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Posted at 1:40 PM ET, 12/30/2010

New Year's Eve FAQ: Free parties, drink specials and dancing

By Fritz Hahn

New Year's Eve is tomorrow. And while some of the big hotel parties and all-inclusive events have sold out, many of the questions we're getting from readers are about celebrations that are low-key and free or relatively inexpensive. (Apparently some bars are hearing the same thing: Duffy's canceled plans for a big open-bar event and instead will be open with a $5 cover charge and midnight toast. After years of pricey parties, Lucky Bar is scaling back to a no-cover celebration.)

Can you suggest some cheap -- or free -- parties with dancing?
The U Street Music Hall party helmed by DJs Tittsworth, Dave Nada and the Nouveau Riche crew is going to be bonkers. It's only $10, and tickets will be available when doors open at 9. (So get there early.)

The annual Soul Monkey party at Sticky Rice features some stellar funk and house DJs, including Meistro, Deep Sang, Joe L. and Juan Zapata, for just $5 at the door. (Get there early.)

DJ Soul Call Paul of the monthly Big Bad City party is spinning vintage soul and funk for free at Dodge City.

Science Club's lounge is open as usual with DJs; there's an optional open bar for $25.

Lucky Bar has DJs spinning popular tunes from 5 p.m. until the wee hours (and $3 champagne from 3 to 8).

Cobalt is covering the spectrum from hip-hop to house for $10, with an optional champagne open bar for an extra $5.

The new Rustik is hosting a disco-themed party for its neighbors.

Continental's annual bash has a DJ spinning dance tunes among the pool tables and dart lanes.

Want some brews with your beats? Dogfish Head in Falls Church is bringing in a DJ and special beers, and you'll only pay for the latter.

Commonwealth is hosting a Vicars and Tarts party, an English costume party where guests dress like either men of the cloth or ladies of the night. The kitchen's open until 1 a.m. and a DJ provides the tunes.

Any drink specials to be found?
What, free "champagne" at midnight isn't good enough for you? But yes, some bars are offering specials on New Year's Eve. Two of the best: both Bourbon locations (Adams Morgan and Glover Park) are offering cut-price drinks all night, including half-price wine, happy hour prices on beers, and half-price pours of the high-end Willett bourbons, which are some of the finest on the market. R.F.D. promises $5 drafts and discounts on rare bottles from open until close.

What bars are just going to be open as usual?
Plenty of them, ranging from Biergarten Haus to Buffalo Billiards. Grab a special champagne cocktail at Room 11 or a can of beer at the Red Derby, or get your first look at the Bier Baron, which just replaced the Brickskeller. Play skee-ball at Iron Horse Tap Room or watch the ball drop on flatscreens at Nellie's Sports Bar.

See our full list of bars with no cover charge on New Year's Eve.

Also, don't forget to check out our FAQs about what to do with the kids, bar hours and transportation, and beer specials, fireworks and where to find food after the ball drops.

By Fritz Hahn  | December 30, 2010; 1:40 PM ET
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