Zen and the Art of Cocktail Shaking

Barstool as therapy chair? No newsflash there. But Columbia Room owner/mixologist Derek Brown lavishes patrons with the care of a spa master, the precision of a chemist and the showmanship of a snake charmer. (Think shaking martinis to a pedigreed rhythm, hand-chiseling ice with Japanese knives.) Behind an unmarked door and beyond the high-decibel scene of The Passenger, a cool, silk-draped oasis awaits. Cocktail aficionados reserve spots at the 10-seat bar for three-course tastings ($54 with tax/tip)—bubbly or punch, a small plate/cocktail pairing and a custom sip based on a chat with Brown re: the delights (dandelion, artichokes) in his apothecary jars.