I don’t know how it is in other cities but DC gets itself into a veritable tizzy over November 15th when the new crop of Beaujolais Nouveau arrives. Restaurants give out free wine, the mayor dances on tables of Bistrot Du Coin and everyone’s week revolves around getting that free taster. And the wine in itself is not even that good, you know, buy hey, its a “holiday” celebrating drinking, so who are we to say no to it?
Now, I was going to write and extensive plan of events for you (some of the events are in the calendar already), but guess what?
Washington’s Nightlife Agenda already did one and since NO ONE LOVES their Beaujolais more than Fritz, you can bet that they covered every angle. So follow the link to read ALL OF THEM (like you can actually attend 85 wine parties in 3 days), or read our “best of” handy excerpt below:
Bistrot du Coin’s Beaujolais Nouveau Party aka the Mother of all Beaujolais Nouveau Events
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.
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.
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.
plus, as a bonus, courtesy of gridskipper here is a variety of other Wine Bars in DC for you to
try your luck at.