New Year’s Eve is so hyped up that it’s tempting to just hide in your house with a few friends and a bottle of champagne. You don’t want to get stuck in some heinous Dupont Circle meat-market bar with six floors and a drink line longer than your list of resolutions. Also, who are you spending midnight with? Hope you like them, because according to completely unfounded superstition, you’re stuck with them for an entire year! We chose the most auspicious spots to ring out the old, whatever your priorities are.
D.C. is a sorry excuse for a city — no big New Year’s Eve fireworks display. Baltimore more than makes up for it with its Inner Harbor fireworks spectacular, and the best place to see them is from a cruise ship. Spirit Cruises will have two boats out, one with a fancy dinner onboard ($199), the other with a slightly less fancy party ($129). And, of course, a so-close-it’s-a-little-terrifying view of the fireworks.
Spirit Cruises, 9 p.m., must be 21 or older with ID, $129-$199; 866-312-2469.
The Gibson is well-known as a quiet, swanky cocktail hangout, the kind of place where you carefully select each drink because you know it’s costing you a small fortune. Their $150 New Year’s Eve deal includes a completely open bar — they’ve come up with six special cocktails and you can also request anything on the shelf — along with sets from DJ Booty Boots and food from nearby Blackbyrd Warehouse. The theme is “Heaven and Hell” so, while black tie is always appropriate for the Gibson, we’re going to pressure you to put on a heaven- or hell-related costume. Because you can.
The Gibson, 2009 14th St. NW; 8 p.m., $150. (U St.-Cardozo)
If New Year’s Day’s main value to you is as a new start — this is the year you get in shape, find inner peace and quit sniffing glue — then we’re advocating that you finish out 2011 with dinner at Co Co. Sala (929 F. St. NW). Hear us out! The chocolate-happy restaurant is offering a $125-per-person, six-course dinner that comes with dancing, chocolate and a champagne toast. This is the most decadent eating establishment we could imagine, and if you’re going to put austerity measures in place soon, you might as well have one last hurrah before you get all zen and boring.
Co Co. Sala, 929 F St. NW; seatings begin at 5 p.m., $125 for dinner or $185 with wine pairings; 202-347-4265. (Metro Center)
Maybe you’ve already got someone in mind to kiss at midnight or maybe you’re trying desperately to find someone. Maybe you’re a character in that horrible movie about New Year’s Eve. We don’t know your life, Ashton. But we do know romance, and the W hotel’s bar, P.O.V., is where it’s at. It’s swanky, and the terrace is heated enough to be comfortable — remember, if you stand by the window you can get enough of a cold breeze that you’ll have an excuse to cuddle together for warmth. The “retro soiree,” titled “Pinstripes & Pinups,” seems a little confused about which decade your attire should evoke — pin-ups say 1940s while pinstripes speak of 1920s gangsters. To make up for this, it promises an open bar from 8 to 10 p.m., hors d’oeuvres and DJ’d dancing.
P.O.V., 515 15th St. NW; 8 p.m., $200. (Metro Center)
If dancing, rather than imbibing alcohol or making out with a relative stranger, is what gets your engine going, we suggest the annual Peaches O’Dell concert at the Black Cat. You can still, of course, imbibe alcohol and make out with a relative stranger. Just do it while dancing like a maniac to jump swing music right out of the 1940s, without all that wartime rationing and boys shipping out for the Western Front in the morning. Note: “I’m shipping out for the Western Front in the morning” is a great pick-up line and works every time.
Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW; 8 p.m., $25; 202-667-7960. (U St.-Cardozo)
If you’re staying in because you hate fun or people or the idea of time passing, you can always rent a movie. We recommend “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972) or its execrable remake, “Poseidon” (2006), both available for streaming at Vudu. They tell the story of a lavish New Year’s Eve celebration on a boat that gets hit with a giant wave and turns over, killing most of the people on board. Serves them right for having more fun than you.