No one knows quite what to expect on Dec. 21, when a 5,125-year cycle of the Mayan calendar draws to a close. But as the supposed apocalyptic deadline draws near, the question looms: How would you spend your final night on Earth?
With end-of-the-world parties planned throughout the city, organizers are hoping the answer involves revelry, not cowering in doomsday dread.
Inspired by rumors of solar storms, earthquakes and polar shifts, the crew at Brightest Young Things will convert the underground level of the space at 700 H St. NE into a secure fallout shelter (which it actually was, back in the day).
They plan to party like there’s no tomorrow, thus no hangover to fear, with strong drinks and four musical acts, including remix masters RAC and synth-pop band Ghost Beach. Local arts group No Kings Collective will unveil disaster-themed art installations and a photo booth will be on hand so you can update your Facebook profile picture one last time.
The party starts at 8:30 p.m., and early bird tickets are available for $16. Organizers plan to pause the ballyhoo at midnight for a group hug, pending a reprieve from cataclysmic destruction, and continue partying until 2 a.m.
Another consideration for civilization’s end is where to reserve your last supper.
Penn Quarter favorite Poste Moderne Brasserie (555 Eighth St. NW) guarantees its “Final Feast” will keep you sated for eternity. The eight-course meal prepared by Chef Dennis Marrone will feature oysters, caviar, foie gras and other extravagant delicacies, each paired with wine or spirits. Guests can raise glasses of rare Armangac, tete de cuvee Champagne or Casa Dragones tequila — which retails for about $250 per bottle — to toast the end of mankind.
Keeping with the Mayan theme, the $180 prix-fixe menu includes a dessert course of chocolate buttercream cake, garnished with flakes of gold. Two seatings are available, at 6 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.
The Jefferson Hotel’s restaurant, Plume (1200 16th St. NW), is another option for doomsday dining that doesn’t consist of hunkering in a bunker with canned soup. An “End of The Mayan Calendar Tasting Menu” from executive chef Chris Jakubiec and sommelier Michael Scaffidi features decadent offerings such as lobster thermidor gratin and pave of Kobe-style beef, prepared with a nod to Mayan culture. The six-course, prix-fixe spread will cost you $85.
For an early taste of the end times, the hotel’s cocktail lounge, Quill, will be serving caviar tacos throughout the month, with a potato “shell,” horseradish creme fraiche, red onion and parsley.
If the catastrophic comets, asteroids and/or hidden planets rumored to be colliding with Earth four days before Christmas make you feel more like thrashing than feasting, Black Cat (1811 14th St. NW) has you covered. The independent music venue and dive bar has lined up four local punk acts to provide a soundtrack for world destruction: The A.K.s, The Max Levine Ensemble, The Shirks and Booze Riot. Tickets are $10, and doors open at 9 p.m.
If you don’t believe the doomsday theories, sunnier predictions have cast the end of the Mayan calendar cycle as an opportunity for new beginnings.
At The Fillmore (8656 Colesville Rd.) in Silver Spring, local rock station DC 101 will count down the seconds to midnight, then release a torrent of black balloons. Station manager James Howard said the night will be “like New Years, but in reverse.”
The End of the World Party features performances by alternative rockers Beware of Darkness and the folk-infused group Churchill. Paying homage to the doomsday theme, melodic pop rock band Go Radio will perform their piano-driven ballad “Go to Hell.”
Though the event is for all ages, revelers 21 and older will be treated to drink specials at a shelter-themed bar, including El Diablo cocktails and plenty of dark beer. When the sentimental mood strikes, attendees can record 15-second video confessionals and goodbyes to their loved ones. Tickets are $10 in advance, with special guests elevated to “R.I.P.” status. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m.
Beyond the Beltway, Baltimore’s Rams Head Live is hosting an end-of-the-world edition of its monthly showcase of Maryland-based music makers. Headlining the night is the appropriately named art-rock group The Mayan Factor. The band has been dormant since the death of lead singer Ray Schuler in February 2011. The group’s final album, “Yesterday’s Son,” will be released at the show. Eight other bands are on tap for the evening, and the music starts at 6:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $12.
Finally, for those who decide to go out at home, you can bid the world adieu on your own in proper Mayan style with recipes from “Flavors of Belize: The Cookbook.” Concoctions of Mayan origin include kack’ick soup of turkey and roasted vegetables, sweet corn tamale ducunu and cochinita pibil, a slow-roasted pork dish.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.