Located on the corner of Florida and 5th, Shaw's Tavern could have rested on its laurels and benefited from being one of the few dining options in the Shaw neighborhood when it opened back in 2011, but the restaurant didn't. With neighborhood block parties and nightly events ranging from karaoke, live jazz to trivia, as well as an industry brunch every Monday, the restaurant has embraced the community it serves and the community has embraced it, there's rarely an empty table come dinner time, and not just because of the entertainment. The food at Shaw's is simple yet satisfying, what it does it does well, for the most part.
I'm a sucker for good bar food which is why I go to Shaw's as often as I do, one of my go to dishes is the Original Red Pizza, it's no fancy pie you would find at the likes of Etto on 14th but it's cooked in a brick-oven which makes for a fluffy crust and oozes with tomato sauce and just enough grease to make each bite worth the calories I choose not to think about. Sometimes you just need a pizza that's a little rough around the edges.
The Pulled Pork sandwich is a popular dish, there's always someone at my table who orders one, coated in BBQ sauce and served with a hefty helping of red cabbage slaw.
A couple of notable appetizers are the fried green tomatoes and the buttermilk calamari, yes, both are fried which isn't the healthiest of options to choose from but we are talking pub grub after all, although they are perfectly crisp. The entree options don't always live up to the simpler fare, it's an order at your own risk situation - the steak is not always cooked to preference, risotto a little gloopy and the catfish without much flavor. But for me, the reason I visit Shaw's is what I talked about above, simple bar food done well in an environment that is welcoming, it just has that neighborhood vibe to it.
I'd be amiss if I didn't quickly mention the bar, as I do tend to prop it up on my visits to Shaw's, there's a a decent selection of draft beers with some love to local breweries; DC Brau and 3 Stars. The happy hour isn't anything to be sniffed at either, from 5-7pm weekdays rail drinks are $5 and $2 off any draft, but perhaps Tuesday is the best night to go as they offer 2 for 1 on draft beers and wines by the glass.
Shaw's Tavern, 520 Florida Ave, NW, Washington DC (closest metro: U Street east-side exit)