Archives February 2021

Closed for 3 Years, Hank Dietle’s Approved for Liquor License

From MyMCM

Hank Dietle’s Tavern, which has remained closed since a serious fire in 2018, announced Thursday that its liquor license was approved by Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS).

“We’re getting #001 back!” Tavern owners wrote on Facebook. The establishment on Rockville Pike opened in 1950 and had liquor license number “001.” MyMCM reached out to ABS to confirm that the license was approved and is awaiting response.

On Valentine’s Day 2018, the tavern sustained a major fire, caused by discarded smoking materials left on the front porch, according to County Fire and Rescue Spokesperson Pete Piringer. He said damages cost $500,000 and no one was injured. According to Hank Dietle’s website, customers rallied to save the bar. A Go Fund Me was created and others organized a benefit concert to launch reconstruction.

“Thanks to their tireless efforts and many fans who contributed, the roof was repaired, the porch rebuilt, critical electrical work done, and interior walls rebuilt,” the website says. “Building on their efforts, three devotees of the historic tavern teamed up to complete work on the interior, recreate our beloved ‘Hank Dietle’s Cold Beer’ sign, and get the institution rolling again.”

Owners hope to reopen this spring, the site says.

Celebrate Black History Month at Josiah Henson Special Park

NORTH BETHESDA, MD— Take “A Walk in Father Henson’s Footsteps” as M-NCPPC, Montgomery Parks offers free tours and a spoken word poetry event to celebrate Black History Month at Josiah Henson Special Park, 11420 Old Georgetown Road.

Learn about the extraordinary life of Reverend Josiah Henson, whose autobiography inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, during FREE guided tours of the Josiah Henson Special Park. Tours will be offered each Saturday, February 4, 11, and 18 between 12:00 noon and 4:00 pm. On Saturday, February 25 tours will be offered between 12:00 noon and 3:00 pm. Visitors will also retrace the footsteps of Reverend Henson from enslavement to escape on the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada, and walk the grounds where Henson toiled as a slave on the Isaac Riley plantation.

“Reverend Josiah Henson was an extraordinary man,” said Shirl Spicer, Museum Manger for M-NCPPC, Montgomery Parks. “He was a slave, a preacher, an Underground Railroad fugitive and conductor, an entrepreneur; an author…the list goes on and on. This tour will be a fantastic way for children, adults and groups of all ages to learn about Josiah Henson and Montgomery County’s rich African American heritage.”

The Department of Parks will close out its Black History Month celebration at Josiah Henson Special Park on Saturday, February 25, from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm with a special poetry event, “Lyrical Rhythms: The Sounds of Freedom.” Tours will not be conducted during the event.

Poets are invited to create their own “sounds of freedom” in the form of original poetry focused on any of the following themes: slavery, freedom, Underground Railroad, Reverend Josiah Henson, “Uncle Tom,” Civil War, or any other topics related to the African American experience. During the event, poets will read their original works. A reception with light refreshments will immediately follow.

For more on these upcoming events and volunteering, see www.JosiahHensonSite.org or call M-NCPPC, Montgomery Parks Museum Manager Shirl Spicer at 301-650-4373.

Hank Dietle’s owners apply for liquor license

From Bethesda Beat

Hank Dietle’s Tavern, the century-old bar along Rockville Pike that was destroyed by a fire nearly three years ago, could soon be back in business.

The North Bethesda bar’s owners have applied for a class D liquor license, which would allow the business to sell beer and wine on or off site, according to documents filed with the Montgomery County Board of License Commissioners.

A hearing on the license application is scheduled for Feb. 4.

Thomas Bowes, one of the owners, told Bethesda Beat Monday afternoon that he hopes the bar will open by late spring if all of the remaining construction work goes according to plan.

“We’re just moving ahead, trying to get things done,” he said. “All the drywall’s in place, so I’ve got some painting and I’ve got to put floors down and put all the electrical fixtures done.”

The exact timing of the opening, Bowes said, will depend in part on how quickly COVID-19 restrictions are lifted for indoor dining.

Dietle’s suffered a large fire on Valentine’s Day 2018, when a discarded cigarette butt in a flowerpot started a fire that spread and engulfed the building in flames. The bar was 102 years old.

In the years since the fire, there has been a movement to revive Dietle’s from the ashes.

Bowes, a former band booker there; his wife, Sarah Bonner; and photographer Alan Kresse signed a 10-year-lease for the property in September 2019. They have been coordinating construction efforts since then.

A Facebook group called “Hank Dietle’s Tavern Rides Again” posts updates about progress on the bar.

A Jan. 21 post in the group states that drywall and insulation work is done. Finishing the floors is next, it stated.

“We really appreciate the donations of tile, doors, lamps and other miscellaneous items to help the project along,” the post stated. “At some point in the not too distant future we can open up for live bands or at least spilling beer with the jukebox cranking.”

Bowes told Bethesda Beat in the fall that he hoped Dietle’s could open by December, but was not sure how quickly customers would return due to COVID-19 restrictions. Indoor dining at bars and restaurants in Montgomery County has been banned since Dec. 15.

Bowes said Monday that when the bar reopens, the owners will need to work out the parking situation with next-door neighbor Java Nation, whose parking lot is adjacent.