Where to Party for New Year’s Eve in Washington

Ring in 2010 by celebrating at one of these New Year’s Eve events, from concerts to bar parties to hotel galas.

By: Molly Lehman

HOTEL PARTIES

2010: A Space Fantasy at the Capitol Skyline Hotel
The galactic-fantasy theme of this Brightest Young Things event includes sparkle-motion dance floors, moon bounces, and laser tag in the parking garage—and the price is good, too. A $45 ticket gets you access to the open bar, and there’s a slew of DJs and crews, including Fatback, AutoRock, Shea Van Horn, and DJ Rad. Food is an additional $10, and those under 21 and non-drinkers can get in for $30. A limited number of hotel rooms can be reserved for $89. Click here for tickets.

New Year’s Eve Extravaganza
Big Night DC’s annual New Year’s Eve Extravaganza, held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor, features 15 themed party areas, five dance floors, live music and DJs, food, and party favors. Tickets are $139.99 to $189.99, and discounted hotel rooms start at $159 per night. 9 PM to 3 AM.

Inner Caucus New Year’s Eve Gala
Four rooms at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel will host six DJs and music ranging from African beats and calypso to neo-soul. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, party favors, and a Champagne toast at midnight. Tickets to the gala, sponsored by the DC entertainment company Inner Caucus and WHUR 96.3 FM, are $65 before Christmas, $70 after Christmas, and $75 on December 31. For discounted room rates ($139, with checkout the next day at 2 PM), call 800-635-5065 and ask for the Inner Caucus New Year’s Eve rate.

Licensed to Thrill Thunderball at the Washington Plaza Hotel
Vintage-suave is key at Euronet International’s James Bond-themed New Year’s bash, where you can sip a martini from the open bar while mingling with Bond girls and a Sean Connery look-alike. Themed dinner buffets and decor will evoke Bond-esque locations: Montenegro, England, Istanbul, and Iceland are all represented. For those without a midnight date, a singles “alter-ego” mixer will be held from 9:30 to 10:30. General admission $135 to $159, VIP $189 to $225, and Presidential $275 to $350—prices will increase as the event nears. Tickets are available online. The party starts at 6:45 for VIP and Presidential ticket holders and at 9:30 for regular-admission guests.

New Year’s Eve Gala 2010 at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel
Celebrate at the Willard’s New Year’s Gala, where nine themes explore the music of the past century, from 1920s speakeasys through ’50s salsa, ’60s reggae, and a Times Square experience in the 21st century. The night includes bands and DJs, karaoke, a balloon drop, mock gambling, buffets, and a top-shelf open bar. Tickets are $179, and some hotel rooms, normally $400, are $199. The dress code is black-tie preferred.

Passport to the World Gala: Cities of Virtue and Vice
Merengue and salsa music (Rio de Janeiro), waltz lessons (Vienna), Bollywood hits (India), an R-rated comedian (Amsterdam), and four-minute dating (Venice) round out the international lineup at this gala, hosted by Professionals in the City. Black-tie attire is optional, and your ticket ($99) also includes a dessert buffet and open bar. A VIP option ($129) includes dinner. The party, held at the Hilton Washington, runs from 10:30 PM to 2 AM; it starts at 9 for VIP guests. Rooms at the Hilton are $149.

2010 Party in the Empress Lounge on New Year’s Eve
The Mandarin Oriental (1330 Maryland Ave., SW; 202-787-6868) is offering New Year’s Eve packages for couples, with hors d’oeuvres and confections for two, a bottle of Champagne, party favors, and music by vocalists Sharon Clark, Dick Smith, and Nicki Parrott. The package with premium lounge seating is $240 per couple; with reserved seating in the rotunda, it’s $190. 9 PM to 1 AM.

New Year’s Eve Packages at the Park Hyatt Washington and Blue Duck Tavern
At the Park Hyatt Washington and Blue Duck Tavern, the New Year’s party includes a premium open bar from 9 PM to 2 AM, international music by DJ Neekola, and cigars and drinks on the heated terrace. Tapas are available from 10 until midnight, when a balloon drop, Champagne toast, and chocolates will ring in the new year. Admission, including drinks, is $140 per person. If you’d like to stay the night, there’s a package for $565 that includes admission to the party, a Parke Deluxe room, and valet parking. The packages can’t be booked online—call 202-419-6687 or e-mail.

New Year’s Eve Grand Ball Thrown by International Club DC
Eight international cities provide the inspiration for the music, dance, and food at this year’s grand ball. Visit Casablanca, Dublin, Havana, Chicago, and Moscow without leaving the Marriott Wardman Park hotel. Live bands, an open bar, mock gambling, karaoke, and a dessert buffet are all included. Tickets have three tiers; 10:30 admission tickets are $99. For $169, you’ll receive admission at 9 plus either a three-course meal or a themed buffet. The $219 VIP tickets include admission at 7:30, a Champagne-and-appetizer reception, reserved seating, and a three-course sit-down meal. Click here for tickets. Prices will continue to rise as the event approaches.

New Year’s Eve at the W Hotel: POV Lounge and J&G Steakhouse  
The swank W Hotel is throwing parties both upstairs and downstairs. Dinner at the ground-floor J&G Steakhouse will have two seatings; the first, from 5 to 7:30, is à la carte, and the second, from 8 to 9:45, features a five-course prix-fixe menu for $150 per person—and reservations are filling up fast. Call 202-661-2440 to snag a seat. On the menu: tuna tartare, Maine lobster, and filet mignon with soy-caramel sauce, and a trio of desserts. Upstairs, POV will play host to jazz keyboardist Marcus Johnson in the lounge and DJ Oz on the roof. The evening’s decor features art installations by Alex Turco, and the open bar lasts from 8 to 10. At midnight, there’s a Champagne toast, broadcasts from Times Square, and party favors. If you reserve your spot before Christmas Eve, it’s $89; after that, the price goes up to $110. Call 202-661-2455 for reservations.

To participate in both celebrations, there’s a party package for two people starting at $599. The deal includes dinner at J&G, access to the POV party, a one-night hotel stay, couple-oriented favors, and a bottle of Champagne. An extra gift: Checkout isn’t until 2. To book the package, call 202-661-2400.

BIG BASHES

Midtown Loft
On the second floor, new hip-hop and Top 40 will keep things moving, and on the third floor, there’ll be party rock, hits from the ’80s, and old-school hip-hop. The cover charge is $20, or $40 for access to the open bar from 8 to 10. Table packages for six ($400) and ten ($800) people, which include a bottle or two of Grey Goose and yellow-label Veuve Clicquot, are also available. 8 PM to 4 AM.

Tattoo Bar
At this downtown DC bar, a $120 general-admission ticket gets you five hours at an open bar, party favors, and a midnight Champagne toast. The party lasts until 4, and VIP tables are also available. Click here for tickets; only 150 will be sold.

Lotus Lounge
New York-based DJ Chachi is spinning at this downtown DC lounge, where the party goes until 4 AM. General-admission tickets at the door are $50, access to the open bar from 9 PM to 2 AM is $120, and VIP tables ($500 to $1,500 minimums) are also available. Click here for tickets.
 
Fur Nightclub
A $25 ticket gets you into the club’s celebration, where partying on four floors will last until 4 AM. For $100, you’ll have access to the open bar all night; for $125, you’ll also get dinner and have access to VIP rooms. Click here for tickets.
The Odyssey New Year’s Eve Lunch and Dinner Cruises

Enjoy a New Year’s Eve lunch or dinner aboard the Odyssey cruise ship—each meal comes with favors, live entertainment, and Champagne. Lunch, from 12:15 to 2:15, is $48.90 per person. Dinner, from 9 to 12:30, is $199.90 and includes an open bar, a Viennese dessert table, and a chocolate fountain.

National Press Club New Year’s Swing 2010
Big-band music from the ’20s and ’30s, courtesy of Doc Scantlin and His Imperial Palms Orchestra, is playing at the National Press Club’s New Year’s soirée, held in its ballroom (529 14th St., NW) from 8 to 1. Press Club members are attending, but the party—along with the special New Year’s menu being served at the downstairs Fourth Estate Restaurant—is open to the public. Tickets, $100 per person, include an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, party favors, and a midnight toast; you’ll also get a 10-percent discount at the Fourth Estate. Reservations can be made online or by calling 202-662-7501; pay in advance.

Party on the Potomac on the Spirit of Washington
Cruise the Potomac and take in the waterfront on the Spirit of Washington cruise ship, where the party includes an open bar, a midnight Champagne toast, hors d’oeuvres and a dinner buffet, a DJ, and party favors. Boarding starts at 8:30; the cruise lasts from 9 to 12:30, and there’s a dockside party until 1. The cruise is $149.90 per person; call 866-302-2469 or click here.

Clarendon Ballroom

The annual gala at this Arlington venue includes a buffet of heavy hors d’oeuvres, seven drink tickets, and Champagne, balloons, and party favors at midnight. The Philadelphia-based band Kristen & the Noise will perform, and DJ Lil Fos will spin tunes between sets. 8 PM to 2 AM. Tickets are now $95, and the price will rise as it gets closer to the event. Buy tickets at the bar or call 703-469-2244.

K Street Lounge
This five-hour, open-bar party, which features a DJ spinning Top 40 and house tunes, costs $50 per person or a table for six for $400 to $500. 9 PM to 4 AM.

A Night of Masquerade at Hudson Restaurant & Lounge  
New Year’s revelers have five party options at the Hudson’s Night of Masquerade, cohosted with Art Soirée. For $140, you’ll get a four-course dinner (reservations between 8 and 11), an open bar with premium alcohol, party favors, and a midnight Champagne toast. For $80, you can opt out of either dinner or the open bar. If you’d just like an early dinner, a three-course chef’s menu is being served between 5 and 7; it’s $50 per person. And if you’re just looking for a party, the lounge bash, where the jazz band the Bridge starts performing at 10, has a $30 cover. You can enter to win a weekend for two in Manhattan while you’re there.

Masquerade Ball at Muse Lounge
Come early to Muse Lounge to pick up your mask before the three-floor, four-bar party starts here at 8. From 8 until 9, there’s an open bar and hors d’oeuvres, and the rooftop level is open, heated and covered. At midnight, you can watch the Times Square ball drop amid balloons. Advance tickets are $35, and three levels of VIP tables ($500 to $1,000) offer bottle service and Champagne along with admission. Get tickets by calling the lounge or e-mailing.

18th Street Lounge
Emceed by Zeebo from the DC reggae band See-I, the 18th Street Lounge has two floors of celebration on New Year’s Eve. Brazilian Beat Brooklyn, with Brazilian funk selected and spun by Brooklyn DJs Sean Marquand and Greg Caz, is in the main room, where they’ll be introduced by local DC Thomas Blondet. On the second floor, you can hear bossa nova, samba, and Afro-Cuban tunes by the Donvonte McCay Sextet. 9 pm to 3 AM. Tickets are $30; get them here.

Lucky Bar Champagne Gala
After you’ve hit the open bar, available from 9 pm until 1 AM, hit the dance floor—the dancing at Lucky Bar’s gala lasts until 3. Tickets, $80 per person, also include a buffet, midnight Champagne toast, and party favors. Get tickets online here.

Recessions
Leave the jeans at home before heading to Recessions, where the party includes an open bar, buffet, favors, DJ music, a dance floor, and a midnight toast. Tickets are $70; doors open at 8. If you’re part of a large group, call first—you might be able to get a discount package.

Absolute Addition’s New Year’s Eve at the Shadow Room
The private DC social club Absolute Addiction is hosting its New Year’s party at the Shadow Room for members and guests from 9 pm to 3 AM. (Registering to be a member is free.) The DJ has yet to be determined, but expect Top 40 and hip-hop. Tickets are $52; purchase yours here. Table reservations ($500 to $2,000) are also available.

Ultra Bar New Year’s Eve
Ultra’s mix of house and hip-hop will be playing, and there will also be a midnight Champagne toast, party favors, and Times Square coverage. Advance tickets are $30 before December 20, $35 after that. Table reservations ($500-$1,500) are available, and each table gets a bottle of Champagne. Get tickets online or by calling 202-638-4663. Doors open at 8.
CONCERTS

McGinty’s New Year Celebration Featuring Hot Mess
Party favors and a Champagne toast meet live alternative rock at McGinty’s Public House in Silver Spring, where Hot Mess will perform both covers and original songs. Downstairs, you can hear acoustic music.The party lasts from 9 PM to 1:30 AM. Tickets are $15; call 240-423-8472 to get them.

New Year’s Eve Party at Iota
Fairfax rock band Emmet Swimming will be performing alongside fellow locals No Second Troy at Iota on New Year’s Eve. Tickets ($35) also include a Champagne toast, party favors, and food—there’s Hoppin’ John and a pasta buffet. The show starts at 8.

New Year’s Eve Ball at the Black Cat
The musical mix of Peaches and Her Orchestra is back at the Black Cat’s main stage on New Year’s Eve, with styles from swing to rhumba, from 1920s cha-cha to ’50s hits. The four sets will be interspersed with lounge-dance performances by Tony Anthony & His Malvivants. DJ Mark Zimin, known for nights such as Mousetrap and WAG, is on the back stage. Get all three for one $25 ticket. Show starts at 8.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings at the 9:30 Club
Hear soul and revived R&B/funk music by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, with an opening performance by the LA-based, ’60s-style funk band Fitz and the Tantrums. At midnight, there’s a Champagne toast. Tickets are $55, and the doors open at 9.
FAMILY

New Year’s Annapolis
If you’re avoiding alcohol-fueled bashes, Annapolis is one place to head. Music, dancing, and other performances will be held along Main Street and on the City Dock, and the city is also hosting the Last Race of the Year, with runners sprinting along Main to the dock. For those whose children have early bedtimes, there will be two fireworks displays—one at 7:30, another at midnight. Tickets are $10 to $15, with children age five and under free; a VIP pass with exclusive parking, seating, and fireworks viewing is $450. 3 PM to midnight.

First Night Alexandria
This annual event is a great place to head with kids. The “fun hunt” kickoff event, a scavenger hunt complete with clues and maps, starts at the Torpedo Factory Art Center at 2:30. From 1 to 11:30 PM, more than 100 musical performances will be held all over the city; the schedule, with locations, can be found here. Free shuttle buses to the venues are provided. A midnight fireworks display ends the night. Ticket badges are $15; children ages 12 and under are free. Get them online or at a participating Alexandria business; see the list here.

New Year’s Eve Swing Dance
Isn’t learning a new skill on your list of resolutions? Get a jump start with New Year’s Eve swing-dancing lessons at the Spanish Ballroom in Glen Echo Park (7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo; 301-634-2222). The hourlong lesson starts at 8, followed by a dance party from 9 until 12:30. The music is provided by Lady Luck and the Suicide Kings, a group from New York. The class and party is $20 per person; pay at the door.
FREE/NO COVER

Piratz Tavern
Piratz Tavern in Silver Spring will have shooter specials, belly dancing, and, of course, singing pirates. No cover. The first seating is from 5 to 8; the second starts at 8:30 and includes favors and Champagne.

Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern
From 10 PM until closing, DJ Brian is spinning tunes at Jimmy’s, and there’s dancing, party favors, and a midnight Champagne toast, too. There’s no cover, but if you want a table for one of the two New Year’s Eve seatings, make reservations.

McGinty’s Public House
There’s no cover at McGinty’s Public House in Arlington, where its first New Year’s celebration is free. It doesn’t skimp on the trimmings, either: Ring in 2010 with party favors, music by acoustic guitarist/singer Eddie Pasa, and a Champagne toast. If you’d like to eat beforehand, a three-course prix fixe menu for $35 is available. Reserve your dinnertime spot by calling 240-423-8472. 9 PM to 1:30 AM.