Bachelorette Parties

By Jen Chaney Staff Writer


No woman can get married these days without a bachelorette party: one last alcohol-fueled, uninhibited girls' night out. Some brides want to go the traditional bachelorette route: Wear the silly veil, accomplish all the semi-embarrassing tasks on the bachelorette to-do list and run around the city carrying an astonishing variety of provocative toys. Others just want to go out and have a few drinks with their pals, or avoid the alcohol all together and opt for some nice, wholesome tea. If you do prefer a little debauchery, we've compiled a list of ideas to help you have an unforgettable, super-crazy time. Picking out the bridesmaids' dresses? Unfortunately, that's still your problem.

The Classic Bachelorette

Bachelorettes by Neighborhood

For the Bachelorette With Special Requests

Girls Gone Wild, Bachelorette Style

The Classic Bachelorette Party

There are certain places in Washington that just scream bachelorette. You know the sorts of bars: slightly cheesy atmosphere, pounding with loud dance music and filled with guys who would die for the opportunity to bite a Life Saver off of a woman's T-shirt.

One of the top spots in this genre is retro danceclub Polly Esther's. This place knows bachelorettes are its bread and butter, and caters to them accordingly: They've recently run a special that allows bachelorette parties to reserve a two-hour open bar and private male stripper. (Call 202/737-1970 if you're interested.) There's also a Polly Esther's in Rockville, though we believe that one is male-stripper-free. FYI: Even if you don't decide to go to Polly Esther's, ask your bar of choice whether it has drink specials or other perks for bachelorette groups; many bars are willing to make special concessions for women on the verge of vow-taking.

Many a bachelorette has gotten her drink on at Lulu's the flirty clientele and the let-it-all-hang-out Mardi Gras environment clearly cater to the unbridled bride. If you go on a weekend and don't see at least one bachelorette party in progress, the universe may well have been knocked askew.

Not too far from Lulu's, Rumors is also a hot spot for female fun-seekers, thanks to the young and predominantly single crowd. There's dancing to Top 40 music, as well as an outdoor patio and plenty of places to sit once all those Jager shots go to your head.

Bachelorettes by Neighborhood:

Even if you have a designated driver for your bachelorette fiesta (and if you're drinking, you certainly should), you probably want to minimize your travel time. We recommend, whenever possible, limiting your bar hopping to a specific neighborhood. In Washington, two of the more popular options are Adams Morgan and Georgetown. Or, if you want to turn your bachelorette into a weekend getaway, pack up the car and head to the beach.

In Adams Morgan:

Begin the night slowly by having a couple of drinks at the very basic Millie & Al's. Often populated by fraternity types, this juke joint should make you nostalgic for your swingin' college days. If you still need to get warmed up before you hit a dance floor, try doing some karaoke at Peyote Cafe, which is open Thursday through Saturday evenings for those craving off-key crooning. Now it's time to shake your groove thing and there are several places to do it: Club Heaven; Madam's Organ (but please, ladies, remember your IDs. An entire bachelorette party got turned away once because one of the 27-year-old women forgot her proof of age); or Chief Ike's Mambo Room, where sweating, grinding and hip-bumping is practically mandatory. After 10 (and in some cases earlier), all of these places charge a cover, so be prepared. Want other suggestions? Take a look at our list of all bars in Adams Morgan.

In Georgetown:

If it's a warm night, some bachelorettes like to begin at the festive Georgetown waterfront. Sequoia, though almost always packed to the gills, reels in bachelorettes, as do nearby spots Tony & Joe's and the new Washington Harbour Club. Once you've sufficiently humiliated yourselves here, head away from the Potomac and into Georgetown proper. If you're a Hoya at heart, you may feel the nostalgic pull of former watering holes like the Tombs or Garrett's. If you want to stretch your vocal chords, gather 'round the piano bar at Mr. Smith's. But if you want to dance with fresh-faced boys in preppy clothes, then your buzzwords should be Third Edition. (Again, be prepared for cover charges.) For more options, look at our listings for all bars and clubs in Georgetown.

At the beaches:

If you're hosting your beach bachelorette early in the season, keep in mind that many of your favorite haunts may not be open yet, so call ahead. If you're heading to Dewey, your options include the always-popular Bottle and Cork, the Rusty Rudder (open year-round), The Starboard or the Dewey Beach Club, home of the tasty "Dewey Devil" drink. In Ocean City, you can always count on getting into the open-year-round Fager's Island, which is so used to hosting bachelorettes that management has created its own to-do list for fun-loving women (known officially as the Fager's Island Bachelorette Crawl). Complete it and you get a $30 gift certificate to spend at the restaurant. Other options include the queen mother of over-the-top beach bacchanalia, Seacrets, and Fish Tales, another of the many bayside bars. Take a glance at our beach guide for other ideas.

For the Bachelorette With Special Requests:

Every bachelorette should have her party done the way she wants. For some, that might mean scrapping the fake veil and hanging out at a bar that's not found on the typical bachelorette crawl route. Here are a few suggestions:

For the sophisticated bachelorette who wants to dance: Try Dream, though you may have to hold a fundraiser to afford the VIP floor.

For the night owl bachelorette: Take her to Red, the underground house danceclub where things don't get jumpin' until after midnight.

For the new wave/Brit-pop bachelorette: Plan the party on an evening when Mousetrap is happening at the Black Cat or Panic at Metro Cafe.

For the techie bachelorette who refuses to leave NOVA: Go to eCiti, where there's dancing and dining. Paul Lukas, one of the owners, says the club often reserves rooms or a series of tables near the bar for large groups.

For the '80s-obsessed bachelorette: If Polly Esther's is a little much, consider planning the fiesta to coincide with Heaven's Thursday night '80s party. Just make sure to take Friday off.

For the tush-pushin' bachelorette: Let her do the country dancing she loves at Nick's in Alexandria.

Girls Gone Wild, Bachelorette-Style

To paraphrase Troy McClure from "The Simpsons": "Now it's time for what you all came here to see -- hardcore nudity!" Yes, some ladies want to take the bachelorette to the ultimate level by leering at naked or semi-naked men. Hey, it's only fair considering that men have spent years leering at semi-nude women during bachelor parties. One of the most popular (and most conveniently located) strip joints is Wet. It is a gay male club, but many bachelorettes find that the fully nude, beautifully sculpted men set just the right, untamed tone for their evening. Read the Girls' Night Out at Wet feature for more info.

If you're willing to venture to Camp Springs, there's the infamous Hangar Club. The male strippers (who get semi-nude but not totally naked) come out to play Thursday through Saturday evenings and the cover is $8. Call 301/449-6970 for more details. Also in Camp Springs is Classics Nightclub, which hosts a popular all-male revue every Tuesday.

Odds and Ends

Don't know where to buy those racy gag gifts for the party? Try the Pleasure Place in Georgetown or Night Dreams in Bethesda. Still looking for more bachelorette party info? Take a glance at this story about Eric Brace's experience with a bachelorette crew.

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