5 Reasons Why January Rules — We Promise!

UPDATE: January may be winding down, but there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the month — here's our cheat sheet to what to do right now. This story was originally published on December 31, 2012.
The holidays may have just ended, but we're already feeling the dreaded seasonal slump — maybe it's the natural low after weeks of sugar highs, or maybe it's the cold, hard realization that winter is finally here. Either way, January has never really been our favorite month — fortunately, we're about to change all that.
We've got the coolest to-do list for the month ahead, and you're going to want to pencil in every last one of our picks — from buzzy restos to your new favorite nightspots. (And even a little Ryan Gosling, for good measure.) So, what are you waiting for? Fire up your Gcal and start planning!
1 of 5
The District isn't exactly known for its Russian hot spots (Russia House aside), but the opening of Mari Vanna in Dupont has us pretty excited. With only one other location in the U.S., the new 6,500-square-foot D.C. eatery is the company's largest location in the world. The three-level restaurant serves home-style Russian cuisine — think blinis, caviar, and homemade dumplings — in a tea-party-meets-grandma’s-parlor atmosphere. Oh, and we should probably mention the 70+ varieties of house-infused vodka.

Where: 1141 Connecticut Avenue NW; 202-783-7777.

Photo: Courtesy of Mari Vanna/Travis Vaughn
2 of 5
It seems like we've been waiting for Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken for ages, so we're naturally pretty excited that the current pop-up operation will get a brick-and-mortar space this month. Chef Jason Gehring has been whipping up some insanely tasty, grown-up twists on the classic pastry — think flavors like Maple Bacon, Bourbon Vanilla, and Crème Brûlée — and will eventually offer as many as 10 different flavors per day. Until the official space opens, you can place a catering order via email or by calling 202-809-5565.

Photo: Courtesy of Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken
3 of 5
The St. Regis hotel bar is getting a facelift this month, as the existing sleek-but-uninviting space is transformed into a traditional English club, full of comfy leather sofas and wood accents. We're predicting that, post-renovation, this will be the perfect spot to meet up for a pint before a night out.

Where: 923 16th Street NW; 202-638-2626.

Photo: Courtesy of The St. Regis Hotel
4 of 5
Just because your New Year's resolution is to do more cardio doesn't mean you have to chain yourself to a treadmill. Instead, head to D.C.'s newest nightlife venue, Heist, and get your sweaty, adrenaline-boosting fix on the dance floor. Our advice: Go earlier in the week if you want the best tunes and the most room to groove.

Where: 1802 Jefferson Place NW; 202-716-2055.

Photo: Courtesy of Heist
5 of 5
Start the New Year off right with a little more culture in your life — and we don't mean the boring kind, either. The Shakespeare Theatre hosts a new run of the Broadway musical FELA!, based on the life of legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti. The song-and-dance spectacular is produced by Jay-Z and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, so it's guaranteed to be a good time.

Where: Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F Street NW; 202-547-1122.

Photo: Courtesy of The Shakespeare Theatre