Alan Brown, 46, was said to be on a night out when he fell into the outside basement area of Bert's Barr in William Street, Edinburgh, at around 1.40am today.
Colleagues of the firefighter were called to the incident but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
In a statement released through the fire service, his wife Sarah said: "Alan was a beloved husband and father. He will be greatly missed. As a family we now need time to come to terms with this tragic event and grieve Alan's loss."
John Dickie, Senior Fire Officer for Edinburgh, said he was devastated to hear of the death. He described Mr Brown, who was a watch manager, as a popular "larger than life character"
He said: "Alan had been off duty and on a night out when he was discovered fatally injured in the early hours of Friday morning.
"Crews from Tollcross and Newcraighall fire stations were mobilised to the incident following reports that a man had fallen into a basement at William Street, Edinburgh.
"Firefighters used line rescue equipment to recover him and move him to the waiting ambulance but tragically Alan was pronounced dead at the scene.
"Our thoughts and sincere sympathies are with Alan's family, friends and his colleagues who will be devastated at his loss."