Stars and Bars: Grand Re-opening @ Miracle on 7th Street, 11/25/16

Gretchen, Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen by Joy Asico
A Christmas-themed cocktail: Gretchen, Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen (Photo by Joy Asico)

Last Christmas, Derek Brown had an idea! A clever idea!

Derek got a wonderful, amazing idea!

(To be fair, he borrowed the idea from a friend in New York City.)

He would make Christmas even better! And so away he lept with Angie Fetherston and Drink Company and they magically transformed their bar Mockingbird Hill into the super-festival Miracle on 7th Street (named in equal parts for its address at 1843 7th St. NW, DC, and a movie about holiday shopping at the Macy’s department store, Miracle on 34th Street.)

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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)

Stars and Bars: Miracle on 7th Street @ Mockingbird Hill, 12/1-12/24/15

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Miracle on 7th Street’s Gretchen, Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen, served in a frosted glass. (Photo by Joy Asico)

For the month of December, Mockingbird Hill owner Derek Brown will transform his sherry bar (1843 7th St. NW, DC) into a Christmas bar.

And Derek and company are really going all out to do it.

Borrowing the concept from Cocktail Kingdom and barman Nico de Soto of Mace and Miracle on 9th Street in New York City, Derek will introduce a line of 10 Christmas-themed cocktails and a shot from Tuesday, Dec. 1, to Thursday, Dec. 24.

Miracle on 7th Street bar will feature daily Christmas and Hanukkah-themed happy hours.

“Guests can expect to enjoy Christmas classic movie nights, Manischewitz Pong competitions, and cookie baking shenanigans. The holiday pop-up will serve up everything from live Christmas carolers to cocktails served in outrageous Santa mugs, adorned with frosty evergreen trees and gingerbread men,” according to a press release.

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Grapevine: Capital Cheers @ Food Network — 8/5/15

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Several DC area bar owners alerted us to the fact that the Food Network recently toured some DC bars and picked out a dozen recommended for visiting.

You can read the full feature, Capital Cheers: The Best Bars in Washington, DC, as a slideshow on the Food Network website.

To peak your interest, Food Network blogger Laura Hayes visited the following establishments and offers light commentary on them:

Cocktail Bar: 2 Birds 1 Stone (1800 14th St. NW, DC)
Brewpub: Bluejacket (300 Tingey St. SE, DC)
Speakeasy: Dram & Grain (2007 18th St. NW, DC)
Date Night: Iron Gate (1734 N St. NW, DC)
No-Frills Bar: Tune Inn (331 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC)
DC Haunt: Off the Record (The Hay-Adams, 800 16th St. NW, DC)
Sherry Bar: Mockingbird Hill (1843 7th St. NW, DC)
Beach Bar: Pop’s SeaBar (1817 Columbia Rd. NW, DC)
Wine Bar: Flight Wine Bar (777 6th St. NW, DC)
Beer Garden: Dacha Beer Garden (1600 7th St. NW, DC)
Brewery: 3 Stars Brewing Co. (6400 Chillum Pl. NW, DC)
Distillery: One Eight Distilling (1135 Okie St. NE, DC)

We at Parklife DC have visited them all personally except for the Flight Wine Bar and One Eight Distilling. Perhaps it’s time to change that before the summer is over?

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

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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!