As individuals, businesses and communities continue to navigate the unpredictable Covid-19 pandemic, let’s remain collectively committed to putting safety above all else. If you wander out, we encourage you to check the operating status, entry requirements and safety protocols of establishments or travel destinations. Be vigilant, take care of each other and stay safe.
Turning 21 during the height of the pandemic almost two years ago was interesting, not purely because it necessitated that I get creative with celebrating what is widely considered a milestone birthday, but also because it illuminated to me simply how much that milestone was made real because of our culture’s — frankly — obsession with alcohol. When the ability to celebrate your big 21 in the way it is typically imagined is stripped away, what remains is the realization that there’s nothing inherently remarkable about the age, other than the ability to get sloshed with your friends inside the damp walls of some heavily frequented college bar without the risk of a bouncer creasing your ID. Don’t get me wrong; I have been known to indulge in and enjoy this decadent liquid, but I wonder what other forms of fun we might open ourselves to if we tried to unpack alcohol’s inextricable link with American culture.
With New Year’s approaching, I am similarly reminded of its expectations surrounding alcohol. Implicitly, we’re expected to party, ring in the New Year with a glass of champagne or five, and drink away the demons of the past year. While there are certainly many ways we can improve the culture surrounding low-ABV options, there are alternatives (though limited) for people who abstain from drinking, aren’t into the party scene or simply want to celebrate the New Year in a more chill manner. The District has a growing zero-proof community, and in turn, venues are offering once seasonal “dry January” options as part of the menu year-round, and making fun non-alcoholic options more accessible and accepted. Read on for some local low-ABV and low-key New Year’s festivity ideas. And as always, safety is number one in these uncertain times, so wander safely, please observe Covid protocols and remember we’re in this together.
For a Chill Night Out on the Town
There are restaurants throughout the D.C. area that are offering multi-course, celebratory dinner options for people who are interested in chill and intimate New Year’s festivities. This could be a perfect way to celebrate with a partner, close friends or family in a relaxing environment — and to nosh on some of the best food the District has to offer.
Daikaya, a Japanese cuisine–inspired restaurant, is offering a five-course, inventive meal for only $50. The menu features sushi and seafood dishes, curry, noodle options and more — including dessert. You won’t want to miss this delicious option for celebrating the New Year. Daikaya: 705 6th St. NW, DC; daikaya.com // @daikaya_ramen
This New American restaurant in Shaw wants to help you celebrate the New Year with a fun four-course menu, including snacks before the meal, for $100 a person. They’re also offering extended takeout hours so if you’re feeling a chill night in, you can get the perks of the dining experience from the comfort of your own home. Nina May: 1337 11th St. NW, DC; ninamaydc.com // @ninamaydc
Low-ABV Options for a Low-Key At-Home Celebration
With many of us reconsidering our plans this New Years’ Eve, have a fun night in with your closest circle by investing in some subscription or gift boxes to make a variety of low or non-alcoholic drinks.
Better Rhodes is a marketplace serving classic celebratory cocktails and bubbly without the booze. Select from a wide range of non-alcoholic champagnes, wines and gift boxes. Check out its holiday hosting pack, which includes a 750ml bottle of Noughty Sparkling Chardonnay, a 6-pack of Two Roots Straight Drank, a 4-pack of Lyre’s Dark and Spicy and Better Rhodes coasters — all with free shipping. betterrhodes.com // @betterrhodes
Raising the Bar
Raising the Bar offers a monthly subscription or one-time package orders. With a subscription, each month you’ll receive a box with all the ingredients needed to make a seasonal, delicious alcohol-free cocktail at home. Their blog also offers timely, non-alcoholic cocktail recipes if you’re looking for new ideas. weareraisingthebar.com // @weareraisingthebar
The Zero Proof
The Zero Proof offers bundles, gifts and a wide variety of non-alcoholic wines and spirits that you can use to make classy and fun alcohol-free cocktails. Check out their Dry January starter bundle, which includes the staples everyone should have at their home non-alcoholic bar. Priced at $120, it includes one bottle of gin-inspired spirit GinISH, one bottle of Spiritless Kentucky 74 Non-Alcoholic Bourbon, one bottle of Ritual Zero Proof Tequila Alternative, one bottle of RumISH, an award-winning Rum alternative with deep caramels and vanilla notes. thezeroproof.com // @thezeroproof
Get a Little Creative
Muse Paintbar Ballston
While parties and menu tastings are tried-and-true ways of celebrating the New Year, sometimes we need to shake it up. Let this year be one of true new beginnings by celebrating a different way: with painting. On New Year’s Eve, follow along with a Muse Paintbar instructor as they guide you through the process of painting a scene of fireworks over the monuments for $45. It starts at 6 p.m. so you have time to get your creative juices flowing early in the evening, and libations flowing later in the night, if you so desire. Muse Arlington: 4238 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; musepaintbar.com // @muse_paintbar
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