Beaujolais Nouveau Update
I blogged about some Beaujolais Nouveau parties last week, but we've received information about other events since then, and I wanted to come up with an easy way for folks to compare and contrast the various events. Here's our updated list of parties celebrating this week's release of 2007 Beaujolais Nouveau wines. (Yes, I realize it's generally not that great of wine, but it's a fantastic excuse for a party.)
Everything you need is after the jump. (More parties added Nov. 13)
Bistrot du Coin's Beaujolais Nouveau Party
When: Wednesday night, 11 p.m.
The Scene: This is usually the wildest and most crowded of the area's Beaujolais Nouveau events. As midnight draws closer, tables are cleared to make room for a dance floor, and by the end of the night, women are boogieing on zinc-topped bar.
Who Goes: French ex-pats and Francophiles, from 20-somethings to 70-somethings.
Free Wine? Yes. Two varieties will be given away, beginning at midnight, and you can drink as much as you like.
Entertainment: DJ Herve, who spins house, electro and French pop music at many of the Alliance Francaise's parties, will start after 10.
Getting In: This is the tricky part. Dinner reservations, which guarantee you a spot at the party, are long gone. If the restaurant is under its legal capacity by the time the party kicks into gear (usually around 11), people waiting outside will be allowed into the bar area on a first-come, first-served basis.
Les Halles's Beaujolais Nouveau Party
When: Wednesday night, 9 p.m.
The Scene: Les Halles's annual celebration is less crazy that Bistrot du Coin's, but still a good time. It draws a good mix of wine lovers, from 20-somethings on up, many of whom have dinner first.
Who Goes: Francophiles and oenophiles.
Free Wine? Yes. Several varieties are generally available for sampling. Don't miss the free tripe, too, which is apparently traditional in southern France.
Entertainment: A DJ spins French tunes and pop music, beginning at 9.
Getting In: This party is generally easier to get into than Bistrot du Coin's, though early arrival is suggested, and reservations (made through Open Table) can't hurt.
The Official Beaujolais Nouveau Release Party
When: Thursday night, 7 - 10 p.m.
The Scene: Held at the French Embassy, this is the swankiest Beaujolais Nouveau party in town. Business and cocktail attire is required.
Who Goes: Embassy staffers, World Bank employees, Francophiles -- it's a more serious crowd than you'll find at other parties.
Free Wine? Admission includes unlimited tasting of seven different Beaujolais Nouveau wines: Domaine Manoir de Carra, Domaine Descroix, Domaine Anne-Marie de Perret, George Duboeuf Nouveau, Joseph Drouhin, Bouchard Aine, and Mommessin. In addition, seven local chefs, including Peter Smith of PS7's and Frank Claros of Extra Virgin, have created matching dishes.
Entertainment: A mix of French music, but lots of chanson and other popular favorites. Request some Johnny Hallyday and get ready to Le Rock, which is like jitterbug.
Getting In: Tickets are $69 from TasteDC.com. Remember to bring a photo ID, or you won't get past embassy security.
The Good Life Celebration at Lotus Lounge
When: Thursday night, 6 - 10 p.m.
The Scene: Planet Chic productions, which throws events for solidly European crowds at Tabaq, kstreet and other lounges, offers a special Beaujolais Nouveau happy hour at chic Lotus Lounge.
Who Goes: Previous parties have brought out a mix of ages, races and nationalities, ready to dance, drink and have a good time.
Free Wine? No. Happy hour choices include $5 beers, cocktails and glasses of house wine.
Entertainment: DJ Chafs spins dance music from around the globe.
Getting In: There's a $5 cover if you RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the guest list.
The French Wine Society's Beaujolais Nouveau Time
Friday Thursday night, 8:30 p.m. - 3 a.m.
The Scene: The French Wine Society is taking over the stylish new Park at 14th restaurant and lounge for its tasting party, which features French DJs and a fashion show organized by Barney's Co-Op.
Who Goes: The society's parties -- generally held at tony places like the French Embassy or the National Press Club, draw a European crowd that's firmly in the 30s-and-40s demographic, dressed in cocktail outfits (lots of jackets and ties, fellas).
Free Wine? Until 10 p.m., so get there early.
Entertainment: Expect French electronic dance music and lounge tunes.
Getting In: It's open to everyone. Advance tickets are $20 ($15 for French Wine Society members) from frenchwinesociety.org.
Top Ranking Beaujolais Nouveau Party at Napoleon
When: Thursday night, 10 p.m. - 2 a.m.
The Scene: DJ Meistro's weekly mix of Afropop, Latin funk, Brazilian beats and crazy breaks regularly draws cool crowds to Napoleon's chic basement champagne lounge. This week, they add wine specials to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau.
Who Goes: Anyone who loves funky music and a good party, from hipsters to Europhiles.
Free Wine? No. $5 a glass. But at least there's no cover charge.
Entertainment: DJ Meistro. See above.
Getting In: No cover, no dress code, no problem. Just be ready to dance and enjoy yourself.
Beaujolais Nouveau Season at Mon Ami Gabi
When: Thursday. Both lunch (11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.) and dinner (5 - 10 p.m.) seatings are offered
The Scene: The Bethesda restaurant offers Beaujolais Nouveau wines from Georges Duboeuf, Joseph Drouhin and Bouchard AÃ®nÃ© & Fils, plus a special menu that uses Beaujolais wines in its sauces and preparations.
Who Goes: The usual Bethesda restaurant crowd -- everything from couples to groups of friends.
Free Wine? No. The wine costs $7.95 a glass. Still, it's not just something you can pick up at your local wine shop. The Joseph Drouhin will be served from a wooden barrel, not bottles.
Entertainment: Live jazz is offered from 7 to 10.
Getting In: Reservations are a good idea, since the restaurant's small bar area fills quickly.
Alliance Francaise Wine and Cheese Party
When: Friday night, 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
The Scene: The French government's cultural representatives to Washington have been getting younger and hipper this year, thanks to events like the Soiree Carte Blanche happy hour series. This annual wine-and-cheese affair draws a good mix of people to the group's headquarters in a converted Kalorama rowhouse -- between sipping wine in the library and a DJ in the living room, it feels like a catered French house party.
Who Goes: A Francophone mix of ex-pats, students from the Alliance's language classes and Americans who studied in Paris in college.
Free Wine? Included in the cost of the ticket, along with French snacks.
Entertainment: Singer Simone Marchand performs favorite songs by the legendary vocalist Edith Piaf, and DJ Stylus spins a soundtrack of French and European pop, hip-hop, soul and Afrobeat tunes.
Getting In: Open to all, tickets cost $33 for the general public, $26 for Alliance Francaise members and $21 for students in the Alliance's language classes. Reservations must be made in advance through the Alliance Francaise Web site -- there are no sales at the door.
Beaujolais Nouveau Release Party at Food Matters
The Scene: The Alexandria cafe and wine shop offers a day-long tasting of Beaujolais Nouveau wines and French cheeses, with special prices all day. It's a good way to try the wine without having to stay up late or buy expensive tickets. Can't get to one of the big parties? Might as well host your own.
Who Goes: Wine drinkers.
Free Wine? A number of bottles will be out for free samples, but you can't drink glass after glass, as you would at Bistrot du Coin's party.
Entertainment: Does in-store music count?
Getting In: Drive to Alexandria.
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