Tag Archives: bartender

Katie Nelson
Lead Bartender/Columbia Room

Katie Nelson works at the Columbia Room, consistently ranked as one of the top cocktail bars in the country, as Lead Bartender and Service Manager. She graduated Cum Laude from Mary Baldwin College with a B.A. in Music and International Relations. Katie has lived in Saudi Arabia, France, and Oregon, grew up in North Carolina, and is fluent in French. She is a member of the DC Craft Bartenders Guild and has passed the BarSmarts Advanced spirits and mixology course. Katie is also a member of the Guild of Sommeliers and was recently certified by the Center for Wine Origins as a Wine Location Specialist for champagne and port.

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Dan Searing
Partner/Room 11

Dan, a native of the Washington, DC metropolitan area, discovered his destiny as a professional host at the Pharmacy Bar in 1998. During his five years there he also honed his knowledge and skills at organic fusion restaurant Asia Nora. In 2004 Searing was tapped to be the opening bar manager at Jose Andres’ Mexican concept Oyamel. He then opened Temperance Hall in 2006, a prohibition era-themed neighborhood bar with killer rye selection and a classic cocktail list. He is currently working with his partners at Room 11, a small neighborhood wine bar that opened in late 2008.

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Gina Chersevani
mixologist/PS 7′s

Mixologist Gina Chersevani was born into a culinary family in New York City. Growing up her Northern Italian father’s pizzeria paved the way to the culinary life. Chersevani moved to College Park, Maryland just outside of DC to attend the University of Maryland. She bartended her way through college, and after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and fine arts, she mixed at Penang in DC.

In 2001, Chersevani found her adopted city still enamored with bourbon on the rocks, but her cucumber martinis went over well and she continued to push the boundaries. Her exuberant personality worked its wonders and people started trying her drinks. In 2003 DC Rising Star Chef Jamie Leeds hired Chersevani to help launch the beverage program at 15 Ria. Chersevani consulted for Poste Moderne Brasserie before moving to acclaimed Indian restaurant Rasika in 2006. Working with Chef Vikram Sunderam exposed her to spices like never before, and saffron, cloves and coriander began making appearances in her cocktails. And her cocktail recipes began making appearances in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Read More…

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Owen Thomson
Lead bartender/Café Atlántico & Minibar

Owen Thomson is lead bartender at Café Atlántico, José Andrés pioneering Nuevo Latino restaurant in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington, DC. Thomson oversees the bar at Café Atlántico and is responsible for the development of new drinks. In the spring of 2010, Thomson introduced the “Farm to Glass” cocktail, a weekly concoction based on seasonal ingredients purchased at the Penn Quarter FRESHFARM Market. His bar program at Café Atlántico has been featured in Imbibe, Washington Post, and several industry journals.

For the four years prior to joining Café Atlantico, Thomson ran the bar program at Bourbon in Washington, DC a high volume neighborhood bar with a selection of over 200 whiskies and a focus on craft cocktails. His bar program at Bourbon was written up in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Esquire, Wine Enthusiast, DC Modern Luxury and various other publications. Read More…

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Justin Noel – Mixologist/1534; Forty Four @ the Royalton Hotel; Contemporary Cocktails, Inc. (NYC)

With over ten years behind the stick, on 4 continents, in over 10 countries, Justin Noel is a nomadic bartender if there ever was one. Justin started his bar career learning the flair game in the nightclub scene in some of New York and South Beach’s more established venues before making the shift to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company after graduating from college in 2003.

It was at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, GA that he learned the art of the cocktail and gained the passion that comes with learning the craft of serious bartending. After transferring to Miami to open the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, he had the pleasure to get to work at Skybar and came across another industry great, John Leyermeyer. From 2005 to 2008 Justin was a Brand Ambassador with Bacardi in New Zealand, Australia, South East Asia and Greece. In 2008 he returned back to the states and consulted on several projects, including Uptown Lounge in Atlanta, and Americas Backyard in Ft. Lauderdale. Justin has traveled with Bacardi’s B-Live music tour as the Bar Specialist, as well as Hennessy for the Hennessy Artistry concert series.

Justin is now back in New York, serving as a consulting mixologist for Contemporary Cocktails, Inc., representing Appleton Estate Rum as the New York Brand Ambassador and working on opening various notable bars and restaurants including The Breslin at The Ace Hotel and Forty Four at The Royalton Hotel. His current focus is on creating a menu of French Colonial-inspired cocktails for the upcoming opening of 1534 in Nolita. Justin was also a Division I soccer player in college and played professionally in Europe for a few years. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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Derek Brown
Co-Owner/The Passenger & Columbia Room

Derek Brown is a self-described booze nerd; his love of bartending stems as much from books, maps, and molecules as standing behind the stick. After being named Washington DC’s top bartender by Washington City Paper in 2009, Derek opened The Passenger and Columbia Room with his brother Tom to wide acclaim including Bon Appetit’s Top 10 Best New Cocktail Bars, USA Today’s Top 10 American Cocktail Lounges and GQ’s 25 Best Cocktail Bars in America. Because of the brothers different approaches, the bar is divided in two. The front part is Tom’s raucous saloon and in the back is Derek’s intimate cocktail club, Columbia Room. Read More…

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