WASHINGTON — While 2020 provided plenty of challenging moments for everyone, some venues in the region found ways to ring in 2021 on Thursday.
Due to the pandemic, many traditional events around the area were canceled.
Instead, organizers moved things online to bring people together while also avoiding large crowds.
Craft Beer Cellar partnered with Pizzeria Paradiso and Denizens Brewing Company on Thursday night to host a virtual beer and dinner tasting.
For $60, people could sign up to receive a package of craft beer and food ranging from a mixed green salad and onion soup to an artisan pizza and pear upside-down cake.
Craft Beer Cellar hosted other similar virtual events earlier in the year and said the digital gathering for New Year's Eve served as a way for people to safely come together.
"Since we have formed this community and we’re able to help out the breweries and restaurants by doing these, we said New Year's Eve seems like the perfect time to do it," said owner Erika Goedrich. "Everybody’s challenges were unique and their own but we suffered together and I feel like we should celebrate together.”
Other events on Thursday night included a livestreamed concert from inside the Hamilton.
Normally, hundreds of people would have been packed inside the music venue and restaurant for holiday events.
However, manager David Moran said the pandemic required staff to think creatively for New Year's Eve festivities.
"We think it’s simply just important to keep live music alive. We sold food and beverage packages that go along with it," he said. "We understand the best way to get open for business is for people to stay home and be safe right now.”
The 19th Street Band was scheduled to perform through midnight at the venue.
Instead of ordering tickets to go inside, people instead bought $20 livestream access for the show. For a bit more, groups could also buy food and drink packages to enjoy during the night.
"We tried to make it so if you couldn’t come to the Hamilton to party with us like we have the last 10 years, we’ll bring the party to you," Moran said. "If you want to be in your bubble with your friends, here’s a safe way you can do it in your home.”
After a tough year for so many, Moran said it was important to offer a way for people to come together.
"To us, this was equally important to put a performance on tonight simply to have live music broadcast," he said.
"Hopefully, we bring a little bit of joy to an otherwise pretty crappy year.”