Dear PoPville – Anyone Hear When Shaw’s Tavern Will Get Their Liquor License?

by Prince Of Petworth April 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm 39 Comments

Dear PoPville,

Any news on Shaw’s Tavern? They have an ABRA hearing poster that says their hearing was supposed to be on the 12th, but they sure aren’t serving alcohol still, and nothing on ABRA’s website that I could find. When I asked them, they said they are still “going back and forth.”

Hmm, last week they tweeted:

“Dear Friends, Please mind our new operation hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-4pm Sat & Sun: 9am-4pm”

Anyone else hear an update?

We recently judged their brunch here.

Shaw’s Tavern is located at 520 Florida Ave, NW.

  • Identified

    I believe it is going to be: Never.

    • Anonymous

      Do you know something or are you just being negative? I hope it’s soon – Shaws is a great place with great food, and it has new management now. It’s a wonderful addition to the neighborhood and to dc, so I hope it gets the license it likely needs to survive.

      • dentified

        I know nothing.

        And it’s not negative, it’s sarcastic. You do know sarcasm right?

        If so interested, why don’t people call the owners – or ask when they go to this awesome place, and not ask a blog?? I would assume the NEW owners would know when (or if ever) they will be graced with a license.

        • If they knew, and it didn’t look good, why would they tell us?

        • anonymous

          I know that sarcasm is the lowest, easiest form of humor. So great post

          • Identified

            Well then anonymous, looks like you fit right in here. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, but what gives with closing @ 4pm? Maybe they don’t have a liquor license, but hey, people still eat out for dinner!

    • JohnDC

      I tried to stop in for dinner too this weekend and was disappointed it was closed. The place next-door was bumping.

  • Anonymous

    Went yesterday for brunch (which was great) and asked the same thing. The server didn’t know.

  • Brian Kraft

    Forget the liquor license. What they really need is a cornice.

    • eric_in_ledroit

      here here!

    • This again? What they need is to bribe somebody on ABRA.

      • Anonymous

        Right, because screwing around with ABRA worked so well the last time around.

  • sarah

    i’ve been a couple times for brunch and yesterday was probably the best so far. seriously: GET THEIR FRIED PICKLES. not on the written menu, but you can ask for them. AMAZING. yeah eagerly awaiting a liquor license/dinner service from them.

  • Anonymous

    It’s unfair of the city to penalize the current owners for a prior owner’s trangressions. It actually makes no sense from a legal standpoint. The physical space should not be forever associated with an infraction.

    • Not everything in the world happens under the “instant gratification” mantra. Their application isn’t taking any longer than anyone elses.

      Despite what you think, getting a liquor license isn’t like going down tot eh DMV with a cellphone bill in hand to prove residency. There (rightfully so) is a process.

      • AP


      • Anonymous

        Ha! Never seen the DMV used as an example of an easy, efficient process…

        • Anonymous

          dc dmv is pretty efficient.

      • Neil

        Review of the stipulated license for Shaw’s Tavern was on the ABC board agenda for March 14, 2012. The ANC has already written a letter supporting the stipulated license. Two and a half weeks later, it appears they are still waiting. I guess people can draw their own conclusions.

    • Anonymous

      How do you know the city is penalizing this place? New owners probably meant the permit/licencing process – which takes a long time – has to start anew. Don’t be so quick to assume when you probably don’t know the full story. :)

  • Joe

    I love how government loving liberals think that it is perfectly normal for DC government to take their time while making the business suffer. Why is not like getting your DL? If owners of the business have no prior violations and business location is properly zoned. The process should not take longer than 10 days. But again, in DC and the job of the local government is business prevention.

    • Anonymous

      You clearly know nothing of the process. Rage on brother! Lame.

    • Anonymous

      you lost me at “government loving liberals”.

      • ET


    • Yeah, because liquor licensing only happens in those silly “blue” voting areas.

      Congrats…you just won the most laughable post of the day.

      And for the record, no one forced these people to open, take on a payroll and operating expenditures without a liquor license. They could have simply waited until it was issued before opening their doors, rather than opening and running in the red on purpose.

  • Also Shaw

    I can’t say this for certain, but twice in the past two months I’ve seen someone that looks a lot like Steve May in Shaw’s Tavern. Am I positive it was him? No. Do I think it was? Yes.

    I’m a big supporter of Shaw’s and very hopeful they get a liquor license soon, but the specter of May in the restaurant can’t be reassuring to the city. I suspect the city is trying to confirm that the new ownership and management is truly independent of the old, a tricky claim since the old owner still owns the building, even if he supposedly has nothing to do with the establishment itself.

    • Neil

      I get that May screwed up bigtime and the city doesn’t want him associated with the restaurant. That’s understandable. But let’s be real here, it’s not like someone was shot or even like they were running some kind of corrupt scam. They served alcohol at a pre-opening charity event! I mean is there a point where being absolutely sure the old ownership is 100% out of the picture is worth potentially wrecking any business’s opportunity for success in this space? It’s pretty obvious that the community is comfortable with the place and anxious for it to be operating full time, so whose interests exactly is the ABC board supposed to be serving here?

      • Anonymous

        You conveniently left out the fact that the “old ownership” forged documents.

        • Neil

          Yes, you’re absolutely right, May forged a document to serve alcohol at a charity event pre-opening. Obviously, this is a monstrous crime which merited all of the original staff losing their jobs and an indefinite holdup for any new management foolish enough to ever try to open a viable business in this location. Maybe you could board up the windows again when you’re done.

      • anon

        THE LAW dear apologist Neil. Steve May forged documents. If he is in any way involved, the new owners can kiss their hopes of getting a license goodbye, and from the posts below, he is most definitely still involved.

        Forgery is a crime… why he is not in jail is beyond me, but I will be quite fine if they deny the liquor license to a man who broke the law.

        White collar crime is still crime.

        • Neil

          So to be clear, avenging angel anonymous, if a business that employed you had a manager who committed a white collar crime, you’d be perfectly fine with the business being essentially shut down as retribution? Even if the manager was no longer running the business? You really think ensuring that a successful restaurant cannot be run in this location is the best way to punish May? It sounds like you have a personal problem with May, not a rational argument.

          • Anon

            Dear Apologist-for-Crime-Neil,

            according to actual sightings, May has been at this location on multiple occasions since they have soft-opened. Which is why this is going to take longer – the board is NOT convinced that the owner/manager that committed the CRIME is still not actively involved in the business.

            Also: a manager committed FORGERY. Yes, that is enough to close a business. That is the law. that is not retribution. Violate the law, suffer the penalty

            “I mean is there a point where being absolutely sure the old ownership is 100% out of the picture is worth potentially wrecking any business’s opportunity for success in this space?”
            Yes, it is. If there is ANY involvement by the old owner or manager – who committed a crime, then they should deny the license.

            Stop being an apologist for criminal behavior. You can buy a burger and beer at many other locations in the city. I have nothing against anyone.. except criminals who think they are above the law.

  • john

    Steven May is always there for sure he is there right now as we speak. The new ownership is different from the old but the fact that Steven May still comes there this place will never get a license. He is the KARMA of this place and I just dont know why they keep letting him come there. The city I beleive because of May still involved in that building in some form have turned a blind eye suspecting foul play in this transition. Call 911 if you see him he is wanted in my neighborhood for the nasty comments on my neighbors about Engine Company 12 restaurant on north capital. LOL

    • Anonymous

      how the fcuk is he still involved? and what’s going on with that firehouse?

  • just to be clear

    they didn’t sell the property, just management of the restaurant. the property is still owned by may’s boss.

  • The ABRA website docs state that the matter was referred to ABRA legal (presumably agency counsel) by a 5-0 vote of the members. So it is likely still in that stage.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks all for the info. If Mr. May is still involved, and I thought I saw him too the other day, then they probably won’t get their license. As a matter of fact, if he is still involved they are probably trying to scam the ABRA.

  • Erich

    According to Alex Padro, ANC 2C01 Commissioner:

    “The DC Alcoholic Beverage Control Board approved Shaw’s Tavern’s license on Wednesday, April 4, 2012. The owners must submit additional documents, following which, the license will be issued.”


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