The explosion of dining and retail in North End Shaw means a lot of things: new places to drink and dine before a 9:30 Club show; a more peaceful place to shop that has nothing in common with Georgetown; and an artist’s row that tickles DC’s creative side. The neighborhood, its fabricated name drawing the occasional eye roll, is anchored by two main buildings: The Shay at 8th and U Street NW and Atlantic Plumbing at 8th and V Street NW. Here’s where to shop, what to do, and where to eat in this buzzy urban space that bleeds cool, developed in large part by The JBG Companies.
1921 8th St NW
If a Vineyard Vines-wearing dude grew up a little, ditched an internship for a real job, and learned to like Scotch, he’d be ready to graduate to Read Wall. The shop, pedaling both ready-to-wear men’s clothing and custom-made suits, is a modern man’s haberdashery inspired by big names with even bigger senses of style: JFK, Paul Newman, and James Dean, to name a few. Try to look past the fact that they self-brand as a “classy frat house” and price a white oxford at $155, because the tailoring is exquisite and knit ties make you the coolest guy at a wedding.
1924 8th St NW
Every once in a while, an adult happens upon a store that makes them feel like a kid in FAO Schwarz. Chrome is one of them, especially if you’re anything from an amateur urban cyclist to a dedicated (but hopefully not entitled) bike commuter. There are so many bomb-proof, military-grade bags to tinker with, plus functional clothing and clip-less bike shoes that are passable as street shoes, too. To maximize your Chrome experience, order a custom bag and watch it get made right in front of you, starting at $140. We dig the recycled dry cleaning rack they use to circle the bags and the fact that they like to pass out free cans of PBR.
1921 8th St NW
Above all else, Kit & Ace proves you don’t have to be spoiled to appreciate cashmere and even wear it. The Vancouver clothier folds the high society wool into clothes you can work in, move in, and sleep in (read: you never have to take them off, and you won’t want to). Technical luxury, they call it. We call it so comfortable the day is won. The Shaw shop services both men and women by selling tees, button-ups, sweaters, jackets, pants, skirts, and beyond. Men can expect to pay $158-$198 for pants, but remember, they’re so functional you could spontaneously burst into a full-blown sprint at any time.
1924 8th St NW
Frank & Oak is a wallet-friendly menswear import from Montreal. Gingham shirts, aka your life uniform despite a nagging girlfriend who wants you to give sweaters a try, run $45, while you can score a whole suit for $150. There’s one catch. You have to board the slim-fit bandwagon. That’s right, the world has decided it wants to see the male form, not hide it behind busted pleats and boxy cuts. While some Frank & Oak locations have a café, the Shaw location ups the ante by having an in-house barber instead.
1924 8th St NW
New York-based Steven Alan is a good place for men and women to shop who love to name-drop designers. You know the type -- they wish the tag were on the outside. The carefully curated collection includes duds from Acne Studios, durable outerwear from Woolrich, jewelry from Maya Brenner Designs, and beyond. Stock up on everything from boots and bags to sunglasses and jeans, but expect to pay beaucoup bucks.
1924 8th St NW
Instant gratification used to be rare when it came to Warby Parker because you had to wait for frames to come in the mail. While that was fun, being able to hit a full-blown store is better. Especially when it’s a little spunky with artwork, independent books, and a photo booth to occupy that friend with 20/20 eyesight that you dragged along for face-framing advice. There’s even an onsite optometrist giving eye exams, which you should book online -- walk-ins can expect a wait.
807 V Street NW
Fancy a Scotch with your cinematic experience? Order the “Nothing Comes from Nothing” with Monkey Shoulder, Ardbeg, ginger-spiced syrup, and lemon juice, and then BRING IT WITH YOU into the movies. Same goes for bar bites, like crab cake minis and southwest chicken eggrolls. Atlantic Plumbing Cinema doubles as a bar and a restaurant, and it’s by the same folks (Landmark Theatres) who brought us the beloved E Street Cinema. What’s new, however, is that when you buy tickets online or at a kiosk, you reserve actual seats, eliminating latecomer front row anxiety. And, the cushy leather seats still smell like new car. Expect flicks that dance between mainstream and independent.
1933 9th St NW
Riding an e-bike doesn’t make you lazy, it makes you awesome. You can finally be a car-traffic-skirting bike commuter without worrying about arriving sweaty because you’re not doing all of the work. Riide’s business model is clutch: buy a RiidePass for $79 a month, plus a $299 down payment, and you get an electric bike, theft insurance, charger, lock, and unlimited maintenance. The catch is a one-year commitment. Riide bikes take 2-3 hours to charge and they have a 25-mile range, but may we politely remind you that the pedals work... pop into Riide’s North End Shaw shop to see for yourself.
2124 8th St NW / 2118 8th St, NW
Take in some art at two galleries that have recently found new homes in North End Shaw. Washington Project for the Arts is dedicated to furthering contemporary art and artists, and holds regular artist talks and exhibitions, while Foundry Gallery plays host to member artists practicing various styles. Both are not newcomers to the DC art scene, but the new digs are bringing fresh energy.
2122 8th St NW
Instead of learning that cat videos on the Internet are indeed entertaining, kill some time learning something analog. Typecase Industries -- a full-service letterpress print shop -- offers letterpress workshops. Try your hand at typesetting, linoleum carving, or more modern techniques. Or, just toil away until you’ve made a nostalgic concert poster for the high school band that never made it out of your parent’s garage. Poster workshops typically last four hours and run $127. The cat videos will still be there when you get back.
2128 8th St NW
Pick up a frame-worthy map of your DC hood, some reading material to help you get in touch with your more creative (and sexual?) self, or score some journals and planners to get life back on track in the New Year. Cherry Blossom Creative is so many things. It’s a boutique graphic design studio. It’s a small but charming retail shop. And soon, it’ll play host to workshops ranging from drink & draws to entrepreneurship skills for small business hopefuls. They see themselves as cheerleaders for DC’s creative side, and we don't disagree in the least.
Compass Coffee at The Shay
1921 8th St NW
Our pick for best coffee of the year selected North End Shaw for its second location -- even though the original shop is a Frisbee toss away. No one’s complaining, though, because the more Compass Coffee, the better. The shop in The Shay is smaller but also has less of a constant din, making it a choice location to crush some work if you can snag an upstairs table. Check out some of the new menu lineup, which includes Compass Tea and fancy winter lattes like Nutella Mochas. Also nibble on treats from area artisans like Harper Macaw chocolate or Fruitcyle cinnamon apple chips.
1924 8th St NW
If you have a soul, you fell in love with the original location of Glen’s Garden Market in Dupont. Its indie, earth-hugging vibe is welcoming, though it can be a bit hectic in there. Think of the new North End Shaw location as a thoughtfully edited, organized offspring. Everything is exactly where it should be, there are sun-catching outdoor tables, and the sandwiches are as satisfying as ever. Consider Glen’s Shaw your booze boss: They have more than 35 hard ciders; the crème de la crème of Virginia wines (think Linden, Barboursville, Early Mountain); and enough craft beer to fuel a Super Bowl party for 1,000 yuppies. You can also find everything you need to stock a bar, like shrubs, bitters, and tonics. And gelato. So much gelato.
805 V Street, NW
Good news if you love Daikaya. Partners Daisuke Utagawa, Katsuya Fukushima (pictured), and Yama Jewayni are opening their second ramen spot, but expect big changes. Virtually none of the steaming bowls of noodles will be carbon copies from the original shop in Chinatown because this time they’re serving Sapporo-style ramen, characterized by the use of miso in the broth. The team traveled to the northernmost region of Japan in 2015 for research, and we reckon they’ll get it right at Haikan (which cleverly translates to "pipes" or "plumbing" in Japanese). They’re projecting a Spring 2016 opening in the Atlantic Plumbing building.
807 V Street NW
A neighborhood is nothing without a pizza place. Look what one did for the sleepy Connecticut town of Mystic. When it opens in January (so very, very soon!), Declaration will serve pizzas like the Benjamin Franklin, an appropriate hat tip to Philly with cheesesteak, provolone, fresh mozzarella, and sweet onions, or the John Adams with shucked clams, potatoes, pork belly, thyme, and fontina cheese. Expect standards like chicken wings, meatballs, mussels, and an arsenal of pastas. Declaration joins its DC sister restaurants Lincoln and Teddy & the Bully Bar in saluting history, politics, presidents, and in this case, the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
1934 8th St NW
Chef Tim Ma’s first DC restaurant is going to slay it. Why? Because Tim’s tapping into his Chinese heritage without losing site of French technique. The name, which you’ll quickly learn to pronounce once you’re a crème fraîche wing-eating regular, is tied to his three kids. Expect a small but vibrant space, full bar program, and a few dishes that used to hit it out of the park at Maple Ave, including the seared scallops with coconut risotto and savory ice cream.
808 V Street NW
One of our chefs to watch in 2016 is opening Hazel in late winter/early spring. Duck will be a big focus -- Rob Rubba is smitten with the world’s most flavorful waterfowl. The restaurant is from Neighborhood Restaurant Group, who you know from greats like Birch & Barley, The Partisan, Red Apron, B Side, and more. That tells you the drinks will be solid, too, thanks to the three-headed booze beast of Jeff Faile (cocktails), Greg Engert (beer), and Brent Kroll (wine).
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Laura Hayes is a DC-based food, drink & travel writer who also contributes to Washington City Paper, Food Network, Arlington Magazine, and others. She plans to wear stretchy pants from Kit and Ace to eat all the ramen at Haikan. Follow her on Twitter @BTMenu.
1. Read Wall1921 8th St NW, Washington
2. Chrome Industries1924 8th St NW, Washington
3. Kit & Ace1921 8th Street NW, Washington
4. Frank & Oak1924 8th Street, NW, Washington
5. Steven Alan1924 Eighth St. NW, Washington
6. Warby Parker1924 8th St NW Ste 105, Washington
7. Landmark Atlantic Plumbing Cinema807 V St NW, Washington
8. Riide1931 9th St NW, Washington
9. Washington Project for the Arts2124 8th St., NW, Washington
10. Foundry Gallery2142 8th St NW, Washington
11. Typecase Industries2122 8th Street NW, Washington
12. Cherry Blossom Creative2142 8th St NW, Washington
13. Compass Coffee1535 7th St NW, Washington
14. Glen's Garden Market1924 8th St NW, Washington
15. Declaration807 V St NW, Washington
16. Haikan815 V St NW, Washington
17. Hazel808 V Street NW, Washington
18. Kyirisan1924 8th St NW, Washington
Even though they brand themselves as a "classy frat house", Read Wall vends some pretty nice merchandise. With ready-to-wear mens clothing and custom made suits, Read Wall draws its style inspiration from big names like JFK, Paul Newman and James Dean.
For $140, you can watch the guys at Chrome Industries hand make your new favorite custom bag, with a free PBR in hand. Chrome is the coolest kid on the block vending bomb-proof, military-grade bags, functional clothing and clipless bike shoes that can pass as street shoes as well.
The Vancouver transplant calls their clothing technical luxury, but we'd like to call it so comfortable we're never taking any of it off. The Shaw location sells men's and women's clothing, from tees and button downs to sweaters and jackets.
With an in-house barber and wallet-friendly priced clothing, there's not much not to love about Frank & Oak. Before you head in, be warned, everything is in the trendy slim-fit style, but don't worry, you're gonna look great.
With high-end products and designer brands, Steven Alan brings out the luxe fiend in all of us. But don't go around name-dropping the brands you bought, no one likes that guys.
Your favorite glasses store has a photobooth and in-house optometrist at their Shaw location, so really there's something for everyone here. Plus, with a full blown store, you don't have to wait for frames to come in the mail. Instant gratification is the best gratification.
With a full bar and restaurant, it seems like Atlantic Plumbing Cinema can't get any better. But oh wait, it can because you can reserve specific seats in the theater when you buy tickets online or at the kiosk in the lobby. Talk about a full service movie theater.
E-bikes are officially cool. Plus Riide offers a sweet package dea. For a one-year commitment, you can get a RiidePass for $79 a month, plus a $299 down payment, and an electric bike, theft insurance, charger, lock, and unlimited maintenance. Riide bikes take 2-3 hours to charge with a 25-mile range.
Washington Project for the Arts has been on the art scene for a while, and you should definitely check out their Shaw location. WPA holds regular artist talks and exhibitions, so even you can get cultured in the contemporary art scene.
Foundry Gallery brings in member artists, all practicing different styles of art to give you a well-rounded gallery experience.
A full service letterpress print shop, Typecase will be your new go to for greeting cards that you actually like. They also offer letterpress and poster workshops so instead of just sitting on your couch all day, you can actually do something productive with your Saturday afternoon.
Cherry Blosson Creative is first and foremost graphic design studio with a small retail shop. But damn that retail. Interesting (and sexual?) reading material, planners and journals to help you get control of your life, frame-worthy maps and so much more.
Compass Coffee takes their brew seriously. At this minimalist space in Shaw, two former Marines roast their own beans on-site, with multiple blends and single-origin options to choose from. The team travels around the world to source beans from small farms, and their hard work pays off. This place has communal tables, and you might get a visit from the very approachable owners... or you can just buy a bag of beans so you can brew the perfect cup at home.
One of two locations, Glen's Shaw spot is definitely less hectic, but we love it for all the same reasons we love the original. With a huge selection of craft beer, cider and wine, plus drool worthy sandwiches, all situated in an airy and welcoming venue, Glen's might actually be the perfect lunch spot.
Another DC restaurant to salute the history and politics of this very historical and political city, Declaration is serving up serious pizza, all named after our founding fathers, with an option to "declare" (make) your own. Plus, with weekly specials and other pizza joint staples like wings, mussels and meatballs, Declaration offers something for everyone.
From the superstar team behind Daikaya and Bantam King, Haikan is a sleek ramen shop whose noodle bowls feature Sapporo-made noodles and the house's signature chicken, beef, and pork Chintan broth. The menu branches out with intriguing small plates like the fan-favorite mapo tofu poutine, which proves that mozzarella curds and spicy tofu are a surprisingly tasteful pair, especially when piled on crispy French fries. You'll find equally interesting cocktails on the menu, like the gin-based Wasabi Peas and the flashy Smoke Show, completed with a flaming piece of cedar.
Headed up by one of our 2016 chefs-to-watch, Rob Rubba, Hazel is a warm and inviting space featuring artisan tableware, and offers an outstanding menu with influences stretching from Japan to South America. If you're in the mood to share, you and at least one other guest can opt for the Duck Duck platter, Rubba's specialty: peking-style duck, crispy wings, confit fried rice, and mixed greens. Or, if you really can't decide, go for the Chef's 7 and let the kitchen bring you its choices.
From husband-and-wife duo Tim and Joey Ma, Kyrisan showcases Chef Tim Ma's signature style of blending Asian flavors with classic French technique. The restaurant's name is a combination of the Chinese words that represent the Ma's three children, and the spot offers an appropriate familial vibe. The innovative menu pushes boundaries with dishes like savory black truffle congee with natto, egg yolk, and duck confit; and crowd-favorite créme fraîche wings.