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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 12/28/2010

New Year's Eve FAQ: Bar hours, transportation and unlimited drinks

By Fritz Hahn

Our FAQ for New Year's Eve continues today with tips about going out and getting home.

How late are bars open on New Year's Eve?

In Washington, bars are allowed to stay open an extra hour on New Year's Eve, meaning all drinks have to be finished by 4 a.m. Bars in Maryland and Virginia will be open until 2 a.m. as usual.

I don't want to drive on New Year's Eve. What's the best way to get around?

Metrorail will be open until 3 a.m., but the slated "Sunday schedule" means longer waits between trains. Metrobus will also be on a Sunday schedule, so if you're relying on buses, you might want to check times on Metro's Web site.

The D.C. Circulator will keep its Georgetown-to-Union Station buses running until 2 a.m., and the McPherson Square-U Street-Adams Morgan line runs until 3:30 a.m.

Through Jan. 1, the SoberRide service offers free taxi rides home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., no questions asked. Call 1-800-200-TAXI and the Washington Regional Alcohol Program will pick up the cost of the ride, as long as it's under $30. (If it's over, you pay the difference.) This is understandably a popular service on New Year's Eve, and there are frequently long waits for a cab, so I suggest calling at least 30 to 45 minutes before you think you'll need one. There are a number of stipulations -- you must be 21 to use SoberRide, drivers will only take you home, not to another bar or party -- so check SoberRide for the fine print.

If you're taking taxis on New Year's Eve, be smart about when you try to get one. Past experience has taught me that, in D.C., the busiest times are around midnight, when people are party-hopping, and between 3 and 4 a.m., when bars let out. Your best chance of actually hailing a cab is outside those times, probably between 1 and 2:30 a.m.

Yesterday, you listed a number of open-bar parties in D.C. and Silver Spring. Are there any in Falls Church or Arlington?

No. Virginia state law prevents bars from offering "unlimited drinks" for one price, which is why, for example, Clarendon Ballroom's New Year's Eve party offers "four drink tickets" as part of its $65 package.

By Fritz Hahn  | December 28, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
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