Culture

Self-Portrait – Columbia Room, Tasting Room – 08.23.2016

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Columbia Room’s FAQ states the following regarding their dress code:

“What should I wear?  Why not dress to the nines?  But we only require that you wear shoes and are reasonably covered.”

This response sums up exactly why Columbia Room is such a Washington, DC treasure.  Tucked away in Blagden Alley, the management and staff are personable, down to earth and make all clientele feel right at home.  However, despite the relaxed dress code and familial vibes of the location, it is undeniable that Columnbia Room will certainly be one of the most elegant venues you will ever have the privilege of sipping a craft cocktail in. Consequently, I wholeheartedly recommend that you do “dress to the nines” for the experience that you are treated to in their Tasting Room.

The Tasting Room decor is breathtaking.  The focal point of the room is the handcrafted mosaic mural behind the long bar where guests are seated for each tasting. The mosaic maintains the clever genius of Columbia Room.  Historic by nature, the mural pays homage to drinking history and includes personal symbolism throughout.  There is an official Columbia Room crest, and staff are represented by their corresponding Chinese Zodiac animal all under the watch of a beautiful fairy princess — a tribute to Columbia Room’s, co-owner Angie Fetherston. Crystal chandeliers, a burl wood tasting bar, luxurious leather seats and gold accents add to the opulence of the room.  As a friend of mine says, you approach an evening in the tasting room “as if you’re going on a date…and the date is with the handmade mosaic on the back wall.” Translation: perhaps put the same thought into the way you dress as was clearly put into the creation of that mosaic.

In addition to the decor, the staff truly makes experience.  There are few bartenders who are as passionate and thoughtful about their craft as Derek Brown, owner of Columbia Room.  He is a historian and constant student of alcohol.  He understands how to make a setting come alive through his art.  Every cocktail that he has created is well researched and designed to represent a specific time and experience.  It is easy to see this passion in the cocktails you order, but even more apparent if you have the luck of meeting him. While it’s tough to say for sure when you’ll find Derek in the Tasting Room, you will absolutely have the pleasure of meeting JP Fetherston there.

One of the warmest individuals you will encounter, JP is also passionate and exceptionally knowledgeable about the cocktails served at Columbia Room.  More than simply memorizing the menu, JP helps design each cocktail, the result being that he can explain in great depth during your tasting why each ingredient was selected.  With JP behind the bar, I can guarantee you will have an incredible and enlightening experience.

Of course, the cocktails are the headliner at the Columbia Room.  Always presented beautifully, the cocktails are thematic, seasonally appropriate and made with the finest ingredients.  The drinks served allow you to escape the city outside and take you to the refined and magical universe that is the Columbia Room.

The “Tasting Room” is a seated and ticketed that offers two menus: a three course and five course menu of cocktails paired with snacks.   You can see the Summer Menu here and book your experience here.

Photo Information:  Photos by Anna Meyer.

Thank you to Columbia Room for your hospitality for this shoot.

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