No-Cover Bars for New Year’s Eve in Washington

Plus early happy hours and Champagne specials.

Play a few rounds of bocce before 2014 at Black Jack, one of the many no-cover bar options. Photograph by Scott Suchman

If you’re tired of $75 open-bar “deals”—but still want to get out of your pajamas—there’s a happy middle ground. A number of bars and restaurants offer no-cover parties, or pretend it’s just another Tuesday night (albeit a much busier one). Many are also planning special discounts, free Champagne toasts at midnight, and more. Don’t see your favorite neighborhood spot? Leave a suggestion in the comments.

American Ice Co.
917 V St., NW; 202-758-3562
Manager Crystal Herman says they will be the “anti-New Year’s Eve bar,” so don’t expect any toasts, drink specials, or cover charges. But if you’re looking for a chill night, this might be the place to go. Open 5 PM to 3 AM.

Cafe Saint-Ex
1847 14th St., NW; 202-265-7839
Put on your dancing shoes and head over to this basement DJ dance party with no cover and late-night service (the bar stays open until 4).

Baby Wale
1124 9th St., NW; 202-450-3311
If you’re looking for a low-key bar, check out Tom Power’s Baby Wale. Expect the normal hours, menu, and drinks.

Boundary Stone
116 Rhode Island Ave., NW; 202-621-6635
They’re your everyday neighborhood bar, and besides a midnight toast, business will run as normal. The bar will be open from noon to 3 AM.

DC Reynolds
3628 Georgia Ave., NW; 202-506-7178
DC Reynolds doesn’t have anything special in mind for New Year’s Eve, but you can enjoy the BOGO happy hour from 5 to 9 PM, which means for every drink you buy, you get one free. Open from 11 AM to 2 AM.

Eat the Rich
1839 Seventh St., NW; 202-316-9396
Indulge in caviar and Champagne without pretension at this oyster-cocktail bar. You’ll find specials all night and a free glass of bubbly at midnight.

Granville Moore’s
1238 H St., NE; 202-399-2546
It’s business as usual on New Year’s Eve (mussels! Belgian beers!), plus a few specials on the chalkboard menus.

Mockingbird Hill
1843 Seventh St., NW; 202-316-6936
Channel your inner Spaniard at Derek Brown’s sherry bar with flamenco dancing and specials on Mahou beer and sherry at 9, and a complimentary cava toast at midnight.

Mussel Bar
Bethesda and Arlington locations
Robert Wiedmaier’s rockin’ Belgian spots plan casual fun for New Year’s. Head to Bethesda for live music from members of The Fuzz, half-price Champagne bottles, oyster specials, and more. The Arlington branch is still plotting their party, but you’re guaranteed no cover.

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace / Black Jack
1612 14th St., NW; 202-986-8778
Jeff Black’s 14th Street spot is taking reservations, but the regular menu is on offer (plus special prices on Veuve bubbly). Head upstairs to the bar after for a no-cover DJ party.

Showtime Bar
113 Rohde Island Ave., NW
DJ Soul Call Paul and Mad Squirrel take the stage this year at Showtime’s “New Year’s Sleaze” event. There’s no cover and dancing starts at 10 pm. Stay until midnight and you get to participate in a free Champagne toast.

2413 Columbia Pike, Arlington; 703-920-0315
This rock n’ roll cocktail den in Arlington serves up specialty drinks at regular prices, plus night-long $4 punch specials (think bourbon-tea and gin-grapefruit). There’s also free garage parking starting at 5.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.