Famous local dive bar goes up in flames taking a century of memories with it
One of the most historic watering holes in the county burned this week. Dietle’s had been in the county for more than a century COURTESY PHOTO A century of good times went up in smoke early Wednesday morning when a fire reduced Hank Dietle’s Tavern, a longtime Rockville Pike landmark, to ashes.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Pete Piringer called the damage the fire inflicted on the century-old wooden building – which has served as a local watering hole since 1916 – “almost a total loss” and said the fire was likely accidental, and was probably caused by smoking materials that were left on the tavern’s wooden porch.
“When fire crews arrived, there were some pretty heavy fire conditions throughout the structure,” Piringer said.
At about 2:45 a.m. firefighters responded to reports of a fire at the tavern’s location on 11010 Rockville Pike, where they encountered heavy enough smoke and fire that they called reinforcements to the scene. In total, the fire required the efforts of 65 firefighters to extinguish it. Piringer said no one was injured or killed in the fire.
“They made some pretty quick work of it – they were able to knock it down in 15 minutes or so,” Piringer said, adding that the total cost of the damage was up to $500,000 – $400,000 from the building and $100,000 from the contents.
Hank Dietle’s became Montgomery County’s first ever alcohol licensee when it opened as a general store in 1916. Owners converted the general store to a bar in the 1950s, after which it served as a casual local establishment for beer and live music.
The bar’s loyal patrons took to Facebook early Wednesday to express condolences for the tavern to its owners.