Young and Hungry

What Should Become Of Shaw’s Tavern?

The city's formal denial of Shaw's Tavern operator Abbas Fathi's application to serve booze would seem the fatal blow to this greatly anticipated but badly managed concept. Now, what will become of the shuttered restaurant space?

Presumably, another restaurateur (preferably, one with a better track record with the liquor agency) could come in, take over the lease and apply for his or her own license. Y&H knows of at least one experienced manager who is looking for space in that very vicinity.

That's assuming Fathi would be willing to part with his attractive perch there at the corner of Florida Avenue and 5th Street NW.

Otherwise, the current operator, deemed "unfit for licensure" on account of various regulatory violations, would need to come up with a whole new business plan—one that doesn't involve booze. One idea already being floated: a coffee shop.

Another possibility: the existing location already boasts a fancy-schmancy pizza oven, so maybe an artisanal pie place could work in that space. Then again, that concept is quite played-out already. And the place would have to compete with nearby Rustik, which, of course, has a distinctive upper-hand. Beer and wine flow freely at that location.

What do you think should become of the District's most drama-plagued location of the year?

Photo by Chris Shott

  • meanteeth

    Would a coffee house with wifi really cut into Big Bear's business?

  • Jane

    Something. Anything. Just don't close it down! I was so impressed with how beautiful Shaw's Tavern was when I went there. Also, Rustik Tavern isn't quite as good as it used to be (although I still like it).

    Anything that cuts into Big Bear's business is OK with me.

  • BloomingdaleC

    I think this needs to go to a new owner, and perhaps get a new name that isn't so soiled. A coffee shop would be a little lackluster in my opinion, though I agree with Jane that Big Bear could use some competition - their prices are pretty insane. I think something even a little more down to earth than the original Shaw's Tavern would be nice for local residents (me!).

  • Opinionated Guy

    Well, I hope that that the former Brasserie Beck dude doesn't take over. That place is/was overpriced, pretentious, and utterly devoid of customer service.

  • eli

    i think they put too much money into the tavern for a coffee shop to be profitable. looks like they need to sell to me.

  • Shenanigans

    A coffee shop could work and will work, providing to supply the public with good quality and original food. Especially the breakfast and brunch menu. It's something that is very much lacking in the area.

    Big Bear provides bagels, but they always run out of normal things like TOMATOE??!!! What kind of kitchen are you running?

    It's not hard to run a good place, all you need is a soft and relaxed atmosphere with good and simple decor. Go timber floors with timber tables and chairs, drop lighting and you're there. Follow that up with a good barrista and good coffee and you're 60% there.

    If you were going to sell booze, then specialize. Like a Vodka bar, serving 8- different types of vodka followed by boutique beers from the Eastern block or something like that. There's such a luck of culinary vision in DC. Big bear barely does it, yet everyone goes there.

    I wonder what would happen if someone wondered........just a little

  • Shenanigans

    I meant, 80 types of vodka, no 8 wouldn't do it at all now would it!