What the Heck is The Shay?

A user's guide to the shiny new "North End Shaw" development.

Those who keep tabs on the urban development of DC may have taken to casually dropping “The Shay” in conversation. And this mention may be met by two responses:

The condescending: “Did you mean Shaw?”


The confused: “What the heck is ‘The Shay?'”

This quick guide to The Shay is intended to assist the latter; the former is too large an issue to tackle in one article.

Where is it?

Just southwest of Howard University, between 8th and 9th Street where Florida Avenue turns into U Street.

Okay, but where is it?

Three blocks from the Shaw-Howard Metro stop.

You could’ve just said “Shaw.”

And that’s where the confusion comes in. Developers and marketers are branding The Shay’s location as “North End Shaw,” which is basically a made-up neighborhood name that they’re using to distinguish their new development–which consists of both The Shay and Atlantic Plumbing, two adjacent mixed-use developements by The JBG Companies with modern, luxury apartments–from the rest of the Shaw neighborhood. (Just try searching #northendshaw on Instagram. You’ll see.)

What’s there?

Catnip for DC Millennials: real, local coffee (Compass Coffee) to drink; a place where they can feel good about spending their paychecks (via Warby Parker’s buy-one-give-one program); shops they can multitask in (Warby Parker at The Shay offers eye exams along with their selection of glasses, Frank & Oak–just one of multiple menswear stores at The Shay–markets shaves and cuts alongside apparel, and suit shop Read Wall has a ping pong table); trendy new way for them to get around town (DC’s bike commuters will get a burst of speed when Riide opens with their electric bicycles); nice clothes they don’t have to dry clean (Kit and Ace’s technical cashmere is machine washable); and a grocery store that does whole foods better than Whole Foods (local foods and brews will still be available at the second installation of Glen’s Garden Market when it opens at The Shay).

Should I visit?

It’s one of the trendier, more exciting places in DC right now in terms of retail and residential offerings. Retailers are currently trickling in, and will continue to do so in the coming months. It’s worth checking out now, but we predict that it will become more of a destination as their storefronts continue to fill. (FYI, “North End Shaw” is also and will be home to Aesop, Chrome Industries, Steven Alan, Lettie Gooch, Daikaya, Hazel from Neighborhood Restaurant Group, Declaration from PRG Group, Kyirisan, Tasty Burger, Cherry Blossom Creative, Typecase Industries, Landmark Theater, Washington Project for the Arts, and Foundry Gallery.)

Rendering looking north at Atlantic Plumbing.
Rendering of “North End Shaw” at night.
Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.