On New Year's Eve three years ago, you could party like it was 1999, kissing one millennium goodbye and another hello. In 2000 you could say you were celebrating the real millennium. In 2001, you could say you were joyous over the arrival of the palindromatic 2002 (there won't be another until 2112!).
This year's Dec. 31 party won't be special in any particular way, but we're eager to put 2002 behind us, and we reckon a lot of you folks are too. So let's find some ways to ring in 2003, shall we?
We don't claim to offer a complete list, but here are some options. The prices indicated generally do not include taxes or tips, and most of the open bars on this list end at a designated time (1 or 2 a.m.). Also, ticket prices to several of these events will increase as Dec. 31 gets closer, so check with the promoters. And for an even longer list, with updated prices, check out the New Year's Eve guide on the entertainment page of www.washingtonpost.com.
And please remember to avail yourself of SoberRide, the free taxi service (if the fare is less than $50 -- if it's more than that, you pay the difference). The service is available now through Jan. 2. Just dial 800-200-8294 and you'll get your cab. (You've got to be 21 or older to use the service.)
Get online with me Friday between 1 and 2 p.m. to talk about your New Year's plan, and about the year in night life. Go to the "Live Online" page of www.washingtonpost.com.
BANGKOK BLUES -- Tom Principato Band, Chai & the Bangkok Blues (blues and Thai blues-rock). The 7 p.m. show is $25 and the 10 p.m. show is $35. Both include a Thai dinner buffet while the late show includes a champagne toast. 926 W. Broad St., Falls Church; 703-534-0095.
BAR ROUGE -- DJs ('80s hits). $50 includes admission to Rouge's sister bars, Helix and Topaz, which will feature dance DJs playing hits from the '60s and '70s, respectively. A free shuttle will run between the bars all night, and each will offer discounted cocktails and a champagne toast. 1315 16th St. NW; 202-232-8000.
BIRCHMERE -- The Seldom Scene, Good Deale Bluegrass Band featuring Mike Auldridge (bluegrass). $25. 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 703-549-7500.
BLACK CAT -- Peaches O'Dell Orchestra on the main stage (big-band swing), DJs on the back stage. $20. 1811 14th St. NW; 202-667-7960.
BLACKIE'S HOUSE OF BEEF -- Hokum Jazz (old-time jazz and swing), DJs (top 40, oldies). Two dinner seatings, 5:30 and 8:30, $75 each (8:30 seating includes champagne toast). 1217 22nd St. NW; 202-333-1100.
BLUES ALLEY -- Roy Hargrove Quintet (jazz). The $90 ticket for the 6:30 show includes dinner, the $135 ticket for the 10 p.m. show includes dinner and unlimited champagne and the $35 ticket for the 1:30 a.m. show includes coffee, tea and pastries. 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-337-4141.
BOHEMIAN CAVERNS -- Offering three distinct shows: Fresh Groove Band in the Caverns (R&B, blues, oldies). $45 ($75 per couple), champagne toast. Tena DuBerry in the Bohemian Restaurant (jazz vocals, soul, blues, R&B). $75 ($125 per couple), dinner and champagne toast. Live Latin band and DJs in Club 2001 (dance music). $30 ($50 per couple), open bar from 10 to 11 p.m., champagne toast. 2001 11th St. NW; 202-299-0801.
CHAMPPS AMERICANA -- Black Sheep (reggae), DJs (dance, top 40). $20, champagne toast, breakfast buffet. 11694 Plaza America Dr., Reston; 703-318-7600.
CLARENDON BALLROOM -- Gonzo's Nose ('80s, '90s and '00s rock), DJ Smitty and DJ Mac (rock, dance). $85, includes seven drink tickets, hors d'oeuvres, champagne toast. 3185 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-469-2244.
DR. DREMO'S -- DJs (dance). $15, appetizer buffet, one drink, champagne toast. 2001 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington; 703-528-4660.
EIGHTEENTH STREET LOUNGE -- Farid, Desmond Williams, Mike B, Bomb Cola, DJ Check, Aou (electronica DJs) and the Originals (live soul and jazz). $60 in advance, $85 with table reservation. 1210 18th St. NW; 202-466-3922.
FIVE -- DJs (house, hip-hop, dance). $99, open bar, champagne toast (open until 6 a.m.). 1214-B 18th St. NW; 202-331-7123.
GRAND HYATT -- Fighting Gravity (rock, funk), Young MC (hip-hop), Mr. Greengenes (jamband, funk), DJs (dance, hip-hop, house). Sponsored by Lindy Promotions. $125, hors d'oeuvres buffet, premium open bar. $200, premium open bar, hors d'oeuvres, VIP access to Butler's Cigar Bar. 1000 H St. NW; 202-432-7328.
HALF MOON BAR-B-QUE -- J.P. McDermott & the Tennessee Rockets (rockabilly, country-swing). $12. 8235 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring; 301-585-1290.
HILTON OF ALEXANDRIA -- Temika Moore, Halo (jazz, soul, funk). Sponsored by the Positive Black Men Coalition. $65, concert, hors d'oeuvres, champagne toast. $50, after-party cover charge, champagne toast. 5000 Seminary Rd., Alexandria; 301-809-6094.
HR-57 -- Jazz and blues jam session. $70 ($135 per couple). Dinner, open bar, champagne toast. Jacket requested, ties prohibited. The ticket is tax deductible, as the club is a nonprofit cultural organization. 1610 14th St. NW; 202-667-3700.
IMPROV -- Tom Rhodes (comedy). $30 for 8 p.m. show ($60 ticket includes dinner, tax and gratuity), price of admission includes free pass to future show. $65 for 10 p.m. show includes champagne toast, hors d'oeuvres and free pass to future show. 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-296-7008.
IOTA -- Last Train Home (full disclosure: your friendly neighborhood Nightwatchman plays in this band), the Lee Wilhoit Situation, Little Pink (roots rock, alt-country). $25, champagne toast. 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-522-8340.
JAXX -- Rev. 9, Stuck in Kaos, Obsolete, Human Room (hard rock/metal). $10. 6355 Rolling Rd., West Springfield; 703-569-5940.
KENNEDY CENTER TERRACE THEATER -- Billy Taylor Trio, Ethel Ennis, Frank Wess, Stefon Harris, Jimmy Owens (jazz). $60 tickets remain for the 7:30 show (the 9:30 show is sold out), and they also allow entry to the party in the Grand Foyer featuring the Radio King Orchestra (big-band swing). The band starts at 10:45, and admission is $20 if you don't have a ticket to another Kennedy Center event. 2700 F St. NW; 202-467-4600.
LULU'S -- Recycle Thieves (cover rock), DJs (dance, top 40, rock). $99.10, open bar, hors d'oeuvres, champagne toast. 1217 22nd St. NW at M Street; 202-438-4840.
MADAM'S ORGAN -- Bobby Parker & the Blues Night Band downstairs (soul, blues), DJs upstairs (dance). $95 gets you a table or $75 gets you standing room downstairs, and includes dinner buffet, open bar, champagne bottle. $55 gets you into the upstairs party, with open bar, hors d'oeuvres and champagne bottle. 2461 18th St. NW; 202-667-5370.
MAGGIANO'S -- Swing Speak (swing, jazz). $35 ($20 for under 21), champagne toast. 2001 International Dr., McLean; 703-356-9000.
MARRIOTT METRO CENTER HOTEL -- Doc Scantlin (big-band jazz, swing). $169, dinner and hors d'oeuvres buffet, open bar. 775 12th St. NW; 301-855-9102 or 202-737-2200.
MCCXXIII -- DJs (house, dance, hip-hop, techno). $40 ($30 in advance), open bar, champagne toast. 1223 Connecticut Avenue, NW; 202-822-1800.
NATIONAL PRESS CLUB -- The Electric Company, Warehouse, LRS (cover rock), Juniper Lane (rock), DJs (dance, top 40). $139, dinner buffet, premium open bar, champagne toast. 529 14th St. NW; 703-218-6500.
NATION -- Velvet Nation Dance Party with Xtreme Circus and DJ David Knapp (dance) and DJs Alex Lauterstein, Karl Matthews. $35. Half and K streets SE; 202-554-1500.
OLD POST OFFICE PAVILION -- Alex Fox Octet (nuevo flamenco), DJs (dance, top 40, house, hip-hop). $100, buffet dinner, premium open bar, champagne toast. $150, dinner buffet, premium open bar, breakfast, champagne toast, access to VIP lounge. Pennsylvania Ave. and 12th St. NW; 202-432-7328.
ORTANIQUE -- Wisdom (reggae). $50 ($40 in advance), unlimited champagne, dinner specials. 730 11th St. NW; 202-393-0975.
9:30 CLUB -- emmet swimming, Everything, Army of Me (rock). $25. 815 V St. NW; 202-393-0930.
POLLY ESTHER'S WASHINGTON -- DJs ('70s, '80s and current). $85, premium open bar, champagne toast. 605 12th St. NW; 202-737-1970.
RAM'S HEAD TAVERN -- Bill Kirchen & Too Much Fun (country rock, rockabilly). $102.44, buffet dinner, hors d'oeuvres, champagne toast (includes tax and gratuity). There will be a dance floor for the evening. 33 West St., Annapolis; 410-268-4545.
RECHER THEATRE -- Can't Hang, Tenderloin (reggae-rock, hard rock). $25 ($15 in advance), buffet dinner, champagne toast. 512 York Rd., Towson, Md.; 410-337-7178.
RITZ-CARLTON -- Live bands, DJs (rock, reggae, salsa, funk). $159, open bar, dinner buffet, champagne toast. 22nd and M streets NW; 202-686-6085.
ROCK BOTTOM BREWERY, ARLINGTON -- Memphis Gold (blues, rock). $20 ($15 in advance), special beer and dinner prices, champagne toast. 4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-516-7688.
ROCK BOTTOM BREWERY, BETHESDA -- Uncle Chunky (rock). $25, $50 for open bar, $75 for open bar and buffet dinner. 7900 Norfolk Ave., Bethesda; 301-652-1311.
ROYAL LEE BAR AND GRILL -- Blue Balls Deluxe (rock, rockabilly). $10, champagne toast. 2211 N. Pershing Dr., Arlington; 703-524-5493.
STARLAND CAFE -- The Kennedys, Bill Danoff, Jon Carroll (folk/rock). $80, three-course dinner, unlimited champagne; $10 ticket gets you into the bar. 5125 MacArthur Blvd. NW; 202-244-9396.
STATE THEATRE -- The Iguanas, Deanna Bogart (Tex-Mex, blues, rock). $50, champagne toast. 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church; 703-237-0300.
STRIKE BETHESDA -- DJs (rock, dance, top 40). $95, dinner buffet, open bar, unlimited bowling ($495 to reserve a lane all night). 5353 Westbard Ave., Bethesda; 301-652-0955.
TWINS JAZZ -- Bruce Williams Quintet (jazz). $45 ($85 couple), dinner and bottle of champagne. 1344 U St. NW; 202-234-0072.
UNCLE SAM'S -- Bob Israel's Potomac Jazz Orchestra with Mike Cotter (jazz standards and swing). $99.99 per couple, bottle of champagne (reservations required). 1440 Central Park Blvd., Fredericksburg; 540-785-6669.
VIP CLUB -- Sugar Hill Gang (rap, hip-hop), Los Hermanos Moreno, Manikkomio, Mambo Nuevo (salsa, Latin, Afro-Latin jazz). $30 in advance, open bar, bottle of champagne. 932 F St. NW; 202-347-7200.
WASHINGTON COURT HOTEL -- Temika Moore (soul, jazz vocals), live bands and DJs (funk, soul, reggae, calypso). $60 ($55 in advance), hors d'oeuvres, champagne toast. 525 New Jersey Ave. NW; 703-218-6500 or 202-628-2100.
WHITLOW'S ON WILSON -- The Worrystones (rock). $20, buffet dinner, champagne toast. 2854 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-276-9693.
WYNDHAM WASHINGTON HOTEL -- Wild Magnolias (jazz, funk), Those Guys (cover rock). Sponsored by Georgetown Events. $125 (cash at the door), $110 (advance), open bar, hors d'oeuvres. 1400 M St. NW; 202-333-8368.
ZANZIBAR ON THE WATERFRONT -- DJs (R&B, salsa, calypso, soca). $75 ($135 per couple), dinner buffet, breakfast buffet, champagne toast and fashion show. 700 Water St. SW; 202-554-9100.