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Rockville’s Iconic Hank Dietle’s Tavern Destroyed by Fire

Authorities blame “discarded smoking materials” for the devastating blaze at the 70-year-old bar

Revered roadside fixture, Hank Dietle’s Tavern.
Christopher P./Yelp

Hank Dietle’s Tavern, a beloved Rockville watering hole that’s so old the remnants of a hitching post for horses were still visible on its front porch, has been destroyed by an accidental fire.

Authorities tell Fox5 news that the catastrophic blaze, which was first reported at around 3 a.m. on Wednesday, February 14, was mostly likely sparked by “discarded smoking materials.”

A former general store turned dive bar — the Washington Post reported in 2017 that Dietle’s is the oldest bar in Montgomery County, its liquor license being the first one issued after the repeal of Prohibition — Washingtonian in early 2016 referred to Dietle’s (11010 Rockville Pike) as “the last great roadhouse in suburbia.”

The no-frills gathering place serves no food (save for sandwiches supplied by visiting food trucks), boasts a few pinball machines, a pool table, and live music on weekends. Pitchers of domestic beer (Miller Lite, Budweiser, Yuengling) flow like water, and six packs of commercial brands are available for carry-out.

“It’s the best dive bar I’ve ever been to,” Dietle’s patron Chris Jacques told Bethesda Magazine in 2015. “It’s dingy. It’s easy. It’s home.”