Things to Do

Great No-Cover Bars for New Year’s Eve Around DC

Skip the pricey parties for these low-key haunts.

American Ice Co. hosts no-cover New Year's Eve fun with pitchers of beer and pulled pork sandwiches. Photograph by Fatback Media via Facebook

On New Year’s Eve, you can spend 100-plus bucks on a crowded open bar, knowing full well you won’t drink your money’s worth (and we pray you don’t try). Or, you can try one of these spots, cover-free. The choice is yours, but DC has plenty of bars and restaurants offering free entry this New Year’s Eve, ranging from low-key dinners with ample elbow room, to DJs and Champagne toasts at midnight. Don’t see your favorite haunt listed? Let us know in the comments section.

American Ice Company

917 V St., NW; 202-758-3562

Head right off the U Street corridor for business as usual at American Ice Company. Like last New Year’s, it’ll stay open extra-late if guests are still enjoying themselves. Order a Narrangansett pitchers ($23), and a tasty pulled pork sandwich ($10) for dinner.

Bourbon (Adams Morgan)

2321 18th St., NW; 202-332-0800

Skip an expensive, fancy dinner and head to Bourbon for a deejay, free hors d’oeuvres, discounts on rare whiskeys, and a champagne toast at midnight. Cover is free before 10 p.m.

Cafe Saint-Ex

1847 14th St., NW; 202-265-7839

New Year’s Eve will be a normal Saturday night here on 14th street.  A deejay will spin tracks in the basement, known as Gate 54, where you can dance into 2017 while sipping a fancy cocktail, like the New York with bourbon, lemon, and red wine.

El Camino

108 Rhode Island Ave., NW; 202-847-0419

Don’t expect extended hours or free bubbly here, but for a no-frills New Year’s Eve, El Camino has you covered. The Mexican bar/restaurant will have two or three DJs play over the course of the night, and you can nab one of their staple late-night tacos and burritos. The bar should be open until 3 am.

Ivy and Coney

1537 7th St., NW; 202-670-9489

No specials, no cover, but as owner Adam Fry bluntly puts it, “we are going to be open, and people will be drinking.” Grab a cheap PBR and ring in the new year in good, casual company.

Jack Rose Dining Saloon

2007 18th St., NW

The annual rooftop pig roast is still on this New Year’s Day, but for NYE, the bar will open up cover-free past 8 p.m., with specials on Champagne, snacks, and an enticing “20 whiskeys to try before 2017” drinking regimen.

La Jambe

1550 7th St., NW; (202) 450-5757

For food and drinks before your late-night New Year’s Eve plans, head to this French small plates restaurant in Shaw for a “pre-party” with specials on champagne and charcuterie. Tickets are free, but register here.

Local 16

1602 U St., NW; 202-265-2828

The U Street bar will host a happy hour from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. with food and drink specials for just $5, with a deejay playing a special music and video set.

McClellan’s Retreat

2031 Florida Ave., NW; 202-265-6270

Head to Dupont and grab a “penicillin” cocktail made with scotch and house-made honey ginger syrup. Stick around when the ball drops, and get a free toast of the finest champagne (of beers) – Miller High Life.

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace/Black Jack/Tilt

612 14th St., NW; 202-319-1612

Head to any three of these spots–all at the same address–free of charge this New Year’s Eve. Pearl Dive will have food specials in addition to their regular menu. Upstairs at Black Jack, you can grab one of their signature cocktails, like A Boy Named Sue with amaretto, bourbon, and lemon.


1333 14th St., NW; 202-450-2216

Whether you want to tuck in early, or gas up for a big all-nighter, Slipstream is offering a “warm up,” event this New Years Eve, with special offers on alcohol and caffeine. Skip the Red Bull and try their house combo: unlimited coffee and champagne ($20.17) from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Quarry House Tavern

8402 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring; 301-587-8350

No need paying at the door on New Year’s Eve here in Silver Spring. Choose from more than 300 beers and 300 whiskeys, all at their regular prices.


2017 14th St., NW; 202-450-5757

The new 14 Street haunt will have all the fixings of an eventful New Year’s Eve without any of the expense: party hats, noise-makers, a midnight toast, and deejay sets that’ll go into the early morning. You can even get a free bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich.

Jackson Knapp
Assistant Editor