Don’t stay in this New Year’s Eve, DC—get out and get amongst the action. If you’re looking for the best things to do in DC to ring in the New Year, we’ve got you covered. From epic prix-fixe dinners at some of DC’s best restaurants to a booze-fueled painting session to top DJs in some of DC’s best bars, these are the DC New Year’s Eve events you want to be at when the clock strikes 12.
New Year’s Eve DC events and parties
Hit up the bar with one of the largest whiskey collections in the Western hemisphere for not two but three parties. Between 5pm and 8pm, chef Russell Jones throws a rooftop cookout: unlimited Southern barbecue and fixings, plus select beer and bourbon ($45). Then between 5pm and 1am, you’ll find the usual bar menu plus New Year’s Eve specials such as vintage cocktail flights and a champagne prix-fixe selection. Downstairs in the hush-hush speakeasy Dram and Grain, a celebration for two ($125/couple) includes a five-sprit cocktail tasting with snacks. No one says you can’t experience all three. Tickets at eventbrite.com.
Eat a feast from the East at this Korean kitchen in City Vista. Here, the vibe is chill—with a side of chilies. Think open bar and a buffet of home-style dishes, including cups of dduk guk, a rice cake soup traditionally eaten in Korea on New Year’s. Wash it down with house-infused cucumber soju, punches and a champagne toast at midnight. It pays to bring the gang: Buy four tickets and a fifth is free. Reservations can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 202-289-6899. $100.
Nibble on antojitos, Mexican small plates reimagined by José Andrés, at his colorful 7th Street restaurant-and-lounge, which will transform into a Mexican marketplace for the evening. Opt for the prix-fixe menu ($78) between 5 and 8pm, or dress up for a festive celebration (10:30pm–2am, $95). Go loco with a live band and party favors, and indulge in tacos, liquid nitrogen margaritas, DIY gin infusions and a cava toast at midnight. If you chose to have dinner and stay for the party, it will be an additional $40. Tickets at oyamel.com.
Toast to 2016 with a luxurious four-course meal ($90; $110 after 6:30pm) complete with pairings ($49 early bird, $65 after 6:30pm) in the dining room of Capitol Hill’s beloved wine bar. Dinner includes choices like pan-seared scallops with sweet potato hash, cacio e pepe and herb-crusted rack of lamb with pistachio lamb jus. Take it over the top by adding white truffles to any dish ($50). Being that the theme of the night is Hollywood Glam, you can expect over-the-top swag bags and lots and lots of Champagne. Dress like you’re accepting an award.
Impress out-of-towners at the DJ-fueled Masquerade Ball party at the recently refreshed POV, the rooftop perch with jaw-dropping views of the White House and Washington Monument. If your year-end bonus was a biggie, book a VIP table with bottle service and a room downstairs. Pinea, Barry Koslow’s Mediterranean-accented eatery on the ground floor, offers a prix-fixe meal with options like Rappahannock oysters, braised short ribs and warm madeleines with a pistachio anglais. Tickets at povrooftop.com.
Creative chaos at Artjamz
Unleash your inner artist at the 2016 Glitter Ball, a three-hour painting session at both Artjamz Brookland and Artjamz Dupont, fueled by hors d’oeuvres, beer or wine; goofy 2016 glasses; and other surprises. For an extra $40, you can get unlimited house white, red, beer and sparkling wine for two and a half hours. After midnight, the studio transforms into a glitter-littered, cork-popping dance hall. Tickets at artjamzdc.com.
Shaw’s indie music palace sweetens New Year’s Eve with a Wonka-themed Chocolate Factory party. Look forward to an open bar, party hats, noise-makers and a viewing of the Times Square ball drop on the big screen. File under Good to Know: The party will be rocking until 4 a.m. Buy a $2 ticket for your chance to win one of 100 chocolate bars. Ninety-nine of the bars include one ticket for a free concert in 2016; one contains a pass for a year’s worth of shows. Tickets at ticketfly.com.
For New Year’s Eve, Navy Yard standby Bluejacket will offer passed bites, snacks, live music from Crystal Youth and a photo booth. If we may, we’d recommend snapping a few pictures before hitting the open bar. The libations include Bluejacket’s 25 original drafts and casts, wines and spirits. At midnight, there will be a champagne toast, of course, and a keg drop. Tickets at eventbrite.com.
Any evening that includes chef Scot Drewno’s dim sum is a fine evening indeed. Especially when they’re served part of a five- or seven-course menu that also includes lobster egg drop soup, hot and numbing qul and a Wagyu beef duo dish with a grilled NY strip and braised short rib. Usher in 2016 with the “farewell to 2015” dessert, made with chocolate soufflé and passion fruit panna cotta. As you’d imagine, food this good doesn’t come cheep: $130 gets you five courses, and $150 gets you seven. Reservations can be made by calling 202-637-6100.