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The New Year’s Eve Party Guide

Shutterstock/Dekede

Compiled by Lorin Drinkard

Still searching for the best place to ring in the new year? We’ve put together a guide to fantastically fun NoVA events where you can eat, drink and shimmy your way into 2012. Shiny noisemakers and sparklers not included.

Eat ‘Til The Ball Drops

Dogfish Head
Saturday, Dec. 31 from 5:30 p.m. to Sunday, Jan. 1 at 1 a.m. More interested in some good eats and cold beer than dancing in a club? So is Dogfish. Experience the deliciousness that is their NYE Beer Dinner Extravaganza for five courses of food, beer pairings, live music from Mercy Rising, plus a champagne toast at midnight. / 6363 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church; 703-961-1140; www.dogfishalehouse.com;  $70/each for 5:30 p.m. seating, $85 for 9 p.m. seating; reservations required.

Joe Theismann’s Restaurant
Saturday, Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. For a NYE shindig that’s “Above the Rest,” make plans to partake in Joe Theismann’s four-course dinner. In addition to the yummy food, there’ll be lots of dancing, party favors and a rooftop champagne toast to top off the night. / 1800 Diagonal Road, Alexandria; 703-739-0777; www.joetheismanns.com;  $75/each; reservations required.

Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub
Saturday, Dec. 31. Dine on a delish four-course meal and champagne toast as you’re serenaded to the live music of Pat Carroll and Rocky Guttman. Guests won’t leave empty handed – snag some party favors at the night’s end to remember your Irish NYE experience. / 713 King St., Alexandria; 703-548-1717; www.mursphyspub.com;  $40/each; reservations required.

New Year’s Eve at Mad Fox
Saturday, Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. Falls Church brewery/restaurant Mad Fox is bringing out the big guns this NYE: The Tom Principato Band will be performing a three-and-a-half hour set, followed by a full buffet starting at 10 p.m. At midnight, guests will enjoy a toasts and party favors. / 444 W. Broad St., Falls Church; 703-942-6840; www.madfoxbrewing.com;  $40/each; reservations required.

Look's like she's havin' fun! (shutterstock/altafulla2)

Windows over Washington
Saturday, Dec. 31 from 8 p.m. to midnight. Load up on great food at Doubletree Hotel’s full buffet this New Year’s Eve, plus enjoy a stellar view of the city. / 300 Army Navy Dr., Arlington; 703-416-4100; www.doubletree1.hilton.com;  $120; reservations required.

Salute! Cheers! Bottoms up!

La Sandia’s “Toast At the Bar”
Saturday, Dec. 31. If sparkling sangria and tequila flights sound like your beverages of choice, La Sandia will be your best bet for a NYE night out. Nosh on a 3-course tasting menu while you drink to a new year and new beginnings. Reservations available by phone or online. / 7852L Tysons Corner Center, McLean, VA 22102; 703-893-2222; http://www.richardsandoval.com/lasandiavirginia/index.php;  $24.95/each.

NYE at Narmada Winery
Saturday, Dec. 31 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Enjoy an Indian food buffet dinner – think lamb chicken tikka, pakora, rice, lamb rogan josh, kulfi ice cream and more – along with a bottle of Narmada’s finest vino. Live music will accompany the yummy meal. Space is limited; make reservations by Dec. 18. / 43 Narmada Lane, Amissville; 540-937-8215; www.narmadawinery.com;  $79/each.

NYE Celebration at Potomac Point Winery
Saturday, Dec. 31 from 7 p.m. to midnight. Masks will be all the rage at Potomac Point Winery’s formal costumed NYE bash. Starting with a wine tasting and appetizers, followed by dinner and dessert buffet, the Winery is the perfect place to sip some vino and enjoy a balloon drop at midnight. / 275 Decatur Road, Stafford; 520-446-2107; www.potomacpointwinery.com;  $109/per person, $99/club (plus tax and 20% gratuity). Reservations required.

Vinifera Wine Bar and Bistro’s NYE Extravaganza
Saturday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. Reston’s Vinifera Bar & Bistro is throwing their New Year’s Eve extravaganza as Chef Bo puts together a tasty dinner menu for his guests. Savor the four delicious courses (Citrus roast stuffed quail, She Crab bisque, miso glazed opakapaka and more) as Sommeliers pair them with the perfect wine. A fun night of food, drinking and live music awaits at Vinifera’s. / 11750 Sunrise Valley Dr., Reston; 703-234-3550; www.viniferabistro.com;  starting at $85/each; reservations required.

Groove The Night Away

Clarendon Ballroom’s NYE Gala
Saturday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. Featuring Liquid A with DJ Flex in the lower lounge, Clarendon Ballroom has a full night of revelry planned: buffet dinner, dancing and 4 drinks tickets included with each ticket. Attire is “dress to impress” and there is, of course, a champagne toast at midnight. / 3185 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-649-2244; www.clarendonballroom.com;  $75/each.

The Legwarmers New Year’s Eve Party at the State Theatre
Saturday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. For NoVA’s biggest 80s-style NYE party, head to State Theatre. Everyone will be dancing likes it’s 1985 while the phenom 80s cover-band, the Legwarmers, perform classic old-school jams. Break out the big hair, fingerless gloves or the band’s namesake accessory (legwarmers) for a killer retro New Year’s eve outfit and a bomb.com good time. / 222 N. Washington St., Falls Church; 703-237-0300; www.thestatetheatre.com;  $50.

Nick’s Night Club
Saturday, Dec. 31 from 5 p.m. to midnight. How does a night of live country musicalperformances, a 4-course meal, karaoke party, dancing and more sound? At Nick’s, they will be a hosting a country-tastic party that will have you tapping your boots and wishing the night didn’t have to end. / 642 S. Pickett St., Alexandria; 703-715-8900; www.nicksnightclub.com;  $50/each for dinner; $20 admission at the door; $30 dinner admission, if available.

NYE British Invasion Ball 2012
Saturday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. Union Jack’s in Ballston is throwing a Brit-inspired bash that even the Queen herself would like. Heavy hors d’oeuvres, three drink tickets, party favors, a midnight champagne toast plus thumping music and hours of dancing makes for a fantastic way to start off the new year. / 4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-778-3568; www.unionjacksballston.com;  starting at $45/each.

Celebrate On The Cheap

Ragtime Restaurant
Saturday, Dec. 31. Got $5? That’s all you’ll need to join in Ragtime’s NYE celebration. There will be a DJ and a toasting with bubbly as the ball drops. What a deal. / 1345 N. Courthouse Rd., Arlington; 703-243-4003; www.ragtimerestaurant.com/  $5.

Rhodeside Grill
Saturday, Dec. 31 til midnight. With party favors, a DJ and loads of dancing, Arlington’s Rhodeside Grill offers a super fun, yet really inexpensive (read: no cover!) way to ring in 2012. Celebrate the end of the year by shaking your groove thing and toasting with a complimentary champagne toast at the end of the night. / 1836 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 243-0145; www.rhodesidegrill.com;  no cover.

This guy loves the countdown! (shutterstock/altafulla)

Restaurant 3
Saturday, Dec. 31 thru Sunday, Jan. 1. Looking for a hassle-free way to spend Saturday night? Head to Restaurant 3 Bar & Grill in Arlington, where you won’t need tickets, or cover, to get in. Nibble on apps and entrees from 3’s regular dinner menu while DJ Pork & Beans (no, that’s not a typo) spins the party music. Throw in a few party favors and a midnight toast, and we’d say you have a full night of fun ahead of you at 3. On Sunday, the restaurant will be serving up a yummy brunch at 10 a.m. / 2950 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington; 703-524-4440; www.restaurantthree.com;  no cover.

Countdown to Fun

Herndon Centennial Golf Course NYE Tournament
Saturday, Dec. 31 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For the golf lovers out there, this is the perfect opportunity to combine your love for the sport with a little holiday competition. Grab your golf clubs and join in the annual tourney. / Herndon Centennial Golf Course, 909 Ferndale Ave., Herndon; 703-471-5769; www.herndongolf.com;  $65.

The Comedy Spot
Saturday, Dec. at 8 p.m. Get your laugh on at this family-friendly comedy show as the funny guys and gals at The Comedy Spot put on a hilarious good show. Included in the NYE festivities are sparkly party hats and an ice cream bar. / 4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-294-5233; www.comedyindc.com;  $20.

The Seldom Scene at The Birchmere
Saturday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. Alexandria’s legendary music hall is having an end-of-the-year musical celebration, as The Seldom Scene rocks into 2012. The show, also featuring Hot Seats, Time Finch and the Eastman String Band, will be a bluegrass bash you won’t want to miss, for sure. / 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 703-549-7500; www.birchmere.com;  $39.50.

Bring the Kiddos

Fairfax Four Miler
Saturday, Dec. 31 at 6 p.m. Lace up your running shoes and race to the new year at the last of Pacers’ event races til 2012. The course is four miles and open to all ages. Stick around after the race for awards and a post-race party. / University Dr. and Main St., Old Town Fairfax; 703-537-0630; www.pacersevents.com/fairfaxfour;  $35; register online.

First Night Alexandria
Saturday, Dec. 31 from 6 p.m. to midnight. All ages welcome as Alexandria puts on a NYE celebration with music, dancing and performing arts inside the Durant Center, with a finale outside at midnight. No booze, please. / Durant Center, 1605 Cameron St., Alexandria; 703-746-3303; www.firstnightalexandria.com;  free.

First Night Fredericksburg
Saturday, Dec. 31 from 7 p.m. to midnight. With sweepstakes drawing, a pineapple drop/illumination and fireworks display, Fredericksburg’s NYE night has been a longstanding holiday tradition in Northern Virginia. Explore the visual and performing arts Fredericksburg has to offer, including musicians Jim and Holly Lawrence, Ocean Drive, the Fredericksburg Ballet Center Irish Dance Program, Pockets the Clown, plus street eats, trolley and carriage rides. / Historic Downtown Fredericksburg; 540-972-2749; www.fredericksburgfirstnight.com;  $10 per person; children under 3 are free.

First Night Warrenton
Saturday, Dec. 31 from 7 p.m. to midnight. Head to Warrenton for some family-friendly activities on Main Street. This alcohol-free event will include lots of musical and theatrical performances: puppet shows, storytelling, classical music and more. End the night with a sing-along candlelight gathering at the courthouse. / Main Street, Warrenton; 540-347-7323; www.fauquiertoursim.com;  free.

Watch Night: Falls Church
Saturday, Dec. 31 from 7 p.m. to midnight. If your little ones like face painting, magic shows, caricatures, Velcro walls and a dragon obstacle course, then head to Falls Church for their free family-oriented NYE celebration. Local restaurants will have specials running, plus five bands and three DJs are set to perform. Carrying on the tradition started in 1948, the historic star will be lowered into the sky to end the night. / Broad Street (Rte. 7) and Washington St. (Rte. 29) intersection, Falls Church; 703-248-5077; www.fallschurch.gov/watchnight;  free.

First Night Winchester
Saturday, Dec. 31 from 4 pm to midnight. Celebrate the end of 2011 and the beginning of a new year in Old Town Winchester. An admission button (bought in advance or on the day of) grants access to all the night’s fun and entertainment. With over 50 performers and 35 shows, there will be an evening full of games, music and more. / Old Town Winchester, Winchester; 540-533-5561; www.firstnightwinchester.com;  $10 per button (purchase info here: www.firstnightwinchester.com/get-your-buttons).