A group of friends that became acquainted around the lunch counter (a.k.a. the bar) at Overwood decided to venture out for a for Labor Day Monday brunch. Surprisingly, very few places serve brunch on Labor Day — we know because we called the restaurants on Old Town Post’s Eats & Drinks’ page. We were thrilled to find out Columbia Firehouse (CF) was having a brunch/lunch hybrid menu. And a reservation for eight was made.
Miles knows my lunchtime friends but had never really hung out with them. And my lunchtime friends and I never really socialized outside of the workday. So Monday Brunching (translation: brunch = cocktails) was particularly special. When Miles and I arrived Kalie and Tim were already enjoying one of the craft cocktails Columbia Firehouse shakes up — they have a brunch cocktail menu that far exceeds the traditional “Mimosa & Bloody Mary” expectations. Kalie and Tim have an adorable one year old, William, and don’t get out brunching as often as they did before parenthood so they were standing outside waiting for CF to open. Kalie was excited to be out for an adult brunch and joked that she felt like she needed 80’s theme music walking up to the restaurant. Laughing before we were even seated, I knew we were going to have a really good time.
As we giggled thinking of dancing down the street with Kevin Bacon, they took us to the table (interesting fact: the theme song for Footloose wasn’t finished at the time of filming so they had to dance around without it — turned out pretty well!). The host sat us in the side room that has a double story glass ceiling and brick walls — evidently, it use to be the alley. Charming atmosphere. You felt almost like you were outside. Well outside with air-conditioning, that is! Great atmosphere for our Darty. Marc and Mary exposed us to the word Darty (Darty = daytime party) through one of their stories and it became our cheers of the day. Every time we toasted we said, “Darty”!
First things first when brunching: what are we going to drink? And with Columbia Firehouse’s brunch cocktail menu, there were several different options. I stuck with the bubbles which are always good and safe — in this case it was Cava but my poison is usually Processo. Everyone else tried something different and everyone liked what they tried.
One favorite seemed to be the Breakfast Margarita (Tanteo “Jalapeno” Tequila, Lime Juice, & Cointreau Noir). I’m not sure how that translates to a brunch drink except for the word “Breakfast” in the title — seemed to eliminate any guilt for ordering tequila at 11 in the morning. Kalie, Tim, and Marc enjoyed that one. Marc said he could only have one of those and was going to switch to something else — he had a Fantasy Football draft to get to!
Our Monday Brunch was the first time I’d been able to hang out with Mary, Marc’s wife. Wonderful fun woman! We all got along so well that she ultimately stayed with us while Mark went to his Fantasy draft — I’m not sure how Mark felt about that. She ordered the Pineapple Mint Mojito (Captain Morgan White, Mint, Pineapple, and Sparkling Wine) also from the Brunch Cocktail Menu, to start. I think the Sparkling wine was what classified this one as a brunch cocktail. It was a good first drink and transitioned well to bubbles.
Kristen enjoyed a Hibiscus Peach Bellini (Absolute Hibiscus, Prosecco, White Peach Puree, and Chianti). She enjoyed it so much she ordered another for the table to share. Miles got a Blushing Mimosa (Sparkling Wine, Grapefruit & Pineapple Juice, and Pomegranate Molasses) to start. Also enjoyed and transitioned well to bubbles!
One cocktail that I thought seemed particularly interesting was the Bloody Hogger (Bacon Vodka, Tomato Juice, Horseradish, and House Cured Bacon). I tried it and it was really good. If you like bacon and Bloody Mary’s you’ll like this cocktail for sure! Erin ordered the Cucumber Fix Martini (Hendrick’s Gin, Muddled Cucumber, Jalapeno, Saint Germaine). That one didn’t really feel like a brunch drink to me but I always think cucumber drinks are particularly refreshing on a warm day.
In addition to the cocktails there was a feast of food. The table started with two dozen oysters served with cocktail sauce and Sriracha Mignonette. We also enjoyed Spicy Tomato Gazpacho (Chipotle, Bell Peppers, Cucumbers, Garlic, Avocado, and Cilantro). Miles and I ordered the Pimento Cheese Dip (White Cheddar, Roasted Red Pepper, and Burbon Bacon Jam mixture served with Grilled Crostini). Fabulous! We asked for extra Crostini’s and had plenty to share with the rest of the table. Kalie and Tim ordered the Tuna Tartare (Basil, Cucumber, Red Onion, and Sea Salt served with Wonton Chips). I had a bit of that and it also was delicious. I could totally see spending time a Columbia Firehouse with cocktails and an array of appetizers.
That said, we did order entrees. A table fav seemed to be the Chicken & Waffle (Fried Chicken Thighs, Waffle, Bacon Jam, and Vermont Maple Syrup). As soon as I saw CF had it on the menu I knew what I was getting — didn’t have to look anymore. I confess I was a little bummed Miles wouldn’t try it — he thought it was weird. Chicken. Waffles. Bacon jam! How can that be bad? He enjoyed an omlett.
A nice thing about the Columbia Firehouse lunch/brunch hybrid menu was there was something for everyone. You know when you go to a brunch with a large group and someone isn’t a brunch person and you’re just hoping they find something? Well they’ll definitely find something at Columbia Firehouse! As a matter of fact, their regular Brunch menu seems to have a bit for everyone between the smalls, salads, and sandwiches.
After brunch we adjourned to the Columbia Firehouse bar for a few more cocktails. Lovely space. Dark wood. Stained glass-ish detailing. An interesting ceiling that you’ll need to visit CF to fully appreciate! Televisions for our Nationals fans (they were playing that day and Erin, Sports Columnist featured on Old Town Post, was getting a little twitchy). And two tables in the front window we could scoop together to enjoy each others company even more. Lovely day. Perfect Darty!