New Year's Eve Dining & Lodging

It's time to start making reservations, party people

Crystal Ball
Crystal Ball

ANDIAMO RISTORANTE features a classic Italian five-course meal with a glass of celebratory Cham­pagne for every guest. Reservations required. 5-10pm. 2521 Rutland. $62. www.andiamoitaliano.com.

ARARAT RISING An eclectic celebration with the Sangre del Sol fire spinners, air-brush body painting, tarot card readings, and an after-hours hookah bar, plus music by the Righteous Tidings, DJ Marymac, and Doctor Bullet. A dinner buffet, organic coffees, and a pomegranate Champagne toast are included, and drag king troupe Kings-N-Things will be there shakin' it up at this quantum leap of a party. BYOB. 8pm-2am. Mercury Hall, 615 Cardinal, 236-1226 or 474-TIXS. $50. www.myspace.com/araratrestaurant.

AUSTIN STEAM TRAIN: TWILIGHT FLYER If you're looking for a classy night full of style, whimsy, and a sense of humor, this is your affair. The Flyer will take you on a Hill Country journey complete with a full buffet meal, beer, wine, and Champagne. Plus, Laughing Out-Loud Productions will provide celebrity impersonators (mature content – adults only, please). Few seats remain; make your reservations now. 9pm-1am. 477-8468. $125. www.austinsteamtrain.org.

CAFE JULIENNE Wine and dine yourself with a three-course meal of high-end American cuisine. Pick and choose your courses ranging from duck confit salad with sugar pecans and pear slaw to local quail roulade. When your night is done, plop yourself into your bed upstairs at the Stephen F. Austin Hotel, or walk off your celebratory spirits Downtown. 6-9pm. 701 Congress, 721-4288. $80.

CAP CITY COMEDY NEW YEAR'S SHOW WITH JOE ROGAN Although we have come to know and love him as the host of Fear Factor and News Radio, Rogan is also a veteran man of the mic, so he probably won't be coaxing anyone to bury themselves in cockroaches this New Year's Eve. (We said probably.) Tonight's late-show audience gets a midnight Champagne toast, breakfast buffet, and party favors. 8 & 10:30pm. Cap City Comedy Club, 8120 Research #100, 467-2333. Early show: $30 ($35, reserved seating); late show: $60 ($65, reserved). www.capcitycomedy.com.

CRÚ: A WINE BAR Rather than get a meal with wine pairings, why not get wine with meal pairings? Crú presents a four-course dinner tailored to complement their extensive wine selection. Reservations required. (Special gala seating at 9pm; price includes midnight Champagne, party hats, noisemakers, and music.) 238 W. Second, 472-WINE. $37.50, first seating (5-8pm); $65, gala seating (9, 9:30, & 10pm); wine, extra charge.

CRYSTAL BALL This annual Eastside Community Connection fundraiser is an elegant way to celebrate the holiday, with big-band music, an open bar, and a gourmet dinner. A live auction takes place at 10pm, including goodies like a hunting trip to King Ranch and Round Rock Express tickets; all proceeds benefit ECC's work helping Austin families rise above the poverty line. 7pm-12:30pm. Mansion at Judges' Hill, 1900 Rio Grande, 495-1800. $150. www.crystalballaustin.com.

DINNER AT THE DRISKILL GRILLE Start your New Year's Eve off the correct way with a prix fixe gourmet dinner. Call it your pregame before the storm, but instead of cheap beer at the house, it's a seven-course meal and a bottle of Champagne. Reservations required. 5:30-8:30pm. Driskill Grill, 604 Brazos, 391-7162. $125, early seating; $185, late seating. www.driskillgrill.com.

DOÑA EMILIA'S Enjoy a four-course prix fixe menu of Latin goodness paired with some of Austin's best salsa/merengue, courtesy of Cienfuegos (9pm & 1am). The tasty lineup includes an appetizer pairing of Texas goat cheese and sweetened with panela sauce served with grilled white corn cakes. Yum. Mon., Dec. 31. Doña Emilia's South American Bar & Grill, 101 San Jacinto, 478-2520. First seating (5-8pm), $29-49; late seating (8-11pm), $49-69. www.donaemilias.com.

A NIGHT OF ELEGANCE AT THE DRISKILL Strap on your slacks and silk tie for this annual gala featuring the big-band sounds of Mr. Fabulous and a gourmet five-course meal with wine pairings. Dance the night away on a happy belly while awaiting the midnight Champagne toast and balloon drop; don't forget your party favors and souvenir photos. Fancy! 7:30pm-12:30am. Driskill Hot­el, 604 Brazos, 474-5911. $225. www.driskillhotel.com.

FADÓ Double your pleasure by ringing in 2008 twice this year – celebrate the Irish New Year with a Champagne toast at 6pm, and celebrate again at 12mid with a Champagne reception. In the meantime, enjoy your favorite traditional Irish dishes along with drinks, party favors, and music from the Blaggards. 6pm. 214 W. Fourth, 457-0172. $20. www.fadoirishpub.com/austin.

FINO This New Year's, the Fino chefs are ready to show off their stuff. Enjoy four courses of Mediter­ranean-style dishes featuring high-end ingredients and a little extra flair befitting the spirit of the evening. Reservations required. 5-11pm. 2905 San Gabriel, 474-2905. $65. www.finoaustin.com.

FOUR SEASONS Enjoy a special New Year's Eve meal at the Four Seasons' new restaurant this evening (for more on Trio, see "TRIO at the Four Seasons"), or just hang in the Lobby Lounge (8pm-12mid), where house favorite Brett Cline works the keys over while you party your pants off, waiting for the traditional balloon drop at midnight (after which you're free to retire to your cozy hotel room). 98 San Jacinto, 478-4500. Lobby Lounge: $25; hotel packages start at $340 (add Dec. 30 for $20.07, or Jan. 1 for $20.08). www.fourseasons.com.

HYATT LOST PINES features a New Year's Eve with Texan flair, including a barbecue buffet, Texas two steppin', carriage rides, glow-in-the-dark putt-putt, face painting, fireworks, and lots of fun for the kids and teens. Package includes accommodations for two adults and two young ones, with breakfast the following morning. (There will be a whole weekend of New Year's festivities in Bas­trop, including the New Orleans Parade on Sat. Dec. 29, and then Sunday's New Orleans Extra­va­ganza Concert featuring Grammy Award-winning Dr. John and Hannibal Lokumbe with his 70-person choir. Tix are available through Hyatt Lost Pines. Highly recommended.) 5pm. 575 Hyatt Lost Pines Rd., Bastrop, 512/308-1234. $339.

MCCORMICK & SCHMICK'S brings you a special New Year's Eve menu at both locations, showcasing an Australian rock lobster tail with a fillet

for $49.95. Live music at the Downtown restaurant and a free Champagne toast at midnight! Reservations required. Mon., Dec. 31 (restaurant open till 11pm; bar till 12mid). 401 Congress, 236-9600; 11600 Century Oaks Terrace, 836-0500. www.mccormickandschmicks.com.

MURDER MYSTERY DINNER Munch on garlic bread, and ponder who dunnit. Catch the show at 7pm, or enjoy the late 10pm dinner show of Really Bad Santa! Seats are going fast, so make your reservation soon. 7 & 10pm. Spaghetti Warehouse, 117 W. Fourth, 404-9123. $29.95. www.capcitymystery.com/spaghetti.html.

PRIMIZIE OSTERIA Italian and world fusion come together with fresh, seasonal ingredients in a six-course fixed-price menu (or four courses for the early seating), with a glass of Prosecco Froz­za upon arrival. A complete vegetarian menu will be available. (Reservations required by Thu., Dec. 27, 5pm.) 1000 E. 11th. $60 (5-6pm, four courses); $75 (after 6pm, six courses). www.primizieaustin.com.

SAME YEAR'S EVE PARTY Every improviser in the city is going to be at the Hideout for this wild-ass, joyously unfettered, tear-the-old-year-down celebration. Improv games, scenes, long-form, and musical stories – followed by a party as only the Austin Improv Collective can host. Sun., Dec. 30, 8pm. The Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress, 443-3688. www.hideouttheatre.com

STEPHEN F. AUSTIN HOTEL Party it up in the bar while Margaret Wright tickles the keys for your listening pleasure. Hors d'oeuvres and dessert provided, as well as a glass of Champagne at midnight. The best part: the bed upstairs and breakfast waiting for you in the morning. 10pm. InterContinental Stephen F. Austin, 701 Congress, 457-8800. $379 ($50, without accommodations). www.austin.intercontinental.com.

NEW YEAR'S WEEKEND INTENSIVE Led by sanyasi preachers of the beautiful Barsana Dham, this weekendlong stay is one of relaxation, meditation, and tranquility far from the shenanigans in the city. Families are welcome to the yoga classes and meditation sessions, and a 24-hour continuous chant known as Akhand Sankirtan will take place from noon on New Year's Eve to noon the following day. Fri.-Tue., Dec. 28-Jan. 1. Barsana Dham, 400 Barsana Rd., 288-7180. Whole weekend: $101 per family; single day: $25 per family; chant, free (all fees exclude room charges, which vary). www.barsanadham.org.


See next week's New Year's Eve Guide for more.

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