In Silver Spring there is an infamous bar called the Quarry House. I have heard stories about it since I moved here. The gist was that it was a highly beloved basement dive bar that fell prey to an upstairs restaurant fire (and a restaurant nobody believed still deserved to be open at that). They took over space where a Pirate Bar once was for a bit, until they disappeared completely for, what seemed to be, a heartbreaking three years.
That was. Until last Sunday.
As a newbie Silver Spring resident, I decided to meet my friends at this well-talked about location.
Full disclosure, they weren’t kidding about dive bar as far as finding the place and getting in goes. I literally had to ask a man on the street if he knew where the entrance was (Google maps clearly told me I was exactly where I needed to be). He then showed me the less than welcoming steps down into a dark hole where I was to assume there was a door. We’ll just say I talked him into getting a beer AND going down first so I could see if he came out screaming or missing half his torso.
Dive bar. 100%.
Once I got in though, because of my lack of success getting in on my own, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be in there. Que a tall bearded man greeting me in THE most friendly manner and a bartender who assumed everyone at the bar wanted to be in the conversation he was having, I felt perfectly comfortable. Possibly a new home? Was this part of what people loved about this place pre-catastrophe?
What interested me so much was how they redid the place. Instead of starting from scratch, they paid homage to their patrons and recreated the space exactly like it had been. Just simply with fresher paint, an updated kitchen, and cleaner floors. Oh and a decent bathroom.
Which, many dive supporters might say takes it out of the qualification of being a dive bar. But in this case, I find that unfair. It still has it’s history. It still dates back to post-Prohibition times. It wasn’t THEIR fault a fire caused mayhem.
And they came right back and picked up where they left off it would seem.
So there we sat at happy hour, that turned into 5 hour hang out time. We laughed, butted heads, discussed virtual reality and its place in our future years. It was dark. My knees kept bumping those next to me and across from me.
And even tho I was in a basement smashed between humans, it was glorious.
Toward the end of our charade, the owner came and interrupted us to express the amount of joy our table of six was giving her. She could tell we were deep into what each other was saying and our random uproars of loud laughter made her heart so happy.
Her eyes said it’s been a long few years, and this is what made it worth it.
Check out the Quarry House if you haven’t. Talk to those around you. If you open yourself up, you’re bound to experience a bit of magic only a basement dive bar can present.
Oh. And order the tater tots.