DC-Area Bars That Won’t Charge Covers on New Year’s Eve

Eight places to have a wild, affordable night while ringing in 2024.

dLeña's clubby downstairs lounge won't charge a cover on New Year's Eve. Photograph courtesy of dLeña.

Everyone wants to let loose on New Year’s Eve, but not all of us have the pocketbooks for DC’s more extravagant celebrations. While some bars have cover charges and fixed-price offerings for their year-end parties, some let you in free to choose your own drinking adventure. 


Astro Beer Hall

4001 Campbell Ave., Arlington

The beer and doughnut purveyor’s new Arlington outpost will host a New Year’s Eve party decked out in winter wonderland decor from 8 PM to 1 AM, with $10 Champagne bottles and two special doughnut flavors (blood orange champagne and chocolate cocoa). The beer hall’s new brunch menu is also available for New Year’s day. 


Boundary Stone

116 Rhode Island Ave., NW

Knock back cheap whiskeys and pints during an extended happy hour at Bloomingdale’s party-friendly pub from 5 to 10 PM, which will be followed by live music. There’s no cover charge for the low-key New Year’s festivities, but you’re encouraged to make a reservation here.


Red Derby

3718 14th St., NW

The rollicking neighborhood bar has been hosting a New Year’s bash for 17 years with no cover. Pack into the multiple bar rooms for this year’s party, with a “Decades of Decadence: 1970s & 1990s” theme, or reserve a table (more info here). Spring for the “NYE Gold Package,” for $100 a person, and you’ll get unlimited house bubbly, beers and rail drinks, disco lemonade punch, snacks like chicken tenders and tater tots, hats, and noisemakers. 


Nice & Easy

1124 Congress St., NE

Chef Tim Ma is throwing a New Year’s Eve masquerade party at his biker-themed NoMa faux-dive, with food from Lucky Danger and Chef Sharkie’s Up in Smoke. Entry is free, with regular bar service and a DJ, but you can also opt for the $100 open bar. RSVP here


Dew Drop Inn

2801 8th St., NE

The laid-back Brookland bar hosts a New Year’s Eve in its industrial stone building by the train tracks. This year’s party, with music by DJ Eskimo, kicks off at 8 PM and lasts until 3 AM— entry is free all night. 


Casta’s Rum Bar

1121 New Hampshire Ave., NW

An Año Nuevo party with a DJ will take over this Havana-themed bar and lounge, tucked into the West End hotel, from 9 PM until 3 AM on New Year’s Eve. Entry to the 21+ event is free (RSVP here), and the bar’s wide variety of rum cocktails are available a la carte. 



476 K St., NW

The vibey Roja lounge underneath this wood-fired Mexican restaurant is hosting no-cover live music from 9 PM to 2:30 AM on New Year’s Eve. The clubby bar has more than 100 tequilas and mezcals, along with small plates. While dLeña upstairs is offering an impressive multi-course holiday prix-fixe, its downstairs neighbor is a more low-key NYE hangout. 

Ike Allen
Assistant Editor