Celebrating New Year’s out is often a crap shoot—you can commit a lot of money to a prix fixe meal or station yourself at a bar, and discover midway through the night that it’s not the place you want to be when the ball drops. But considering what a downer 2017 has been, politically and otherwise, if you do venture out this year, it will likely be a cathartic New Year’s, a chance to say a whole hearted goodbye to the past and welcome in a more hopeful year. Here are a few solid choices for your celebration.
Musical sendoffs to 2017
You’re guaranteed to get down with Afrobeat dance band Budos Band, and the Knitting Factory is a small enough venue for the show to feel special and intimate. It’s $50 for GA in advance, and you can add on $250 if you want to reserve a table for six and get a bottle of Veuve Cliquot thrown in. Williamsburg, tickets here.
If you’re feeling less than upbeat about a new year with the same old nasty president, then the Smiths/Morissey tribute band, Sons and Heirs, is the perfect cup of tea. Littlefield, Gowanus, $20-$25
Big and free
It is going to be mighty cold on New Year’s, but if like a really dramatic countdown with your fellow New Yorkers, and Times Square is just a little too big and commercial for you, try Prospect Park’s version at Grand Army Plaza. Live music starts 10:30, fireworks follow at midnight. Free.
The Flamingo Formal at Royal Palms is a warmer option, your chance to look sharp without paying some ridiculous cover in a venue that was designed to cure your winter blues. You’re guaranteed to strike up conversations with other revelers over shuffleboard, too. Doors open at 6pm, free.
A NYE you’ll be talking about years from now…
Inside the new indoor space at Nowadays, you can lay down on the floor and curl up with yoga blankets and pillows and listen to the spaced-out sounds of Planetarium NYE, a hi-fi listening session that will move you, and also satiate you—a buffet dinner is included. After the listening session, they’ll push back the blankets to reveal the wooden dance floor where everyone’s invited for a post-New Year’s dance party (free if you’ve already paid for Planetarium). We haven’t been to the new indoor space yet, but considering what an oasis Nowadays is in summer, we can only imagine how warm an escape it is in winter, too. Indoors at Nowadays, Ridgewood, Planetarium 7pm-12:30am, $75 Mister New Year’s Eve, 12:30am-6am, $40
You could go decadent, and just eat your way toward midnight at a special New Year’s Eve dinner at a classic Brooklyn restaurant like Prime Meats or Maison Premiere. (Prices range from roughly $90-$125 pp.) If you’re feeling adventurous, Freeman’s is opening up a new bar called Banzarbar above its club house-y dining room on the Lower East Side. It’s $180 for canapes, seafood, and other light bites that will not sufficiently soak up all the booze of an open bar and champagne toast. Details here.
Those arctic winds will be blowing hard in the wee hours of Jan. 1, so you might want to consider staying close to home, and celebrating at your favorite watering hole. The Diamond, for instance, is “singing” in the new year with karaoke and a free champagne toast. But if you don’t live anywhere near it, it’s not worth trekking to a tiny bar far from home. Park yourself at your own local instead.
You’ll find more NYE inspiration at Brokelyn, the skint and NonsenseNYC, and feel free to add any parties to the comments below. Wherever you end up, we wish you a safe, happy, healthy and hopeful 2018.