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African-American history runs deep in Shaw, a rowhouse-, restaurant- and retail-filled neighborhood northeast of the White House. Duke Ellington was born here, and he and other stars of “Black Broadway” played at nearby theaters that are still standing. These days, the zone is just as well known for trendy restaurants, indie boutiques and a happening bar scene. One thing’s for sure: it’s one of the most interesting places in cap city to be right now.

the Howard theater on show night


Catch a show at the historic Howard Theatre

Big names like Ella Fitzgerald and Marvin Gaye performed at Howard Theatre during the first half of the 20th century. Restored in 2007, the two-level concert hall now hosts jazz, rock and blues acts. A statue of DC-born Duke Ellington, who played here, sits outside the theater.

Outside of Right Proper Brewing Company


Drink locally made beers at Right Proper Brewing Company

 Right Proper Brewing Company

Sip made-on-site suds and chow down on sandwiches at an arty brewpub outfitted with colorful wall murals and vintage wrought iron. An in-house cheese-monger is in charge of the long list of artisanal cheeses and there are frequent special tastings.

Inside on a busy night at the Dabney


Eat and drink in an alley

 The Dabney

Shaw had a thriving alley culture in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, historic areas like Blagden Alley and Naylor Court buzz with bars, restaurants and other businesses in old carriage houses and warehouses. Try the Alley’s Mid-Atlantic farm-to-table darling The Dabney or Naylor Court’s Sundevich.


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