New Year’s Eve at the National Building Museum Receives Major Complaints on GOG

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘erin m’

Update: See below for apology letter. Did they pass the blame?

We love New Years in DC, but what happened here?? 85 “Reader Reviews” (and counting) of the New Years Eve Party at the National Building Museum hosted by the guys behind Gin & Tonic and Late Night Shots gave the party one and a half stars out of four.

At the forefront, this sounds like what you would typically expect at a huge NYE party: long lines, trouble getting drinks, and unreasonably high ticket prices. While some of the complaints about the party not living up to its expectations obviously led to some angry partygoers, some of the comments are pretty serious, including significant damage being done to the National Building Museum.

A lot of people are really, really unhappy with what they got for their money. So somewhere, there was definitely a mismatch of expectations and reality.

To quote one reviewer who pretty much sums up the other commenters: 

How to begin? To say this event was terrible does not begin to describe the across-the-board disaster that was New Years 2010 at the National Building Museum. Lines in the rain? Check. Lines for the bathroom? Check. People peeing in janitor’s closets? Check. People stealing bottles of Vodka from behind the bar? Check. People throwing potted plants in the fountain when the booze ran out at 10:30? check. Were our coats stolen? You betcha! Were we almost trampled to death near the coat room? Definitely. This experience cost $100? Seriously?

(And, there is now a Facebook page dedicated to the event’s shortcomings.)

Were you there? Is this worse than the typical NYE fiasco?

Update: Apology Letter

Thank you for coming to New Year’s at the National Building Museum. We are writing to address some of the issues that arose throughout the night.
This New Year’s party was an attempt to scale our Halloween party, which received positive marks across the board. We recognize, however, that the party fell short in a number of areas. Two of the more pressing issues were the bar situation and the coat check. We were appropriately horrified when at 11:00 we realized the bars were not being stocked quickly enough. The catering company oversaw this process, and it clearly was not handled properly. By the end of the evening, there were numerous liquor cases and supplies remaining that had not yet been distributed. This issue was compounded by the unprofessionalism of the catering company’s bartenders. Additionally, only half the number of coat check attendees we requested were provided. When we encountered each of these issues, we provided as much assistance as we could by personally carrying cases to bars and taking coat check tickets at the end of the night. 
Being that we are peers of the majority of our attendees, it is our utmost priority to produce top quality events. We are aware of this event’s shortcomings, and are taking steps to address them with our caterers, our staff and, ultimately, ourselves since the responsibility lies on our shoulders.
As a gesture of goodwill and apology for the issues encountered by the attendees of the party, we will be offering $50 gift cards redeemable at George or Gin & Tonic to all Building Museum NYE attendees. To have your card sent to you, please register at this site: The password is ###.
We would also like to help those of you who left clothing items at the Museum. The Museum will be open to the public today until 5 pm, and again on Monday. All items are locked in the back office and the adjacent room. If you mistakenly picked up someone else’s coat, please let us know and we will do all we can to help connect people in order to find the rightful owners.
If you have feedback or have already sent us an email we will respond to every correspondence individually. We hope you have a happy New Year.
Reed and Fritz

Cathy was fortunate to spend a year in Paris – traveling to all surrounding countries and touring all that is worthy. Upon realizing that there is no place like home (she does hail from Kansas City – but did not click her heels to get back – thank you, Air France), she returned to America where she set out to explore every last inch of our massive country. From her base in the nation’s capital, she has worked in marketing and event planning for the past 4 years. Mail any and all DC related tips to Cathy (at) WeLoveDC (dot) com.

35 thoughts on “New Year’s Eve at the National Building Museum Receives Major Complaints on GOG

  1. Definitely true – hour long lines to get in, hour long lines to check your coat, hour long lines to get a drink, and surprise, hour long lines for the restrooms. They ran out of alcohol at the 8 bars (it was advertisted that there would be 35 bars in total) by 10:30 PM, the bartenders were complete assholes, and we didn’t even get a new year’s countdown or champagne toast.

    Bah humbug.

  2. I had fun. It’s NYE with 2000+ young adults, its going to be a Sh*tshow… anyone who didn’t expect that is naive. Yes there were major logistical problems, but I know a lot of people who DID have fun and made the most out of a bad situation.

  3. @Leigh: which one are you, Brogan or Landry? If you call having your possessions stolen, destroying a museum, UTI, and fraud fun, then I feel for you. There’s a class action lawsuit in the works against these guys and they’d be smart to go ahead and refund money before they are professionally bankrupted.

  4. @Tommy I have never met either organizer. And you’re right my things were not stolen because I was not stupid enough to throw my coat on a chair somewhere. I did not destroy the museum because I am not an immature a**hole. (Blame the drunk jerks who did that, not the organizers, I recognized TONS of people would get there at exactly 8 and the line would be nuts ( have you ever attended a huge event before?) So i got there at 9:30 and did not wait at all. I fully prepared myself for chaos before I got there knowing it would be insanity. So yes, I had a great time. We all know it was a disaster and they messed up big time but I for one, and many of my friends had fun.

  5. Anything less than a partial refund (and not a gift certificate to some shitty bar) should not cut it. At the very least those that bought VIP tickets should get refunded the difference (as there was none). I made the best of the situation and ended up having a halfway decent time. But a NYE event at a place like that at that price means I shouldn’t have to (among other things) eventually go behind the bar to get my own drinks, protect my girlfriend from getting trampled at “coat check”, and stop a stranger from throwing a plant from the balcony at the stage.

    To pretend that this party wasn’t a complete shitshow and a disgrace is a stretch. I have been to other similar events, including one at the NBM and they were nothing like that. Frat parties are organized better than that (and don’t involve material destruction of a historic building). My bet is the folks at LNS went budget with their catering company/security in an effort to inflate their profit margin.

    I saw ABC news out there again today doing a story on the party.

  6. @Leigh….Give me a break. You must have still been on your roofie high that Reed gave you at the door. This party was a complete fraud and legal action is in order. I don’t know how these two can even live with themselves knowing they screwed so many people out of a LOT of money. Just like everyone else, I want a FULL refund. If that doesn’t happen, I hope the building museum sticks it to them in damages they caused to the building. These two are a disgrace and how can anyone seriously patron George, Gin and Tonic, or Kitchen 2404 after this is beyond me. It was a disgusting display of geed by Fritz Brogan and Reed Landry. Disgusting.

  7. My bag was stolen waiting in line to get in the building. My jacket was ripped out of my hand at coat check and in the argument to get it back my pearl necklace disappeared. WORST NYE EVER. I will never go to one of their events again.

    If you have a small old gray and black ish Gucci bag with a small Coach wallet and a blackberry storm in it or a gray Banana Republic long pea coat with pockets in the front size small or medium please let me know Thanks, and good luck to everyone else finding their stuff!

  8. Reading these comments reinforces why I stay well clear of large events on NYE…. Why do people bother with these things? I had a fabulous time at the downstairs bar of Marvin. Wagyu steak, foie gras, excellent cocktails. Seriously, smaller events are the way to go for NYE. Just say no to the madness next year.

    (oh, and hello to another Larsen. How funny.)

  9. @Leigh: you are clearly one of the lucky ones. And the stolen coats were not exlusively the ones not checked. In fact, it appears that checking coats was the best way to get them stolen. And the destruction and choas is, legally, the responsibility of the organizers, due to the lack of security, ineffective ID and ticket policy, and general lack of a presence. The people you refer to who were destroying property and stealing alcohol are the people that would be promptly removed from a halfway-properly run event. I too was able to have some fun because my friends were there, but that doesn’t mean that I got value. We paid a third party to take care of the drinks, music, and venue. We did not get those services. Instead, we got an unreasonably high, and grossly negligent, risk of personal harm and property destruction. I’m glad to hear that you had a good time and none of this happened to you, but its is obvious you are the very rare exception. I knew to expect some headaches, and have done these things before with some diminished delivery, but this went beyond the pale.

  10. Dick Clark, who is half a retard now with his stroke damaged brain could have put together a better party than these two nerds. These two guys are supposed to represent the ultimate in Georgetown “sceniness?” Please.

  11. @Leigh: I’m sorry, one more thing. Just to be clear, are you sure you went to the NYE 2009 party at National Building Museum? You said you got there at 9:30 and there wasnt a line. That’s when I got there and the line was an hour long. It was the people (friends of mine) who got there at 8 that had no line. Was there a door we were all missing? I’m not trying to discredit you, I’m genuinely curious.

  12. My friends and I attended briefly before cutting our losses. Fritz and Reed are complete, absolute frauds.

  13. Yes, NBM… left my house at 9:30, so perhaps it was closer to 9:45 when I actually stepped inside without a wait. I thought there was only one entrance, but maybe I stumbled across a side door? I do feel bad for the people who had a terrible time, I guess I have just been to enough of these overcrowded parties to mentally prepare myself and plan accordingly

  14. The line for me was like 20-5 minutes. I got there around 930. But yea the party didnt deliver on any of the goods/services advertised.

    If a fight had broken out it could have gone on for 10 minutes until a security guard might have noticed.

  15. @Leigh – I think they opened up a side entrance at some point. I got there at 8:30 and there was only 1 entrance with a very long line… later on I saw people coming through a side entrance right across the street from the Metro exit.

    On a separate note, please don’t make this about “you knowing what to expect.” A sh*tshow is one thing, spending all but 30 minutes of your night in line for something is quite another. I think the point is that the crappiness of the night far exceeded anybody’s reasonable expectations.

  16. So who was this mystery caterer they blame? Those of us who are really in the business want to know.

    It IS up to the event organizer to pay for enough bartenders and staff (through the caterer) to have a smooth event. Sounds to me like they cheaped out.

    If the vendor really is to blame, then the event management shouldn’t have much if any of a bill to pay from that company, and therefore should be have plenty of money to pay for the attorneys they are going to need.

    Wonder if they purchased liability insurance in advance? Ha ha! I crack me up.


  17. @ Leigh….It’s unfortunate to hear you, one of I think two out of over a hundred comments on the Going Out Guide comment thread, say that this party was acceptable in any way. Reed and Fritz were counting on everyone being just like you…..willing to throw away money for some sort of lame frat like party…..thank goodness you’re in the extreme minority.

  18. I attended this party, and it was a disaster logistically. I think I might be the one reviewer to say that I enjoyed myself. I will say however that I am shocked and appalled at the behavior of certain attendees. I have heard reports that people were relieving themselves in closets, playing in the fountain, throwing pots into the fountain, and most disturbingly using the marble columns and railings to open beer bottles. NBM is such a beautiful venue, and it’s so sad that certain guests would vandalize it.

  19. This party was lame. These 2 As*holes are genius. Charge high prices for admission, hire very few bar tenders in hopes that people can’t drink as much because they are waiting in line, hire terrible(cheap) entertainment, hire minimum security…brilliant.

    Reed Landry and Fritz Brogan threw this party to bump up there “street credit” but all they did was make a profit at the expense of their names. The liquor selection was of the lowest caliber and minimum in stock, the beer was gone before the liquor, there was no countdown and the security was so frustrated at the end, those men started to act like neanderthals in hopes to keep some sort of order.

    I feel bad for those who paid for VIP, which turned out to be a hallway that was manned by some poor teenager who had no control over the flow of people. I snuck into the VIP area in search of a bathroom and noticed the “Event Host Private party: Invited Guests only”. I can only imagine what kind of liquor and beer selection they had.

    When it was all said in done, I was reduced to drinking straight Kentucky Gentlemen(because they ran out of soda) after I waited 45minutes at the bar, my girlfriend coat was given away(from the official coat check) and I was threatened by a bouncer when I asked to re-enter to get her coat. But I’m sure Reed and Fritz knew about all of these problems right? Or were they at their banks drive-thru deposit box laughing hysterically with a few future date rape victims in their back seat?

    Black List Reed Landry and Fritz Brogan from Washington DC

  20. We got there around 9:15 and waited for about 30 minutes. I understand the rain wasn’t the hosts fault, but that line certainly was. From there it took 40 more minutes to get to a restroom and use it and another 30 minutes waiting at a bar for a drink.

    While waiting at the bar, I watched the staff screw up numerous drink orders (with quite possibly the most bottom-shelf liquor I’ve ever seen). Additionally, who serves non-twist top domestic beers at a massive event? That’s why people were crudely attempting to use rails and columns to open beers.

    We left around 11 and just took a cab back to our friend’s house. I like the idea of giving the $50 gift certificate to a homeless person.

  21. The best thing to do to get revenge is write letters to the Building Museum, and local news outlet, and dispute the charge with your payment company (Paypal, Visa, Bank).

    Let’s show these clowns that they cant rip us off.

  22. I would have rather spent 4 hours at the gynocologist than EVER go to another one of their parties again. I was there, and it was absolutely horrible.

  23. they planned the party for 3000 people. once they sold all 3000 tickets extreamly quick they realized they could sell more and sold close to 5800. you hire staff for 3000 and bring in almost double, this happens and its their fault.

  24. Sounds like this was a sh$tshow. Good thing I was at Griers house doing lines all night

  25. These are the same people that socialize with Salahis and all the other phonies in GTown. Most of these idiots don’t even live in GTown. They are hanger-ons. I was stiffed by a couple of Reed’s pals during inauguration over a party I catered for them. None of these people work in politics, government or non-profts and have no business in DC other than leeching off of hard working people. I could have told you this party would suck. No surprise at all. I almost made the mistake of recently doing an event at Reed’s bar in GTown and his assistant was so arrogant I didn’t even return her email. I just walked away. I say boycott Reed, Late Night Shots, City Tavern Club, Smith Point and any other place where these morons frequent. The new White House crasher is also part of this scene. Birds of a feather! Buyer beware because you’ve been warned.

  26. Pingback: Vox Populi » LateNightShots throws a terrible New Year’s Eve party

  27. I had to pose as Security and convince one of the (immigrant) bartenders that I worked there and we needed a bottle of Champagne, Vodka, & Wine for one of the private rooms and he gave it to me!!! That made our night completely worthwhile for me and my friends.

    If it wasn’t for that I would’ve been peeing in the fountain, lighting a coat bonfire, and vomiting off the railing. What stinks is next year will probably be good because they’ll have all their sh*t in order.

    I was hoping it would’ve been like Capitale in NYC -the greatest NYE event ever!

  28. I just read 5800 tickets sold. These two guys took in over 600K.. and judging by the lack of, well, everything – appropriate security, bartending, coat-check, no party favors (hats, glasses, – heck, I’d have even settled for confetti) and rail read rot-gut vodka (they ran out of ICE!!! had only Club or Tonic as mixers). To say it was on level of a frat party is a serious insult to frat parties. These douche bags think they can get away with I’m guessing 500K profit, with the bare minimum they spent, jeopardizing the safety and property of others? That’s sick. Not only will there be a class action suit, I’m hoping they serve time for reckelss endangerment – I understand several girls went to the hospital. More scary – well-run parties in DC (like the Hyatt) will likely have to up their bill next year, because a’holes like these two put people in jeopardy – bumping everyone’s insurance rates..

  29. I would just like to say that is IS possible to go to a large event and have a good time. I went to the HiBall “Big Night DC” event at the Gaylord National, which had 6,000+ guests. It is obviously a much-better managed event (by a reputable event promoter). The bar lines were not very long, there was plenty of food, and they did not run out of anything. There was a countdown at midnight and it was totally fun and awesome. My friends and I stayed in a hotel room there, so we didn’t have to go home that night either. I attended last year’s event there too, so this was my second POSITIVE experience in a row. It just goes to show you that if you are going to attend a big event on NYE, you need to go with one that has been well-estabished and received positive reviews for many years.

  30. My husband and I flew in from Florida to visit a friend that had just moved to D.C. to attend this event. Shocked and dissapointed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt after arriving at this event. It was absolute chaos. We waited in line for 30 minutes IN THE COLD RAIN in full black tie attire. We paid over $300.00 for my husband and I’s VIP tickets and there wasn’t even a line for VIP??? That was the first joke. They never checked our tickets for VIP so anyone could have paid half as much and drank along with me if they could have even got a drink! Coat check? You have to be kidding….Lines were soooooo long and after the rain I wanted my promised top shelf liquor. An hour later I was dead sober still waiting for my top shelf liquor. I don’t know how they do things in D.C., but top shelf does NOT consist of Svedka vodka in Orlando, which consequently ran out at 11pm anyways! Thankfully I was amongst good company and with the help of fellow friends and stolen bottles of liquor, we were able to laugh off the joke of VIP access to the “biggest party in D.C.”
    They should be ashamed of themselves!