It's time to say goodbye to 2014 and usher in the new year with style. New Year's Eve falls on a Wednesday this year, so you can count on New Year's Day and an upcoming weekend as recovery time. With so many parties in the works - from over the top balls to quieter, more romantic affairs - it's tough to choose. Here are 10 options for a fab December 31.
15th Annual New Year's Eve Party at The Drake Hotel
Party Vegas style with over 2,500 guests at the historic Drake Hotel. Four ballrooms of entertainment featuring the hottest local DJs, house, hip hop and Top 40 music will keep you on your dancing toes; premium top shelf spirits, mixed drinks, wine and beer at over 45 fully staffed bars mean your glass will never go empty; and a chef's selection of hors d'oeuvres and appetizer buffet will keep you fueled. A midnight balloon drop and midnight champagne toast help ring the new year in with a pop of style. For tickets, visit chicago-scene.com/new-years-eve-chicago.htm.
Sail into 2015 on New Year's Eve Aboard the Odyssey
Count down 2014 on Odyssey, one of Chicago's premier entertainment cruises, with a delicious dinner, champagne toast at midnight, entertainment, premium open bar, party favors including streamers, noisemakers, hats and tiaras and best of all, a stunning fireworks display with the city skyline as an unforgettable backdrop. Board at Navy Pier at 8:30 p.m.; Cruise departs at 9:30 p.m. and returns at 12:30 a.m., remaining dockside until 1 a.m. Prices starting at $229.90 To make reservations call (866) 305-2469 or visit www.odyssey.com.
Speakeasy Themed New Year's Eve Party at Porkchop
Step a few decades back in time at Porkchop's New Year's Eve speakeasy-themed celebration. The West Loop and Hyde Park locations will both feature live music, drink specials, and a complimentary whiskey toast at midnight to ring in the New Year. Return on New Year's Day for brunch, too: The West Loop and Hyde Park locations will be serving brunch from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., but guests who arrive before 1 p.m. will receive a free Mimosa or Bloody Mary with their entrée.
Porkchop offers a meaty brunch with dishes including chicken and waffles ($12) with fried chicken, a Belgian waffle and ancho chili-infused syrup and a Benedict ($11) with two English muffins, poached eggs, blood orange hollandaise, herb-roasted potatoes and pulled pork or chicken. Reservations at chicagoporkchop.com.
Romantic New Year's Eve at Le Colonial
Celebrate the new year in style at Le Colonial (937 N. Rush Street), Chicago's premier French-Vietnamese restaurant in the city's Gold Coast neighborhood, recently named one of "Chicago's Most Romantic Spots" by Travel + Leisure. All of Le Colonial's favorite menu items will be featured in their signature three-course dinner of authentic Vietnamese cuisine prepared by Executive Chef Chan Le. Diners can choose from a number of dishes from the entire menu, in addition to several specials for each course. Available for $65 per person (excluding tax and gratuity), the menu includes an amuse-bouche, appetizer, entrée, seasonal dessert selection, and coffee or tea.
Additionally, Le Colonial will offer a chef's tasting menu of six courses (including dessert) with wine and cocktail pairings for $200 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. The menu will include off-menu specialties, as well as house favorites prepared by Chef Le. For reservations, call 312-255-0088 or visit www.lecolonialchicago.com.
New Year's Eve at Navy Pier's Crystal Gardens
Celebrate New Year's Eve at Navy Pier's Crystal Gardens - a one-acre botanical garden inside a six-story glass atrium - one of the best party venues in the city. General Admission tickets ($115) include access to over 20 premium liquor bars, red carpet with step and repeat, party favors, and a champagne toast at midnight. Guests will enjoy hors d'oeuvres catered by Phil Stefani Signature Events and music from DJ Kane and DJ J-Rose with a premier view of the Navy Pier fireworks show from a private terrace for Crystal Garden's guests only. Guests will also receive an official after-party wristband. Purchase your tickets at www.crystalgardensNYE.com.
New Year's Eve at the Movies: Lobby Lounge Chicago
Chicagoans are invited to ring in the new year at ShowPlace ICON Theatre and enjoy specials in the Lobby Lounge like the "Goodbye 2013" and "Hello 2014" cocktails, available for $12 each. NYE falls on Lobby Lounge's Wine Wednesdays where guests who are 21+ can enjoy select wines for $4 per glass and $15 per bottle. Additionally, EXTRAS Program Members can take advantage of Free VIP Upgrades at ShowPlace ICON Theatre by presenting their EXTRAS Card at the box office.
Members who sign up at www.showplaceicon.com will have access to exclusive events, special discounts and more. Benefits include the following: invitations to exclusive promotional events for Extras Club members only, advance email notice of films and special presentations, invitations to private screenings, Lobby Lounge special events, and other exclusive opportunities.
New Year's Fireworks at RIVA
A window-side seat at Riva Crab House is one of the best spots in Chicago to catch the New Year's Eve Navy Pier fireworks. Enjoy chef specials and a champagne toast at midnight. The lower level of RIVA will feature a New Year's Eve dance party which includes complimentary hors d'oeuvres, cash bar and a DJ. The party is free to dinner guests or $15 at the door for walk-ins. Must be 21 years and older to be admitted. Reservations can be made via OpenTable or by calling 312-644-7482.
Prix Fixe New Year's Eve at Bistronomic
Executive Chef/Owner Martial Noguier's modern and inviting Gold Coast bistro will offer both four and five-course New Year's Eve prix fixe menu options. The New Year's Eve menus harmonize Noguier's signature seasonal and local flavors with luxurious ingredients in celebration of the festive occasion; highlights include the diver sea scallops with American caviar, homemade fresh porcini mushroom tortellini with black truffle butter, roasted rack of lamb, duo of beef short ribs and tenderloin au poivre, and Martial's chocolate tart. A complete vegetarian chef's tasting menu will also be available. Tax and gratuity are not included. Reservations are required on New Year's Eve and may be made by calling (312) 944-8400 or by visiting OpenTable.com.
NYE Beer Paired Dinner at South Water Kitchen
South Water Kitchen has teamed up with local craft brewery, Ale Syndicate, to offer a 5-Course Beer Pairing New Year's Eve Dinner. Each course features a contemporary Midwestern dish crafted by Executive Chef Roger Waysok and a beer pairing selected by Head Bartender & Certified Cicerone, Dan Rook:
- First Course: Roasted Baby Beet Salad; Baptiste Blood Orange Saison
- Second Course: Thai Blackened Tuna; Suit & Thai Belgian Specialty Ale
- Third Course: Beer Braised Pork Belly; Municipal IPA
- Fourth Course: Petite Filet of Beef, Potato Gratin, Broccolini & Lobster Fondue; Van de Velde Belgo-Pale Ale
- Fifth Course: Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding; Omega Midnight Stout
The price is $75 per person. Reservations can be made online at www.southwaterkitchen.com or by calling: 312-236-9300.
Capo D'Anno at 312 Chicago
312 Chicago will offer a 4-Course "Menu di Capo D'Anno" NYE Dinner with Wine Pairing. Executive Chef Luca Corazzina crafted four options per course (perfect for meat-lovers and vegetarians) while Beverage Director, Tina Majethia, has carefully selected Italian wine pairings per course. The full menu can be found online but guests can expect authentic dishes like Fresh Tagliolini with White Truffles Slices and 24-Month Aged Parmigiano Reggiano and Vanilla Crème Brule topped with fresh berries and caramel sauce.
The price is $70 per person ($100 with wine pairing). Reservations can be made by visiting www.312chicago.com or calling 312-696-2420.