“If your favorite restaurant is offering takeout food and drinks on New Year’s Eve,” says Doug Schantz, owner of Nellie’s Sports Bar, “then that’s what will be special this year!”
To be sure, a number of restaurants are offering specials for New Year’s, doing what they can to help customers end an exceptionally trying year on a high note in whatever safe, socially distanced way they can. Given the District’s current restrictions, including a ban on indoor dining, several restaurants have devised novel, appealing ways to close the books on 2020. And a few cherished establishments in the LGBTQ community are doing what they can to be open and operational, even if that means less elaborate NYE offerings compared to years past.
Nellie’s Sports Bar is usually a bustling beehive of activity over New Year’s. This year, the Shaw neighborhood bar will offer its menu of delicious, comfort food classics and boozy drinks, punches, and jello shots from three different carry-out windows spaced out on the first floor. Nellie’s Sports Bar is at 900 U St. Call 202-332-6355 or visit www.nelliessportsbar.com.
A similar picture emerges on 17th Street, long anchored by Annie’s. Any other year, the institution would be functioning around the clock over the New Year’s holiday. This year, Annie’s will provide outdoor table service, weather permitting, and will also be open for takeout and delivery, with orders from its standard menu until midnight. Alcohol service ends at 10 p.m., as required by the District.
The restaurant does not take reservations — so if you want to secure a seat at their Streatery, you’ll need to head down on the night. Annie’s is at 1609 17th St. NW. Call 202-232-0395 or visit www.anniesparamountdc.com.
18th and U Duplex Diner will be open for carryout and delivery, and will also offer table service at its nearby Streatery should the weather allow. For New Year’s Eve, Duplex extends its popular Wine-O Wednesday To Go promotion to a second day, with “all bottles half price” until 10 p.m. Duplex Diner is at 2004 18th St. NW. Call 202-265-7828 or visit www.duplexdiner.com.
If you could benefit from a quick and easy getaway, consider a certain “historic urban resort” long known as a “playground for the rich and famous.” As of press time, a room at the Watergate Hotel on New Year’s Eve can be had for a minimum of $314 not including taxes and fees. In light of the pandemic, modest changes were made to the property earlier this year, such as expanding the use of its outdoor spaces and private dining options, including The Next Whisky Bar outdoor terrace with warming fire pits and the Top of the Gate rooftop with stunning sunset and evening views plus a private bar that can be booked for groups.
A key focal point of the outdoor space: the private, totally enclosed, clear-paned Winter Igloos that the Watergate installed as part of a major renovation in 2017. An igloo can be rented for $800 on New Year’s Eve for six people from 4:30 p.m. to Midnight. Meanwhile, overnight guests are promised special, discounted access to an igloo, with other perks available through specific package deals. The Watergate Hotel is at 2650 Virginia Ave. NW. Call 844-617-1972 or visit www.thewatergatehotel.com.
The Watergate isn’t the only domed preserve in town. Local celebrity chef Fabio Trabocchi has installed cozy, clear-paned, heated domes, seating up to 6 guests each, on the marina overlooking the Potomac River at Fiola Mare, his acclaimed ode to the coastal cuisine of Italy that takes pride of place on the Georgetown Waterfront.
Igloos can be rented for two hours on New Year’s Eve at a cost of $300, not including taxes and fees or food, available a la carte off the standard menu, or per the special New Year’s Eve five-course menu. Priced at $245 per person, the meal launches with Oysters & Caviar served with prosecco zabaglione and preserved lemon and continues with more raw seafood a la Frutti di Mare Crudo, a platter featuring Langoustine with avocado and persimmon, Red King Prawn with passion fruit and uni, and Lobster with grapefruit, vanilla, and radicchio.
It’s followed by a pasta course of Pappardelle with Alba white truffles and parmigiano vacche rosse, an entrée of Roasted Rohan Duck Breast with foie gras, quince, braised lentils, and Apicius spices, and a “Cheers to You!” dessert featuring a pastry filled with Bronte pistachio and caramel, covered in Opalys white chocolate, and served with champagne gel and candied orange. Fiola Mare is at 3050 K St. NW, with entrance at 31st St. and Waterfront. Call 202-525-1402 or visit www.fiolamaredc.com.
Also on the Georgetown Waterfront is another quality source for fish and shellfish that also happens to be a good catch for New Year’s: Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place. Part of the Fish & Fire Food Group, alongside the Ivy City Smokehouse and seafood distributor ProFish, the Georgetown staple with a sizable outdoor seating area offers as its main special on New Year’s Eve the “Chill & Grill” Dinner for Two.
The package features Chesapeake oysters, jumbo shrimp cocktail, and smoked salmon from Ivy City Smokehouse as a first course, herb-crusted lamb lollipops, steak satay drizzled with hazelnut pesto, and mini crab cakes for a second course, and an assortment of petit fours for the dessert third course, plus a bottle of either Tito’s Vodka or Chandon Brut, at a price of $80 per person.
While the package can be enjoyed on site for a limited number of socially distanced customers — to inquire about reservations, email Jonathan Eagleton, firstname.lastname@example.org — it’s also available for delivery and takeout with 24 hours’ advance notice. Same goes for the restaurant’s Holiday Lobster Dinner, featuring steamed whole Maine lobsters, baked potatoes, seasonal vegetables, drawn butter, and sour cream soft rolls, with a Caesar salad, prosecco, and Italian cheesecake available as add-ons. It’s priced at $80 per person. Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place is at 3000 K St. NW. Call 202-944-4545 or visit www.tonyandjoes.com.
Logan Tavern will serve the neighborhood it helped grow into one of D.C.’s greatest (and gayest). The restaurant will offer a three-course meal starting with either Grilled Asparagus Salad and Goat Cheese Fritters or a Butternut Squash & Shrimp Bisque and ending with a Meyers lemon crème brulee. In between, guests can go for a 10 ounce Sesame-Crusted Ahi Tuna with Asian Green Salad, a 12 ounce Chateaubriand tenderloin with Lobster and White Truffle Mac and Cheese, all for $62 per person, or $150 for a Couples Package, including a bottle of wine. The special will be available for carryout but can also be enjoyed as table service from the outdoor patio if the weather holds. Logan Tavern is at 1423 P St. NW. Call 202-332-3710 or visit www.logantavern.com.
One of the most eclectic and entertaining — and affordable — assortments of foodstuffs you’ll find anywhere comes from Michael Schlow, chef/owner behind Tico, Alta Strada, and the Glover Park Grill. All orders of any of the following must be in by Monday, Dec. 28, with pick-up on Thursday, Dec. 31, from the nearest Schlow Restaurant Group location and your preferred time. First and foremost is the New Year’s Eve Hors d’Oeuvres variety pack (which also includes party favors, from noisemakers to confetti to hats): Iced Jumbo Shrimp, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Mini Crab Cakes with Mustard Sauce, Truffled Popcorn, Wild Mushroom & Parmigiano Toast, Ripe Brie with Candied Walnuts and Jam on Artisanal Bread, Swedish Meatballs “with Fancy Toothpicks,” Whipped Hummus with Harissa and Crunchy Vegetables, and Garlic and Rosemary Marinated Olives. It’s priced at just $75 for two.
The price quickly rises if you want to splurge with add-ons, including a 1 ounce Sevruga Caviar with Creme Fraiche and Toast Points (an additional $99); Romaine Hearts with Caesar Dressing, Parmigiano, and Garlicky Breadcrumbs ($12); an 8 ounce Sliced Prime Filet Mignon, served chilled with classic Horseradish Sauce ($55); “Rolled” Lasagna with Wild Mushrooms, Truffle, and Parm ($20); Grilled Asparagus with sea salt and lemon ($15); “The World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies” ($16 for 4-pack); and Alex Levin’s Super Decadent Fudge Brownies ($16, 4-pack). Visit www.schlowrg.com.
Another notably diverse New Year’s Eve foodie goodie bag comes from the Hamilton, the downtown restaurant and live music venue, and part of Clyde’s Restaurant Group, which pairs its culinary package with a livestream featuring the 19th Street Band. They’ll even lead a traditional countdown to 2021 in addition to performing a 90-minute set exclusive to the Hamilton. The package includes Hummus & Crudité, Crab & Artichoke Dip, Deviled Eggs, Shrimp Cocktail, District Wings with Mumbo Sauce, Assorted Cookies, and party hats and noisemakers. The cost is $150 serving up to four, or $300 serving six to eight.
Add-ons include a liquor variety pack with Assorted Beers, a Choice of Margarita or Spiced Apple Bourbon Sangria, and Prosecco Doc. Brut ($75 for up to four, $150 for six to eight), and a lineup of nearly two dozen Wine Bottles, ranging from sparkling to red with prices from $34 to $99 each. Orders must be placed by Sunday, Dec. 27, at noon, for pick-up the afternoon of Thursday, Dec. 31. The Hamilton is at 600 14th St. NW. Call 202-787-1000 or visit www.thehamiltondc.com.
Finally, another great way to support your favorite restaurant or restaurants is by purchasing gift cards, which serves as a kind of gift to the venue in question, providing them with much-needed cash right now that should help ensure they survive the pandemic. To encourage greater sales, several restaurants and restaurant groups are offering discounts or bonuses with every gift card sold. For example, get a $10 bonus gift card for every $50 card you purchase through Dec. 31 redeemable at Tony & Joe’s as well as all venues in the Fish & Fire Food Group. At restaurants in the Street Guys Hospitality chain — including Ambar and TTT — purchasers receive a free $25 gift card for every $100 gift card they purchase before January 1, 2021. And at Seoul Spice, all gift cards are available at 10% off using the code “jingle” until Dec. 31.
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