This post was written by Kit Reynolds
Rich with renovated row houses and vegan dinner options, the NW neighborhood, Shaw, charms visitors with its hip yet historic aesthetic and street art seemingly commissioned for Instagram. But Shaw is more than a shi-shi destination for newly-weds, but rather one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in the district, featuring the most romantic notions of the capital like rooftop views of the monuments and a tight knit community feel. Shaw residents never seem to run out of patios built for wine sipping or cafes built for book reading–here’s how to spend a day like one.
Start your morning with a fitness class at Solidcore Shaw where locals go for a challenging Pilates class with regulars and newcomers alike. Located just south of U st & 7th st, you may find yourself being lured into Warby Parker after class to “quickly” check out the season’s new glasses frames.
After you browse the small retail corner of U street, make your way back south to Compass Coffee at P and 7th Street where you are first greeted by the celebrity puppies of the neighborhood waiting for their owners inside, and then second by the gracious and attentive staff. They’re known for their Nitro Cold Brew on tap, though there’s nothing quite like a “Medium, Medium” in the fall. If you have work to do, there’s no harm in plopping down for a few hours to answer emails, but Compass is an equally good venue for grabbing coffee with an old friend.
From Compass you should grab a Bullfrog Bagel at Dacha Cafe and eat in the usually-crowded beer garden area (they let you lounge with your bagel during the morning hours). Sitting outside on those big picnic tables creates the Parisian morning feel that can be hard to capture at most busy breakfast destinations. If you find yourself there in the afternoon, you can do Dacha the classic way: grab a cold beer and half a picnic table for you and a few pals. Don’t forget to order the fries and to take a picture of the Elizabeth Taylor Mural. The mural has become a Shaw staple since the opening of the popular beer garden in 2013.
After hitting Dacha, mozy over to Blagden Alley to take a photo in front of the iconic LOVE mural and pop into Calico for an “adult juice box” which is like a Capri Sun, but you know, with alcohol. In the winter Calico has a surprisingly warm atmosphere outside in their “urban backyard,” with heat lamps and shared blankets. For a more intimate evening, head out of Blagden Alley and over to the Dabney Cellar on 9th Street.
When you start to get hungry, walk right up 9th street for Ramen at Haikan and a movie at the Atlantic Plumbing Theatre which conveniently doubles as a trendy bar. If you’re feeling more wild [or if you are planning on planning ahead] see if you can catch a Sofar sounds show or a concert at the well-known 9:30 club. Then make sure to end your evening with a mojito at El Techo or a perfect cocktail at 600t; both of which seem to be commissioned for Instagram.