Yesterday, Silver Spring Scene suggested that a brewery might open up in the old volunteer fire house in Downtown Silver Spring. It may just be a rumor, but the only thing I can ask is: why? Why do we need another brewery/pub in Silver Spring, and if we do - why there?
Any use of the firehouse short of tearing it down is a good use, in my opinion, but I'm troubled that this historic - and, might I say, very cool - building could go to an establishment that will attract mostly yuppies and people with deep pockets, as I doubt more blue-collar Silver Springers would put down a lot of money for a beer. Whoever runs this place will obviously make a huge profit, but it won't be a true benefit to our community.
Personally, I was rooting for a music club a la The Recher Theatre in Towson, the "Silver Spring of Baltimore County." It's a small venue that hosts a lot of pop and rock acts. Last August, I saw one of my favorite bands there and was blown away by how nice it was compared to similarly-sized D.C. venues like the Black Cat. The Recher put Towson "on the map," so to say - but it also created a place where people of all ages can go.
Of course, Downtown will already be seeing a second branch of the Birchmere for folk acts and, for the time being, we still have The Death Star hosting punk bands. And eight Metro stops away in Gallery Place, we might see a new House of Blues for everything in between. But why should we have to go into D.C. for music anymore? Silver Spring has been cast as an "arts and entertainment district," and there's nothing artistic or entertaining about a brewery to me. Between plans to tear up "the Turf" and the neighborhoods' strident opposition to a proposed skate park on Fenton Street, it looks like Silver Spring is quickly becoming the "condo heaven" the Express recently called it.
We could do a lot better. If a brewery is indeed taking the firehouse, I hope whomever holds the keys - the investors, the Historical Society (Jerry McCoy? Are you listening?) - reconsiders handing them over. As Silver Spring Scene said when the firehouse first came on the market, "Silver Spring needs another special attraction."