Hawk’n'Dove Bar to Close in October
Douglas K. Barclay, Tower Staff
September 3, 2011
Filed under News
“Nearly everyone who has ever spent time in the Nation’s Capital has a story about a night spent at the Hawk.”
So says the online home-page for Washington DC capitol hill mainstay Hawk N’ Dove. Many Catholic University students can tell you, this isn’t too far from the truth.
But, come early October, Hawk N’ Dove will be closing its doors.
Hawk N’ Dove first opened on Christmas Eve 1967. Just as former patrons such as President Barack Obama and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, are identified in the political realm, so is the name of the establishment itself.
Throughout the Vietnam War, two words “hawk” and “dove” were used as social identifiers for those who supported or protested the war. In both fact and fiction the restaurant/bar has gained notoriety. Hawk N’ Dove was mentioned several times on legendary TV drama The West Wing and was also the site of the filming of a pivotal scene during season four of the show.
In terms of Catholic, students have been going to Hawk for decades. One of the few bars in the area that attracts students from all of the major area schools, it has always been a prime spot to meet other students in the city. In recent years both the College Republican and College Democrat clubs at Catholic have held events there. Needless to say it will be interesting to see who attempts to fill the shoes left by such a diverse establishment.
Junior Anna Bruno was saddened by the closing of Hawk noting that “even my mother used to go there 30 years ago; there is just so much history.”
In a city where old buildings are lost every-day, and those who remember their former glory along with them, 329 Pennsylvania Ave has been a constant reminder to the history and legacy that the city holds. Whether it was playing host to five decades of political elite as a favored lunch spot downstairs, or a place where college students could dance to Kanye West on an 18+ night, the Hawk opened its arms to all that entered its doors.
Despite its legacy, not everyone asked about Hawk N’ Dove spoke fondly of it and some seemed unfazed by its closing. Senior Claire Ainsworth recalled that on “Halloween 2009 the fire alarm went off and nobody evacuated; so maybe it’s a good thing.” Sophomore Sean Cooney saw the Hawk as his “default place, the backup, if nothing else was going on the Hawk was always reliable. It’s definitely a loss for the freshman to come.”
The space itself holds even more history than the name may give off. Over the years it has been a Greek diner, taffy factory, antique shop, real estate office, blacksmith and carriage repair shop and perhaps most noted as the site of the very first gas station within the city limits.
Though the new owners have purchased the Hawk N’ Dove name along with the building lease, it is unclear as to whether they will continue the tradition of Capitol Hill’s most socially transcendent bar. New owner Xavier Cervera is hardly new to the Barracks Row scene. The Chesapeake House is just one of his upscale eateries in the area.
Cervera teased the idea of adding brick oven pizzas in a recent interview with the Washington Post. Though the exact business model of the new establishment is at this moment kept under wraps Cervera has stated that it will no longer attract the younger crowd. According to the Post Cervera would like the space to return to its original “political cache.”
It is highly doubtful that any new restaurant or even a rebranded Hawk and Dove will be able to capture the same allure and grit that the current establishment has reigned with for over forty years. The many bits of memorabilia on the wall are only a small indicator for the type of legacy that Hawk and Dove has carried since 1967.
Whenever an ancient Washington politico passes, you may have heard someone refer to them as the “last of a dying breed.” If all bars and restaurants were judged based on their history, charm and mystique, it is safe to say that with the closing of Hawk and Dove, the breed is dead.