Another day, another completely unscientific ranking of something or another by a glossy men’s magazine! Today, it’s GQ, out with “the 25 best cocktail bars in America.” Cue overhyped intro:
If you haven’t noticed, we are in the middle of a cocktail revolution in this country. A wave of bitters and tinctures and hard-to-find spirits has spread so quickly and widely that no one has stopped to take its measure. Until now.
The magazine’s staffers visited 102 bars in 21 cities, drinking at least three cocktails in each one. (Which means the bars they visited had a one-in-four chance of making the list, pretty decent odds, but after a minimum of 306 cocktails, it’s possible the editors didn’t realize that.) Two D.C.-area bars made the cut—PX, the cocktail lounge above Alexandria’s Eamonn’s a Dublin Chipper, and Columbia Room, the cocktail-focused annex to The Passenger, near Mt. Vernon Square.
PX came in 8th. The write-up:
It’s a shame more people from D.C. don’t come here—something about Alexandria being in the suburbs. Oh, well. Their loss. PX is the finest farm-to-glass bar in the country. Put another way no one uses fresh berries, herbs, and roots quite so expertly. So don’t be fooled by what looks like the most ho-hum drink on the menu, the gin-and-tonic. It includes a housemade tonic infused with lavender and lemongrass. You won’t find a better one anywhere.
Columbia Room was 18th. What GQ said:
Derek Brown honed his craft in Japan, home of the world’s most precise bartenders. Using a cleaver, he breaks down large chunks of ice and stores the cubes in a basket, where they melt as slowly as glaciers. Ask him nicely and he might carve one into a diamond. The private, narrow space is open just three nights a week. Your reward for getting in: the best martini in America. The process entails gin stored in a medical freezer, a crystal glass, and a thermometer (thirty-one degrees is optimal). It’s an expensive privilege to drink here. But just like in Tokyo, the receipt is prettier than a college diploma.
Photo by Dan4th via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0