The Columbia Firehouse

4.2
2057 reviews
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$31 to $50
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American
In 1871, the City of Alexandria introduced the Columbia Steam Engine Fire Company. The outfit initially occupied Star Firehouse on the east side of the 100 block of South St. Asaph Street until 1883, when a new station was built for Columbia just across the street at 109 South St. Asaph.

126 years later, Alexandria’s Neighborhood Restaurant Group relaunched this historic and beautifully preserved property as Columbia Firehouse, a sumptuous modern American brasserie and bar located in the heart of Alexandria’s Old Town.

Columbia Firehouse stands as a historic, beautifully preserved piece of Old Town’s heritage. From the street, the building has changed little while the interior has given way to sumptuous dining rooms on four levels, an atrium an outdoor patio and an exquisitely detailed barroom.
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What 2057 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.2based on recent ratings
4.0
food
4.3
service
4.4
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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H
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Had dinner on a Wed. So the crowd was not an issue. The ambiance is very nicely devided between bar, dinning, less formal dinning and outdoor. The service was excellent very attentive. My prime rib was perfectly cooked and delicious.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

We really wanted to like this place. Had a bad experience a couple months back and decided to give it another try. Went for Mother’s Day and for some reason it was extremely hot inside. Many tables were fanning themselves and complaining about the temperature. Bummed out that we weren’t accommodated and ended up just leaving after a couple drinks and appetizer :(

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JB
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 2service 5ambience 5

We had a joint mother's day/birthday celebration at the firehouse. We ordered two appetizers, but they were 86'd on one of them - the manager offered to give us something else, but we were fine with the one. He also bent over backward to try to make it right - offered us a round of drinks.

I ordered the New Englander (lobster benedict). It was okay - there were two poached eggs, one over, the other under. My wife ordered the special crab cakes - they were good, and the waffles for our daughter were amazing.

I told them about the eggs (and there was an off taste - like the bread and lobster didn't pair well). They comped us the whole meal. So, for the food, it was okay - I would definitely come back and give it another chance. The service was outstanding... just for the fact that they went over and above what we expected in making it right we would come back. The ambiance was great and the decor too. I know mother's day is a busy time and we caught them at the end of the brunch - I'm sure the chefs were worn out.

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m
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 5

Ambience great. Lighting for brunch perfect. Menu good. Food good. Two version of Benedict - seafood version was a little dry and fishy. Coffee OK, but refills slow.

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DT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We went for Mother's Day brunch. The brunch menu was good, service was good. It looked to be mostly Tidewater-inspired American eats. I wasn't "wowed" by either. The venue is an old Firehouse; the atrium where we sat was clearly the garage and the doors were glassed in. It was very nice. We will definitely try again.

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Y
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 1ambience 4

Great location but the food was sorely lacking. Entire table was disappointed with the quality and creativity. Bland salmon. Soggy brussell sprouts, plain couscous lacking color, flavor, texture and visual appeal. Zero effort to make it "special". Seafood appetizers were overcooked before being chilled...very amateur.

Wait staff was overloaded even though the restaurant was only partially filled. Had to ask repeatedly for water, utensils, etc.

Beautiful restaurant with charm, but not worth your money or disappointment. Sorry mom!

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RH
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

A good standard, not too expensive place to eat or drink in Old Town - less busy than most of the tourist traps further down King Street.

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NF
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 3ambience 3

The restaurant looks good on paper. We were served fresh rolls that were really delicious, if overly salty. The tuna tartare tacos would have been wonderful if not for all the salt. We couldn’t even get a break from the salt with the salads! The crab cakes were small and underwhelming. It was obvious that the French fries and fried calamari were not done in fresh oil.
It was a real disappointment, especially since the site could it give such an interesting ambiance.

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 2

The food was ok, not great! The portion sizes were very small for entrees. I ordered risotto-1/2 c. Lobster Mac n cheese- 3/4 c. These are the main dish and too small. I really would not recommend.

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s
Washington DC
36 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 5food 3service 5ambience 5

Very good experience, never sat upstairs before with our party of 8 people.

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DM
Indiana
4 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food and service. Be sure to order the mussels with traditional white wine sauce ! They remembered that I mentioned it was a special occasion, compted a desert and treated us fabulously

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JG
Washington DC
47 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Let’s be clear. This is a bar really. The menu posted on line is inaccurate. First three choices from that on line menu were not on current menu, which was short on a Sunday night with the salmon being sold out by 7. It is average food in nice space with good drinks and good service.

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AW
1 review
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great atmosphere, service and food! I would definitely go back

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PF
Baltimore
13 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

Great location in Old Town, not in the crowded sector down by the water. Great atmosphere, interesting assortment of mixed drinks (based on prohibition era recipes). Good food, although a bit pricey for what you get. A good spot for a date or special occasion.

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OT
Tahoe
1 review
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic! A new fave in Old Town! The biscuits are awesome!!

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RD
Washington DC
18 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great ambiance. Superior service. Friendly wait staff. Tasty food. Great experience!

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BH
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great restaurant. The food is fabulous and the atmosphere is perfect for any occasion.

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MF
New York Area
15 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food! Our server was here when you needed him. Loved the enclosed side patio.

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RE
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

Very nice waiter.
EXCELLENT biscuits. I mean, YUM.
Good beer selection.
Ribs were poor. Tough. Certainly not “fall off the bone”. Really poor.
Nice place. I’m not against going back. Clearly I will order differently.

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VA
Salt Lake City
7 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

First time at this restaurant and it was a very enjoyable experience.
Ambiance was pleasant. Noise in the bar area was distrurbing but our dining area was quiet and intimate.
The food was delicious. The service was excellent.

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NH
London
2 reviews
Dined on April 25, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 3

The steak frites were barely edible since the meat was so chewy. Our waiter acted like we were bothering him every time we asked for anything. The bar was empty when we went to have one more drink after paying our bill and the bartender still took 10 minutes to notice us.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

Food portion size was very small for the price. Unimpressed.

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CE
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

It was a simple brunch meal. Not to crowded so you could hesr esch other talk. Service was good.

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OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Server was very accommodating with two young children. Quick food service, outstanding food quality. Great ambiance.

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CD
Chicago
1 review
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 3

The location is good. Food was average, waiter got order mixed up. For the cost, it was not worth the price.

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KG
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

A hidden gem just off King Street. The calamari was good (not great) but the skillet shrimp was fantastic. The steak frites was good. The brussel sprouts were AMAZING. The service was fast and our waitress checked on us often. We’ll return again.

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EE
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on April 16, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

The only thing I can say I didn't like about my hummus dish was it lacked a bit of lemon, olive oil & salt. Presentation and portion was great for the price and that may very well be is that up North we're used to big flavors. I kind of think that changes around the VA area, as I've experienced in past visits. No matter, the rest of the family like what they ordered. Our server was super nice, I liked her the minute she brought over those fabulous biscuits! I could've ordered six and a lemonade and been perfectly happy. We thought the staff was great, the restaurant itself very nice and inside and well, Old Town, I'm recommending that to everyone heading to the DC area. I'd come

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GW
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Beautiful place with great food!

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S
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 2

The restaurant was slow that night, yet the service was even slower. We had a table of 6 and I heard great things about the restaurant. Our drink order took about 20 minutes for 4 wines and water all around. The portions were small, one example was four scallops the size of quarters (a little larger) for $27– oh my! Also, I never had cooked carrots peels still on with hummus—interesting combination. Th-ere was also a 20% gratuity added. Our food was auctioned to us and our checks were set as a stack. I hear their brunch and bar service is great! Have low expectations when you arrive and you may just be pleasantly surprised!

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R
Cleveland
43 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 3

Annually, my wife and I have enjoyed the Columbia Firehouse, but this time was a brutal exception.

The waiter was a pleasant, attentive young man who made every effort to insure that our evening was pleasant, but the chef let him down.

The difference between a cook and a chef is the chef ‘s ability to develop flavors, balance and blends which should a respect for the proper elements in each selection.

The Caesar salad was a moderately tasteful presentation with the poor taste to sense serve anchovy paste and a few dry crotons as boisterous witnesses to a bad me. It was a said reflection on last year’s marvelous Kale Caesar.

We suffered a dry, stringy half-rack of ribs, corrupted with a puny ramekin of scrambled cabbage masquerading as coleslaw.

This is the first time we ever had such a terrible meal which misrepresented the restaurant which we had chosen for the kick-off of our annual Cherry Blossom visit to Washington.

Dr. Reg

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JH
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 4

Very, very poor service! It was obvious to us they were short on staff. Staff not friendly. Would never go back.

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JG
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Mussels and roast chicken were outstanding. The biscuits and Hiney to die for. The polenta with the chicken is soul-satisfying.

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y
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

It was reservation for 3 but we (2 people) were seated for a 2-person table
After we asked to be moved they yield us a bigger table

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OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Popular stop for tour buses, so beware that it may be packed. Fabulous ambiance; great happy hour deals. Reasonable (not cheap) prices; generous servings. Would definitely go again.

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MW
1 review
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The perfect amount of attention from our waiter, with old town ambiance, and fresh delicious ingredients made our Sunday brunch perfect! And since I picked the place and made the reservation, I was very pleased everyone had so many delightful comments about the Firehouse.

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SA
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

The venue is gorgeous, the perfect mix between casual and upscale. However, the small portion sizes and high prices were not justified by the mediocre quality of the food.

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OT
Raleigh
15 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

I would recommend Columbia Firehouse based on the location and ambiance of the building but service was a little slow and food was good but not outstanding.

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JR
Baltimore
5 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Server was great. The right amount of friendliness, very knowledgeable about menu.

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JB
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 4food 2service 4ambience 3

Prime Rib was overcooked and fatty. Scallops were good. Would prefer choice of bread instead of the biscuits.

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GM
New England
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

This was our first time at the Firehouse - we were visiting from out of town.
Food was excellent, nicely presented and a good value.
It's the service, though, that really stood out. Jules was our wait-person and she just has an infectious, joyful personality. She's friendly and engaging without being intrusive. She's also knowledgeable about the food and wine offerings - based on what she'd tasted. Not all waitstaff folks are knowledgeable of the menu items and so we really appreciated her insight. We'd come back just to sit in her section!
The ambience was pleasant - with much noise from the bar area. But then, it was a Friday evening happy hour - so, to be expected.
Our only criticism is the upkeep of the furnishings. Our seat (bench) was torn - maybe a replacement was "on order" - but if, not, it should have been taken care of right away. It's not an inviting presentation. But overall, an enjoyable dinner/evening!

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