We continue our food tour after a prolonged hiatus of which I offer my sincerest apologies. As many of you may know I have decided to start a new chapter in my life by traveling across the country and moving to Los Angeles. While I like to gloat that my travels were as courageous and daring as Jack Kerouac they were not but my experiences driving cross country share a number of similarities.
My transition has been difficult in many ways and have inevitably affected my daily routine. Now that I have fully situated myself and begun working again I can revert back to the routine that I enjoyed so dearly. While my posts will be primarily on the west coast from this point on I hope you continue to read and interact even if they may not be relevant to you.
I changed the name of the blog to Channeling My Inner Fat Child and hope to get more creative as I continue to feed my culinary curiosity. During my time off I have experienced a quasi-catharsis; I came to a realization that I enjoy traveling quite a bit and will dedicate more of my resources to feeding this hobby.
With all that taken care of we continue the topic at hand right were we left off. My last post was about the culinary outlandish and cocktail enthusiast bar The Passenger. Our next post deals with the Columbia Room which is a bar within The Passenger. Hidden discretely in the back Columbia Room is a reservation only bar intended for cocktail savants or people interested in taking a tour of sophisticated spirits.
Listed as the 18th Best Cocktail bar in GQ the Columbia Room is easily on of the best bars in DC proper. As mentioned above Columbia Room is a reservation only so you can not simply stroll in at your own convenience. Luckily reservations aren't too hard to come by so don't fret.
Once you have reserved a time you simply go to one of the servers in The Passenger before your alloted time. The appointments take about 45 minutes to an hour depending on how many people are at the bar. The cost is $65 which includes two drinks that are predetermined and one drink of your choosing as well as a small appetizer. You can continue drinking after that but you start a new tab with the bartender and drinks cost a certain price which I don't know off the top of my head.
I have had the luxury of visiting this bar twice during my time in DC. As you may have discerned from previous posts I fancy myself a sophisticated drinker. Having a friend who owns a liquor store, going to a number of wine tastings and have a small click of friends who love fancy cocktails enabled me to believe that I knew a good deal about spirits and the art of cocktails. But after my first visit I was humbled and embarrassed to a small extent of how little I actually knew.
During this humbling first experience I was merely a spectator enjoying the experience. I took no photographs or notes, I just breathed in the experience. After that I set up another reservation for a friends birthday in hopes of recuperating a tiny bit of my dignity.
Once you enter you are greeted by the bartender who will be serving you for the evening. The bar itself is quite small which gives a really intimate feel. The exposed brick, dim lighting, and low ambient music offer a very chic modern atmosphere. Everything that is done here is as precise and organized as can be. From cooled glasses, shaved ice and even cucumber infused wash cloths everything is performed to perfection.
My tour started off with an absinth based drink which was magnificent. This was followed by a drink called Look Before You Leap which composed of Plymouth gin, sweet vermouth and acid phosphate with a orange garnish. The drink was smooth and complex and was accompanied by a seared scallop with a sea foam reduction which was also quite elegant.
As I mentioned above the final drink you consume is up to your choice. The bartenders are obviously very knowledgeable and can assist you in your decision. I remember during my first visit I had a playful argument with one of the bartenders about how horrible olives and olive juice were. The bartender disagreed so I dared them to make me a martini that I would actually like. Low and behold he made a fool out of me, he also provided me with their olives which were quite amazing.
During the next instance I had some more fun with my bartender. I asked her to make me a drink with similar qualities to a rum and coke. After she raised her eyebrows I said I was joking and threw her a curveball. I asked her to make the drink that made her fall in love with cocktails. She took a moment to compose herself and started making a traditional Italian cocktail composed entirely out of Vermouth. I wish I wrote down the name because I truly enjoyed every aspect of it which is a bit surprising because I am not a fan of Vermouth.
In conclusion I highly recommend making a reservation for the Columbia Room. It is a great way to take a date, celebrate a birthday or anniversary or just learn about the art of mixology. People think the price of admission is unreasonable, especially for only three drinks. I counter by telling them to either use Mint.com or ask them if they ever buy shots and if so to look at how expensive they are. Also this is a only a yearly experience, its not as if you are doing it frequently. I hope my pitch sold you because I know you will not be disappointed if you chose to visit.