We know in many homes at fetes, people gather in the kitchen. It is the warmth and light of a home. It also is the source of sustenance so people flock to it by instinct. If your kitchen is a good meeting place then it would be okay to encourage this with food set out, drink bar etc. But if you would like your group to congregate in the living room, family room, and dining room, then you need to have music, food and activities out there. Having a new year washington dc party is just like the other holidays in this sense.
Have your food ready to go so you are not spending time in the kitchen yourself and not enjoying your guests. I guarantee you will end up with people following you in there and if you are trying to keep that room open, this is the last thing you want. A Washington DC New Years Eve party should be about spending time together, not worrying about the food and refreshments. All that worrying should be done ahead of time!
Keep your music for your washington d.c. new years' party at decent level that it can be heard above conversations but make sure it is not making people yell to be heard. Having a smaller party is considered more intimate, so keep it that way by not creating barriers, like too loud music, to your guests speaking to each other and you. You can always change the volume as is needed or create another room that is for conversations. If someone perhaps is avoiding conversation for the night, they may welcome a room that they can go to to not have to talk at your washington dc new years party.
Play some games at your Washington DC New Years Eve party. There are always wonderful card or dice games that keep going for hours and keep many entertained. This will appeal to any gamblers you may invite who will want to play for money. Have a happy and safe new year 2013!