in partnership
COLUMBIA ROOM-Tasting Room 1 photo credit Jeff Elkins.jpg
This newly re-opened cocktail den, the Columbia Room, allows you to try three ($75/person) or five ($100/person) selections from Derek Brown's ever-changing cocktail menu in the 14-seat Tasting Room. Be sure to ask the story behind the mural. (Image: Jeff Elkins)

Table envy: Snag a reservation now at these elite restaurants

Calling a restaurant or bar to book a table is so last year. The hottest, hippest spots eschew the reservation agent and opt for DIY online calendars. And with the slew of new restaurant openings this spring, the hottest and hippest changes daily. Lucky for you, all you have to do to ensure you're the envy of your epicurean friends is head to the interwebs and snag a table at one of these exclusive experiential dining destinations.

Columbia Room

The cocktail den's new spiffy expanded digs in Blagden Alley give fans of well-crafted libations several options for liquid bliss. The 14 seat Tasting Room is much like the original bar that was tucked behind The Passenger. Guests can reserve up to seven seats, and sample either three ($75/person, inclusive of service, as are all options), or five ($100/person), ever-changing cocktails from head bartender JP Fetherston or mastermind Derek Brown. Add-on options including osetra caviar, canel├ęs and Champagne add to the luxe. Alternately, book four, five or six seats in the dimly lit, leather- and tufted sofa-adorned Spirits Library, where you can partake in a Spirits or Champagne Flight ($100/person), during which you can add on a tasting of rare and vintage spirits or Champagne. Linger afterwards for featured sips like The Last Cup ($17), with Pimms #1, Yellow Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, soda and verbena.

Compass Rose

A dream about co-owner Rose Previte's trip to the Sahara Desert, where she rode camels, explored the spice markets and slept in a bedouin tent, inspired this five-course, family-style dining experience on the back patio of this world cuisine-focused restaurant. Six to eight guests can spend the evening under the heat-controlled, North African style tent, noshing on a seasonally-rotating menu that pays homage to a country or region of the world (offered on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 6:30 pm, $70/person plus $30 for optional wine and cocktail pairings, excluding tax and gratuity). Right now the menu is highlighting Moroccan cuisine, including tagines, fritters and roasted lamb. On Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, a Tour of the World ($65/person, 5:30 or 9 p.m. seatings, with drinks ordered a la carte, excluding tax and gratuity) gives chef Sam Molavi the chance to flex his muscles with global dishes including Spanish boquerones, Indian chaat, Colombian arepas and Korean kogi ribs, washed down with cocktails like a namesake one ($11) with Georgian sparkling wine, pomegranate liqueur and rose water.

Rose's Luxury

Get your mouse-clicking or smartphone-swiping index finger ready. Every Monday morning at 11 a.m., Rose's Luxury (notorious for its no-reservation policy and long lines), releases fifteen coveted tables three weeks in advance. Lucky diners can sample chef Aaron Silverman's eclectic small plates in the Barracks Row converted townhouse, which was named Bon Appetit's Best New Restaurant in 2014 and continues to garner accolades. Inside the main dining room, groups of six to eight guests can enjoy a tasting menu curated from the daily-changing main menu ($55/person for around ten courses, seatings at 5:15 and 8 p.m.), which might include crispy pig's ear salad with mango and cabbage, or spaghetti with caramelized cauliflower and white wine soffritto. Upstairs, a heated, enclosed greenhouse-inspired rooftop garden offers one reservation per evening for eight to ten people ($125/person, 6:30 p.m. cocktails, 7 p.m. dinner), with a customized tasting menu. Be forewarned, the tables for both experiences tend to sell out within a few seconds (!) of being posted online.