Imbibe Magazine Names Derek Brown 2015’s "Bartender of the Year"

The local bar owner wins high honors from the "liquid culture" mag.

Derek Brown, far right, is Imbibe magazine's "bartender of the year." Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Imbibe magazine just came out with its annual “Imbibe 75” list, noting a national spectrum of top bartenders, watering holes, drinks, and trends. On top: Washington’s Derek Brown, who’s named the 2015 Bartender of the Year.

Brown has long been considered a leader in the local drinking scene, breaking ground with the Passenger/Columbia Room, which just closed on New Year’s Day and are in the process of relocating. Currently Brown is behind a trio of watering holes in Shaw: the sherry-centric Mockingbird Hill, whiskey-themed Southern Efficiency, and Eat the Rich, which specializes in oysters and all that’s good to sip alongside.

“I started bartending because I was a shiftless loser,” Brown tells Imbibe in a short video. “And to be honest, at the time I just thought to myself, ‘Someone is the greatest bartender in the world. I don’t know who that is, but I don’t know why couldn’t be me.'”

In addition to the accolades, Brown also describes his “perfect day” in the District to the magazine, with stops at Union Market, Izakaya Seki, Right Proper, and, of course, his own spots.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.