Derek Brown will permanently shutter the Columbia Room, the lauded, 12-year old Blagden Alley lounge easily considered D.C.’s most accomplished bar, reports the Washingtonian. The last day of service is Friday, February 11, and he’s not planning to open another bar.
Brown, who won the 2017 Spirited Award for “Best American Cocktail Bar” from the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, will hand over the Columbia Room keys to his friends at NYC-based Death & Co — a pioneering cocktail group with bars in NYC, Denver, and LA. After a major renovation and a few pop-ups, Death & Co plans to open a new bar in the fall, adds the Washingtonian.
Brown once penned a criticism of the CDC’s definition of binge drinking, stating: “I’m a binge drinker. But this only obscures real problem uses of alcohol since, as a binge drinker, I seem to be doing just fine.” The one-time binge drinker now “rarely drinks” and admits that he wasn’t, in fact, doing just fine.
These days, he’s promoting his new no-alcohol and low-alcohol book Mindful Mixology, while studying “positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and working as Director of Education for Spiritless, a company that produces a zero-proof bourbon,” according to the Washingtonian. He’s also tweeting about wellness.
Patrons can get a final taste of Columbia Room with $75-per-person mezcal or negroni cocktail flights (Resy shows a few seatings left). And Disco Mary, a playfully furnished pop-up that opened last fall, offers apothecary cocktails, non-alcoholic drinks, and vegan nachos from Maria Bastasch.
—Tierney Plumb contributed to this report
- Pioneering Cocktail Bar Columbia Room Is Permanently Closing [Washingtonian]
- Cocktail pioneer Derek Brown’s New Message: Sophisticated Drinks Don’t Require Alcohol [Washington Post]
- Confessions of a Binge Drinker [The Atlantic]
- A Trippy Pop-Up at D.C.’s Most Accomplished Bar Makes a Case for Alcohol-Optional Cocktails [EDC]