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Hit NYE in NYC: The Best New Year's Eve Parties in New York

Hit NYE in NYC: The Best New Year's Eve Parties in New York Photo

Photo by IgoUgo Staff

Posted on December 28, 2012 in Holiday Travel

On New Year's Eve in New York, you'll find all kinds and clubs, pubs, bars and lounges offering all-you-can-drink packages. Famed travel blogger Jessie Festa researched the best NYE parties and tells you how to get in...instead of being left out in the cold.

New Year's Eve Parties: Open Bar

Abe & Arthur's is a contemporary American brasserie located in Manhattan's nightlife hub, the Meatpacking District. The vibe is classic 1930s, with aged antique mirrors, a varnished zinc bar and a grand ceiling, with high-quality cocktails reminiscent of the times. For New Year's Eve, they'll be hosting a party from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM with premium open bar, midnight Champagne toast, DJ, photographer and festive party favors. Tickets start at $85. Call (646) 289-3930 to make a reservation.

Known to have hosted celebrities like Edward Norton, Brody Jenner and Whitney Port, The Ainsworth is a cozy, old-world pub with an upscale vibe. Even so, they're offering an affordable option for party-goers from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM with a five-hour premium open bar, festive party favors, a live streaming of the ball drop, midnight Champagne toast, photographer and a DJ spinning everything from Top 40s to 80s to hip hop. Tickets start at $85. Call (212) 741-0645 to make a reservation.

For those looking for a wild NYC, Michael Sinensky of Funbars is featuring all-you-can-drink packages at a few of his locations. At SideBAR in Union Square, Village Pourhouse on the Upper West Side and in the East Village and Little Town in Union Square,  party-goers can enjoy five hours of open bar, dinner and a live DJ from 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM. Tickets cost $75 or two for $160, and can be purchased by emailing

Do you want to imbibe in a classier kind of atmosphere? Celebrate at Felice 15 Gold Street, located in Gild Hall, a Thompson Hotel, and the upstairs wine lounge La Soffitta. Felice 15 Gold Street will be serving dinner until 11:00 PM, with specials including olive oil and herb marinated buffalo carpaccio with home made potato gnocchi, robioloa cheese, and shaved winter truffle for an appetizer ($20), homemade pappardelle with wild boar ragu, juniper berries, and ricotta impastata ($24) and pan seared speck wrapped monkfish with vegetable couscous, and a pink peppercorn thyme sauce ($32). From 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM in La Soffitta, there will be live jazz, following by music until 2:00 AM. The venue is offering at open bar package for $85 per person, which includes all-you-can-drink from 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM. Walk-ins are welcome but reservations at La Soffitta require purchase of the package. Call 212-785-5950 to make a reservation.

New York Hotel Parties & Packages

If you'd rather not have to deal with party planning but still want to stay in a hotel, many of New York City's hotels feature special packages. For over-the-top luxury, the Mandarin Oriental New York is throwing a New Year's Eve Gala on their 36th floor ballroom featuring views of Central Park and the city skyline. From 8:00 PM, there will be an open bar cocktail hour, Louis Roederer Brut NV Champagne and hors 'devours. Afterward, guests can enjoy a formal dinner and surprise entertainment followed by an expensive dessert buffet and live music from Hank Lane Orchestras. If you'd like to stay overnight, they're also offering a "New Year's Eve Celebration" package for two people at $4,860 including two tickets to the party, two nights of accommodation in a deluxe room and daily breakfast. Call (212) 830-9391 to book.

The iconic Trump SoHo allows you to stay out of Times Square while still enjoying the holiday. They're offering a "Ring In 2013" package that includes a two-night stay in a well-appointed guest room and two tickets to their onsite party. The celebration on their 46th floor goes from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM and features aerial city views, premium open bar and canapés like caviar, oysters and bacon-wrapped lamb. The package is based on double occupancy and starts at $2,600. Call 1-877-828-7080 to book.

Centrally located on W. 37th off Fifth Avenue, The Strand Hotel NYC is hosting a New Year's Eve "One Night Extravaganza" package. For $1,295 based on double occupancy, guests will receive a Deluxe King room, a five course degustation dinner and  reserved seating for two with open bar and Champagne bottle at Top of the Strand Retractable Rooftop Bar. Call (212) 448-1024 to book.

For those on a budget, The Bowery House in NoLita is featuring rooms for $161 per night and a rooftop party on New Year’s Eve. The rooftop party begins at 7:00 PM and is open to guests as well as the outside public. Admission is $30 and includes a welcome drink. Moreover, the rooftop will be covered with a tent and space heaters will be placed throughout in order to keep guests warm.  Food will be served from Pearl & Ash, the new restaurant downstairs from The Bowery House, and drinks will be available for purchase. There is a two night stay minimum for those arriving on December 30 and a three night stay minimum for those arriving on December 29. Call (212) 837-2373 to book.

NYC Cruises

An interesting alternative to the indoor dance floor is to opt for a cruise of the Hudson River. Hornblower Cruises and Events offers a luxury boat ride aboard their Hornblower Hybrid Yacht. Party-goers can take in views of the city skyline as well as the midnight fireworks show over the iconic Statue of Liberty while enjoying a boarding cocktail, gourmet hors d'oeuvres, a seated four-course dinner, premium open bar, a midnight Champagne toast, a DJ and live music. The cruise boards at 8:30 PM and tickets start at $360. Here's the booking link.

CitySightseeing New York  is offering a fun boat party on their Majestic Princess Ship. For $275 per person, enjoy premium open bar, hors d'oeuvres, dancing, a formal dinner and midnight toast. The cruise leaves at 9:00 PM and goes until 1:00 AM. For something more budget-friendly, the company is also hosting a 3-hour Fireworks Cruise for $150. The festive excursion includes open bar, live DJ, midnight toast and a chance to see a vibrant fireworks show. The cruise goes from 10:00 PM until 1:00 AM. Visit the booking link.

Affairs Afloat will be hosting a New Year's Eve cruise party from 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM. While one of the more budget-friendly cruise options with tickets starting at $85, guests will still receive four hours of well open bar, a midnight Champagne toast, DJ and themed party favors.

New Year's Eve Dinner Events

For an evening of seasonal Nordic fare and jazz music, Michelin-starred Aquavit will host The Bryan Reeder Trio from 7:00 PM to 1:00 AM. Guests can start in the lounge with a handcrafted cocktail like the "Bjork" with rye, cardamaro, birch syrup and orange or "The Knockout," a mixture of kronan Swedish punsch, DH Krahn gin and orange juice. Listen to the performance live before migrating to the rustic dining room where you'll sample a Nordic tasting from Chef Marcus Jenmark, beginning with a typical staple, Gravlax, but with an innovative fois gras twist. Enjoy dishes like smoked wild halibut, Perigord truffle with russet potato and venison pastrami with horseradish "gari" and creme fraiche, before ending with a Strawberry and Lemon Dessert with Champagne gelee. Call (212) 307-7311 to make a reservation.

At Little Town on Restaurant Row, they will host a VIP dinner and open bar from 7:00 PM to midnight. From 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM there will be a 3-course dinner served with the beer or cocktail of the guest's choice for $50. Expect succulent dishes like fresh Long Island top neck clams with a garlic pesto crust, Little Italy sausage and peppers mac and cheese and house-made pesto with grilled chicken over penne pasta. If you'd like a bottle of Champagne with your meal, attend the seating from 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM for $90. Throughout the event, there will be an optional VIP open bar, which costs $80 for one person or $100 for two people. Call 212.677.6300 to make a reservation.

And if you’re a laid-back type of person who wants to eat but without all the flair, Artichoke Basille's Pizza & Bar is hosting an open bar party along with delicious pizza slices. Before you judge, keep in mind this is considered by many New Yorkers - including myself - to be New York’s absolute best pizza. And the fact it’ll be served with a side of all-you-can-drink ensures it will be one delicious and tipsy New Year’s Eve. Tickets are $55.

New York Comedy

If you want To ensure a night of laughter on your last night of the year, comedy clubs are a good option.

For the cheapest New Year's possible, head to the People's Improv Theatre (PIT) for an open mic comedy night at 11:00 PM hosted by Jamie Reed. Cover is $1, and if you're brave enough you can even be part of the show. Call (212) 563-7488 to make a reservation.

AMC 34th Street will host their 2nd annual New Year's Comedy Festival. The event will showcase both established comedians as well as up-and-coming talent while allowing guests to imbibe during a five hour premium open bar from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM. Tickets start at $55.

This year, the famous Gotham Comedy Club will be hosting “New Year’s Eve with Pete Correale,” also featuring Angelo Lozada & Ophira Eisenberg. Correale has been featured on Comedy Central as well as numerous comedy clubs and festivals around the world and was named one of Entertainment Weekly’s top 10 comics to watch. There will be two showings, one at 8:30 PM and one at 10:30 PM. If you opt for the later time, you can take advantage of their special show packages, like the “VIP” for $120, which includes open bar, party favors, midnight Champagne toast and gratuity, or the $500 per couples “VIP Gold,” which includes the same as the VIP packages as well as a private table, a bottle of Champagne, food, a Gotham T-Shirt, signed comedy DVD and the ability to skip the line. General admission starts at $25.

NYC Concerts

For those who would rather hear top bands than stand outside in the cold, there are a range of shows and concerts going on in NYC. At the Beacon Theatre, the Southern rock jam band Gov't Mule is playing at 9:00 PM, with tickets starting at $60.

Phish fans who don't mind shelling out a few hundred can head to Madison Garden at 8:00 PM. While the concert is sold out, tickets are being sold on StubHub

For a budget-friendly concert, RJD2 along with supporting acts Chrome Sparks and Com Truise will be playing a show at the Gramercy Theatre at 8:30 PM, with tickets starting at just $35.

Also a good option for those looking to have fun without spending a fortune is The Felice Brothers show at Mercury Lounge. They’ll be playing from 8:30 PM along with Yellowbirds and Mail the Horse with tickets starting at $40.

At the Bowery Ballroom, progressive bluegrass lovers can catch the Punch Brothers along with Michael Daves. While the show is sold out, those interested can purchase tickets on StubHub from $54.78.

Holy Ghost fans can catch the American synthpop duo at the Brooklyn Bowl with Midnight Magic and DJ Matt Cash. The show begins at 10:00 PM with tickets starting at $45. If you think you’ll still have energy afterward, enjoy a DJ set from The Juan Maclean at 1:00 AM for $10.

NYC New Year's Eve: Quirkier Fare

While many people spend New Year's Eve consuming calories from beer, wine and chicken wings, others spend the holiday burning them. It all starts with the New York Road Runners' Emerald Nuts Midnight Run. From 10:00 PM on December 31, attendees enjoy dancing and a costume parade and contest at the Central Park Bandshell. This is followed by a 4-mile run at midnight, passing iconic landmarks, sipping sparkling cider and enjoying vibrant fireworks - not to mention nonstop laughter in the fact your sprinting down the streets in a tutu. Prizes include $500 for the first place winner, $300 for the second place winner and $200 for the third place winner.

If you'd like to turn the event into a two-day triathlon, wake up early the next day and ride your bike to Coney Island for the annual Polar Bear Dip. You'll meet the other daring swimmers on the boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue, with the plunge taking place at 1:00 PM sharp.

New Year's Eve is full of expectations for the future, but why not channel your inner child instead? The Big Apple Circus will be at Lincoln Center for two shows on New Year’s Eve, at 12:30 PM and 9:30 PM. Watch hysterical clowns, death-defying feats, flexible contortionists, high-flying acrobatics and of course, beautiful animals. Tickets start at $25.  

For those who are looking for an evening of unusual debauchery, Murray Hill's Annual NYE Extravaganza, a variety show packed with comedy, booze, go go dancing, burlesque, singing, and wacky performances, surprises audiences yet again at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. This year's lineup includes names like Dirty Martini, Bridget Everett, Angie Pontani, Neal Medlyn, Trixie Little & Evil Hate Monkey, Amber Martin and DJ Sirlinda. There's even a Champagne toast, hundreds of dollar store balloons and live monkey. Tickets start at $25.

If you want to ring in the new year with stars like Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, AMC 34th Street will host their 2nd annual New Year's Eve Silver Screen Festival. Along with a five hour open bar from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM, there will be screenings of black and white film classics. Tickets start at $45.

While bowling may not sound like the most exciting New Year's Eve event, Frames NYC is turning the game into a party. They'll be hosting a celebration in their bowling alley/restaurant/bar/nightclub in one at 7:00 PM that includes bowling, a six hour premium open bar, DJ, a midnight Champagne toast, party favors and live broadcasting of the ball drop.

By Jessica Festa

Jessie loves nothing more than her backpack. With a Masters degree in Communication she had a choice; find a steady job or live the dream. She was always going to choose the latter. On her blog, Jessie on a Journey, she covers lesser-known destinations as well as popular places from new and unusual perspectives. She also writes for Fodor's, Gadling and the Huffington Post, among others. You can follow her travels and writing on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

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