Progress Continues at the North Capitol Firehouse – You Can Even See a Bar

1626 North Capitol Street, NW

Good to see the Washington Firehouse Restaurant and Smokehouse progressing in Bloomingdale:


Check out a preliminary menu here and more info about the restaurant here. And thanks to a commenter for sharing this:

31 Comment

  • Is it just me or does that bar look extremely crooked? Angles don’t quite seem to add up..

  • I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • I’ll have the “angelhair pasta”! LOL. these guys are so incompetent.

  • Really excited to see this going. It has been a long haul for these guys. Everybody is quick to jump on the bitching bandwagon but I don’t see you trying to bring something positive to the community. Anybody watching this closely over the years can see the obstacles they have faced. When this does open it will change the entire North Capital Corridor forever.

    They are now in the “contest” phase of their liquor license and the usual Bloomingdale party of “protest anything from gentrification” is trying to prevent them from getting it just like they have with every other place in the neighborhood. Their issues are as unreal as all other protests so I expect this will end up being granted by Jan and then they will be moving to open.

    Looks like they are having to put on a new roof now, not sure if that was expected as that is usually the first thing you do when working on a building. They have already gotten tables, chairs, stem ware, etc delivered in anticipation for opening (as always liquor license is key). This was not an empty rehabbed unit that just needed to be tweaked, this was a crumbling shell that had to be totally reworked in order to use it. They might have been slow but they have done a good job on it.

    The bar is not crooked from what I can tell (Peek in weekly checking on updates) I did hear them say it has a TWENTY TAP beer system though, that is interesting.

    There is also work going on now in the Borf building, which may potentially be a wine bar. With those two and The Pub and The People opening next year, that block will drastically change our neighborhood for the better.

  • On the one hand, it’s nice to see some development come to North Cap. On the other hand, I wish it wasn’t from the people behind Shaw’s Tavern. Aside from the debacle of its opening (falsified liquor licenses etc), Shaw’s is one of the most poorly designed restaurants I’ve ever seen. Cluttered furniture and a bar that is somehow wider than it is long. Food is kinda gross. Karaoke night is kinda annoying. And the building needs a cornice! It bothers me that Shaw’s is doing as well as, if not better than, Bistro Bohem.

    • If you don’t like it, don’t go. Simple. You seem incredibly entitled: why should someone else’s restaurant cater to your particular wants/desires? And for the record, I don’t even like Shaw’s Tavern.

    • You may not like it, but we’ve always had a good experience dining there and there are still in business, after all. They have great specials (their bogo draft and burger deal on Wednesdays (?) is great. I like the atmosphere and they always seem to have events going on.

    • The food at Shaw’s tavern IS kind of gross and that’s exactly why I stopped going. (I don’t think it’s “entitled” to have that opinion. ) It was great at the beginning but went downhill over the past year or so. I’ve sent an email in support of this restaurant to the owners’ attorney and plan to attend the hearing to back them up, but I, too, am worried about the quality of the food.

      • Props to you SHAWMOLLY for actively supporting this, on behalf of all of us who support it but aren’t actually doing anything tangible to support it (I’m definitely guilty of this)!

  • I am super stoked to be going to the preview event! This place is going to be a real asset to the neighborhood.

  • Ugh, what is it about Bloomingdale that encourages all the NIMBY idiots out to play? I am getting so exhausted with every potential development in this neighborhood being met with xerox-ed protest flyers being pasted around town like it’s the f*cking march on Washington.

    For what it’s worth, if you’re interested in getting this place opened (or at least, for once, making sure the craziest voice isn’t the loudest in the room), the facebook page for the restaurant names their lawyer to whom you can send letters of support in advance of the ABRA meeting next week.

    • the history of comical mismanagement at this place is the reason i’m against it. i’m a huge fan of boundary stone, aroi thai, red hen, rustik, all of which acquired their properties legitimately and operate them effectively.

      • Protesting a liquor license and claiming that a new restaurant will “bring crime to North Cap” (seriously how did that woman write those words with a straight face?) is not the appropriate channel. If the place sucks, it will suck, and someone else will come in and do better. I actually happen to like Shaw’s Tavern, but if others don’t, they shouldn’t go – the market will dictate what works.

    • Amen Amen Amen +1000000000000000000000000000000000000000

      I have decided this go around to fight the (lets just call it ignorance) with these protestors and make sure my voice is heard as a positive view of this business coming to our neighborhood. Too often all we hear are the squeaky wheels, it is time to smack that down. Legitimate concerns are one thing but blatant maliciousness is not acceptable.

  • It’s just laughable that people are protesting this establishment on the basis that it would increase crime due to a cover charge. The area from Florida to NY Ave on North Capitol is one of the worst, most drug-ridden, destitute areas in the city. Bums, drugs, alcohol, murder… I’ll never forget a certain drug-related murder that involved an assault rifle that was kept in a flower bed in the area for community use. The faster that element is pushed out, the better. Good luck to this restaurant attracting people to this area.

    • The “people” protesting this are a small handful of NIMBY’s who can’t handle the positive change. It’s a VERY small minority.

  • For the life of me, I do not understand the opposition to this project. It is unfathomable that people would want to leave this building vacant. Even if the Firehouse doesn’t do well out the gate, at least it’s some semblance of positive progress for North Capitol.

    • you must not know the history of this ‘development’ if you don’t understand the opposition. how about the time they tried to turn around and sell the property for millions of dollars when it was *given* to them by the city for the express purpose of opening a restaurant? or the bizarro ranting open letter complaining that community activists were preventing them from getting their liquor license and opening, sent several years ago when they hadn’t even put drywall on the walls?

      • honestly, why does any of that matter? What is the fear? They still have to abide by city permitting and operating guidelines. And they’ve made a TON of progress in the past few months, have a preliminary menu, and have made honest efforts to reach out to the community.

        • ^ This. These guys are doing the community a service by rehabbing a building and making it fit for a restaurant/bar. Hopefully their place will be great and we’ll all love it. If not, they’ll go out of business and the next business can enter the space much more easily, the rehab work having been done. There is no reason to oppose this.

        • “made honest efforts to reach out to the community”

          no they haven’t. i don’t think it’s a necessary thing, but dont pretend they’ve done that.

  • I wish they used a DC law firm and not one based in Virginia focusing on criminal defense.

    I think the neighborhood just doesn’t want it to be a nightclub / dance club. The only thing that truly bothers me is this statement from the management: “In a building with almost 10,000 square feet it is virtually impossible sell enough food to allow for a higher split and still stay in business.” That is really too large of a space to be done well in an area that is just starting to attract attention. The 14th street Matchbox is 8000 sq ft, and that’s in a busy area with an established brand. So I can see why some people would be worried that you’re going to have to pack cover-charge-paying club goers in order to make rent, and why promises of “we’re not going to do that” would sound hollow. As much as I hate the ANC “voluntary agreement” process, it seems like this is the rare situation where some binding promises / agreements make sense.

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