Welcoming the Roaring Twenties LoCo Style

The Roaring Twenties are upon us again.

Yes, it’s been a full century since the start of the famed decade that brought us the jazz age and prohibition. What 2020 has in store remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure: this New Year’s Eve is the perfect time for a Gatsby-inspired party. If you’re in the mood to put on your flapper dress and fedora, there are plenty of options in Loudoun.

            Tarbender’s Lounge in downtown Leesburg has a modern-day speakeasy theme all year long, so of course they’ll be ringing in the new year with a Great Gatsby party. The cozy 19th century building on King Street is full of nooks and crannies with a speakeasy vibe. Co-owners Brandee Baldwin and Paul Zangos opened the spot just over a year ago, and Zangos came up with the idea for the ’20s theme.

            “With these historic buildings, you have to find a niche. You can’t tear down the walls. There are little rooms we have to play with. We figured every room has its niche.” Baldwin said. The restaurant’s honeycomb of rooms feature twenties-inspired murals by Leesburg artist Chris Lynch, and each has a different feel. The owners have already hosted several twenties-themed parties, so a Gatsby-inspired New Year’s Eve was a natural.

            “We’re going to bring it back to the twenties. Dress up like a flapper, gangster, black tie, whatever you want,” Baldwin said. “We want it to be authentic.” Tuesday’s festivities include live jazz from house band the Soul Benders and dancing. 

City Tap Loudoun, which opened in One Loudoun in October, celebrates New Year’s Eve with a high-end 1920s-themed party. [Courtesy of City Tap Loudoun]

            Several other Loudoun hotspots are getting on board with the 1920s theme. Blackfinn Ameripub in Ashburn’s Loudoun Station hosts a Roaring Twenties party featuring 1920s inspired cocktails, midnight toast, and a DJ with optional dinner reservations. Guests are encouraged to dress to impress, whether that’s ’20s inspired or just something a little fancy. Lansdowne Resort and Spa also hosts a Gatsby-inspired party with music from the Gatsby Gang Jazz Band, specialty cocktails, and 1920s-inspired hors d’oeuvres. Twenties attire is encouraged but not required.

            One of the county’s newest venues, City Tap Loudoun, also boasts prohibition-era decor and will be celebrating New Year’s 1920s style. The upscale gastropub, which opened in One Loudoun just two months, ago offers 40 beers on tap along with craft cocktails and wine and features an interior that pays homage to the prohibition era.

“We wanted to give a nod to those who came before us to allow us to enjoy our libations,” said Hilaire Ashworth-Benson, City Tap’s sales and events manager.

            The restaurant’s inaugural New Year’s Eve celebration offers Gatsby-esque decadence to the hilt.

            “We said if we’re going to do this, we’re going to go big,” Ashworth-Benson said.

With a speakeasy theme year-round, a Gatsby-themed New Year’s was a natural at Tarbender’s Lounge in Leesburg [Courtesy of Tarbender’s Lounge]

            The $150 per person event features over-the-top decorations and an extravagant menu, including a raw bar, buffet with carving stations, open bar from 8 p.m. and a midnight toast.

            With nine locations around the U.S., City Tap has hosted successful prohibition-themed parties in other markets and already has lots of interest from regulars in Loudoun. Ashworth-Benson sold the restaurant’s last booth for New Year’s but still has individual tickets available. Twenties garb isn’t required, but there will likely be plenty of period costumes.

            “If you just want to wear something glitzy and a string of pearls, that’s perfectly fine,” Ashworth-Benson said. “You don’t have to go flapper—I have a feeling a lot of people will though.”

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