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Downtown / Lower NW >
Bar Food >
Posted by Jason on 09/27/2013
Some friends and I went to The Passenger to celebrate a birthday, and overall I felt that it didn't live up to the hype that I had heard. I actually had heard a lot of good things about The Passenger from others, especially with it being another opportunity to get craft cocktails. When we arrived, it was sort of empty, but perhaps that is not unusual for Monday night. Luckily, we're able to get a big table right on the window. First off, I learned that this bar and restaurant doesn't actually have a cocktail menu. While not totally unsurprising, it was still different not have any options and all. The brings me to my main issue with this place: the service just wasn't that great. The whole point of not having a cocktail list is so that you discuss the options and your likes and wants with the server who can craft a drink that best suits you – that's an interesting concept and certainly one I would support. But our server was actually oddly dismissive. When I said that I wanted a bourbon cocktail, she just said, "Do you want to Manhattan?" Why would you go through all the effort of not having a cocktail list and being "that kind" of place, and then just spout off normal selections like Manhattan or Cosmo? That is very useless. At this restaurant, where service is so interval to the experience of eating there and drinking there, they really need to make sure that every single other servers knows not only the ins and outs of liquor, but how to interact on a more personal level than normal waiters do at a bar or restaurant where there's a set menu. No one at the table felt they wanted to have a "discussion" with this dismissive server. Ultimately, I didn't like the no cocktail list concept because they didn't execute it properly at all. We ordered some food, and it was just average. We had the fried chicken sandwich, but the sandwich at chicken chains better. Overall, in my opinion, I don't really know what all the fuss is about with regard to The Passenger. It had a very speakeasy feel with booths and dark lighting, but it wasn't the place that I would overly recommend to a friend who's visiting. I think the buzz around this place will die off soon...or else, it already has died off and that's why the place was empty.