Democracy Dies in Darkness


When are you doing New Year’s Eve?

December 21, 2017 at 10:50 AM

George Washington is here to party this New Year’s Eve. (George Washington’s Mount Vernon)

We all thought 2016 was a dumpster fire of a year.
Then came 2017, which was a conflagration of epic proportions, and now we’re all thinking, “Hey, next year has to be better.” BUT THAT’S WHAT WE THOUGHT IN 2016. This New Year’s Eve, there’s one way to sidestep our apparently inevitable slouching toward annihilation: Look to the past. As the flames of 2018 approach, let’s go back in time — for one night, at least.

The 1700s
Christmas at Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, Va.; through Jan. 6, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., $18-$20 (kids 6-11: $9-$10; kids under 6 free).
You might not think George Washington was a party animal, but that’s because you didn’t know he paid 18 shillings to bring a camel to amuse guests at his Christmas party in 1787. Aladdin, that camel’s spiritual heir, is one of the holiday attractions at Mount Vernon through Jan. 6. Although Mount Vernon isn’t hosting a true New Year’s Eve party, it will be open on Dec. 31 for a kid-friendly (or anyone-friendly) daytime celebration. Visitors can see a chocolate-making demonstration; costumed interpreters will discuss holidays on the plantation; there’s fifing; and for $7 extra, you can learn about the foods the first first couple would have eaten for Christmas dinner, including a sample beverage (noon, Tuesday through Dec. 31).

See what George and Martha Washington would have eaten on Christmas. (George Washington’s Mount Vernon)

The 1800s
Noon Year’s Eve
Tudor Place, 1644 31st St. NW; Dec. 31, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., sold out (limited $5 member tickets still available).
It’s possible your kids will be awake at midnight on New Year’s Eve, and it’s probable no one is going to be happy about it. Tire them out early at Tudor Place’s Noon Year’s Eve, an age-appropriate celebration for kids 2 to 4. Granted, when the historic house was built in 1816, “age-appropriate” probably meant “go harvest some crops, then come home and be seen and not heard.” At this event, kids can fuel up on juice, create an unholy din with noisemakers and throw confetti around (while parents can imagine what it was like to have kids in the 1800s).

The 1920s
Bootlegger’s Bash
Barrel & Bushel, 7901 Tysons One Place, Tysons Corner, Va.; Dec. 31, 9 p.m.-2 a.m., $79-$129.
Travel to the era of scandalous dances, nifty haircuts and sloshing booze down your throat as fast as possible before the cops break up the party. No, not high school. Barrel & Bushel is hosting its annual Bootlegger’s Bash, a throwback to the 1920s. Flapper attire is encouraged, and there’s a prize for the best dressed. Unlimited hors d’oeuvres, access to a bar serving specialty cocktails, a cigar bar and a champagne toast at midnight will help you forget that, thanks to a huge wealth gap and staggeringly unwise economic decisions, the stock market crash of 1929 is just around the corner.

Make 2018 golden at the International Spy Gala.

The 1960s
International Spy Gala New Year’s Eve
Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Thomas Circle NW; Dec. 31, 9 p.m.-2 a.m., $100-$150, VIP: $200-$300, couples: $290-$390.
James Bond has been updated again and again over the decades, but his signature style will always be from the 1960s. The 16th International Spy Gala embraces the tuxes and martinis while (hopefully) rejecting the misogyny with its black-tie-optional, secret-agent-themed celebration. There’s an open bar, music, a live feed to Times Square and a mock casino, so you can pretend you know how to play craps without actually losing any money.

The 1980s
Cocktails & Dreams ’80s New Year
Lost & Found, 1240 Ninth St. NW; Dec. 31, 6 p.m.-1:30 a.m., free admission.
For one night, Lost & Found will transform itself into Cocktails & Dreams, the bar from the classic Tom Cruise film “Cocktail.” At this ’80s-themed New Year’s Eve party, they’ll be serving throwback drinks while ever-drunker patrons sing along to the greatest radio hits of the era. There’s no cover, costumes are encouraged, and the first person to sing “Take On Me” will be blessed with good luck in the coming year.

The 1990s
Back in da Day ’90s New Year’s Eve
Ten Tigers Parlour, 3813 Georgia Ave. NW; Dec. 31, 9 p.m.-3 a.m., $60.
If you’re longing for the days when the biggest presidential scandal involved a blue dress, the Back in da Day ’90s New Year’s Eve party at Ten Tigers Parlour is probably where you want to go. Dance to Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, JAY-Z — basically, if it’s a song that makes you run screaming onto a wedding reception dance floor after three drinks, you’ll hear it. There will also be ’90s arcade games on hand, an hour of both an open bar and unlimited hors d’oeuvres, and a free champagne toast at midnight. Party like it’s 1999, if only because Prince was still alive and that just made the whole world better.

Kristen Page-Kirby joined Express in 2010 and covers film, arts and entertainment. Her weekly film column, The Reelist, has run in Express since 2009.

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