07 Sep 2011

Hawk 'n' Dove plans released: more light, less minors

Proposed designs for the Hawk 'n' Dove would add windows, French doors and remove two of the bar's bay windows. Photo courtesy Xavier Cervera.

A change in ownership at the Hawk ‘n’ Dove also means several proposed design changes to one of Capitol Hill’s longest running bars.

Last week, we bid farewell to the old Hawk ’n’ Dove, as news spread that Barracks Row restaurateur Xavier Cervera purchased  the bar from Stuart Long after 44 years of ownership. The bar is set to close in October and will undergo approximately six months of construction.

Once renovations are complete, the new Hawk ‘n’ Dove will lose two of its front bay windows, add on a pair of French doors to the main entrance, and install several new windows to the second floor, which will allow for natural light to enter into a bar known for its dark and wooden atmosphere.

The plans were released on Tuesday night to the ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee. Cervera was on-hand to answer questions and present the plans to the committee.

The committee approved and passed on the plan, which will be reviewed by the full commission at a meeting next Tuesday.

During the last few weeks, Cervera has been working with the Capitol Hill Restoration Society to ensure that the building is in keeping with its tradition.

“I am trying to go with historically correct designs,” he said to the committee members. “Right now, I find most of those buildings on the block very offensive.”

When the ANC members asked Cervera about the bar’s landmark status, both as a well-known watering hole and classic-style saloon, Cervera said he plans on some changes but will keep the space as a bar.

“Reports of it being a bistro are incorrect. It’s a bar, and I’m very much a saloon guy,” he said.

The biggest change may be the clientele that comes to the Hawk ‘n’ Dove.

Currently, the Hawk ‘n’ Dove is one of the few bars in Washington to allow those 18-and-over to enter on designated nights. Anyone 21-and-over receives a special wristband, but Cervera said that will change under his ownership.

“Nothing good happens when you have kids under 21 inside a bar, alongside adults who can drink. This will be an adult venue.”

In addition to possible clientele changes, the bar is likely to see some changes to the menu.

Cervera said there’s a good possibility that the bar will have a brick oven for pizza and sandwiches. And, he plans to serve “upscale saloon fare” alongside a wide selection of craft brewed beers.

Patrons eating and drinking outside will also notice several changes.

Once the two bay windows and their copper roofs are removed, the patio space will be setback from Pennsylvania Avenue, allowing for wider sidewalk space to pedestrians.

The Hawk ‘n’ Dove sign will be removed and a smaller sign board will be centered above two main doors.

For patrons inside, the biggest change will be the open space and added light.

The upstairs dance floor will be turned into an open mezzanine and five new windows will look out to Pennsylvania Avenue.

“Right now the upstairs rooms are scary,” Cervera said. “There’s no light, no windows, there’s nothing.”

What won’t change are the dark wood panels and its reputation for being ‘Lambeau on the Hill’ for Green Bay Packers fans, Cervera said.

If plans move forward and the bar receives permits and approvals, the Hawk ‘n’ Dove will be Cervera’s furthest venture from Eastern Market and the Barracks Row corridor to-date.

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