It may be the biggest party night of the year across the country, and local restaurants and bars have stepped up with a number of exciting packages and deals for New Year's Eve 2006.
Here's a look at some of the local highlights for the last night of the year (and first morning of 2007). As always, call your favorite local watering hole or club to see what they have on tap for NYE:
<sh>Arlington Cinema ’N‘ Drafthouse
The calendar may be flipping to 2007, but you can party like it's the 1980s at the Arlington Cinema 'N Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike).
Watch the Times Square celebration live on the theatre screen, munch on a buffet, enjoy festive party favors, and celebrate with the sounds of 80s hits. Cost is $12, which covers food and party favors. Visit www.arlingtondrafthouse.com for more information.
The French newbie (1201 N. Royal St.) in Alexandria offers two seatings for a special New Year's Eve prix-fixe menu.
The first seating (5:30 - 6:45 p.m., $48 per person, $25 wine pairings) features cream of chestnut with sautéed Foie-gras, a choice of three different entrees and Valrhona Manjari chocolate Marquise for dessert. The second seating (8:30-10 p.m., $68 per person, wine pairings $35) is a six-course "chef's tasting."
Visit www.bastillerestaurant.com for more information or call 703-519-3776 for reservations.
The Alexandria music hall (3701 Mt. Vernon Ave.) offers a dynamite bluegrass show with The Seldom Scene & Good Deale Bluegrass Band, featuring Mike Auldridge and Old School Freight Train. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $39.50. Call The Birchmere at 703-549-7500 or visit www.birchmere.com for more information.
The "nuevo latino cuisine" destination in Arlington (4100 North Fairfax Drive) will offer a three-course meal and Latin music and dancing for New Year's Eve. Cost is $85 per person, with tax and tips additional. The party starts at 9 p.m.; reservations and "elegant attire" is required. Call 703-812-7997 for more information or visit www.caribbeanbreezeva.com.
<sh>Chadwick's Old Town
Chadwick's (203 The Strand, between Prince and Duke Streets on the waterfront) annual New Year's Eve blast will begin at 10 p.m. and rage until 1:30 a.m. There will be a DJ, dancing, an open bar, a buffet and a champagne toast at midnight. All inclusive tickets are $60. Visit www.chadwicksrestaurants.com and click on Old Town for more information.
The thought of tasty beverages from the bar and pulsating dance music might be appealing. The thought of being jammed on the dance floor, shoulder-to-shoulder like sardines? Not so much.
Co-owner Nick Langman said the Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd.) intentionally keeps the number of guest below capacity to avoid that crunch, making its New Year's Eve Gala a packed party without the unwanted claustrophobia.
The Gala features live entertainment by Liquid A and DJ Lil Fos; seven drink tickets for rail and call drinks, bottle and draft beer; heavy hors d'oeuvres and a midnight champagne toast; as well as party favors and a balloon drop at midnight.
Tickets are $105 per person, and available at the CB or over the phone at 703-469-2244; there is a $3.50 per ticket service charge for phone orders.
Visit www.clarendonballroom.com for more information.
Usually, Sundays are reserved for a weekly brunch and a slate of NFL games at the Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland St.). On Sunday, Dec. 31, the Grill will offer a New Year's Eve party for $45 per person that includes a live DJ and band, two drink tickets per guest and a champagne toast at midnight.
Daniel O'Connell's Restaurant (112 King St., 703-739-1124) offers a 5-course meal in its picturesque pub. For $65 per person, the restaurant has multiple bars and a champagne toast at midnight for guests. Visit www.danieloconnells.com for more information.
<sh>Dr. Dremo's Taphouse
Located "less than 1,000 feet from the Courthouse Metro stop," Dremo's offers a 21-and-over New Year's Eve Bash this year for $25 per guest. Price of the ticket includes DJs, complimentary appetizer bar and Champagne toast at midnight. And as always, be sure to check out the eclectic collection of brews at the Taphouse, including the delectable Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale from Anderson Valley, Calif.
<sh>Freddie's Beach Bar and Restaurant
<bt>New Year's Eve is a drag at Freddie's (wait for it)...literally. The Beach Bar (555 S. 23rd St.) offers its usual Sunday night drag show festivities, at no cover charge, along with party favors, a midnight champagne toast and other NYE fun. Call the Crystal City bar at 703-685-0555 or visit www.freddiesbeachbar.com for more information.
Hawthorn Suites (420 N. Van Dorn St.) has "fun bus" packages for New Year's Eve. Guests have the choice of shuttling to a festive community New Year's celebration with First Night Alexandria or the NYE party at Mango Mike's Caribbean White Party. Hawthorn Suites' courtesy shuttle will pick up and return guests from either party from 9 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. Guests selecting Mango Mike's Caribbean White Party can enjoy the festivities for a special package rate of $99, plus $20 cover to Mango Mike's. The cost per couple for the First Night Alexandria Package, which includes free admission to the celebration, is available for $150, plus tax, for a studio suite, while a one-bedroom suite is priced at $175, plus tax. The night's events commence with a Complimentary Manager's Reception from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. featuring hot hors d'oeuvres, beer, sparkling wine, and party favors. Hawthorn Suites permits New Year's package guests to check out until 3 p.m. For further information, please contact Cortney Block at (703) 370-1000, ext. 7100, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
<sh>Holiday Inn Eisenhower
The Holiday Inn Eisenhower (2460 Eisenhower Ave.) offers a New Year's package that includes a room for the night, champagne, beverages, hors d'oeuvres and dinner buffet. There will be a DJ spinning several decades of hits. Best of all, perhaps, is the breakfast buffet you can roll out of bed and attend the following morning. Tickets are $259 per couple; call 703-960-3400, ext. 1124 for information.
<sh>Iota Club and Cafe
Local darlings and roots rock standouts Last Train Home, coming off a successful three-night stint earlier this month at the club, will headline New Year's Eve at Iota Club (2832 Wilson Blvd.), sharing a bill with These United States. The $35 admission includes a champagne toast, party favors, and the chance to sample a special holiday menu. Call 703-522-8340 for information and reservations after 5 p.m. Visit www.iotaclubandcafe.com for details.
Jaleo will serve up a traditional Spanish New Year's Eve celebration, "Noche Vieja 2006." From 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Jaleo will offer an la carte menu with specials. Then, after 8 p.m., guests can order unlimited tapas from both the holiday and seasonal menus for $85.
Tapas for this once-a-year event include: Huevos de Codorniz con Caviar, quail eggs with caviar; Bogavante con Clementinas, Pomelo y Limón al Azafrán, lobster with clementines, grapefruit and lemon in saffron oil; Cigalas a la Plancha, seared Norwegian lobster; Cochinillo Asado, roasted suckling pig and Codorniz al Romero y Alioli de Miel, grilled quail with rosemary and honey aioli. For dessert, Jaleo will feature Surtido de Turrones, a traditional holiday nougat.
The second seating includes a glass of sparkling cava for toasting, and following the New Year’s Eve Spanish custom, 12 good luck grapes for the celebration at midnight.
Jaleo is located at 2250 A Crystal Drive and call 703-413-8181 for reservations.
<sh>Joe Theismann's Restaurant
What better place to ring in 2007 than at a rooftop celebration? Joe Theismann's Restaurant (1800 Diagonal Road) offers a multi-course menu, drinks, a DJ with dancing, and then a chance to sip champagne and watch the fireworks go off near the Masonic Temple from the roof of the eatery. Cost is $75 per person, which includes dinner and party favors. Call 703-739-0777 to make reservations, and visit www.joetheismanns.com for more information.
The Arlington sports bar and pub (2403 Wilson Blvd., 703-522-5295) has a New Year's Eve party with no cover charge and a midnight champagne toast. visit www.kittyosheasva.com for more information.
The Spanish tapas bar is offering New Year's Eve celebrations at its locations, including Arlington (2900 Wilson Blvd., 703--812-9120) and Alexandria (607 King St., 703-299-9810).
From 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., there will be an unlimited tapas dinner for $39 per person. From 8:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m., there will be unlimited tapas, entertainment, a bottle of wine and a champagne toast at midnight. There will also be a holiday gift for each couple. Call for reservations.
The always-entertaining Mango Mike's (4580 Duke St.) will offer a New Year's Eve celebration with a Caribbean flavor — Mango Mike's Caribbean White Party. Tickets are $20 in advance until Dec. 28, and then $25 per person after that. There is a dinner buffet from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., along with appetizers and a glass of champagne for a midnight toast. DJ music featuring hip-hop, Latin and a variety of other genres will be playing all night. Visit www.mangomikes.com or call 703-370-3800 for more information.
<sh>Murphy's Grand Irish Pub
"Get your reservations in early." That's the best advice the folks at Murphy's (713 King St.) can offer for its annual New Year's Eve celebration, which kicks off at 6 p.m. and parties on until 2 a.m. For $65 per guest, there is a three-course meal including a choice of four entrees; party favors, and a champagne toast at midnight. The band Double Down plays the upstairs, while Pat Carroll plays downstairs. Reservations are required; call 703-548-1717 for more information.
<sh>Pat Troy's Ireland's Own
Pat Troy's Ireland's Own (111 N. Pitt Street) features a four-course meal, music and plenty of fun for an Irish New Year's celebration.
The dinner choices include: For the first course, Shrimp Salad or Sweet Potato-Carrot Soup; after that, Chicken and Duxelle En Croute; then, for the main course, there's a choice of Lamb Chops with raspberry mint sauce, Steak House Rubbed Filet Mignon with mustard, rosemary, garlic and peppercorns, Crab Hollandaise with baby red potatoes and winter vegetables and Portobello Mushroom over fettucuni Alfredo; finally, a dessert choice of Flourless Chocolate Cake with raspberry coulis or a Turtle Cheesecake, a New York style cheesecake covered with caramel sauce and garnished with chopped pecans in a graham cracker crust.
Along with the famous Bunny Hop, there will be swing and disco music after the ball drops. Ireland's Own will open doors for the event at 7p.m., and will be serving dinner until 9 p.m. Call 703-549-4535 for reservations. Cost is $65 per person.
<sh>Positive Black Men Coalition
The Positive Black Men Coalition (PBMC) has been promoting upscale entertainment events in the D.C. area for the past 13 years, and has made it a point to make New Year's Eve one of its annual highlights. The PBMC is putting on two different parties in Arlington and Alexandria. At the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center (5000 Seminary Road), a party and dinner will be held, with a live broadcast by Magic 102.3. This event draws a mature crowd, according to PBMC founder Stan Richards, and features the soulful R&B group Blue Magic. There are three ballrooms of entertainment, a midnight champagne toast and party favors. Dress is semiformal, with black-tie optional. Tickets are $99 for the concert and after party, with a dinner featuring a soul food buffet. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; the show begins at 8 p.m.
The Arlington party at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (2799 Jefferson Davis Highway) features a performance by the legendary Chuck Brown, along with Familiar Faces, DJ Storm and three ballrooms-full of entertainment, in association with WPGC-FM. Richards said there'll even be a band playing in the lobby as people enter. Doors open at 8 p.m.; the show typically draws patrons ages 25-40.
There is a general admission ticket for $50 that gets access to the entertainment, and an $80 VIP admission that includes a soul food buffet from 9 - 11 p.m.
The Hyatt Regency is offering discounted room rates of $99, with an early check-in of noon on New Year's Eve and checkout of 4 p.m. on New Year's Day.
For ticket information and further details about the events, visit www.positiveblackmencoalition.com.
The Courthouse party spot (1345 N. Courthouse Road) has DJ Dan-O spinning and a champagne toast at midnight for New Year's Eve. There's a $10 cover charge, which includes party favors.
<sh>Ri-Ra Irish Pub
The main attraction for the evening at Ri-Ra (2915 Wilson Blvd.) is The Nameless Few, a popular East Coast party band that hits the stage at 10 p.m. TNF will go from playing the SportsTalk 610 WIP Eagles Pregame show in Philadelphia to closing out 2006 at Ri-Ra. If you can get past the fact that an Eagles band will be playing in Redskins Nation, Ri-Ra offers a great package for revelers, including an after-9 p.m. buffet and a champagne toast at midnight. Cost is $20 at the door. Visit www.rira.com or call 703-248-9888 for more information.
Stardust (608 Montgomery St.) will feature a four-course dinner for between $55-65, along with music and a champagne toast at midnight — and merriment that will continue well into the first morning of 2007. Visit www.stardustrestaurant.com or call 703-548-9864 for more information.
<sh>Whitlow's On Wilson
It's become one of the most popular New Year's Eve celebrations in Arlington. "It sells out every year," said Jonathan Williams, general manager of Whitlow's On Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd.).
This year's New Year's celebrations features a buffet dinner — heavy hors d'oeuvres — along with free "party favors" and coat check. Back to Zero, one of the region's top funk and rock bands, will play the party. Tickets are on sale for $35, and they increase to $40 as of Dec. 26. Visit www.whitlows.com.