More on Sixth Engine

Tuesday night’s ANC 6C ABL Committee Meeting afforded me the opportunity to gather more details on the Sixth Engine restaurant/bar concept aiming to open in the firehouse space at 400 Mass.


  • Ownership group currently owns and operates The Dubliner near Union Station and Town Hall in Glover Park
  • Ownership was attracted to the character of the firehouse space and the residential population of the Mount Vernon Triangle
  • Working closely with Mark Tennyson, curator of the DC Fire and EMS Museum, to secure artifacts to display including the original brass fire pole.
  • The firehouse is the oldest surviving in the city. It was founded as Metropolitan Hook & Ladder #1 in 1855. In 1876 it was reclassified as Engine 6 and was in operation until the 1940’s when the engine company moved to 1300 New Jersey Ave.
  • Sixth Engine will occupy the two story firehouse space plus the adjacent commercial condo
  • Space is roughly ~7900 SF Total with 2000 SF on the second floor of the firehouse and the remainder on the ground level
  • Main entrance will be in the commercial space next to the firehouse.
  • Firehouse will host main dining area downstairs and a flexible space upstairs that will be used as an event space, overflow dining, and a bar as needs arise
  • Seasonal Outdoor dining for 64 will occupy the brick patio in the front of the firehouse
  • The venue will have an entrance on H Street as well, however this will simply access the kitchens and a long corridor to the front of the house.
  • Ownership has contracted The Heiserman Group for architectural and design services


  • American Bistro fare serving lunch on weekdays, brunch on weekends and dinner seven days per week
  • Plans to position itself as mid-priced neighborhood restaurant and bar
  • Lunch entrées will be priced from $8 to $19.
  • Dinner appetizers and sandwiches will be priced from $7 to $16 while dinner entrées will be priced in $17-$27 range.
  • Sixth Engine is not seeking an entertainment endorsement and therefore does not plan to host live music or DJs nor will they charge cover charges
  • Hope to open in the March/April 2011 timeframe

The ownership group has recognized from the start that a restaurant in the ground floor of a residential building presents different challenges than it does in an office building. They have been proactive in engaging the residents of 400 Mass and first presented their concept to their building in April. Members of 400 Mass were present at last night’s ANC 6C ABL meeting including the condo president and a resident that would share a second floor wall with the upstairs bar. The condominium will support the restaurant’s bid for a liquor license if a voluntary agreement can be in place to set expectations in areas that the master building documents do not govern in detail – chiefly noise and venting of smells. In the meantime the protest process with ABRA will be initiated to give the ANC and residents a seat at the negotiating table until an agreement is resolved.

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  1. 1

    M Street says

    This sounds awesome! I’m especially excited about having another brunch spot in the neighborhood besides B&P (nothing wrong with B&P, but variety is great…)

  2. 2


    this is awesome. glad to see this FINALLY get filled! I remember when the firehouse was all alone on the block…

  3. 3

    Allison says

    I’m really excited about them putting a new restaurant into this space–I recently moved into 425 Mass and I welcome any new restaurants to this part of town. However, I do wish it was more reasonably priced. I know this is an expensive town, but I feel like we could really use a true neighborhood gem with solid food at truly reasonable prices. The description states that it “Plans to position itself as mid-priced neighborhood restaurant and bar,” but I don’t really think of dinner entrées priced in $17-$27 range as mid-price. I mean, I can see how one could say that, but for those prices the food better be really good, because for $17-27 I can eat at a place like Central, one of my fave restaurants in town. Or I can just go across the street to Buddha Bar. I’d like to see a good restaurant in the area at a price point I can eat at on a weekday without feeling like I just splurged. Maybe I’m just “poor” compared to the rest of the neighborhood though.

  4. 4

    M Street says

    I hear you, Allison – I agree those prices are definitely on the high end of “mid-priced.” But I think they’re in line with other downtown restaurants, and it makes me think that they are aiming for the weekday business lunch/dinner crowd, in addition to the neighborhood residents. In any event, I’m all for new retaurants in the neighborhood, whatever the price point…

  5. 5

    FourthandEye says

    Regarding the pricing – it’s basically the same their other venture: Town Hall in Glover Park. Here is a link to Town Hall’s dinner menu. It seems to me there will be a nice spectrum of price points at dinner – you’ll still have the option of getting a burger or roasted pork sandwich at dinner for $11. I wouldn’t get overly hung up on the the fact that the top end of the spectrum will be $27. I definitely feel like I will be able to eat here for much less than I could at Buddha Bar or many other downtown restaurants… of course let’s hope the food will taste good…