, a couple macros, stronger stuff in bottles.

      • LeDroit/Bloomingdale Resident

        They better carry DC BRAU too if they know what’s good for them. :-)

  • discount sushi

    I’m excited to see that this will be a restaurant and bar. I still miss Pyramids.

    • Anonymous

      go to red toque. its better food and nicer inside.

  • DR

    This is the most exciting thing to hit Shaw since….well, ever. The neighborhood has really hit its stride. Take note O St. Market and Wonder Bread Factory.

    • Poplar

      Yeah, because you’ve been living in Shaw for forever? There’s been tons of greater things happening to Shaw than a silly tavern/restaurant.

      • DR

        Not forever, just 10 years. So let me correct my statement: this is the best thing to hit Shaw since Duke Ellington.

  • Poplar

    $12-$18 for a meal. Way to disenfranchise a good amount of this neighborhood’s population.

    • Tobin

      So you would prefer McDonald’s???

      • houseintherear

        calm the f down, Poplar.

    • Anonymous

      i know i started my business for the sole purpose of disenfranchising people that couldn’t afford my services. that’s why most business exists, right?

    • Devoe

      Yes, because charging more than 10 bucks for a meal clearly deprives people of the right to vote.

    • LeDroit/Bloomingdale Resident

      What are the demographics exactly. The cheap corner marts don’t appeal to me, and there are plenty of those…so I don’t think anyone is being left out…

    • Chris

      Poplar – do you REALLY think that a sit-down restaurant can survive with cheaper prices in DC? Even McDonalds is about $6 for a meal – and that’s with MASS production and not even real meat! Popey’s – a local favorite is about $8-10 for a meal.

      At the same time, I do share some shock at the way prices have changed in the last 10 years, but it doesn’t look like that can/will change in a prominent city like Washington especially given inflation and the change in logistics/transportation, agriculture and other general overhead costs.

      The bright side is we’ll have more foot traffic and less chance for crime on that strip!

  • CA

    Awesome news!

    I drove through DC this past weekend with my mother who grew up on The Hill in the 50’s and like most middle class families, her’s fled to the burbs in the 60’s. As most point out she could not get over how much this town has changed since the 90’s after its 30 year demise, from H Street NE/U Street NW, to now. The more obvious shock was how much has changed in the last 3 years as the country has been in its largest recession since the Great Depression.

    DC is going to be a whole new place in 30 years…I might even start believing that the “trolley” might make its grand plan a reality and stretch over to Shaw’s Tavern eventually.

  • n cap.

    this is the same restauranteur for the firehouse on north capitol “EC-12”

  • eastof9

    I’m SO EXCITED! A restaurant for LeDroit – yay! I can’t wait for this to open. I’ve been to Liberty several times, and it’s a great spot. Shaw’s Tavern can’t get here soon enough!

  • Anonymous

    I hope they’re somehow affiliated with Liberty Tavern, because they basically just put their name on Liberty Tavern’s winter menu…



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