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Mockingbird Hill, The Passenger & The Columbia Room - Washington, DC

Mockingbird Hill Sherry Bar

Mockingbird Hill is modeled after the small sherry bars we loved in the south of Spain, but with our own touches. We might love sherry, but we didn't want to create a Disney-version of Southern Spain replete with bull statues and flamenco fans. For us, we thought of all the international visitors in the South, like Hemingway or even Joe Strummer of the Clash. We bring elements of that in. Actually, we plan to play punk music. It's about creating a fun atmosphere and demystifying sherry.

Aging Surryano Hams

Photograph courtesy of S. Wallace Edwards & Sons

Small Bites & Hams

We also love the small bites in Spain, especially aged hams. But there are equally great aged hams in the United States too. So we offer people a choice. You can try some Serrano from Spain or Surryano from Edward and Sons in Surry, Virginia.

La Venencia in Madrid

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.


I came across lots of great, tiny bars, but absolutely loved two. They were fun places, nothing fancy, where you can grab something small to eat, drink some sherry and relax with friends.

Cadiz | Taberna Casa Manteca

The staff was really fun at Manteca. People from Cadiz seem to have a great sense of humor.

Madrid | La Venencia

La Venencia is filled with history, it oozes it. I mean, it's where Hemingway drank. Apparently if you ordered wrong here during the Spanish Civil War you could be shot. Fortunately, I must have ordered the right way.


Why Sherry

There are three things apart from the fact that sherry just tastes good. 

1) I love the people and culture around sherry. Every time I go, I feel so engrossed in their lifestyle. Sherry is an everyday thing and is drank prodigiously with family and friends. 

2) I admire the history of this great wine. Sherry was among the first wines to come to the New World and has been around since the Phoenicians. It has changed, or rather evolved, but many elements point back to an ancient way of life.

3) Sherry goes so well with food. It’s really, really versatile when pairing. Lighter fino and manzanilla sherries work perfectly with ham or olives and then you can pick bolder and sometimes sweeter sherries to accompany a main course or desserts. These aren't just quaint pairings, they often genuinely enhance the food and make it taste better.

Favorite Sherries

I love most sherries but there are a few that I'm opening right now.

La Cigarrera Manzanilla

Really crisp, saline. It's a great, light sherry. 

En Rama Sherries

Straight from the barrel with the flor (or yeast) unfiltered. They feel alive in your mouth. Lustau and Tio Pepe both make ones.

El Maestro Sierra 1830 Amontillado

Made with 50 year old sherries blended in it. It's a little richer in style, but still ethereal and dry. Absolutely pairable with everything from oxtail soup to scrambled eggs.

Cesar Florido Moscatels

For something sweet, nothing beats the exceptional Moscatels of Cesar Florido. They are made in a traditional process, drying the grapes on the beach. They're really special.

Drinking in Washington, DC

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General Information

The Passenger

NW Washington

American / Bar / Saloon

1021 7th Street NW

Washington, DC 20001

T: 202.393.0220


Columbia Room

NW Washington

Cocktail Bar

Inside of The Passenger

1021 7th Street NW

Washington, DC 20001

T: 202.393.0336

Reservations Required


Mockingbird Hill

(May 2013)

NW Washington

Spanish / Sherry

1843 7th Street NW

Washington, DC 20001


Recommended By

- Bartender Todd Thrasher of PX, TNT, Good Food Group in Alexandria, VA

- Bartender Daniel Shoemaker of Teardrop Lounge in Portland, OR

- Bartender Chris McMillian of Kingfish and Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans, LA







Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink. | Photographs courtesy  of Derek Brown | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Bartender Derek Brown is the co-owner, along with his brother, of The Passenger and Columbia Room in Washington, DC and is in the process of opening a new sherry bar, called Mockingbird Hill. The Passenger and Columbia Room are actually two bars in one space - a bar within a bar with the same goal of serving great cocktails. The bar through which you enter is The Passenger and in addition to cocktails, also serves bar fare. Derek recommends the kimchee hot dog and pork-cheek chili nachos. They also feature an extensive beer list. Whereas The Passenger is a saloon that’s “a little more rock-and-roll,” the Columbia Room is “private and intimate.” It’s focused on cocktails and holds no more than 10 people, so reservations are a must. Mockingbird Hill, which is targeted to open by the end of May, is their take on Spanish sherry bars.

We asked Derek Brown to describe his new sherry bar, his inspirations and recommend his favorite sherries.