Shaw’s Tavern Opening Tonight (Without Alcohol)

by Prince Of Petworth July 29, 2011 at 10:30 am 58 Comments

Thanks to all who’ve written in about the opening Shaw’s Tavern at 520 Florida Avenue NW. Last we heard they would be opening at some point. At the risk of being lectured that I don’t know what the F*** I’m talking about – allow me to share a brief update: A message on their Facebook page says:

“Shaw’s Tavern is officially opening Friday July 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm. Chef John Cochran will be preparing some amazing meals for any and all who want to stop by. Unfortunately, due to a miscommunication with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration we will not be allowed to sell alcohol on the premises for a week or so. I invite everyone to stop by.”

  • Anon

    temporary BYOB?

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Unfortunately not possible. Also from their facebook page:

      “Unfortunately BYOB is not allowed either as I understand it. Hopefully the whole issue will be resolved next week and we can offer a full bar menu in addition to our amazing food.”

  • Bloomingdale

    Hey POP Reach out to Steve May today and see if you get get a sample menu to post here so I can plan my evening meal.
    : )

    • Vu~

      Here’s the menu although I don’t know if it’s up-to-date:

      I have my eyes on Soft Shell Crab with Leek Beet and Fresh Sorrel Salad then Rockfish with Black Rice, Collard Greens and Roasted Beets :)

  • Jeremy

    Just wondering – how do you have a “miscommunication” with the ABRA? @Shaw’s – are you sure you did the paperwork right?

    And no alcohol for a “week or so” really?!

    • anon

      They didn’t grease the right palms.

    • Veronika

      really. relax, you’ll get your booze next week. try to control the shakes until then. patience is a virtue.

      • Jeremy

        Wow, Veronika – I do (and I’m sure plenty of other people) have other places I can get booze. It’s just funny they think their “miscommunication” will be cleared up in a “week or so”

        • Veronika

          good. i’m glad you have other options. we’ll see if they’re on time

          • anon

            you kinda remind me of Kam.

          • ToCareNotTo

            Not Kam, but she is defiitely one of the biggies of the holier than thou Popsters types.

        • Kate

          I like Veronika!

    • Anonymous

      mis·com·mu·ni·cate   [mis-kuh-myoo-ni-keyt]
      verb (used with object), verb (used without object), -cat·ed, -cat·ing.
      to communicate mistakenly, unclearly, or inadequately. or not at all.

      mis·com·mu·ni·ca·tion, noun. to avoid communicating with ABRA concerning their desire to obtain a liquor license. The procrastination of the application process.

      to not take responsibility.

      • Anonymous

        Love the guy who always quotes the dictionary, complete with pronunciation guides in case someone wants to talk to their computer screen.

    • Developer

      Have you ever dealt with the city before? Sadly, very common to have broken promises on deadlines/reviews/inspections.

  • Anonymous

    what’s the point of opening now?

    • Jess


    • LK

      Maybe they ordered their food shipments before they knew they wouldn’t be able to serve alcohol and don’t want it to go to waste? Agreed that it sounds weird to open a “tavern” with no alcohol, but hopefully having any kind of opening will spark interest and start drawing people in.

      • Anon

        Hope they have used up the food that was for the July 1 opening, the July 14 opening, and last weeks opening – food spoils in this heat!

    • Kev29


  • Anon

    A “miscommunication” with ABRA means these folks F’ed up somehow. Goodness, the saga continues. They simply cant take responsibility for their own missed deadlines or even just chalk it up to things taking longer than anticipated… its always the community, the bureaucracy, the city, ANYTHING except “things are taking longer than we would like”.

    These guys should take cues from the Boundary Stone folks on how to manage expectations and communicate.

    Best part is, the shaws/ec12 folks act like they’re doing the community a favor by opening up!! ugh.

    I really want this place to be a success, but this stuff is really grating.

    • ess

      I like how people are assuming that ABRA gets everything right and that a DC govt. agency could not have lost paperwork, given out misleading info, etc. I don’t know anything about the owners or the situation, so I have no idea who caused the problem. But I wouldn’t just assume ABRA did everything perfectly.

    • Jeremy


    • Devoe

      Umm, no, the fictitious and likely fallacious attitude that you impute to these people is “really grating” – all the Shaw’s tavern people said was that there was a “miscommunication” – your average grumpy misanthrope would be challenged to read much negativity into this statement – which means you, sir, are above average, congrats!

      • Anon

        Cool, fictitious and likely fallacious about their attitude?

        How is this for attitude? http://www.enginecompany12.com/Documents/Engine_Company_12_Community.rtf

        They wrote that letter before they even APPLIED for a liquor license.

        But yeah, I guess I’m the grumpy misanthrope. I should just accept whatever someone says because they’re doing me a favor by opening a restaurant, right?

      • Anonymous

        I don’t think an attitude can be either fictitious or fallacious.

      • EB

        Oooo, congflagrated!


      • Bryan

        More importantly, who cares? They’re open or they’re not. Unless you had reservations there for next week with an alcoholic client who MUST have drinks, just go somewhere else. Why are we having this conversation?

  • Rick

    How come they never finished the building? The part around the top with holes in it looks like crap, unlike the rest of the place, which looks gorgeous. I’m guessing it was worked on by short people and/or nearsighted people who just never noticed.

    • Anonymous

      yeah, all the 19-foot tall contractors must have been booked.

    • Veronika

      would you rather what was there before? can you just give kudos that the place is OPENING unlike Engine 12 which still looks like it’s a good 6 months from swinging its doors..

      • CA

        Same people…It really drives me crazy that they never finish a project.

  • Austin DC

    No worries! I’ll just show up drunk.

    • Bill W

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who had this thought.

    • Bryan


  • J

    Living across the road makes think of setting up a keg of DC Brau and selling all-you-can-drink bracelets.

  • Shaw Parent

    Seriously don’t understand the hate here. Getting it open as soon as they have a COA makes sense to me, even if the plan was originally opening w/alcohol.

  • Anonymous

    Head chef Johnny Cochran?


  • Anonymous

    I don’t think that letter is SO awful… geez, “grumpy misanthrope” is nice. I’d just call you an ass.

    If you’re so opposed to them, don’t go. Problem solved.

  • Eric in Ledroit

    if you don’t understand the hate you haven’t been tracking the multi-year saga of brian brown and his associates in this area.

    • H Street Landlord


  • o2bncdg

    Actually it’s probably better to have a week or so without the full bar. Let the place shake out, see how things run. Focus on quality food and service. Let the alcohol come later. If you serve it, they will come.

  • 20001dc

    You usually have no idea when your actual license is going to be handed to you. Most places wait til they have it in hand to set an opening date. But some don’t or can’y afford to, they have to pay rent. They may have and probably did give their employees a start date based on a guess.
    It also doesn’t hurt to get a week or two under the belt learning the menu etc. The service will probably be better off in the long run having to concentrate on just food for the first couple weeks.

    • victoria

      Having no idea when your actual license is going to be “handed to you” is evidence of an inexcusably dysfunctional government. A delayed permit is the same thing as levying a huge extra tax only with no accountability.

      I was “fined” $1,500.00 dollars a few years ago because DC screwed up inspections for a rental unit – delaying me a month. I would rather have paid an extra $500.00 “fee.” DC govt. needs to promise results by a certain date and have to pay all expenses if they fail.

      • Anonymous

        does it take any business longer than 45 days to get their license?

  • Anonymous

    Could they give away alcohol? that way the alcoholics will still show up.

  • Gregg

    At Shaw’s Tavern right now. No booze, but the pizza is good.

  • Petworthy

    This is what I love about DC. An innocuous blog post about a restaurant, and most of the comments are snide barbs to other commenters. We really hate each other, don’t we?

    • victoria

      No – it’s just you.

  • alexandrajane10

    My boyfriend and I just returned from Shaw’s Tavern. On a scale of 1-10, we both agreed upon a “5” rating. The pizza although bland, was very fresh and the crust was quite good. The pizza lacked garlic and oregano and therefore would benefit from more toppings and spices.

    The prices were quite fair considering the freshness of the raw product.

    We appreciated the intended of the layout and architecture but the execution of it was poor: minimal paths through which to maneuver, over-sized communal high-top tables and the restrooms were immediately next to the dining area and kitchen. Guests could here the flushing of the toilets. The open kitchen although charming created a 15-20 degree temeprature difference from the front of the restaurant to the back. Most customers seated towards the back near the kitchen were visibly perspiring.

    This establishment has tremendous potential though and we do intend on returning in the fall with the sincere hope of improvements in: service, some food items, dining room layout and the introduction of alcohol to their menu. Best of luck to them.

  • Bill B

    You’re too clever! Like a dog chasing monkeys! (You’ll have to think about one moron!)

    It is more likely a pissed off neighbor, or a DC official who didn’t get their greasy palms greased! “Outsiders” developing da hood and opening the first REAL restaurant in the LeDroit Park / Shaw neighorhood? Untolerable!!

    I lived in the PRC in the late 80’s & early 90’s. The Chinese Communist system has NOTHIN’ on the local DC government when it comes to socialist “connections” (repression) and palm greasing!

    They should spend equal time closing down unzoned, illegal FEDERAL HALFWAY HOUSES in the same neighborhood!! Federal ex-cons sleeping in YOUR neighborhood – unsupervised at nights!! Hmmmmm – but that’s a REAL problem that some other DC officials are getting THEIR kickbacks from – so that makes THIS issue untouchable.

    Get your heads out of your asses – you elitist, entitled idiots!!

    • Anonymous

      the committed fraud. that’s why they were denied a license.

      EVERYONE wants this place to open and they shot themselves in the foot.
      should we just give them a pass? where do you draw the line?

  • Bill B

    What restaurant have YOU opened? Your OWN money? Of course not! You’re an elitist snob who has nothing better to do than sit around and slag off others who are actually out there “doing”!

    Or maybe a competitor jealous that you didn’t have the brains, foresight, or gonads to do something about it!

    • Anon

      Bill b: so you think a restaurant breaks the rules and the law should be allowed to open? What happens when they start breaking the health code, too?

  • Anonymous

    Shaw’s Tavern Closing (Without Alcohol)


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