Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Passenger

Bartender Alex Bookless pours a drink
The Passenger is, most likely, the best cocktail bar in DC. There are certainly other very good places to go, like Tabard Inn or PS7s. But for breadth, consistency, and ambience, I prefer the Passenger to any of them. I love the low key ambience, and the food is pretty good. I wouldn't go out of my way for any of it, except perhaps the pork cheek nachos, but it's all above average bar food. The marcona almonds make for a great snack, if that's what you want. The real focus here, however, is the drinks.

The Passenger eschews a traditional cocktail list, choosing rather to have a chalkboard with their daily offerings. One recent option we spotted recently was the Negroni and Amaro, substituting Averna for the traditional sweet vermouth. They also have a reasonably sized list of beers. And, of course, you can always order a classic cocktail -- like the Ramos Gin Fizz I had the last time I was there. But one of the things they specialize in is finding you the drink you want. The bartenders are very good at listening to what you like in a drink, and then pouring you a beverage based on what you've told. So if you want something dry and whiskey based, they'll figure something out. If you want something Fernet Branca based, they'll figure it out. And if you want something slightly adventurous for your friend who usually drinks rum and cokes, they'll figure it out. I love the way this really shows off the breadth of their knowledge of cocktails and provides for a good time. No matter what your cocktail experience level is, The Passenger is a great space to spend a couple hours with a pleasant drink.

The Passenger is located at 1021 7th St NW.

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