The Columbia Firehouse

4.3
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2173 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.
What 2173 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.4
service
4.5
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
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NB
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very pretty place. Talk wasn't too loud and the food was great and didn't take forever.

MM
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall2food2service2ambience4

I said I would recommend only on previous dining experience. We will also try it again due to our initial experience, but this particular experience was less than desirable. I will preface this review that the harried manager did come to our table and apologized and comped our first round of drinks, which was acknowledged and appreciated. We did however have a hard time hearing exactly what he said. It was Alexandria Restaurant week so the pricing was as advertised, however the salmon portion for the 2 orders were small and smaller. My husband's piece was not even 2x3". Both the NY steak and Steak Frites were dry, like they sat under the heat lamp. The appetizer and desserts were really good. The service was disappointing. Initially started off ok, but after the appetizers were delivered, we ordered an 2nd round of drinks. We didn't not get until right before dinner came which was almost a half hour after we finished appetizers. They ran out of the beer my husband ordered and instead of asking him what he wanted, they brought him a beer from a local brewery that is one of his least favorites and it was not drinkable. He was going to ask for another but she never came back to check on our food, on whether the beer she brought out was ok or even give us a chance to order anything else.
No clue what was going on, but hopefully it was a fluke, as this is a beautiful restaurant with a nice menu.

C
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Excellent service and food! Our reservation was at 7 but they were able to seat us early. The bar area seemed very busy because of a private party but the restaurant section was very chill and nice. A pretty restaurant.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our waiter was very accommodating with all of our birthday party requests.

W
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Thank you for making our Anniversary so enjoyable, the wait staff was amazing and so kind.

A
Washington DC
65 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall3food3service3ambience3

This was a perfect spot for a very quiet after holidays meal on a Sunday evening. We enjoyed a well prepared straightforward steak dinner in a quiet atmosphere great for conversation! Thank you!

CF
Washington DC
32 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

A wonderful place for a relaxed casual lunch, with good food not trying to be fancy, just tasty. The server was perfect and kept up with our needs yet left us alone for our desired long two hour talk. It just felt cozy, easy and enjoyable, while also offering us a perfectly prepared lunch. I will return!!

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience5

Beautiful NYE dinner! Our favorite restaurant!

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D
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Excellent food as always

SS
Washington DC
27 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Scarlet was a wonderful server. Attentive, patient with all of our food allergies, and on top of it when our food took too long/ brought out the wrong dish. The food was flavorful and ambiance was lovely.

OT
Memphis
108 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a lovely New Years Eve dinner. They had some Price Fixe options, but the regular menu was also available. The service was great and we always enjoy the wine and beer selections.

LC
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience3

Food was good, service was so-so... didn’t see much of our server and had to ask others walking by to get more water, etc.

My biggest complaint is that communication with this restaurant was terrible. I made a reservation on Opentable. I then called to ask questions about the menu as 1 person in our party has a pretty severe dietary restriction. The phone went straight to voice mail and then I got the “ mailbox full” message so I couldn’t leave a message. I figured this was temporary as it was during the holidays and maybe lots of folks were calling and leaving messages. I tried for a day and a half and it was the same. I finally gave up calling and tried to email the “general inquiry” email listed on the website (same place I got the phone number). I sent an email which immediately bounced back as undeliverable. When a business does not pay attention to these sorts of details, to me, this is a red flag... not sure I would go back there again as it was a really mediocre experience.

G
Washington DC
56 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Columbia Firehouse offers comfortable booths in their sunny atrium; a menu with good variety; and well-prepared food, attentively served.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our server was very attentive and the food was great. My friend and I went for brunch and I had the Chesapeake Benedict.

OT
1 review
Dined on December 21, 2019
Overall4food3service3ambience4

Theatre outing. Overpriced for what you get

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall2food3service3ambience3

I made a reservation, but I was seated at a table that got a draft from the front door, even though it was I a room beyond the main dining room. There were better tables available, and I don’t know why I didn’t get seated at one given that I booked in advance.

It took three tries to get a sandwich without cheese and mayo. The manager got involved and seems to truly care. Nice staff. Tasty food. Mistakes with food happen, but having to wear a coat all during dinner was not okay.

JB
Richmond
1 review
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall4food3service3ambience5

Fantastic ambience and warm feeling at the bar. Beautiful restaurant. Over eager server and food coming out too quickly. Food very good but pricey. Drinks pricey and small.

MM
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on December 18, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience5

Great service, cozy atmosphere, good wine. Food was fine. Not great but not bad! Don’t recommend the chili or the wedge salad. Would go back and try their extensive seafood menu!

DS
Washington DC
23 reviews
Dined on December 18, 2019
Overall3food4service2ambience2

Our office party of six agree that our food was above average. The service was mediocre at best. The reservation was made at least a month in advance yet our table was cramped with one person pinned against a brick wall and an other having a plant constantly infringing on her space. We were seated in an undesirable place and when ask if we could move, our request was completely ignored by the "manager." When we asked the server about he moving, he told us that the restaurant was booked which was completely untrue. We were the only table in that section of the restaurant. Also, we ordered a bottle of wine for two people and the server did not offer to re-cork the bottle to take with us. Overall, it was an experience that I would not want to repeat. Customers deserve better.

AC
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 8, 2019
Overall3food2service3ambience3

I made reservation here because I knew the upstairs dinning room is normally quiet. It turned out they don't open this room on Sunday. The atrium was packed and it was very noisy.
Ran out of food twice. My husband ordered fish and chips was told it was out. Ordered the warm apple crisp. It was also out. Not worth it!!!

C
Washington DC
19 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience3

needed more staff on Saturday to handle the crowds. but waiter was pleasant and food good.

CE
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall2food3service2ambience4

Unfortunately, we were brought the wrong meals. Then, the waitress brought us the wrong drinks. She admitted that the drinks were wrong but “thought we would enjoy them anyway “.
We are from the area and have tried The Firehouse a few times. Each time we regret it. We won’t be back.

OT
1 review
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had Thanksgiving dinner. It was a limited, but excellent menu.

HR
1 review
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and atmosphere. Highly recommend to everyone.

LR
Dallas
5 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience4

Despite a reservation, we were directed to a comparatively poor seat. As in at least one other review I’ve seen, the atmosphere is lovely but there needs to be just a little bit more light. The food was terrific. Our one problem is that our drinks were not served until several bites into our meals, and even then we had to ask to get that done. When delivering them, the waitress said everyone decided to “close out” at the same time.

JP
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience3

Good muscles in Thai curry, brussel sprouts, and truffle fries.

N
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall2food2service1ambience4

I was very disappointed with the poor service and the mediocre food. Really this place is no more than a very nicely appointed bar with pretty standard fried, cheesy food. Not impressed.

OT
Memphis
108 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a won

OT
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great chili and burger. Good service and atmosphere. 5 stars from me!

K
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience5

We've lived in Old Town 20 years, but always overlook this place, so we thought we'd give it a try. The ambiance is lovely with lots of warm wood paneling throughout. Really beautiful. Very warm, esp on a cold evening. You walk into the Pub which has a couple of TVs showing games at each end of the bar. (While the paneling is lovely, this place could use a little refresh on the other finishes. It smells like the carpet has been there for years). The restaurant is big with several different dining rooms, each with their own feel. The atrium looked lovely with its twinkley lights above. Then there were large parties in the lower level and the 3rd floor. We sat up on the 2nd floor which was nice for a date night. White table clothes and lots of room between tables. There were several large parties near us and the noise was moderate but not terrible. This place seemed to attract celebrations and large parties. Our server was very nice and friendly. The food was average but acceptable. This is not the place to go if you're a real foodie. However it was perfect for a burger and shrimp with pasta. Overall I would say this place is fine for a burger and beer at the bar, or a simple meal in the restaurant . The food was ok. They need to keep the beautiful wood paneling, but refresh the paint and flooring. It's time for a little deep clean and refresh.

B
Washington DC
21 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and wonderful service

JV
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and excellent service. Great ambiance.

n
Washington DC
74 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience2

My company has business dinners here occasionally. So I decided to try it out with my husband. We ordered the Tuna tacos, steak etc which were all decent. Our waiter was great too. But the table that's seated in view of the kitchen is terrible. We had to move, because every time the door swung open the light was not bearable. The hostess and bar staff were just okay. Wasn't a very friendly or welcoming vibe. Felt uncomfortable. I probably won't be back unless my company has a dinner there. Good for business dinners.

m
New York Area
18 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Reliable food in casual atmosphere. Great place for burgers and drinks.

R
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I celebrated my birthday here over lunch and it was perfect. Wonderful, fresh food. Great wait staff and atmosphere. Low noise.

OT
Los Angeles
8 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience3

The place had a musty smell when you walked in but disappeared after my nose got acclimated to it. It has a very rustic ambiance which I liked. The food was so-so at best and I think they need to upscale the menu.

K
New England
8 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Cool building in that it’s a refurbished old firehouse, but the only way to know anything about it is that we happened to have a congenial, and not very busy, server who offered to give a us a tour. Carpets dirty, lighting is glare-y. Food is so so. Definitely didn’t feel like a place I’d go for a “special” dinner, feels like just a family restaurant.

AB
Baltimore
4 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

We have come back to this restaurant several times when we are in the ALX area, great food!

OT
1 review
Dined on October 25, 2019
Overall3food2service5ambience5

We made a reservation, were greeted by name and sat right away. The restaurant is beautiful and the service was excellent. My husband really enjoyed the cocktails from the bar as they were well made and properly chilled. The food was lacking. My steak (ordered Medium) was cold and dry. I opted for the potatoes and side salad. The potatoes were cold and overcooked as well and the salad was a plate of arugula with a side dish of dressing....very underwhelmed. My husband ordered the Baby Whale seafood platter and was not impressed. He was not expecting the same quality and presentation you would receive from a chain restaurant but that is what he received. For $56 it was more like a low grade appetizer rather than a meal. We ordered dessert and again were underwhelmed by the cookie cutter quality; tasted like a slice of cake found 1/2 off at Safeway. Overall not impressed with our dinner for a recommended restaurant in Downtown Old Town.

k
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful!!!!! Food is great. Service was wonderful!! Highly recommend!!!👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

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