10 New Washington Holiday Party Venues

By D. Channing Muller November 9, 2011, 9:10 AM EST

Photo: Scott Suchman

With the holiday season coming up, these new and recently renovated bars, lounges, nightclubs, restaurants, private rooms, raw spaces, and more—even a burlesque club—in and around Washington can accommodate groups small and large for corporate holiday parties of every type.

1. Josephine lounge closed in August for two months of renovations before reopening in mid-October with new furnishings and decor designed by Mark Lehmkuhl, the man behind Miami’s Mokai and Living Room nightclubs. The now 5,500-square-foot space–1,000 square feet larger than before—can host as many as 400 people with lounge seating for 125 across its two rooms. The main room can host 250 people and has banquette seating throughout, LED-lit walls, and large chandeliers. The smaller Gold Room, decorated as the name implies, can host about 150 people. Catering can be coordinated by the venue or solicited from outside vendors.

2. The owners of Lou’s City Bar opened live music venue Acre 121 in July. Located down the street from Lou’s, the 3,000-square-foot club specializes in country cuisine, such as pulled pork sliders, veggie chili mac, and oyster fritters. Acre 121 offers live music performances Wednesday through Sunday. There is seating for 100 inside, plus an additional 50 on the patio. The open layout can accommodate as many as 200 people for receptions and performances.

3. British watering hole the Queen Vic, named after the famed pub on English soap opera Eastenders, opened on H Street in April. The 2,000-square-foot restaurant and bar serves traditional British fare, such as pan seared chicken livers and roasted marrow bones, along with various ales, stouts, ciders, and lagers on tap. There is seating for 20 on the first floor, which can also host 80 standing as part of a full buyout. The second floor has seating for 18 or can host 40 for receptions. The adjacent patio can accommodate an additional 20 people. This level can be rented out separately from the first floor or used in conjunction with it for parties of as many as 125 people. 

4. Southern pizza chain Mellow Mushroom opened its first Washington outpost in mid-October. The 6,000-square-foot restaurant is spread across three floors, accommodating as many as 231 throughout, and decorated with its signature wall murals and hand-drawn and -painted posters. The first floor can seat 77 or host 93 for receptions. An additional 63 seats are on the second floor. The rooftop space can host as many as 66 for a reception, including an enclosed penthouse area for 20.

5. The newest venture from nightclub conglomerate the Michael Romeo Group opened in September. Dirty Bar is located above the company's other venture, called Dirty Martini, near Dupont Circle. The 2,000-square-foot space has an open layout and elements for burlesque performances. The club is decorated in jewel tones of maroon, gold, black, and dark purple—complete with a signature burlesque swing—and has lounge seating for 75 lining the main wall across from the lingerie- and boa-filled main bar. Groups as large as 275 can be accommodated for private parties. A rooftop deck opening in the coming months will be able to host an additional 175 people. Downstairs, Dirty Martini can also host as many as 450 for private events or provide catering for the burlesque club. 

6. Just next door to Dirty Bar is the newly expanded Rosebar at Current Sushi. The second-floor bar and lounge reopened in August with double the space, a new layout, and Moroccan-themed decor and furnishings. Ideally suited for smaller parties, the space can host about 100 with lounge seating for 50. For larger parties, the nearby second floor of Current can be used for as many as 200 people.

7. For a more unconventional spot, there is Trusty’s BusBar. The school bus-turned-diner is located on the second floor of Trusty’s restaurant in the Hill East neighborhood and features lunch box lights, thermos chandeliers, and TVs. There is seating for about 15 within the bus, which has its own bar separate from the dining room below. The adjacent patio can seat an additional 32. Trusty’s downstairs has seating for 50. Buyouts are available for as many as 200 throughout the venue.

8. Named for the stones used as markers when setting the district's city limits, the Boundary Stone Public House opened in late September near U Street. The intimate 1,000-square-foot space has two rooms that can accommodate groups of about 70 throughout. The venue has a rustic ambience with exposed brick walls, an oak wood bar, concrete floors, and booth seating for 49. The menu consists of traditional bar fare, featuring a nod its mid-Atlantic home with items like the Maryland crab roll and fresh farm deviled eggs.

9. Dupont-area Turkish restaurant Agora unveiled its newest event space in mid-October. The private Solen Room is located on the second floor of the restaurant and can seat 50 people or host 80 for receptions. The room features exposed brick walls, wood floors, and a display of Turkish china. The main dining room on the first floor can seat 76. There is also a patio for 34.

10. The Passion Food Hospitality Group's newest venture, District Commons, opened in October. The American restaurant in Foggy Bottom can host events for as many as 300 people or 180 for seated events. The main dining room can seat about 150. Pre-event receptions for about 30 can be hosted in the bar. The semi-private G.W. Room, which will be private when construction is completed in December, can seat 48 or host 60 for receptions. The space is equipped with a private bar and audiovisual services. The rooftop can also accommodate 100 people standing.

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