Here are some of our favorite destinations for the big night out. Whether you want to be back home before the ball drops, or you're all in for dinner and dancing, there's something here for you. Do remember to call ahead for reservations, as some of these events sell out quickly. Find info about New Year's Eve hotels, music, theatre, art, comedy, and more in our New Year's Guide.
BAR & RESTAURANT EMPLOYEE NEW YEAR'S EVE Affectionately known as BARENYE, this event is for those who work on NYE. Everything you expect from such a soiree – countdown, balloon drop, prizes, a Champagne toast, etc. – will be there a day early. Sun., Dec. 30, 9pm. Speakeasy, 412 Congress, 477-2789. Free. www.barenye.eventbrite.com.
BLACK STAR CO-OP BEER PAIRING FEAST offers a special beer-pairing, four-course journey of sea, air, land, and abyss for you and yours. "Sea" features Gulf shrimp, redfish mousseline, and Texas citrus brussels; the humble duck stars in "air"; "land" includes natural beef rib eye; and "abyss" ends the meal with brie, marmalade, and shortbread. Beers include Vulcan Ale, Triple Dee, Epsilon, and Mobius. 7-9pm. 7020 Easy Wind, 452-2337. $75.
CAFE JOSIE is offering a four-course, tropics-inspired prix fixe menu, with gluten-free options for each course. Entrées include slow-roasted pork shoulder and pepita redfish. If you choose to enjoy a six- or seven-course evening, appetizer and dessert courses are also available. 1200-B W. Sixth, 322-9226. $50.
THE CARILLON Chef Josh Watkins has planned a seven-course menu using several techniques, with each highlighted ingredient balancing sweet, salty, sour, and umami, which means "savory" in Japanese. Caviar, hamachi, lobster, wild mushrooms, foie, Kobe beef, and banana are all on parade. 5:30-9pm. 1900 University Ave. (AT&T Conference Center), 404-3655. $125, plus $85 for wine pairings.
CORAZON AT CASTLE HILL will be serving a special three-course prix fixe dinner that showcases the bold flavors of the Mediterranean with Chef Michael Taddeo's grilled half rack of lamb with a guajillo chile sauce, roasted duck breast with a pasilla chile and black Thai curry sauce, and sauteed Gulf redfish with a lemon oregano aioli and savory bread pudding. 5-9:30pm. 1101 W. Fifth, 476-0728. $35.95 to $41.95.
ESTÂNCÍA CHURRASCARÍA Enjoy a South American New Year's Eve with a fantastic selection of savory meats, authentic Brazilian side dishes, and a fresh salad bar. Complimentary glasses of Champagne to toast are included. 4894 Hwy. 290 W., 345-5600. $38.50.
FINO Restaurant Patio & Bar Executive Chef Andrew MacArthur and Chef de Cuisine Luke Hursey have been planning your evening with a special menu that includes scallop & sea urchin tagliatelle as well as duck breast & confit leg with oyster mushrooms, sweet potato, and pomegranate. The oysters on the half shell may have you infatuated before the ball drops. 2905 San Gabriel, 474-2905.
FOREIGN & DOMESTIC "Wild Foods, Wild Night" is the theme, with a focus on wild and foraged foods, and each course will be paired with wine. Is roasted Scottish langoustine with basil, snails, persimmon, and curried shellfish nage wild enough for you? A Champagne toast ends the meal. 7 & 9:30pm. 306 E. 53rd, 459-1010. $125, including wine pairings.
HYDE PARK BAR & GRILL Both locations are open for your à la carte New Year's Eve repast. Enjoy specials such as Wagyu beef short rib, grits, and giant, head-on Gulf shrimp. The south location is also throwing a party on the patio at 9:30pm, with complimentary small bites and champagne toasts for both Eastern and Central time zones. Specially priced cocktails start at $5. 4521 Westgate Blvd., 899-2700; 4206 Duval, 458-3168. Patio Party: $10.
IMPERIA The exotic atmosphere here stands ready with four distinct areas in which to find yourself: the main dining room, traditional tatami booths, a lounge, and a raucous bar. Dinner will be served until 11pm, but the party goes on until 2am. You'll find a great wine list, but it's the rainbow of cocktails that is truly inspired here. 310 Colorado, 472-6770.
MAX'S WINE DIVE Celebrating the history of New York City and the era of the first ball drop, the special menu includes beef tongue pastrami with rutabaga latkes, veal tenderloin Diane-style, and cheesecake mousse. Open seating for the prix fixe menu from 7-10pm; upstairs seating with an enhanced regular menu from 4pm to midnight. 207 San Jacinto, 904-0111. $65, plus $30 for wine pairings.
PAGGI HOUSE A special à la carte menu from Drew Dunston and Ruston Richardson, wine guidance from sommelier Chris McFall, and a midnight Champagne toast with a view of the fireworks display on Lady Bird Lake are a few of the goodies in store to ring in the new year. 5pm. 200 Lee Barton, 473-3700.
PARKSIDE Hors d'oeuvres and desserts by chef Shawn Cirkiel, DJ sets from Bigface, Manolo Black and Deejay Resinthol, plus a Champagne toast should ring it in right. We think an open bar with a photo booth is a dangerous idea. 301 E. Sixth, 474-9898. Prix fixe dinner: $60. Party: $100.
PERRY'S STEAKHOUSE & GRILLE offers a special three-course menu followed by a Champagne toast at midnight. The countdown, midnight celebration, and Champagne toast will be in the Bar79 lounge area. Reservations are limited. 114 W. Seventh, 474-6300. $54.95 before 5:30pm; $74.95 after 6pm.
PHARA'S Enjoy a full Mediterranean-inspired menu, live music from Atash and the Flying Balalaika Brothers, and a hookah party in the courtyard with belly dancers! 7pm-2am. 111 E. North Loop, 632-7067. $50.
RESTAURANT JEZEBEL Chef Parind Vora offers two seatings for a luxurious prix fixe menu that will feature five courses, each offering decadent dishes for guests to choose from and customize their own tasting menu. Reservations required. 5:30 & 8:30pm. 800 W. Sixth, 436-9643. $100.
SPIDER HOUSE PATIO BAR & CAFE If you want to get the evening off the ground with an early dinner, a show, and Champagne to flow, indulge in this Diva Deluxe Package. It includes admission to the Meow Mix Dinner & Cabaret event: a candlelit dinner with live entertainment provided by Mistress Stephanie & Her Melodic Cat, followed by DJ Kittens scratching it up in the Spider House Ballroom. Dinner, catered by Ararat Mid-East Fusion, includes Champagne, as well as all-night access to the Seventies Dance Masquerade Party throughout the compound. DJ Prince Klassen brings the ball down at midnight. Presale tickets available. 6-8pm. 2908 Fruth, 480-9562. $65.
SULLIVAN'S STEAKHOUSE will have live music in the bar and a four-course dinner. There are two seatings, before and after 6pm. 300 Colorado, 495-6504. First seating: $59; Second seating: $79.
SWAY MODERN THAI CUISINE hosts a premium open bar all night, with beer, wine, sake, and Champagne. Enjoy a contemporary Thai feast and then move on to the dance floor bounce of DJ Honeycomb. 8pm-2am. 1417 S. First, 326-1999. $150.
SWIFT'S ATTIC Reserve one of two seatings for a four-course spread from the kitchen of Mat Clouser, Zack Northcutt, and Callie Speer, with options such as grilled Texas oysters, warm brussels salad, and braised pork shank with Forbidden Black Rice. Then hit the dance floor with DJ Digg and DJ Tats until 2am. 6 & 8pm. 315 Congress #200, 482-8842. $60, plus $50 for wine pairings; all-inclusive party reservations start at $75.
TENOAK DJ entertainment starts at 9:30pm on the TenOak patio and in the Elixir Lounge, where you can get bottle service and multiple balloon drops with reserved seating and VIP options. Dinner seatings from 5:30pm-11pm. Reserve early, as this one sells out quickly. 409 Colorado, 472-2822. Starting at $20.
THE VINTAGE HOUSE AT MESSINA HOF Dancing and cocktails, plus an elegant dinner featuring roasted butternut squash soup laced with Pinot Grigio, Port raspberry balsamic glazed quail, grilled mahi mahi, and a dessert bar to feast on. 4545 Old Reliance Rd., Bryan, 979/778-9463 x224. Starts at $49.99.
THREADGILL'S NORTH If what you're looking for is dinner and a show, come on up to the original Threadgill's for music by Jimmy LaFave, a bubbly toast, and all the down-home favorites you can eat. 6416 N. Lamar, 451-5440. $75.
ZED'S is featuring a three-course menu, plus Austin jazz favorite Jeff Lofton performing from 9:30pm-12:30am. Choose from main courses such as duck breast with goat cheese blini, elderberry liquor, and chile glaze, or pan-seared scallops infused with vanilla. 5pm. 501 W. Canyon Ridge, 339-9337. $45, plus $5 for a glass of Champagne.
OPAL DIVINE'S All locations will be open on New Year's Day with a curative brunch that includes black-eyed peas and Divine Bloody Marys. Tue., Jan. 1, 10am-3pm. Various locations.
For lots more event listings, see our New Year's Guide.
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