Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | November 18, 2009

The Passenger Preview

Looking out from inside The Passenger

Last night I was fortunate to attend a media preview of The Passenger (1021 7th St NW, Washington DC). The project of Tom and Derek Brown, it is in the space previously occupied by Warehouse and used for a number of one-off cocktail events. Not a whole lot has changed, though the bar has been cleaned up and more comfortable seating has been added. Up front near the windows, booths for people watching on the street have been installed. But The Passenger is still a space that draws it’s energy from being simple and somewhat raw. The Passenger will open to the public this Thursday, though it won’t be a finished product by then. To be completed are a Pullman car style room in the back of the bar that will provide a more quiet and intimate atmosphere. Additionally, the Columbia Room, which will be Derek’s laboratory for craft cocktails, will open down the line.

The bar has a nice range of win, ranging in price from $5-15 a glass. Also on the menu are all three Dolin vermouths, along with Lustau Amontillado sherry. What really gets me excited is their beer selection. They have Lagunitas Pils, Stone Arrogant Bastard, Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout, and Gouden Carolus Hopsingjoor on draft. Additionally they have a good range of independent and craft canned beers, including Oskar Blues Mama’s Lil’ Yellow Pils, Dale’s Pale Ale, Gordon’s Imperial IPA, and Ten Fidy Imperial Stout.


Entering the unfinished Pullman

One of the coolest things Tom Brown is doing is having pitchers of Sherry Flips on the menu. I arrived just in time to see him whip up a fresh batch…literally. His Sherry Flip is made with Lustau Sherry, brandy, Velvet Falernum, Egg, lemon and nutmeg (though I could be missing something from the list due to bar noise). He builds the flip in a large glass pitcher then uses a hand blender to whip it up to the right consistency. A pitcher of Sherry Flip is $40 and is likely going to be a popular drink as we head into winter. I found the flip to be nice and light; it was sweet but not cloying and surprisingly tart.


There’s obviously a lot of evolving yet to take place at The Passenger. But from what I saw last night, it’s going to be a great bar, run by great bartenders, who offer great beers, wines, and cocktails. Oh and the music was pretty good too. I’m looking forward to seeing the back room, modeled on a Pullman train car, finished. And I am waiting on the edge of my seat for the Columbia Room to open early next year.

The Passenger opens this Thursday, November 18th. Go below the fold for more pictures from last night.



  1. […] I was at The Passenger’s media opening last year, Derek showed me the space that would eventually become The Columbia Room. It was full of […]

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