Quarry House Tavern Returns This Weekend

Silver Spring dive bar closed after a fire upstairs nearly three years ago

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Quarry House Tavern will reopen in its original space on Georgia Avenue.

Joe Zimmermann

When Quarry House Tavern reopens this weekend, owner Jackie Greenbaum hopes that the bar feels just as it did three years ago before it was closed by a fire and then damaged by a water main break.

Most of the fixtures, furniture and art were destroyed when the water main burst. But Greenbaum has filled the place with items that are similar to those that were destroyed, including the art, bar top and “funny shell” light fixtures. There’s even the same knotty pine wall paneling—but a fire-rated version of it.

“We viewed it as a sort of historical preservation project,” Greenbaum said. “We looked long and far so we could find the sort of decorative and building elements that mimic exactly what we had before.”

Almost all of Quarry House’s former staff will be returning, and some of the same tables, chairs and church pews will fill the tight basement bar.

“It was very important to us as best as possible that we reopen the Quarry House as we knew it and remembered it and loved it. That’s what we did. Hopefully everyone still loves it,” Greenbaum said, laughing, “because we’re giving it back to them!”

Quarry House will reopen Sunday at 4 p.m. The Washington Post first reported the reopening date.

For Greenbaum, the opening is a relief and a day she wasn’t always convinced would come. Quarry House first closed when a fire destroyed the Bombay Gaylord Fine Indian Cuisine restaurant above it. Greenbaum said the initial fire didn’t really damage the bar, but they had to wait for building-wide inspections.

In the meantime, the bar opened temporarily in the Piratz Tavern across the street with a plan to return to its original space in short order. But then, a water main burst on Bonifant Avenue and, for two days in the winter of 2016, water poured down the back stairs of Quarry House. Greenbaum said four feet of muddy water covered the floor of the bar.

“Nobody knew how close we really were to being gone forever,” she said. She credits the reopening to her landlord who stood by her and to a sense that she had to bring the bar back.

While most of the bar will return as it was, there will be some changes, such as a new kitchen and a different bathroom placement. The new arrangement has left slightly less space for a stage, but Greenbaum said she’s hopeful to eventually bring back live music, which the bar used to have on Saturday nights.

Quarry House will open at 4 p.m. daily, closing 1 a.m. on most days and at 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Greenbaum is also planning to bring back Sunday lunch soon.

Greenbaum said she’s “absolutely, extraordinarily thrilled” to be opening again. She plans to hold a grand opening party in late March for the third-year anniversary of the closing, but for now, she’s focused on opening the doors

“We had wanted to possibly doing something a little more festive,” she said. “At this point, we just want to get open.”

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