Updated Sunday 12/30 with a few more. I’ve also added a few cover charges which were unknown at the time of the previous update. Originally posted 12/21, which is why you see me talking about going to Christmas parties at the end of the post.
One of my readers requested that I start making a list of what’s going on for New Year’s, what cover charge places are charging, etc. She sent me a starter list. If you can add to the list below shoot me an e-mail. I’ll update it several times between now and the 31st.
Flying Saucer – $15 cover, The Dempseys will be playing. New Year’s Eve is on a Monday, which is normally $2.50 Pint Nite for most drafts; I haven’t confirmed this with management but I would assume that Pint Nite prices will NOT be in effect for the New Year’s Eve party. Also, UFO Club members, who usually can beat cover by showing their card, have to pay to get in for special occasions like New Year’s Eve.
Majestic Grille – no cover. They’ll have their regular menu plus some special dishes Patrick is making to ring in the new year.
EP’s – $35 cover. (Edit: Chef Michael Patrick just e-mailed to let me know the cover includes 15 hors d’ouevres served until midnight.)
Pearl’s Oyster House – Party downstairs 8 PM – 1:30 AM with DJ Andy Boone, free champagne at midnight. $10 in advance, $20 at the door. Or, you can have a $50 four-course fixed price dinner upstairs which includes free admission to the party.
Big Foot Lodge – no cover, $2 34 oz. Big Foot beer 8-10. DJ Tonyology 10-3, free champagne at midnight.
Huey’s Downtown – Eric Hughes Band takes the stage at 9 PM. The newsletter didn’t mention a cover and I doubt Huey’s would charge one.
Hard Rock – Aquanet takes the stage at 9 PM. $15 cover. Aquanet rocks and this would be one of my updated recommendations.
Calhoun’s, the new sports bar on G.E. Patterson Ave. next door to the Cheesecake Corner, will open tonight according to e-mail bulletins sent out last week. Given that it’s opening night, I doubt they’ll be charging a cover.
McGuinness will be open with no cover and a “champaign” toast at midnight. (“Champaign?” Geez. That’s a typo worthy of the Flying Saucer.) I’m adding this one to the recommended list simply because they’re keeping it low-key and not making it a big, huge party.
Circa – Dinner from a special New Year’s menu $90, wine accompaniment $60.
83 Lounge inside the Madison Hotel – Amy and the Trampps will be playing. Ice-carved martini luge bar and gourmet hors d’ouevres. Champagne toast. Reservations required. $83 cover.
Also at the Madison – elegant 5-course New Year’s Eve dinner for $80.
Encore – $65 for 4-course fixed price menu. Music by Jim Wenger and the Jim Spake Duo.
Automatic Slim’s – 4-course fixed price menu ($70); music by the Roy Brewer Combo with Renee Kemper.
Pat O’s – $15 for cover and a beer, or $99 for VIP free drinks and buffet all night.
TJ Mulligan’s Pinch – 3-way will be playing; no idea what the cover is.
Marmalade Lounge – 25th annual New Year’s Eve Ball 10 PM – 2 AM. $25 cover. The Al Rudd’s “Soft Fire Trio” with special guest Willie Covington. Champagne and hors d’ouevres at midnight. Hors d’ouevres menu includes fried chicken tenders, wings of fire, meatballs, salad bar tray, bread and crackers.
Peabody – $50 cover. Cowboy Mouth, Lord T and Eloise and some other bands will be playing. (Edit: You can also get free admission with a dinner at Capriccio for $95 or at Chez Philippe for $125.)
Handy Park on Beale – Free Sol, Oracle & the Mountain, and Richard Johnston.
Senses – $10 cover or $200 for a table. Are you f-ing kidding me? TWO HUNDRED??? Nothing screams “poser” like paying two hundred bucks for a place to be seen sitting.
Note that just because I’ve listed the options above doesn’t mean I recommend them. First of all, let me fill you in on a bias I have: I like crowds but I absolutely HATE bars that are elbow-to-elbow crowded, where you can barely move. I also hate New Year’s Eve because it tends to turn into amateur night at the most popular bars – they fill up with drunk people who believe that the fact that they’re “partying” gives them the right to be as loud and obnoxious and as rude to the people around them as they want.
For that reason, even though I love these two places every other night of the year, I cannot recommend the Saucer (even with the Dempseys there) or EP’s on New Year’s Eve. Sorry guys. Nothing personal. It’s just that I know what kind of crowd will show up.
I went to the Peabody party in 2004 and was not impressed at all. There was a 25-minute line to get drinks, and they had jacked their drink prices to the moon. There was a 15-minute line for the men’s room. It’s possible they’ve improved it in the years since, but I’m not betting on it.
What I would recommend, based on what I’ve seen so far: Majestic or Circa if you want to celebrate with a nice sit-down dinner; Big Foot or Pearl’s if you want to party. (Edit: Add Aquanet at Hard Rock to the “party” list.)
What I’m doing for New Year’s Eve: My group of friends and I are going to hit Majestic about 7 to get a good meal in us. Then, we’re moving on to a private party that I’m helping to organize at an apartment building Downtown. The deal is, about 5 Downtowners (me being one of them) who have large groups of friends decided to bring all our friends together to party on New Year’s. Cool, fun people to hang out with, away from the crowds, and safe.
Whew… so far I’m surviving the Christmas party season. Big Foot’s party last night was awesome. Tonight I’ve got my office Christmas party at Earnestine & Hazel’s, followed by a Sleep Out Louie’s reunion party at TJ Mulligan’s. That party ends at 9… after that I’ll probably end up at the Saucer or Hoop’s.
Sorry I haven’t been posting much – just haven’t had time between work and Christmas parties. Post frequency should pick back up starting tomorrow.