Editor’s note: Double-check all events to make sure they’re still happening, there have been ongoing cancellations due to the post-holiday surge in COVID cases.
While there are plenty people who spend days cleaning, making party food and curating the perfect playlist ahead of entertaining a houseful of guests on New Year’s Eve — I don’t know any of those people. But if you’re more the type who wants to have fun while someone else does the planning and execution, this preview has got you covered.
To be certain, life is not back to its pre-pandemic flow yet [and people should follow all health and safety guidelines or requirements for any events or gatherings]. But there are plenty local establishments prepared to offer entertainment as we all bid farewells to 2021 and usher in the hopefully positive and transformative turnaround of 2022. What they can’t do for you, however, is determine your New Year’s resolutions. That’s still on you.
Here is a quick rundown of some local options:
Is it ever New Year’s Eve in Richmond without fire? Not according to the Party Liberation Front, who will once again be presenting its annual Decemberween New Year’s Eve extravaganza. And yes, Virginia, it’ll include all the music, dancing, creativity, costumes, camaraderie and community fun that has defined this very Richmond event in the past. Both Diversity Richmond’s enormous 15,000-square foot event space, as well as their spacious outdoor area, will be transformed into multiple immersive environments for fire performances and live music. Count on three stages showcasing bands and DJs, interactive art installations, circus arts, performance arts, outdoor pyro-sculptures and mutant vehicle showcases. And that doesn’t even include the three libation stations, various food trucks and distinctive vendors eager to serve you. Covid requirements are listed out on PLF’s website and will be enforced.
Decemberween New Year’s Eve will be held from 8 p.m. – 4 a.m. at Diversity Richmond, 1407 Sherwood Avenue, plfrva.com
If you missed the disco era and long to feel its sweaty, bass-heavy magic, check out Tang & Biscuit’s Studio 54 New Year’s Eve Bash. Don your best polyester and platform shoes, the better to dance non-stop to Shades of Gray, a six-piece dance band that knows a little something about getting the party started. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and you definitely should plan to arrive early to snag the best possible table for the evening. Shades of Gray kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and plays right through the complimentary toast – but by then, it’ll be 2022 and maybe time to start looking for that safe ride home.
Tang & Biscuit’s Studio 54 New Year’s Eve Bash will be held 6:30 p.m. – 1 a.m. at 3406 W. Moore St, tangandbiscuit.com
Looking for more of a chill way to kiss 2021 goodbye? Head on down to Jackson Ward and everyone’s favorite former firehouse, Gallery 5, for All That Glitters, a sparkling New Year’s Eve celebration. Spend the evening among local art – be sure to look up for “All That Glitters,” the hanging sculpture show currently on display – as well as live music by the Ayinde Williams jazz trio, with DJ Olnubi providing the music between sets. Your admission ticket ensures that there will be a glass of bubbly in your hand when the clock strikes 2022.
All That Glitters New Year’s Eve party will be held at Gallery 5, 8 p.m. – 2 a.m., 200 W. Marshall St., gallery5arts.org
Just looking for a mighty good time with some live music? Then check out The Mighty Good Times New Years Eve with Cassidy Snider and the Wranglers at the Camel. The group’s most recent album is the alternately smoking and sultry “Losing Lovers,” a powerhouse collection of twanged-out, blues-folk that mixes the sounds of New Orleans with the Blue Ridge Mountains – led by transfixing lead singer, Cassidy Snider, who “brings the sun with her wherever she goes.” Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.
The Mighty Good Times New Years Eve party with Cassidy Snider and the Wranglers will be held at the Camel starting at 9 p.m. 1621 W. Broad St. thecamel.org.
Maybe live DJs are more your thing. If so, you can’t go wrong at the Fuzzy Cactus New Year’s Eve 2021 celebration featuring DJ sets by Bedspread, Ben Speed, DJ Devolved and DJ Dogpants. There will be door prizes for best dancer and worst dancer, best dressed and worst dressed, from Fuzzy Cactus and Vinyl Conflict. Your ticket gets you access to a buffet as well as free PBR on tap from 9 to 10 p.m. and free pool all night long. Affordable $20 advance tickets are available. But you must provide proof of vaccination or negative COVID test within 72 hours, no exceptions or refunds.
The Fuzzy Cactus New Year’s Eve 2021 celebration starts at 9 p.m. at Fuzzy Cactus, 221 West Brookland Park Boulevard. fuzzycactusrva.com.
UPDATE: CLOSED ON NYE: The pink tree is up at Quirk Hotel and we all know what that means: it’s holiday time in Richmond. But not everyone wants a raucous party to welcome in the new year, either. If you can think of nothing finer than spending the evening sipping, supping and listening to vinyl, listen up because this is the celebration for you. Quirk’s lobby bar, which offers rustic American craft cooking, is offering a four-course family style New Year’s Eve dinner, complete with live vinyl listening provided by the Warming Hut. Dinner seatings will be limited to 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., but reservations are a must for a mellow evening of great food and vinyl music.
Quirk Hotel, 201 W. Broad Street will host revelers at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Reservations on Open Table
As western culture has spread around the world, New Year’s Day has become one of India’s more popular holidays. And with New Year’s Day inevitably comes New Year’s Eve festivities. To celebrate Indian style a bit closer to home, pull out your dressiest duds and celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Cultural Center of India. Just don’t expect a typical American celebration. Instead, you’ll be treated to exhibitions of southeast Asian dance, a fashion showcase, live Dholi drum performances and unlimited food. Rest assured, there’s also a cash bar. If dancing is your thing, D.C. celebrity DJ Nicki will be in the house spinning music to work off all that food. Think of it as a New Year’s Eve you’re not likely to encounter elsewhere in Richmond. Making it even more unique, it’s a family-friendly event.
New Year’s Eve at the Cultural Center of India will be held from 7 p.m. – 1 a.m. at the Cultural Center of India, 6641 Ironbridge Parkway. cciva.org
One admission ticket gets you into three venues at Switch Pop-Up Bar’s New Year’s Eve Masquerade Celebration. For those new to Switch, it’s a cocktail bar that immerses guests in two interactive art installation-based bars. Upstairs is the Moulin Rouge-inspired “Behind the Curtain” bar, while downstairs in the basement, you’ll find “Nightmare on Broad Street.” For New Year’s Eve, Sonora, the rooftop sports bar next door will also be part of the fun. Your admission ticket gets you access to all three venues, with live DJs and two bars in each, burlesque dancers at Switch and an appetizer buffet from 9 – 10 p.m. at Sonora. But remember, it’s a masquerade party, so plan your disguise accordingly.
Switch Pop-Up Bar will be held at 11 and 13 W. Broad Street, 9 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. switchrva.com