Metro Weekly

New Year’s Eve 2016: Every Gay DC Party Worth Knowing About

A look at some of the most festive LGBT New Year's Eve offerings in D.C.


Town Danceboutique -- Photo: Warm Morrison

Town Danceboutique — Photo: Warm Morrison

Maybe you’re an inveterate party animal, one whose highball glass is always half full and bubbling with enthusiasm. You’ve never met a party, especially a New Year’s Eve party, you didn’t want to go to.

Many others of us are still struggling to comprehend and rebound after a terrible year. If only we could find a pair of rosé-colored glasses as effective as yours! At least most area gay bars and clubs are offering plenty of other party favors, even prizes, to entice the dejected gay masses to be festive. So here’s to celebrating New Year’s Eve 2016 “Auld Lang Syne” style.

And what could be better than an offer of free cash? As in past years, JR.’s kicks off the new year with a balloon drop offering $500 in cash and drink cards, in addition to a free champagne shot and party favors. If you want something more warm or at least fuzzy, 495 Bears hosts a New Year’s Eve party at the Green Lantern, where it will rain 100 teddy bears at midnight, with free bubbly and party favors on the house. It’s free if you “woof” at the doorman before 10 p.m.

The Ladies of Town Danceboutique perform on New Year’s Eve, along with dance troupe the Firm. The nightclub will open at 9 p.m. for an extended night of dancing — plus a “glittered countdown at midnight” — with DJ Wess downstairs and Ed Bailey opening for renowned DJ Alyson Calagna upstairs. Those who purchase tickets in advance can skip the usual line to get in.

Other venues are encouraging patrons to get the night started early and stay out late. Number Nine serves up its usual 2-for-1 happy hour prices from 5 to 9 p.m. for its Jawbreaker NYE event with DJ Chord, while Trade opens extra-early — at 2 p.m. — and will run its everyday XL Happy Hour specials until 10 p.m. and the start of the CTRL dance party. Nellie’s launches the “biggest party night of the year” at 8 p.m. with DJs Lemz and Vodkatrina tag-teaming the turntables and a champagne toast at the witching hour.

In addition to serving brunch on both days of the holiday weekend, Freddie’s Beach Bar, in Crystal City, welcomes back Cher-impersonator Steven Andrade for a show on New Year’s Eve that includes a midnight champagne toast and party favors for $35. More “Ladies of Illusion” will be on stage at Ziegfeld’s for two New Year’s Eve shows (at 10:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m.), hosted by Ella Fitzgerald with DJ Don T spinning. Upstairs you’ll find Gentlemen of No Illusion, aka the Men of Secrets, shaking to the sounds of DJ Steve Henderson. And patrons on both floors of the Southeast complex get a split of champagne and party favors at midnight.

More dancing is in store at Cobalt with its Edge of Seventeen Party, featuring tunes in the lounge by DJ Madscience and on the upstairs dance floor by special guest DJ, porn diva director Chi Chi LaRue. Stevie Nicks is the inspiration for the theme as well as the three-tiered ticket pricing for the whole shebang: from a basic “Strand in the Wind” cover of $25 including house sparkling wine at midnight, to $75 for “Nightbird Singing” with open bar on call and imported beer and a midnight toast with Henriot Brut, to $150 for premium “White Winged Dove” package featuring open bar on top shelf and an Ace of Spades midnight toast.

DistrktC, the popular dance party that christened the DC Eagle‘s large, third floor Exile space at the start of the year, blows it out with a party lasting longer than any other — until 8 a.m. DJs Hanna from NYC/MIA and Josh Whitaker from LA/SF will keep the sexy leather/fetish crowd moving and grooving for a marathon of up to 10 hours.

Farther afield, a ragtag group of promoters, including WhiskHER DC and the Qrew, presents what is billed as the city’s “largest trans-friendly, bi-positive New Year’s Eve event” at the repurposed Old Engine 12 Firehouse in Northeast’s Eckington neighborhood. “New Queer’s Eve: All That Glitters Is Gold” takes place on all three floors of the multi-use venue, complete with a dance floor, a photo booth and a heated patio. The all-inclusive, queer women-focused party comes with party hats, noisemakers and “NYE swag.” Haydee’s restaurant on Georgia Avenue NW in Brightwood hosts a special New Year’s Eve edition of Noche Ardiente, an LGBT Latino dance party.

For some, the bustling New Year’s Eve nightlife might be the start of a mindful, yet playful, new year’s resolution: Keep the party going — for as long as we can. Four years isn’t that long, right?

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.