According to TBD, a bartender reported that a grease fire broke out at 6:30 am and the kitchen suffered the majority of the damage. Staff reportedly shut the door to the kitchen, helping to contain the fire until DCFD could respond. While there are currently mixed reports on how long it will take them to get going again, it seems clear that they have every intention of doing so as quickly as possible.
Twitter reports that made the situation sound quite bleak, calling it a “black, charred mess,” were apparently not quite true. As I was rushing to get to work I was unable to swing by to take a look for myself, but was getting some on-the-scene updates from a friend who discovered the commotion while walking his dog. The windows were broken out by the firefighters and the power was cut to the already dark and dingy bar (I say that in a truly loving way as it has been a favorite spot of mine for years), so passer-bys likely thought it looked worse than it was.
The fire at the popular dive bar, which opened in 1955 and was part of Ptomaine Row, has generated lots of coverage in both local and national news:
- Fire at Popular Capitol Hill Watering Hole, The New York Times
- Tune Inn Fire: Capitol Hill Bar Burns, The Huffington Post
- Tune Inn Kitchen Fire Extinguished, Damage “Moderate”, DCist
- Fire shuts down Capitol Hill watering hole Tune Inn, WTOP
- Kitchen Fire at Tune Inn: Not as Catastrophic as Previously Thought, City Paper
- Tune Inn has kitchen fire, We Love DC
- Tune Inn Fire: D.C. Takes To Twitter, WAMU
- Toasting the Tune Inn, Politico
- Fire Damages Tune Inn, Roll Call
- Hill’s Tune Inn Bar Damaged in Fire, National Journal
And while Twitter updates did cause some confusion, it has also provided a humorous reprieve from an otherwise terrible event. A few of my favorites from this morning:
capitolization: Initial reports of #TuneInnpocalypse overstated by interns still intoxicated at 7am. #TuneInncapitolization: With the Tune Inn shut, I couldn’t get my daily eye opener shot & a beer. So you’re telling me you drink coffee every day? Weird.
mjenkins: I really worry about the graffiti inside the #TuneInn bathrooms. Smartest stuff I’ve ever read on bathroom walls – and spelled correctly!
NKingofDC: #TUNEINN‘s legendary bartender Matt Manley says the kitchen is toast but the bar may be open by the weekend.
l_whittington: True story confirmed by @shiratoeplitz: Mitch Daniels fished quarters out of #tuneinn toilet 30yrs ago. http://roll.cl/lIqnvk
HeardontheHill: Reader points to this old gem about Rep. Denny Rehberg listing $300 in “lodging” expenses at the #TuneInn: roll.cl/jBdxqIHeardontheHill: Old story from Austin paper says #tuneinn was the first of five bars in Washington to get liquor license after prohibition ended in 1934.
So, don’t fret. Just as many of our favorite Capitol Hill establishments have made their way back from fires, the Tune Inn will as well. And as Mike Debonis tweeted, “Bright side: Maybe #tuneinn fire selectively destroyed every remnant of Guy Fieri therein…”