Trying to decide between feasting and partying on New Year’s Eve? Luckily you don’t have to. The following restaurants mix both, offering special eats, live music, bottomless bubbly, costumed soirees, and more. Just make sure to book reservations before it's too late.
Roberto Donna whips up a four-course meal (think Buffalo mozzarella with caviar and lobster gnocchi) starting at 9:30, while a DJ starts spinning at 10 for dancing until the early morning. [Event page]
Details: The dinner and party is $60 per person (otherwise a la carte until 8). Wine pairings are pretty affordable at $25 and $35.
Penn Quarter’s newest beer-heavy restaurant pairs a four-course menu with an open bar after-party from 10 to close. Dishes include the likes of kale-pomegranate salad and bucatini with rabbit bolognese. [Event page]
Details: Those who opt for the menu ($50 per person) from 5 to 11 can add the $50 open-bar option (regularly $75 without dinner).
Channel Bourbon Street on 14th Street with a New Orleans-inspired fete that includes three or four-course menus, a DJ, and a gratis glass of bubbly for the second seating. [Event page]
Details: The 6:30 seating with a three-course menu is $39 per person, while the second at 9:30 offers four courses for $59.
All three locations of José Andrés’s Spanish spot serve unlimited tapas from the New Year’s tasting menu after 8 (earlier seatings are a la carte). After 10 a DJ starts spinning in DC, while those in Bethesda and Crystal City can dance to a live band. [Event page]
Details: The tasting menu is $90 in DC, and $85 in Bethesda and Crystal City.
Go old-school with a Love Boat Cruise-themed party with live music from Yacht Rock Schooner, an international buffet, open bars, and more. [Event page]
Details: Tickets start at $125.
You'll find Russian Santa Claus, karaoke, a costume contest, caviar, and President Putin's official New Year's address all under one roof. [Event page]
Details: Three package options for bubbly and caviar start at $150, with a 9 o'clock New Year's dinner menu included in all.
Book after 9 for a prix fixe menu with dishes like duck confit steamed buns and drunken adobo pork. What makes this a party? The option of bottomless Champagne service for $40. [Event page]
Details: There’s more casual options early on, but the post-9 pm “premium” menu is $75, with the option of bottomless champagne.
Ashok Bajaj’s American brasserie celebrates 2014 with a three-course menu for the second seating, including dishes like butter-poached lobster and roasted duck, plus a DJ for dancing.
Details: The set menu is $100 (it’s a la carte before 8).
Details: Tickets start at $175 per person.
Head to Bethesda row for a Speakeasy Soiree, including a three-course dinner, poker, live entertainment, and more. [Event page]
Details: Packages vary, starting at $78 for a reservation after 6:30 (early-birds can get dinner for $45, but it doesn’t include the party).
This retro diner-bar tucked behind the 9:30 Club goes punk rock for New Year’s eve with a DJ, Champagne toast, and regular dinner menu (including boozy milkshakes!) until 2.
Details: That’s it! No cover here.
Get a taste of Venice on the Hill with this Venetian Masquerade, which includes a three-course menu with dishes like truffle-ricotta ravioli and foie gras-topped veal tenderloin. Head up to the lounge after for the masked party and roulette. [Event page]
Details: You can opt for just dinner or the party (which starts at 8:30), but the combination is $79.
Those looking to feast will find five and seven-course tasting menus at 6 and 8:30, plus "live action stations," a DJ, and Champagne toast. [Event page]
Details: The two menus are $125 and $150 per person, plus optional wine pairings.
1200 19th St., NW; 202-872-8700
Party presidentially with unlimited cocktails, dinner and dessert buffets, and DJ Huck Finn (Tom Sawyer is jealous). [Event page]
Details: Packages vary by ticket, but you’ll have to buy “gold” ($110 per person) for dinner.
La Fête Rouge (i.e. Red Party) brings options of three and six-course menus, red-hued everything, and surprise entertainment. [Event page]
Details: The first seating, 5:30 to 6:30, is for the three-course ($84 per person), while the second from 8:30 to 9:30 includes the more elaborate menu ($145 per person).
This U Street neighborhood bar does it up for New Year’s with an open-bar Champagne party on the (heated) outdoor plaza, and a five-course menu with optional wine pairings in the restaurant. [Event page]
Details: Seatings for the dinner are at 6 and 9 ($65 and $75, respectively). The party is regularly $75, but is $50 for dinner guests.
In case you haven’t heard, pomegranate seeds are good for you. Funny enough, so is sharing delicious drinks with friends. In the spirit of both: my go-to holiday cocktail from Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day. It looks festive (and kinda fancy), goes down smooth, and is potent enough to satisfy your booze tooth without tasting overtly alcoholic (so yes, drinker beware). The recipe is very similar to a classic French 75, with the gin-soaked pomegranate seeds as an extra treat.
Another perk of this recipe: It’s budget-adaptable. If you’re splurging for cocktails a deux, Hendrick’s gin and true Champagne are hard to beat. When I’ve whipped up a batch for a holiday party, moderately priced Citadelle and Prosecco make tasty substitutes. The key is to use a lightly flavored or floral gin versus a herbaceous one. Regardless of your alcohols, slightly sweet Meyer lemon juice is the ideal seasonal citrus.
The only thing daunting about this formula may be seeding the pomegranate. Fortunately, we have an instructive video for that.
Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail
2 ounces lightly flavored gin, such as Hendrick’s or Citadelle
½ ounce simple syrup*
½ ounce lemon juice, preferably Meyer lemon in season
About 6 ounces Prosecco or Champagne
1 tablespoon fresh pomegranate seeds
Optional: a lemon twist for garnish
Pour the first three ingredients into an ice-filled shaker and strain into a Champagne flute or coupe.
Add the pomegranate seeds, and top off with the bubbly. Add the lemon twist, if using.
* Don’t let specialty stores lure you into buying $12 bottles of plain “bar syrup.” It’s called simple syrup for a reason: put equal parts sugar and water in a small pot (say ½ cup of each), and let it sit over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Chill it before mixing your cocktail, and keep it stored in the fridge.
Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken offers “decorate your own doughnut” boxes, and does most of the heavy lifting—or baking, in this case. The kit comes with three vanilla-glazed doughnuts, a piping bag of chocolate glaze, and Halloween-themed sprinkles ($10 each). Preorder through Thursday (recommended) by calling 202-809-5565 or e-mailing email@example.com.
Free meals for spirited kids
Dress your kids in their Halloween best and head to Mi Cocina in Chevy Chase for free kids’ meals for any costumed child under 12 through Thursday.
This Sunday marks Bastille Day, the French national holiday, and there are plenty of places to sip Champagne, eat fromage, and get into the Gallic spirit all week long.
Provençal feast at Mintwood Place
When: Tuesday through Sunday
Chef Cedric Maupillier shows his patriotism by whipping up dishes from his native Toulon. Order à la carte or splurge on a five-course feast featuring dishes such as dorade with braised fennel and lamb saddle with ratatouille and squash blossoms. $65 per person; $100 with wine pairings.
Let them eat cake bar at the Phillips Collection
When: Thursday 5 to 8:30 at the Phillips Collection; Malmaison after-party 9 to 2
Brightest Young Things teams up with the gallery for an art-filled soiree, the Unstill Life. Come for cubism-inspired cocktails, absinthe, and an all-you-can-eat cake bar; stay for a gallery talk and tour and an after-party at the newly opened Malmaison.
Need a great cocktail for your Memorial Day party? This simple and refreshing drink from Zentan barkeep Josh Berner is just the thing, thanks to a make-ahead formula that requires few ingredients and fewer steps.
To start, Berner infuses Beefeater 24 gin—you can also sub in Aviation, Hendrick’s, or another brand of your choice—with Mighty Leaf’s chamomile-citron tea. After steeping for three days, the infusion gets mixed with Dolin Blanc vermouth and Aperol for a crisp, refreshing cocktail that still packs a middleweight punch. Once the Donovan House rooftop opens—construction is still wrapping up, but keep your fingers crossed for an end-of-week debut—guests will sip the Negroni-esque libation around the pool. We suggest you do the same.
Livin’ Is Easy
Infuse the gin:
1 liter Beefeater 24 gin (enough for about 20 cocktails), or an alternative such as
Hendrick’s or Aviation
2 tablespoons (or 3 bags) citrus-chamomile tea, like Mighty Leaf chamomile-citron
In an airtight container, mix tea and gin. After one to three days (three is ideal), strain out the tea. Be sure to press the liquid out of the strained tea back into the gin.
Store the infused gin in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use.
Make the cocktail:
1½ ounces tea-infused gin
1 ounce Dolin Blanco vermouth
½ ounce Aperol
Stir all ingredients with ice.
Serve on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
If you’re doing it right, buying a bottle of wine for someone is a highly personal gesture. You have to know what your giftee likes—Chardonnay, sparkling wine, dry South African varietals, etc.—and offer something that will fit their tastes while also presenting the chance to try something new. For the wine-drinking mother, a well-chosen bottle is a no-brainer gift. Mom feels special, then buzzed; siblings—petals falling from the sad little bouquets clutched in their fists—shrink in the certain knowledge of your new status as favorite kid forever. (Okay maybe not forever, but certainly through Sunday.)
Great news: This moment of M-Day glory can be achieved by even the most novice of wine purchasers, thanks to this mère-minded list of white and rosé options selected by wine experts around town. The best part? They’re all under $25—less than it costs to order a dozen daffodils to Mom’s door.
By sheer coincidence of the calendar, Cinco de Mayo happens to fall on a Sunday Funday this year. In años past, we’ve focused on special deals honoring the occasion, but this time around, we’re letting our pals at After Hours take care of that, opting instead to outfit you with a list of very good tequila-based drinks appearing on lists at our favorite bars.
Some riff directly on the classic margarita cocktail—a combination of tequila, triple sec, simple syrup (or agave nectar), and lime—while others resemble the ’rita less. Don’t get hung up on technicalities—they’re all going to make you happy, and, consumed voraciously enough, hungover on Monday. Hey, no one ever said Seis de Mayo was a day designed for celebration.
The “greatest two minutes in sports” goes down this Saturday, May 4. It might be the shortest race in the Triple Crown, but the Kentucky Derby always inspires festivities that include free-flowing booze, elaborate hats, and swanky fetes. Plenty of Washington bars and restaurants are celebrating, and we found a party for (almost) every mood.
When attending a Passover Seder, we like the idea of bringing a kosher wine to the party so our kosher-keeping friends can partake. However, by reputation many kosher wines aren’t among the tastiest. To help us find some good options, we hit up the obliging Michael Dumas, a serious vino geek to whom this blogger regularly turns for excellent value-driven bottle selections. Dumas can be found assisting customers at Cleveland Park Wines, a neighborhood wine shop that stocks a lot of good cocktail stuff, too—Dolin vermouth, Fever-Tree tonics, Scrappy’s Bitters, and the like.
Here are Dumas’s choices for kosher bottles. Handily, he also offers advice on which wines pair well with traditional Passover dishes such as maror (bitter herbs), charoset (apple-walnut relish), karpas (green leafy vegetables), beitzah (hardboiled egg), and zeroah (roasted lamb shanks).
The big value:
“There is a good, inexpensive brand from Chile—Terra Vega—that is kosher. Terra Vega has a whole line of affordable Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carménère that sell for $8.99 each. Out of those, my favorite is the Sauvignon Blanc; it has good acidity, good minerality, and a nice fruity mid-palate followed by a slightly spicy, clean, crisp finish perfect for cheeses, grilled chicken, or fish and light salads. Out of the red, I like the Carménère—a light body red wine with nice dark-berry aromas, soft tannins, and a spicy finish that is easy to pair with a variety of foods and is really good with roasted lamb dishes.”
With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, we have Irish whiskey on the brain. So we asked local spirits gurus to share some ideas on how to drink it. Read on for cocktail recipes, special drinks, and more. Sorry in advance about your Monday morning hangover.
1) Go on a flight.
Here’s an idea: If you’re having a St. Paddy’s party, why not offer guests the opportunity to try a flight of Irish whiskeys? We asked Bill Thomas, who keeps an enormous collection of whiskeys at Jack Rose Dining Saloon (where he is planning a blowout rooftop party on St. Paddy’s), to pick three bottles that would work well. “I chose these three because they represent three different styles and ages,” says Thomas. He likes to finish with the Jameson 18-Year since the brand is familiar to people. “The 18-Year has a richer palate,” he explains. Check out his tasting notes below.
Irish Whiskey Flight
Bushmills Black Bush, a blended Irish whiskey
Nose: malt, spice, toffee
Palate: oak, spices, raisins
Nose: fruity and oaky
Palate: vanilla, spices, oak
Jameson 18-Year-Old Limited Reserve
Nose: oak, honey, leather
Palate: cereal, vanilla, caramel