Modern Liquors: A Spirited Shop Serving Shaw for Generations

Sorab Dilawri’s family owns Modern Liquors, a legacy business in Shaw. Photo by Alexander M. Padro, Courtesy Shaw Main Streets.

Situated in the heart of the city, across from the Washington Convention Center at 1200 Ninth St. NW, Modern Liquors has been in Shaw for more than 85 years, making it one of the neighborhood’s oldest businesses. Under the Dilawri family’s ownership for the past 14 years, the store and its offerings have expanded, as has the neighborhood.

Proprietor Sorab Dilawri has enjoyed watching the neighborhood grow and “blossom” into the booming residential and commercial corridor that it is today.

To Dilawri, Shaw is like a second home. “That store is our house, we live there for more than 11 hours a day,” said Dilawri. “So, when we open the door to our customers, it’s like inviting someone into our house.”

While Modern Liquors offers wine, spirits and beer from around the world, the store sources as many products locally as possible. As the DMV brewing and distilling scene has evolved, increasingly local products are being offered. Prominently featured in the shop are bourbon, whiskey and gin from Virginia-based Filibuster Distillery, founded by Sorab’s brother, Sid Dilawri.

The Modern team also pays attention to customer feedback on their carefully curated selections, many of which are affordable. Both the craft beer and bourbon “movements,” Dilawri obseved, have piqued customer interest in brands and styles that have been added to the store’s inventory. The store offers a monthly membership option that allows customers to sample “what’s new and what’s local.” One can choose either two bottles for $69.99 or one bottle for $32.

Beyond the shelves and coolers full of premium wines, spirits and beers at Modern Liquors, customers find very knowledgeable staff able to make recommendations. The Dilawris participate in various charity events like local food drives and virtual wine tasting fundraisers to give back to the community.

Modern Liquors is open Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Visit to learn more about their inventory, sign up for a monthly membership or place an order for pickup or delivery.

Sarah Payne is a reporter for Capital Community News. She can be reached at