Thursday, March 19, 2015

fire damages three georgia avenue restaurants, including quarry house tavern

A big fire this morning severely damaged three restaurants in downtown Silver Spring, including the Quarry House Tavern, Mandarin, and Bombay Gaylord, all located at Georgia Avenue and Bonifant Street.
The restaurants this morning after the fire. All photos by Pete Tan unless noted.
The entrance to the Quarry House this morning.

According to Channel 7, bargoers at the Quarry House, located in the basement beneath Bombay Gaylord, noticed smoke and called 911 before evacuating. Over 100 firefighters came to the scene; one firefighter was injured and about a dozen people were displaced, but thankfully no patrons were hurt.

The Post says it may have been an electrical fire. The fire caused about $750,000 in damage; pictures show charred furniture and walls inside Mandarin and Bombay Gaylord, but we've got no word on the status of the Quarry House.

Inside Bombay Gaylord.

While I like and have eaten at both Mandalay and Bombay Gaylord, potentially losing the Quarry House has me worked up the most. Open for something like 70 years, the Quarry House is an institution in Silver Spring, always evolving with the times while maintaining its historic character and loyal clientele. About 15 years ago, owner Jackie Greenbaum of the eponymous Jackie's, a few blocks down Georgia Avenue, took over the bar and basically kept everything the same while introducing a more upscale menu with craft beers and gourmet burgers.

Growing up in downtown Silver Spring, I always found this bar intriguing, tucked at the bottom of a dark staircase below what was then a Chevy Chase Bank. I decided early on that I would have my first legal drink there, and I did, three days after my 21st birthday.
Inside the Quarry House in 2010. Photo by erin m on Flickr.

Quarry House is one of a handful of remaining dive bars in the DC area, the kind of place that new bars in DC seek to imitate. Between trivia nights, rockabilly, and neighborhood locals, it draws a diverse, eclectic crowd. It's possibly the only place where I can run into old friends from high school, a county councilmember, and my boyfriend's rockabilly-loving stepmother who lives in Virginia all in the same night. You knew you were in for a good time as soon as you saw the notice on the chalkboard outside the front door: "No One Underwhelming Allowed Past 9pm."

It's everything that a good bar should be: not just a place to drink, but a gathering space, and a cornerstone of the community. This morning, that stone got pulled out. I wish all three restaurants the best of luck in getting back on their feet! We need you.


kenf said...


Do you know if Kefa Cafe was involved?

Ken F.

dan reed! said...

It sounds like Kefa was unscathed, thankfully.