Buildout begins at Sixth Engine

Construction build out began this week at 438 Mass for the new American bistro Sixth Engine. As we reported back in June 2010 the new venue that will occupy the old firehouse space is from the ownership groups of Town Hall and The Dubliner.

Coinciding with the start of construction Sixth Engine has also created a social media presence with a facebook page. Fans of the page will be treated to news and occasional construction progress photos. They plan to open early 2012.

2nd floor shell at Sixth Engine

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Douglas Development press release on Sixth Engine

The Triangle blog has been ontop of all the news about the future restaurant at 400 Mass that will be named Sixth Engine. We were the first to spot the liquor license application in early June 2010. A month later we gathered and reported all the details shared by the ownership group to the ANC 6C ABL committee. More recently we shared a glimpse into the complications between the restaurant group and the 400 Mass condominium.

Today the Bravery Corp issued a press release regarding the project on behalf of Douglas Development. There are no new details beyond what we’ve reported in the past but it shows that the project is continuing to progress and hopefully still on track for a late 2011 opening. Follow the jump for the full press release…

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Sixth Engine still moving forward

It’s been many months since we’ve had an update on the restaurant Sixth Engine planned for the firehouse at 400 Mass. With support of ANC6C the 400 Mass condominiums initiated an ABRA protest of the liquor license as a means to secure a voluntary agreement. The residents had a series of concerns with the plans the restaurant had to vent exhaust from the roof of the firehouse and beneath 10 stories of residential windows near the top of the list. However the protest was dismissed as 400 Mass did not have sufficient attendance at the ABRA roll call hearing last September.

The lost opportunity with for a voluntary agreement shifter the focus of the condominium to other legal avenues. The firehouse is surrounded by 400 Mass but not a part of the building Sixth Engine needs a series of structural changes to the 400 Mass common elements to allow the space to support the needs of the restaurant. The firehouse space needs walls blown out to allow access to the loading dock and the adjacent commercial space the restaurant also is leasing from Douglas Development.

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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

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Sixth Engine

Our reader SG provided us a heads up that a liquor license application under the trade name Sixth Engine has been posted for the firehouse space at 400 Mass. The application describes the future business as an American Bistro serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Follow the “read more” link for the rest of the application details.

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