Shaw’s Tavern is finally a tavern in more than name only. The bar at Sixth Street and Florida Avenue NW gained notoriety before its grand opening last summer: Bar staff were accused of forging documents in order to purchase alcoholic beverages, which were then served to the public at two events, before Shaw’s liquor license had been approved. The tavern’s liquor license was suspended in early August. Shaw’s tried to make a go of it as a dry restaurant, which lasted less than a month before it closed.
Things just kept getting worse: In November the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration ruled that the owner of Shaw’s Tavern was “unfit for licensure.”
But all of that is in the past. Now under the ownership of Siya Sadeghi, Shaw’s reopened in February for breakfast and lunch. And last Friday, the tavern finally began serving booze. (Well, beer and wine for now; a full bar will be coming shortly, perhaps by the end of the week.)
There are eight beer taps with a strongly local flavor, including DC Brau’s Citizen and Public Pale Ale, Chocolate City’s Copper Ale and Flying Dog’s in Heat Wheat. (All of those are $7 a pint; of the other options, the most expensive beer is Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute IPA, at $10, and the cheapest is Duck Rabbit’s Milk Stout, at $6.) A half-dozen canned and bottled beers include Brooklyn Lager, 21st Amendment Back in Black (both $6) and Fat Tire ($8). No mass-produced beers are in evidence at all.
The arrival of alcohol coincides with extended hours and a dinner menu that includes flatbread topped with ham, sopressata, caramelized onions and thyme; an appetizer portion of andouille, crayfish and succotash; hanger steak; and barley risotto with spring vegetables. The portions seem on the small side, but we’re willing to be a little forgiving while the place is new. (Price points are $9 to $12 for appetizers and $12 to $18 for most flatbreads and entrees.) The kitchen is open until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; the bar stays open until midnight on Sunday, 12:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 2:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
With a large patio on Sixth Street, a cozy, couch-filled lounge and a good size bar area, it finally looks as if Shaw’s Tavern will live up to the potential it showed last summer. The price points may be a touch high for now — look for a happy hour to begin in a few weeks, once the dust settles — but it’s nice to be able to finally welcome Shaw’s Tavern and its bar back to the neighborhood.