The Weekend staff
Thursday, December 9, 2010; 9:44 AM
Let's get this out of the way: There's no New Year's Eve party that's right for everyone. No matter how you look at the end of 2010, we have you covered in this special list of frequently asked questions about New Year's Eve. Looking for all-inclusive parties with open bars? Hoping for an event with no admission charge? Would you rather do something cultural? Want to bring the kids along? Read on for our staff's expert advice about welcoming 2011.
- Fritz Hahn
I'd like to ring in the new year with some live music. Who are the bands to see?
New Year's Eve in Washington is long on tradition: the Seldom Scene at the Birchmere, Peaches O'Dell and her Orchestra at the Black Cat. But if we had to pick just three concerts, we'd send you to these:
New Year's Eve is the biggest party night of the year and Gogol Bordello is on the short list of best party bands in the world. So this is pretty much a match made in heaven. The New York group can broadly be categorized as gypsy-punk, and it does put a rowdy, Balkan spin on rock music. As if that wasn't enough, Washington's own Trouble Funk is the opening act, and the go-go legends have been soundtracking parties for more than 30 years. Their hit "Pump Me Up," remains one of the city's definitive anthems.
The New York-based, D.C.-rooted quintet the Walkmen have successfully transitioned from indie upstarts to elder statesmen, an impressive feat in a time when bands often have a shelf life of only a few months. Sometimes their songs become wild romps; other times they remain laid-back and languid.
Driving a long distance for your New Year's Eve celebration generally isn't something most people want to do. But if the only thing you're concerned with is hearing some great rock-and-roll, it's worth a trip up to Baltimore for J. Roddy Walston and the Business. This is rambunctious, roadhouse rock at its best.
Bordello show 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 202-265-0930. www.930.com. Doors open at 8 p.m. $55.
Walston show Rams Head Live, 20 Market Pl., Baltimore. 410-244-1131. www.ramshead live.com. Doors at 8 p.m. $20.
- David Malitz
I want to welcome 2011 on a dance floor. Who's spinning in town?
Two of the District's biggest homegrown DJs, Tittsworth and Dave Nada, are hosting a no-frills night of dancing at U Street Music Hall. WKYS DJs Quicksilva and Gemini will be hosting a live broadcast from Ibiza, where the 21-and-older party includes dancing in three rooms plus a midnight champagne toast. The Rock & Roll Hotel is going all out with nine DJs on two floors, spinning everything from mash-ups to classic hip-hop.
Remember the year that was at Town Danceboutique's retrospective dance party, with VJ Back2back spinning 2010's biggest dance videos downstairs and DJ Ed Bailey on the main floor. The evening starts with a special drag show at 10:30. And the historic Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo Park swings in the new year with Lush Life's classic jazz tunes (and, since it's all-ages, a sparkling cider toast at midnight).
U Street Music Hall 1115 U St. NW. 202-588-1880. www.ustreetmusichall.com . 10 p.m.-4 a.m. $10.
Ibiza 1222 First St. NE. 888-424-9232. www.ibizadc.com. Tickets start at $40, including a midnight toast.
Rock & Roll Hotel 1353 H St. NE. 202-388-7625. www.rockandrollhoteldc.com . 7 p.m.-3 a.m. $25 general admission, $50 for all-night open bar, $80 day-of.
Town Danceboutique 2009 Eighth St. NW. 202-234-8696. www.towndc.com . 10 p.m.-4 a.m. $20.
Glen Echo Spanish Ballroom 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo. 301-492-6229. www.glenechopark.org . 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m. $25.
- Fritz Hahn
I'm over New Year's Eve. What bars are open without the hoopla?
A sure bet is the Bedrock Bars chain, which includes Buffalo Billiards, Iron Horse Tap Room, Continental, Rocket Bar and Carpool. They're open as usual every Dec. 31. Owner Geoff Dawson describes his venues as "everyday kind of bars," and since they don't charge a cover throughout the year, they don't charge one on New Year's Eve.
Other options include Nellie's, the Red Derby, Galaxy Hut, Cafe Saint-Ex, the District's Kimpton Hotel lounges (Bar Rouge, Topaz Bar and Helix Lounge) and the Dogfish Head Alehouse in Falls Church, which will have special drafts, free hors d'oeuvres and a DJ starting at 10 p.m.
Buffalo Billiards 1330 19th St. NW. 202-331-7665. www.buffalobilliards.com.
Iron Horse Tap Room 507 Seventh St. NW. 202-347-7665; www.ironhorsedc.com.
Continental 1911 N. Fort Myer Dr., Arlington. 703-465-7675. www.modernpoollounge.com.
Rocket Bar 714 Seventh St. NW. 202-628-7665. www.rocketbardc.com.
Carpool 208 Elden St., Herndon. 571-203-7995. www.carpoolweb.com.
Nellie's Sports Bar 900 U St. NW. 202-332-6355. www.nelliesdc.com.
Red Derby 3718 14th St. NW. 202-291-5000. www.redderby.com.
Galaxy Hut 2711 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. 703-525-8646. www.galaxyhut.com.
Cafe Saint-Ex 1847 14th St. NW. 202-265-7839. www.saint-ex.com.
Bar Rouge 1315 16th St. NW. 202-232-8000. www.rougehotel.com.
Topaz B ar 1733 N St. NW. 202-393-3000. www.topazhotel.com.
Helix Lounge 1430 Rhode Island Ave. NW. 202-462-9001. www.hotelhelix.com.
Dogfish Head Alehouse 6220 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church. 703-534-3342. www.dogfishalehouse.com.
My little sister will be home from college for the holidays. We'd like to take her out, but she's under 21. Where can we go?
The unfortunate fact is that most New Year's Eve parties are for those 21 and older. But there are a few options: The Gogol Bordello show at the 9:30 Club (mentioned previously) is all-ages as is the Black Cat's annual party with Peaches O'Dell and her swingin' orchestra on the main stage and DJ Dredd and Grap Luva dropping hip-hop classics on the backstage. At Fur, the four-room warehouse space features DJs spinning hip-hop, house, Latin and Top 40 music. Tickets are $25 in advance, or, if you're 21 and older, you can grab four hours of free drinks for $125.
Black Cat 1811 14th St. NW. 202-667-7960. www.blackcatdc.com. $25.
Fur 33 Patterson St. NE. 202-842-3401. www.furnightclub.com. $25-$125.
My friends and I are hoping to meet early to start celebrating. Where can we go for happy hour?
Many of the area's best Friday happy hours are business-as-usual in the early hours of New Year's Eve: Ceiba will have $5 margaritas and Dark and Stormies from 3 to 5 p.m., along with Latin-themed nibbles for half-price. From 3 to 7 p.m. at Chef Geoff's and Lia's, $7.95 gets you a 33-ounce mug of beer, while burgers are just $5.95. Looking to get into the spirit of the new year before midnight approaches? Glasses of champagne are $4 at Rocket Bar from 4 to 7 p.m., along with rail drinks and pints of Sierra Nevada Celebration. EatBar has its usual $4 draft menu from 4 to 7 p.m. along with half-priced glasses of wine, and Eatonville's southern-themed cocktails are $5 from 5 to 7 p.m.
Ceiba 701 14th St. NW. 202-393-3983. www.ceibarestaurant.com .
Chef Geoff's 3201 New Mexico Ave. NW. 202-237-7800; 1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 202-464-4461; 8045 Leesburg Pike, Vienna. 571-282-6003. www.chefgeoff.com.
Lia's 4435 Willard Ave., Chevy Chase. 240-223-5427. www.chefgeoff.com.
Rocket Bar 714 Seventh St. NW. 202-628-7665. www.rocketbardc.com.
EatBar 2761 Washington Blvd., Arlington. 703-778-9951. www.eat-bar.com.
Eatonville 2121 14th St. NW. 202-332-9672. www.eatonvillerestaurant.com.
- Alex Baldinger
What restaurants are doing something special on New Year's Eve?
Here are some of the most intriguing, lesser-known dinners that still have seatings:
Bibiana has a $50 three-course menu from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and a five-course meal from 8 to 11 p.m., which costs $85 and includes a champagne toast and party favors. Both will feature agnolotti with ricotta and spinach and braised veal cheeks Milanese.
A $65 five-course modern Mexican menu at Oyamel is offered with specialty champagne cocktails or can be accompanied by a six-drink cocktail ($35) or wine ($52) pairing. Live salsa, merengue and jazz complement the meal.
Bourbon Steak's two seatings (from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.) are being billed as a sneak peek at upcoming dishes. A special vegetarian menu with such dishes as risotto with roasted mushrooms and Parmesan emulsion and garlic chive pierogies with sour cream and caramelized onions might even make their carnivorous neighbors rethink their decision. The first seating and the vegetarian menu cost $85; the second seating is $175 per person.
During Tuscana West's New Year's Eve promotion, the second seating of the night (from 7:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.) at the downtown Italian eatery will host a Venetian masquerade ball with live music, a champagne toast and a prize for the party's best mask. The prix-fixe meal is $89, though an earlier seating is $59, and $30 will let you in for just the after-dinner festivities.
Bibiana 1100 New York Ave. NW. 202-216-9550. www.bibianadc.com.
Oyamel 401 Seventh St. NW. 202-628-1005. www.oyamel.com.
Bourbon Steak 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 202-944-2026. www.bourbonsteakdc.com.
Tuscana West 1350 I St. NW. 202-289-7300. www.tuscanawest.net.
- Justin Rude
Where can I ring in the new year with a dose of culture?
For starters, there are plenty of opportunities to say hello to 2011 with a smile on your face thanks to a slew of comedy shows. Woolly Mammoth, which is hosting Chicago's Second City comedians for "A Girl's Guide to Washington Politics," follows up its New Year's Eve performance with "Champagne and Tiaras." Translation: light snacks and a midnight toast.
Washington Improv Theater's Countdown to Hilarity entails a performance of "Reindeer Games," featuring a slew of silly troupes (plus a champagne toast and free food following the performances), while local comedian Erin Jackson hosts a show at D.C. Improv featuring Jeff Maurer that includes food, a midnight toast and a free ticket to a future show.
Ganymede Arts' pink-haired diva, Galactica (artistic director Jeffrey Johnson in drag), will trade in her - er, his - usual lip-synching routine for a special live performance with a tongue-in-cheek title: "The Only Gal in Town." And in the museum realm, you can catch a late-night look at the Newseum's exhibits during the Headliners Ball, which also touts special cocktails, a DJ and a performance by the Mustangs Band.
Champagne and Tiaras 9:30 p.m. performance; 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. post-show toast. Woolly Mammoth, 641 D St. NW. 202-393-3939. www.woollymammoth.net . $65-$75. Countdown to Hilarity with WIT 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Source, 1835 14th St. NW. www.washingtonimprovtheater.com . $25.
Count Down Show 10:15 p.m. DC Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-296-7008. www.dcimprov.com . $75.
"The Only Gal in Town" 8 p.m. Noi's Nook at Go Mama Go, 1809 14th St. NW. www.ganymedearts.org . $10.
Headliners Ball 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. www.newseum.org . 202-292-6100. $125-$150.
- Stephanie Merry
My kid is most likely going to drop before the ball. Is there anything we can do to celebrate New Year's Eve before bedtime?
For the earliest bedtimes, there are parties that ring in the new year well before midnight. Jammin' Java will celebrate with Rocknoceros New Year's Eve parties at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The kid-friendly rock band will have a countdown, and everyone can raise their apple juice in a toast.
Port Discovery Children's Museum offers kids the chance to break out their Halloween costumes one more time for the Noontime New Year Masquerade Bash startging at 10 a.m. Kids can ring in 2011 at noon with milk and cookies. Other activities include a science show, juggling lessons and a Korean dance performance.
- Amy Orndorff
What can we do with children who are a little older?
If you are going to be a little more lax about bedtime, try an alcohol-free, family-oriented night.
First Night Alexandria is perhaps the area's largest family event with more than 100 concerts, storytellers, comedy and dances. Jefferson Houston School is offering a moon bounce, face painting, model-boat building and plenty of musical entertainment. The night concludes with a multimedia show at the George Washington Masonic Memorial at 11:30.
Annapolis will ring in the new year with an early fireworks show at 7:30 p.m. The family-friendly festivities begin at 3. Between 7:30 and midnight there will be live bands and midnight fireworks.
First Night Leesburg features music and performances to appease any kid. A one-time purchase of a button gets you into every venue. The event begins at 6 p.m. and culminates in a Grand Illumination at the courthouse.
Alexandria: www.firstnightalexandria.org . Through Dec. 21: $15. Dec. 22-31: $20. Age 12 and younger free with paying adult.
Annapolis: Susan Campbell Park at City Dock. newyear.annapolis.gov . Free.
Leesburg: Call 540-338-4640 or visit www.bluemont.org for locations. $10, $8 seniors, $3 ages 3 to 12.
I'm reusing an old strapless black cocktail dress as my NYE party frock. Any ideas for making it look snazzy and new?
Accessories are the easiest, most wallet-friendly plan of attack. Since your dress is strapless, I'd go for the most interesting, eye-catching necklace you can find - look for chunky beaded collars, jewel-encrusted bibs and multi-strand metallic numbers.
If you opt for a necklace, keep your earrings understated and choose a bracelet or bold cocktail ring to finish the look. Fun tights are another way to freshen up a basic dress - look for pretty lace or jewel-tone shades. A chic cocktail hat, bejeweled headband, velvet capelet or a bolero in faux-fur or lace are also good finishing touches - just use them sparingly.
Some good places to start:
Charming Charlie multiple locations; visit www.charmingcharlie.com for details.
Lou Lou multiple locations; visit www.loulouboutiques.com for details.
Legendary Beast 1520 U St. NW, 202-797-1234, Forever 21 and Target.
- Holly Thomas
I snagged a last-minute invite to a swanky gala. Where can I shop - fast?
There are a couple of angles you can try, from local shops to online boutiques. If you have a free afternoon, head to your local department store and recruit a friend (or the store's personal shopper) to help you quickly locate styles and sizes. If you want something a little more fashion-forward (and are willing to pay a bit more).
Try boutiques such as: Urban Chic multiple locations; visit www.urbanchiconline.com for details. Ginger 7114 Bethesda Lane, Bethesda, 301-664-9242. Julia Farr 5232 44th St. NW, 202-364-3277. Wink 3109 M St. NW, 202-338-9465. Karen Millen 1259 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 202-333-0280. Reiss 1254 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 202-944-8565. Treat 103 S. Saint Asaph St., Alexandria, 703-535-3294.