You wouldn’t recognize the new Hawk ‘n’ Dove.
The restaurant that reopened on Pennsylvania Avenue SE in mid-January bears no resemblance to the beloved Capitol Hill dive that occupied the same address from 1967 to 2011. Cobbled together from three adjacent buildings, it was a dark, rambling collection of rooms, bars, fireplaces and acrid scents. Its happy hours, which specialized in dirt-cheap beer and free food, sustained generations of interns and Hill staffers.
All that changed when Xavier Cervera purchased the bar in 2011. That October, he closed the Hawk ‘n’ Dove for 14 months for a $2 million renovation. Construction crews tore down walls and removed the upper floor. They added windows to the second level and French doors adjoining the sidewalk patio. Other dramatic additions include a 40-foot bar and a mezzanine with an extra bar, working fireplace and stage for live music.
The result, with 18-foot ceilings, chandeliers and 18 microbrew taps, seems like a new place altogether. The old sign still hangs in the back, and many of the old bar’s antique signs and taxidermied heads adorn the walls. But now it’s a clean, wide-open restaurant with brick-oven flatbread pizzas, comfortable bar stools and politically themed art.