Another Nice Firehouse Conversion

by Prince Of Petworth — May 14, 2012 at 10:05 pm 32 Comments

Sixth Engine did a great job converting an old firehouse into a restaurant in Mt. Vernon Square. I just saw another great example up in Silver Spring called Fire Station 1 at 8131 Georgia Ave.

“The Fire Station 1 Restaurant and Brewing Company is proud to be locally owned and operated in the original location of the first firehouse in Silver Spring, MD. Retired firefighter Jeremy Gruber began his firefighting and EMS career at Fire Station 1 and nearly a quarter of a century later he’s the proud owner of the newly renovated family friendly Restaurant and event complex.”

More on the history of that firehouse here.

Makes passing the old firehouse on North Capitol Street that much more painful…

  • StantonSez

    Disagree. weird mood lighting that changes color. They could have used the big firhouse doors to make this place indoor/outdoor during nice weather. But not. Feels like some prefab bar out in the burbs rather than a rehab of a beautiful historic structure. And the food, forgettable.

    • 14thstgal

      Agree 100%. And I hate that sign. Looks like something on a tacky chain restaurant. They completely missed the mark when there was so much potential. It irks me every time I drive by.

      • rockcreek

        . Looks like something on a tacky chain restaurant.

        This place feels like franchising is part of its business plan, ideally.

    • Anonymous

      Um, it is a prefab bar out in the burbs. Which is why this might as well be a post about some bar in Iowa. Nobody in DC is gonna go out there.

      • Ronald

        It’s 1500 feet from DC.

        How is that far? What is this, a suburb for ants?

        • Anonymous

          Dude. It’s a suburb of the suburbs that are inside the District.

      • Irving Green

        The point is, there was so much anticipation and so much potential completely squandered. This was Montgomery County’s first fire station. It deserved better. Planning and construction took forever as rumors floated of Hook & Ladder turning it into a microbrew-pub. At long last, the place opened and it was a huge disappointment in the community. Give me Friday’s or Ruby Tuesday’s any day of the week over Fire Station 1. I live about 3 blocks away and pass it every time I walk to the metro, but I still can’t think of a reason to stop in.

        Jackie’s/Sidebar on the other hand…now they deserve a PoP write-up. I’m in no way affiliated; just a satisfied customer.

        • Anonymous

          Amen to that – Sidebar, 8407 and Pacci’s are like the holy trinity of religious experiences.

  • anon

    Solid outdoor seating, but agree that the inside reno was a bit of a disappointment (nice, but generic). Though they have been slowly making it a bit more unique – they keep adding more and more fire station related nick knacks and word is the neighboring AAMCO will eventually house a corresponding brewery (though that might just be wishful thinking/early plans). Either way, this place is heading in the right direction and hopefully it’ll continue finding its identity over the next 2-200 years. Currently, it just flat out doesn’t compete with 100+ unique restaurants within downtown Silver Spring.

  • PG

    I haven’t eaten there, but it’s very close to Paccis. They serve excellent brick oven pizza there. It’s also pretty close to the Silver Spring American Legion, where the DC Blues Society has some of their events.

  • trg

    The interior is a waste of potential and unispired. The outdoor seating area could use some sheltering from Georgia Avenue traffic. The service and food are abysmal.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree with the comment about poor service. We’ve been there many times, as it’s a great restaurant for little kids. The service is fast and very friendly.

  • ms. pac-man

    I’ve eaten there once–at the bar with a Ravens game on. We found the bartender very friendly and the food was tasty enough. On a weekend afternoon there were LOTS of families with kids there, so it’s a good place to go if that is what you need. I agree the interior isn’t historic preservation nirvana, but it’s a nice place with nice people!

    • alison

      +1. This is a restaurant for a family outing, extremely kid friendly. What’s not to like about a restaurant where you can climb into a fire truck and for the guys, watch sports on the TVs above the bar? It’s the go-to restaurant for my 7-year old who dreams about their bread pudding. Service is friendly and relatively fast; food, while not 4 or 5-star, is relatively tasty.

  • 8thQ

    I have been there a few times. It has the ambiance of a”Silver Diner.” The lighting is garish. I think its potential is totally lost on these current owners. I could imagine how cool it could be with better lighting, more subtle decor….

  • Andy

    Agreed, the interiors is boring and the constant changing colors of the overhead lights and at a such a rapid pace is obnoxious, makes you want to leave after 15 minutes. Food is overcooked/fried and they rarely come and check on you. The outside space is disconnected and a huge lost opportunity.

    Also this place has been open for a couple years now. I remember when I worked in SS around this point, big expectations then, big disappointment after it opened and still hasn’t been resolved.

  • Petworthy

    This place is awful. Who cares about the building, they serve wet pizza. Not greasy, watery. Been there twice, got two wet pizzas.

  • Agree with other commenters that this was a total let-down. Under construction for years, I anticipated a cool brewpub housed in a tastefully renovated firehouse. It’s not a brewpub – they don’t brew. Not sure how they get away with having “brewery” on their sign. It’s like a local version of a TGI Friday’s and is really totally forgettable.

    They don’t even serve Silver Spring-based Hook & Ladder beer, which seems like an obvious move.

    • 8thQ

      Come to think of it I think I read many years ago the Hook and Ladder was SUPPOSED to be the owners and operators of this fire station brewery. It made all the sense in the world and a really compelling story to boot! But something must have happened and we were left this this schlocky restaurant.

      One more note on the awful colored lights: I went in with friends one night and I had a headache. The rapidly changing colored lights were making it much worse. I asked them if they could slow the colors down a bit. They couldn’t. Even if the the rotating colors were to slow down it would be more tasteful but that is beyond their sensibilities.

      • Hook & Ladder isn’t a real brewery and they were all foolish to think you could easily put together an independent brewery based project in Montgomery County (where you can brew beer but then you have to sell it to the County, buy it back in order to sell it again). They now seem to be concentrating on featuring whatever MD beers they can get a hold of, which is more sensible.

        • Hook and Ladder is a real brewing company. They do not own their own brewery; instead they contract brew with a company in (I think) Pennsylvania. The recipes and formulas are theirs and so is the packaging and marketing. Traditionally, there are many more of these sorts of companies than microbreweries like DC Brau.

          • Really? There are more breweries that contract brew than make their own stuff? I feel like that was popular about 15-20 years ago, but not in the current craft brewing climate. You have highly respected “nomad” brewers like Stillwater and Mikkeller (who brew in Europe and the US), then a few like Hook & Ladder and Dominion that are brands being made at other breweries. But Hook & Ladder has never seemed like a serious player in the regional beer scene – no offense to those guys and sorry if that sounds snooty.

    • anon

      They do serve H&L, though sometimes not on tap (just bottles). This place gets by on it’s family-friendliness, which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for. I, however, rather enjoy all its excellent neighbors (Pacci’s, Jackie’s, Sidebar, Olazzos, Greek Cafe, etc. etc.).

  • Identified

    I was anxiously awaiting the opening of this place.

    Then it opened. I went and I have never returned. It is not my cup of tea, not for food, not for drink and certainly not for ambiance.


  • Awful food. Terrible. F.

    • +1 – ate there once, was served meatloaf that wasn’t cooked inside. Disgusting.

    • anon

      I like the wings. Haven’t had anything else (other than lots of beer, of course!).

  • Anonymous

    We never leave DC, so any place like this way out in the burbs is irrelevant.

    • anon

      You’ve never been 20 minutes away from downtown (or 1 min across the boarder)? Joke?

      • Anonymous

        The only time Silver Spring is just 20 minutes from downtown is at about 4 AM Sunday morning.

        • Anonymous

          Metro Center to Silver Spring takes 20 mins, exactly. S line doesn’t take long either, except rush hour of course. Silly drivers.


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