You may have heard about this wedding next weekend -- you know, the one you and six billion other people weren’t invited to, but still really, really care about. (Be honest: You’ve probably spent more time talking about Kate Middleton’s gown than you did about your college roommate’s, and you were in her bridal party.)
So if you won’t be at or outside Westminster Abbey on the big day, you can still get in on the feverish royal wedding atmosphere by visiting one of these parties on April 29. The bigger events require reservations; most pubs will let you show up as-is.
Annapolis’ historic Reynolds Tavern was built when Marylanders still pledged allegiance to King George III, so it’s only fitting that it will host one of the area’s largest celebrations. Doors open at 5 a.m. for breakfast and tea; the special menu includes everything from a traditional English breakfast (fried eggs, sausages and bubble and squeak) to French toast with strawberries and cream. Entrees are $8-$12. (Coffee and tea are $3.50 per individual pot; those in a celebratory mood can start with glasses of sparking wine for $7 or a whole bottle for $32.) Local bakery Select Confections will be serving free individual-sized wedding cakes all day.
After the ceremony is when the fun begins: photo-op visits from “Queen Elizabeth II” and a “Yeoman Warder” from the Tower of London, horse-drawn carriage rides through the streets of Annapolis ($20 per couple between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.) and a full traditional afternoon tea service. Admission to the party is free; reservations are strongly encouraged. Call 410-295-9555 to save a place.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel
The Ritz-Carlton in the West End is opening its Lobby Cafe at 5 a.m. for a “Wedding of the Century” viewing party, with a full English buffet and special coffee and tea drinks -- including the Royal Wedding Commemorative Blend tea from Twinings. Prizes will be awarded to women with the best Ascot-appropriate hat, and all guests receive a gift from the Tiny Jewel Box. The all-inclusive cost is $40; call 202-974-5566 for reservations.
There’s also a more expensive Royal Wedding Package that includes admission to the wedding viewing party on Friday morning, plus a deluxe room on Thursday night, valet parking, cupcakes, champagne cocktails, engraved souvenir champagne flutes, use of a hotel iPad and a copy of the book “William & Kate: Celebrating a Royal Engagement.” The package costs $429; call 202-974-5557.
Union Jack’s British Pub
Expect the early-morning crowd at Union Jack’s to be a little more raucous than the one at the Ritz: Doors in Bethesda and Ballston open at 5:30, and the day starts with British breakfast specials and $10 bottomless mimosas and bloody marys, plus a champagne toast for everyone in the house when the couple says “I do.” (Mix 107.3 morning show host Jack Diamond will be broadcasting live from Ballston.)
After the ceremony, lunch specials include half-price fish and chips. And when happy hour rolls around, it’s ladies’ night, with discounted manicures, door prizes (for jewelry and gift certificates for haircuts and clothing) and drink specials from 5 to 7. And yes, the wedding will be replayed on all TVs.
The Queen Vic
H Street’s new British pub is opening at noon on Friday, figuring that most of its regulars aren’t the type to get up at 5 a.m. (Fair enough.) Instead, the Queen Vic’s staff will record the wedding ceremony and show it on the bar’s TVs all day and night. The list of $5 drink specials includes glasses of Pimms Cups and Bucks Fizz (similar to a mimosa) and selected draft beers, while the kitchen sends out $5 plates of chicken vindaloo and lamb confit bubble and squeak. Any woman wearing a fancy hat gets a free shot, prizes will be raffled off every hour and all British passport holders get 10 percent off their check.
Public House No. 7
Modeled after a traditional English pub -- and run by expat chef Mark English -- Public House No. 7 is hosting a champagne brunch from 6 to 10 a.m. and playing the wedding on flatscreens throughout the building. Reservations in the restaurant are full, but English says there will be seats and tables in the bar area on a first-come, first-served basis. After the ceremony finishes, the wedding will continue to play on a loop for the rest of the day, and there will be specials on mimosas and other drinks. (The usual happy hour, with $1 off drafts between 4 and 7, and the weekly Friday fish special will continue as planned.)
There will be special surprise gifts for women in attendance.
Sadly, the British Embassy isn’t hosting any festivities on April 29, but it will celebrate the nuptials on May 7, when the Embassy will be open to the public as part of the annual E.U. Open House Day. Activities include a princess parade (for the children), a chance to write congratulatory wishes to the happy couple, whiskey tastings, live music and tours of the English gardens. The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and no reservations are needed.