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Tune Inn: A Washington Institution

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The fire at Tune Inn started early Wednesday morning.
Patrick Madden
The fire at Tune Inn started early Wednesday morning.

As far as regulars go, few bars can boast a more loyal customer than James Forward. The marine says he's made the Tune Inn his home every day for the past 10 years, usually parking himself outside to read a history book or catch up with friends. He says it hurt to see what the fire had done.

"This is a family," he says.

But like a freshly tapped keg, stories about the bars rich history soon start pouring out. Like the time a neighbor's place burned down and the owner of the Tune Inn opened the bar up.

"With all the proceeds and all the tips, she raised like $6,000 in a few hours to help," Forward says.

Another unique characteristic is the Tune Inn's wall-to-wall taxidermy.

"The owner's husband is a avid hunter. There's a 500-pound bear that he shot with a bow and arrow in Canada," Forward says. "I wouldnt get that close to a damn bear."

Outside the bar, a crew picks up the pieces of the shattered front window. Karen Szala, a waitress, watches the cleanup effort.

"It is absolutely the watering hole of Capitol Hill. Everybody from firefighters to policemen to congressmen and senators hang their hat here," Szala says. "No matter how much you make or what you do, everyone is on an equal playing field. And everybody just wants to sit down, have a good time and have a drink or a burger."

Forward says the best thing about Tune Inn is that it's a family.

"It's not like any other bar I've ever been in. It's like being home," he says.

And with that, Forward resumes his story telling, this time promising some even juicier tales.

The news of the fire swept through D.C. through various social media outlets, yielding an outpouring of support for the popular and historic bar:
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