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LGBT New Year’s Eve 2019 D.C.-area party options

Dress up or get down — The District has something for every mood

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New Years Eve parties, gay news, Washington Blade
10 … 9 … 8 … 7 … — don’t want to sit at home? The District has New Year’s Eve party options galore. (Washington Blade file photo by Damien Salas)

It’s out with the old and in with the new as venues across the District swing into “Roaring ‘20s” 2.0. Nothing is prohibited this time around, so let the Jazz Age reboot begin.

Tuesday, Dec. 31

It’s Gatsby New Year’s Eve 2020 at Eden D.C. (1716 I St., N.W.) tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $35 to party all night like a literary icon with a complimentary champagne toast, six DJs and three floors of entertainment. For tickets and information, visit eventbrite.com

Capital Gatsby New Year’s Eve D.C. Gala 2020 is 9 p.m. tonight at the Showroom (1099 14th St., N.W.). Tickets start at $174 for this pricier event and guests are encouraged to dress in 1920’s black-tie decadence. The event features a five-hour open premium bar, midnight countdown and toast, multiple food stations, and 1920s inspired dancers, party favors and more. For tickets and more information, visit dcnewyears.net.

The Noon Yards Eve celebration culminating in a noon balloon drop is today from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at The Yards D.C. (301 Water St., S.E.). This free, family-friendly event features inflatable moon bounces, glitter tattoo artists, music, train rides and more. Visit theyardsdc.com for more information. 

The New Year’s Eve Roaring ‘20s Party hosted by The Mansion on O & O Street Museum (2020 O St., N.W.) kicks off tonight at 9 p.m. Guests can enjoy a chocolate fountain, a tour of the 100-room mansion, a red carpet photo-op and music by DJ Stylz. This former FBI hideout was featured on the Travel Channel’s “Mega Mansions” show and was listed in the top five historic venues by Smithsonian Magazine. Tickets are $250 at forms.omansion.com.

Brand New Day 2020 is a 26-plus-hour marathon party starting at 10 p.m. tonight at Flash (645 Florida Ave., N.W.). A single $50 ticket grants access to music from national and international artists as well as re-entry to this multi-day event. For details, visit eventlink.to/flash2020

New Year’s Eve at Mr. Henry’s (601 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E.) features music by local jazz artist Steve Washington. Tickets start at $124 and include live music, all night bites, an open bar and more. Tickets are available at brownpapertickets.com

A Jazz New Year’s Eve with Branford Marsalis presented by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2700 F St., N.W.) is tonight with shows at 7 and 9 p.m. Marsalis, a popular bandleader and saxophonist, has 16 Grammy nominations and three Grammy Awards. Tickets start at $75 and include a night of dancing, a midnight countdown and more. Visit kennedy-center.org for more information. 

The Black Cat New Year’s Eve Ball celebrates the new year with swing music and more by Peaches O’Dell and her orchestra tonight at 8 p.m. at the Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.). Tickets are $30 at blackcatdc.com

The second annual Leather and Lace Ball: New Year’s Eve is tonight at 8 p.m. at the D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.). This celebration features DJs, drag performers, go go boys and more. Tickets are $10. For more information, visit Eventbrite and dceagle.com

Trade’s (1410 14th St., N.W.) New Queer’s Eve 2020 is tonight at 10 p.m. Vagenesis hosts performances by Rose Evergreen, Khaiya Darnell and Sirius Prism with music by StrikeStone and Wess the DJ. There is no cover for this over-21 event. Visit Facebook events for details.

Red Bear Brewing (209 M St., N.E.) hosts its New Bear’s Eve Party tonight at 7 p.m. This event features entertainment by pop artist Billy Winn and DJ Deven Trotter. For more information, visit redbear.beer.

The Ziegfelds Secrets (1824 Half St., S.W.) New Year’s 2020 Party starts at 9 p.m. tonight and features a special show with an expanded cast. The $20 cover includes a midnight countdown and champagne toast. More information is available on Facebook and secretsdc.com

A Night in Havana: A New Year’s Celebration is tonight at 9 p.m. at Casta’s Rum Bar (1121 New Hampshire Ave., N.W.). Tickets are $75. This venue serves authentic Cuban food and DJ Vania mixes Latin beats and popular hits all night. Party favors, complimentary fedoras and authentic Cuban hors d’oeuvres are available until midnight. Visit castasrumbar.com for more information. 

The Big ‘80s New Year’s Eve Party celebrates the music of that other decadent decade tonight at 9 p.m. at Union Stage (740 Water St., S.W.). Tickets start at $30. DJ Marco spins Madonna, Whitney, Prince and more all night long until the ball drops. Tickets are available at bit.ly/nye80sDC

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Bars & Parties

KINETIC: Pride DC launches with 3 major events

Weekend kicks off Friday with UNCUT XL at BLISS

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KINETIC: Pride DC will partner with Capital Pride Alliance to celebrate Pride month with three official events that will feature leading gay DJs: Abel, Ben Bakson, Joe Pacheco, Dan Slater and Alexis Tucci.

The weekend kicks off Friday, June 10 at 10 p.m. with UNCUT XL at BLISS Nightclub. Grammy-nominated DJ Abel will headline the city’s “most risqué circuit event of the year” at BLISS nightclub.

“Uncut is returning to DC Pride for the first time in four years so there will be lots of sweating, dancing, and men bumping and sliding into one another on the main floor as well as in the play zone,” said producer Jesus Quispe in a press release late May.

 KINETIC: Pride Galactic Edition will be on Saturday, June 11 at 10 p.m. at Echostage. DJs Dan Slater and Ben Bakson will perform back-to-back sets. DJ Joe Pacheco will open the night.

The series of events will wrap up on Sunday June 12 with DC Pride’s official closing party, “discoVERS” at 10 p.m. at SAX in Downtown D.C. Disco-diva Alexis Tucci will spin an open-to-close set with Disco, Nu-Disco, and Disco House music all night long. Special performances throughout the night will be integrated into her high-energy disco set as well.

To purchase tickets, visit KINETIC: Pride DC.

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Bars & Parties

Beyonce vs. Rihanna dance party

Music provided by DJ Just Different at Union Stage

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R² Productions LLC and Union Stage are teaming up to host  R² Productions’ inaugural “MEGA Dance Party” on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. at Union Stage at The Wharf.

The event will be a night full of dancing to music by pop stars Beyonce and Rihanna. DJ Just Different will be performing at the event. 

General Admission tickets cost $25 and Premier Plus tickets cost $35. For more information about ticket purchases, visit Union Stage’s website.

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Bars & Parties

Kiki quickly becomes popular LGBTQ destination

New bar on U Street plans summer expansion, patio space

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Kiki, at 915 U St., is already drawing crowds. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

After a New Year’s Eve soft opening, Kiki has become one of the most popular LGBTQ destinations in Washington, D.C.

The two-floor bar takes over the space vacated by Velvet Lounge and Dodge City on the 900 block of U Street. Both closed during the pandemic. The locale is directly adjacent to another gay bar, Dirty Goose.

Owner and gay man Keaton Fedak, a general manager at Dirty Goose, noticed that these two next-door bars had gone dark during the pandemic, and met with the owners of the two buildings, who are cousins. Plans quickly developed to use both buildings to craft an expansive, interconnected, inclusive space to transform the city’s gay bar landscape.

Fedak called the bar “Kiki” both after himself (it’s a nickname) and for its connection with the LGBTQ community. “The word wasn’t invented by the Scissor Sisters song,” he explains. “It’s been an important concept in the community for decades.”

The first half of Fedak’s vision has already opened. The ground floor of the 915 U St. building is open-plan space with bar stools and a color-block wall of rainbow panels. A bar sits in the back up a short flight of stairs. This level will feature music, but quieter than the second-floor space. There, a DJ booth presides over a large dance floor. Disco lights flood this space; there is a bar on this level as well. The elevated dance floor is set to hold drag shows.

In the spring, a small patio will open, strung with fairy lights. It will have a “backyard aesthetic,” he says, to be green, bright, and relaxing. “It’s a good place to chill on a nice day outside.” It may even be reminiscent of Town Danceboutique’s popular patio.

The second half, at 917 U St., is still waiting for permits, and Fedak hopes to open this section in the summer.

It will connect to the current space via the outdoor patio. This section will have more of a sports bar feel, given Fedak’s connection to D.C.’s Gay Flag Football League (he is a former board member). The bar will welcome Stonewall Sports and other LGBTQ sports teams, and will be replete with plenty of mounted TVs to show various games.

After the closing of Cobalt and Town, Fedak wanted to ensure that Kiki was “an inclusive space, so that there’s vibes for everyone,” he says. “It should be a place where regulars would just show up and hang out.” He made sure that he recruited staff from different professional and personal backgrounds.

Fedak began working in food and hospitality at age 17 in his hometown in Pennsylvania. After moving to the D.C. area for work, he continued to moonlight as a bartender. Fedak joined Dirty Goose as general manager in 2019 before starting his Kiki journey.

To stock the bar, Fedak has plenty of spirits to go around. There is a focus on the vodka offerings, but he ensures that local distilleries take center stage: He carries District Made Vodka and Rye Whiskey, as well as Green Hat Gin. The beer game is also a winning strategy: there are more than 25 bottles and cans available, with three beers on tap. Local options are first-string, including selections from DC Brau, Right Proper, and Anxo Cider. Finally, the bar comes complete with a house margarita on tap (“ it’s a homemade recipe,” notes Fedak, using agave nectar syrup instead of sugar). The 16-ounce marg is always on special for $10.

While Kiki doesn’t serve food, Fedak is exploring options for a small truck or stand in the backyard.
Moving forward, Kiki will host weekly events. The bar already hosts drag shows during “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing parties. Fedak plans to begin a “Cobalt-style underwear contest” as well. Once COVID cases decline, he also wants to resurrect the Sunday funday parties that Cobalt would host with sports teams.

Fedak’s mantra for Kiki is evident in the mural that will take up the backyard patio – a quote from “Schitt’s Creek”: “I like the wine and not the label.”

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