Let’s concentrate on New Year’s Eve, or NYE, as I like to call it. This city has so many choices, SO many activity choices for this holiday. There is not one hotel, restaurant, club, lounge, large socialite homestead, or suburban cul de sac, that is not planning SOMETHING special for YOU to attend on NYE. This situation can be a confusing for many. It can become a dilemma for most. It can be equated to the woman who goes to her stocked full designer closet and exclaims, “I have nothing to wear! What shall I do!? Go out and buy something new?” Well, for some Washingtonians, that is exactly what they do. They jump on a plane and head elsewhere to ski, sun, or party in the entrance of the new year. For others, they start the search process for the local party – probably right about now.
Since I have celebrated in just about every way imaginable during my 30 something years, I came up with a few tips for those of you in the midst of deciding what to do for this monumental evening of saying “Farewell 2006, and Helloooo 2007!”
1. Decide what “MOOD” you are in for NYE. Are you feeling like a party? Or do you want something romantic? Do you want to keep it low-key? Do you want to ring in with an intimate group or do you want to be with the rest of Washington DC and their mothers? Do you want to be in jeans and a sweater or in a cocktail dress/tuxedo?
2. Figure out a realistic BUDGET. Most places do “all inclusive” but remember travel fare from home, place to place, and back home, or your hotel accommodations. If it is not "all inclusive" realize you WILL be paying extra for and food/alcohol. Don’t forget tips, or other miscellaneous expenses during the night. And if you are going to HOST the party, definitely determine and stick to your budget as best you can. Hosting can be extremely expensive, even without the travel and hotel cost. Food, beverages and decorations aren’t cheap (and you may need a carpet steam afterwards!)
3. Determine WHERE. Do you want to celebrate in your neighborhood, downtown, or out of town. Do you want to stay in a hotel, get home, or pass out at your friend's house who is hosting the party?
4. Once you have decided 1, 2, and 3, WHO will be in your immediate group? Just your significant other, or just your friends? Just the girls, just the boys, or both, or couples? Be cognizant, if you graciously invite 3 couples, then your sister who is single, she may feel like the odd one out. Or maybe she’ll run off and leave you at midnight with a hot guy she met on a dance floor.
5. There are several placed to go ONLINE to help you narrow your choices down. DCCompass– an online video website about what goes on around the city, will have promotions for about 10 places in the District that will go up later this week. DC About is non-video site to check out for text, links and suggestions. And of course, you can always check out the Washingtonpost.com city guide.
6. Pick up any NEWSPAPER or LOCAL PUBLICATION this week and next and there will be NYE specials plastered everywhere.
7. Call places you’ve always wanted to check out and ask what their NYE SPECIAL is. If it is a hotel, make sure you ask about their dinner / entertainment / room / brunch package. If it a standalone establishment, ask if they have an arrangement with a close by hotel. (i.e. Fly Lounge is offering a package with Topaz Hotel .)
8. If you have friends who have mentioned being on a HOST COMMITTEE for an event, check with them, perhaps there will be a whole group of friends going, or you can create a group to go to dinner pre-event. (I am actually on the host committee for the opening of Napoleon in Adams Morgan. The owner of Café Bonaparte, Omar Popal, is hosting his new restaurant lounge's "opening night" on NYE.)
9. MULTIPLE PLACES? You may want to limit yourself to one place for the evening, but don’t feel like you have to. If you choose a fun place downtown where you know there is another fun place within walking distance (cabs may be a hard find or you may have a car service, or take the Metro) book a table or tickets to the place after dinner. Variety is the spice of life! Just remember, when you are already IN the place that may have dinner, then dancing, consider yourself lucky. You are already there, and don’t have to worry about walking through weather or standing in line.
10. BOOK EARLY AND OFTEN. This is the week that everyone is starting to figure out their plans. Places in DC get booked quickly, and typically, since there are “specials” and a lot of folks come in to the District for this night, you will be in major competition with a lot more people. In fact, book more places, and if you want to cancel, most places have a 48 hour cancellation policy. Just don’t forget to cancel or else your card will most likely be charged. Also, make sure you make your travel arrangements when you book your restaurant, bar, club, hotel or way home. Car services fill up quickly and they are at a premium this holiday if you wait! And oh, if you have CHILDREN and no nanny, make sure you find a babysitter ASAP.
11. Last but not least, RELAX, ENJOY, HAVE FUN AND REALLY CELEBRATE SAFELY! We made it through 2006! Washington DC has a place for anyone and everyone to celebrate, no matter, who, what mood, where you want to go, what your budget is - you can find it in this city. And if you truly decide that this holiday is not for you because you don't want to wade through masses of people, make reservations, worry about what to wear, or who to go out with(remember, we still have the Christmas pressure to deal with) – I say, hey, TAKE IT EASY, stay at home with your significant other, best friend (s) or yourself, get some great movies, some bubbly, make a nice meal and relax. At least you won’t be greeting 2007 with a massive hangover in a hotel room trying to remember who you kissed at midnight!