Metro Weekly

Ringing in the Gay Year

A guide to some gay best bets for New Year's Eve 2016

New Year's Eve champagne glasses

Who doesn’t love New Year’s Eve falling on a Thursday? It means most of us get a three-day weekend, with an extra night of bar-hopping and club-shuffling, and an extra day of recovery from it all.

But Thursday is less than ideal as NYE at a few bars, since the night is already typically busy. So they have to do more for the occasion. For example, you can doff your shirt at the Green Lantern as always on Thursday, Dec. 31 — but you won’t be drinking for free just for doing so. The bar will suspend its popular weekly Shirtless Men Drink Free so 495 Bears can host a New Year’s Eve Bash with free champagne and party favors and a balloon and “Teddy Bear” drop at midnight, followed by complimentary coffee and donuts at 1 a.m. DJ Jeff Elleto will supply the tunes downstairs and the duo BacK2bACk will spin upstairs. No cover from 8 to 10 p.m., $5 after.

Thursday is also the most popular night at the 18th and U Duplex Diner and on New Year’s Eve, the venue will host its annual “Tots and Tiaras” party, where everyone sports tiaras and feasts on free tater tots. Another venue with a crowning theme is Cobalt and its “Princes’ Balls” event starting at 9 p.m. and featuring music by DJ Mimi ImFurst from RuPaul’s Drag Race upstairs and DJ MadScience in the lounge. Entry is through a three-tier ticket plan: $25 offers general admission with a free champagne toast at midnight, $75 offers a Louis Roederer Brut Premiere champagne toast, plus open bar all night on call liquors, and $100 offers a Cristal champagne toast plus open bar on top shelf alcohol.

The Ladies of Town will perform twice at Town Danceboutique on New Year’s Eve, first with a special drag show at 9:30 p.m., then a performance on the main stage after midnight. Midnight in the club ushers in a neon and kryo explosion. DJs Ed Bailey and Drew G will take turns on the decks upstairs while DJ Wess will play music and video downstairs. Advance tickets are $20 until Dec. 25, after which it’s $25.

Everyone will get their own split of champagne at midnight at Ziegfeld’s/Secrets. Ella Fitzgerald leads her Ladies of Illusion in two shows downstairs with music by DJ Don T, and the Men of Secrets offer all-male, all-nude dancing delights upstairs, with DJ Steve Henderson spinning the tunes. Doors open at 9 p.m. You can also get your all-male, all-nude dancer fix at The House Nightclub on Georgia Ave., where Jim Graham’s Rock Hard Sundays is throwing a special Thursday night edition. Free food and party favors will be on offer, as well as the obligatory champagne toast at midnight. Doors open at 9 p.m. with performances until 4 a.m.

Across the river at Arlington’s Freddie’s Beach Bar, Mr. and Miss Freddie’s will star in A Las Vegas Revue as part of an evening also including karaoke and music by DJ Nat, champagne toast and favors, and all for $25. Bubbly splits and a balloon drop will also be offered at midnight at the New Year’s Eve Women’s Party at Phase One, which starts at 8:30 p.m. and costs $10.

Trade, D.C.’s newest bar, will charge a $5 cover after 10 p.m. and will have a balloon drop at midnight, but it opens as usual at 5 p.m. serving Huge Happy Hour drinks until 10 p.m.

No cover options around town include the DC Eagle, featuring a best jock contest inspired by Tom of Finland and a free champagne toast at midnight; JR.’s Bar & Grill, with a champagne toast and a balloon drop at midnight featuring $500 in cash and drink cards, plus a countdown of the Top 10 Comedy Clips and Songs of 2015; Nellie’s Sports Bar, where DJs Lemz and Vodkatrina tag-team a party with $15 buckets of beer, $3 Nellie beer and $3 house vodka until 10 p.m., $5 Absolut drinks until 11 p.m., and free champagne at midnight; and Number Nine, where complimentary champagne will kick off a midnight countdown of the Top Music Videos of 2015.

For more info on these and other area gay bars, visit

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