Stars and Bars: First Look @ Columbia Room, 2/9/16

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The view from behind the bar in the Tasting Room at the Columbia Room (Photo by Jeff Elkins)

Over the weekend, DC cocktail mogul Derek Brown held a soft launch party for his new flagship spirits destination, the Columbia Room (124 Blagden Alley NW, DC).

Starting tomorrow, Feb. 9, the Columbia Room is open to the public! But before you go, Derek kindly provided pictures of the space so that you can orient yourself to the stylish surroundings, sure to inspire many long, intellectual conversations stimulated by the bar’s sophisticated drinks.

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Stars and Bars: Grand Opening @ Columbia Room, 2/9/16

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Columbia Room Owner Derek Brown and Head Bartender J.P. Fetherston. (Photo by Joy Asico)

Our favorite cocktail mogul has announced the return of his signature establishment, which he promises will be bigger and better than ever.

On Feb. 9, enterpreneur Derek Brown will reopen the Columbia Room in its new location in the Shaw neighborhood (124 Blagden Alley NW, DC). The original Columbia Room, once relocated within the Passenger cocktail bar for a five-year run, closed over a year ago after receiving widespread recognition, including two James Beard Award nominations.

“We’re so excited that we get to expand on our original idea,” said Derek in a press release. “It means that we get to add bells and whistles, but it also means that we get to bring a new perspective — a more confident perspective that I think, for guests, will translate into a richer experience with our service, drinks, and food.”

The new Columbia Room covers 2,400-square feet and consists of three areas — The Spirits Library, the Tasting Room, and the Punch Garden. The Spirits Library is the “main room,” which holds only 20 people, serving the specialty cocktails and spirits upon which Derek has crafted his repuation. He’s joined in the enterprise, of course, by Columbia Room head bartender J.P. Fetherston.

Customers will require tickets for the Tasting Room, which holds only 14 people. Inside the Tasting Room, patrons can enjoy three- and five-course tasting menus featuring specialty cocktails, punches, sodas, and light snacks curated by Derek and the team.

The Punch Garden is a seated outdoors terrace with a great view of the city, and it won’t open until later this spring.

For more information on the Columbia Room, visit its website at http://www.columbiaroomdc.com.

Of course, Derek also will continue to be the coproprieter of sister bars Mockingbird Hill (1843 7th St. NW, DC), Eat the Rich (1839 7th St. NW, DC), and Southern Efficiency (1841 7th St. NW, DC).

Below are pictures of a few of the Columbia Room signature cocktails.

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Iron Arm Grog: Scotch, brose (oatmeal, hay, faro), myrtle berry liqueur, honey, cranberry bitters, frozen cranberries, juniper sprig (Photo by Joy Asico)

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Give Me a Home: Bison grass vodka, fresh pressed apple juice, spiced apple foam, caramel lace (Photo by Joy Asico)

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Robert Frost Cocktail: Bourbon, amontillado sherry, white port, orange bitters, sugar maple charcoal filtered (Photo by Joy Asico)

Around Town: Remembering David Bowie, 1/11/16

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If you are in DC mourning the passing of David Bowie, who died last night of cancer at age 69, consider joining one of these events to celebrate the life and legacy of the man.

Events honoring David Bowie in DC tonight, Monday, Jan. 11:

David Bowie (may you rest in peace)
DC9
5pm-2am
Free
21+

We would like to say our hearts are truly saddened by the loss of one of the greatest musicians and entertainers of our era. Our entire day is dedicated to David Bowie. Music will on our speakers will be some of most popular and other deep tracks from his catalogue that spans six decades.

David Bowie cocktails: We have a cocktail for each decade that he made music.

More info: http://dcnine.com/calendar/2016/01/11/david-bowie-2/

David Bowie Karaoke Tribute
Sticky Rice
8-11pm
Free
21+

Come celebrate the life of David Bowie by singing your heart out at Sticky Rice tonight. David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust will be sung throughout the evening. Costumes are welcome and encouraged. Sticky Rice will be providing the face paint but feel free to come come in full make up!!!!!

More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/582016841963426/

Grapevine: The Passport Program Comes to DC

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2 for 1 drink specials at 42 DC venues

 

DC Beer reported:

‘Well this is an interesting idea.  The Passport Program is coming to DC, and it’s bringing hot, hot deals all summer long.  Folks who buy a passport get two drinks for the price of one at 42 local venues from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  Every stop you make, you get a stamp in your passport, meaning that you can’t double up on your visits, but you should try more new places anyway…while drinking two-for-one drinks.  Just remember what the passport people say: be sure to tip on the price of two drinks.

May 20th, they’re throwing a kickoff party at Suburbia from 5 to 8.   Just register at the link and you’re well on your way to a boozier summer.’

Press release and participating venues:

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Stars and Bars: Jim Beam Bonded Returns @ Harold Black — 3/23/15

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Theo Rutherford of Jim Beam

Bourbon lovers and media had a chance to taste Jim Beam’s new Pre-Prohibition Style Rye whiskey and the return of their Bonded bourbon at a most apt venue. Harold Black, a speakeasy-style bar tucked away in Eastern Market (above Acqua Al 2).

The friendly staff at Harold Black mixed four agreeable cocktails designed for this event, showcasing the two bourbons. The Gingerly brought out the best in the Rye and the Blueberry Hill, with mashed blueberries, proved to be a fine complement to the Bonded.

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Theo Rutherford, of Jim Beam, hosted a brief tutorial for guests to learn how to properly drink bourbon. It involves proper breathing and ample use of smell. Guests then were given the ingredients and tools to make their own ‘delicious’ cocktail. Mine was not Harold Black quality, but I was happy with it.

The overall old-timey, Prohibition theme was well done throughout the speakeasy; in the decor, the lighting, and the attire of the bartenders and organizers.

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Stars and Bars: The Return of The Passenger?, 2/8/15

The Passenger - God Save the District

Update: Fritz Hahn, bar sage of the Washington Post, reports on Jan. 15 that the Passenger is holding a pop-up in its former neighbor Bar 7 (1015 Seventh St. NW, DC) on Sunday, Feb. 8 from 7pm-1am. Apparently, Tom Brown will hold a series of pop-ups.

“Brown promises live-band karaoke with the Hari Karaoke Band, a special cocktail menu and possibly tiki drinks in Bar 7’s lower-level lounge,” Fritz says.

Personally I don’t see the point. Tom could just go work at another joint and make his cocktails there while waiting for a new space for the Passenger?

The Twitter account of The Passenger, the popular DC cocktail bar that closed New Year’s Eve, suggests it may return to a new location faster than many anticipated.

Via Twitter, the afternoon of Tuesday, Jan. 13: “Mark Sunday, February 8th on your calendar! Deets forthcoming. #wemissyou”

Many mourned the passing of The Passenger, founded by DC mixologist Derek Brown, when it announced last fall it would close its old location (1021 7th St. NW, DC) on Dec. 31, 2014. For the previous five years, the bar sat on a block long-scheduled for demolition. Its inventive cocktails, dive bar atmosphere and gracious ambience appealed to a wide audience, including myself — and I’m a beer guy. I visited the bar on its last day around dinnertime and I found things as congenial and the cocktails as tasty as ever.

Derek Brown went on to co-found three new bars outside the Shaw metro station but vowed his brother Tom Brown, the popular and friendly face usually behind the bar at The Passenger, would reestablish the bar in a new location, hopefully in the Shaw neighboorhood.

It appears The Passenger may indeed already have found a new home?

Stars and Bars: Imbibe Names Derek Brown ‘Bartender of the Year’

DC cocktail mogul Derek Brown was named 2015 Bartender of the Year by Imbibe magazine Tuesday.

Derek currently is best known as the common partner in a string of bars by the Shaw metro station along 7th Street NW in Shaw: Mockingbird Hill (1843 7th St. NW, DC), Southern Efficiency (1841 7th St. NW, DC) and Eat the Rich (1839 7th St. NW, DC).

On New Year’s Day, Derek closed the Passenger and the Columbia Room (1021 7th St. NW, DC), previously located in Mount Vernon Square. Those low-key and high-end establishments respectively served to make him a household name in the DC bar scene over the past five years.

In a profile video posted by Imbibe (above), Derek says, “Cocktails are truly a conversation with the world. When I think about cocktails, I think about how they connect to nature; I think about how they connect to history; and I think about how they connect to the people who made them and the time they were living in.”

Imbibe, based in Portland, Ore., is a bimonthly magazine covering the gamut of the U.S. bar scene. “From wine, spirits and beer to coffee and tea, Imbibe celebrates the world in a glass. We feature the world’s top drink destinations, recipes and in-depth stories covering the people, places and flavors of liquid culture,” the magazine says on its Facebook.

Congratulations, Derek!