It was about 3:30 yesterday morning, Eastern time, when CNN anchor Bernard Shaw, live via telephone from Baghdad, began talking about his favorite Washington bar. According to those who heard him, Shaw seemed to be rambling, and in serious need of some sleep after hours of hearing bombs explode and jets pass overhead.

Still, it was a nice gesture.

"He comes in almost every night after work. This is his outlet," said Bobby Boyd last night inside his bustling Northwest nightclub, Takoma Station Tavern, now known the world over, presumably, as Bernard Shaw's favorite spot. "He lives right around the corner," Boyd said. "Everybody in here, damn near, knows him."

A Time magazine article on Shaw is framed and hanging prominently behind the bar. Inside these tasteful brick walls, the anchor is called "Bernie." "And they better not {mess} with him over there, either," said piano player Doug Carn, looking like he meant business.

Shaw is quite a jazz fan, Boyd said. "He's a Chicago boy, born and raised in that idiom, like I was. And it's relaxing to him."

Tim Sanders of Silver Spring, a Takoma Station regular, described Shaw as "a real mellow guy. You wouldn't know he was a celebrity if you didn't recognize him."

"When Bernie comes in, he just has a drink and enjoys the place, just like a regular guy," said Bryant Pegram of Northeast, another regular, who happened to hear Shaw's on-air mention. "I thought it was a good plug for the club." As a reservist himself, Pegram added, he was empathetic. "{Shaw} was under extreme stress. He was there for the initial bombing. So I could really understand how he wanted to be home instead of on the ninth floor of a hotel in Baghdad."

Bobby Boyd was awakened early yesterday morning by a call from his son Michael, who happened to be watching CNN inside the club, having just finished cleaning up. Boyd was flattered by the mention, he said, but not surprised. "Every time he's interviewed, he mentions us ... if someone asks him what he does in his leisure time," he said with a smile.

Boyd has known Shaw, he said, since he opened an ice cream parlor in the neighborhood eight years ago. Shaw's wife used to bring their two children in for a treat. Boyd and Shaw became close after the death of Boyd's oldest son, Bobby, of a heart ailment in 1988. Shaw, who had known Bobby well, eulogized him at the club.

"I hope he's going to be okay," said Michael Boyd. "I was worried when I heard he was over there." The elder Boyd promises a coming-home party upon Shaw's return.

CNN, by the way, wasn't on Takoma Station's television sets last night. There was basketball, courtesy of Home Team Sports. There wasn't much of a mood of war in the place at all, the crowd of young black professionals savoring a sharp jazz trio.

Bobby Boyd said he'd had CNN on all day, but "we got sick of watching the war."