As 2012 fades into the history books, begin keeping next year’s be-true-to-yourself resolution by doing exactly as you please when the clock strikes midnight. To help craft the perfect evening, we’ve compiled a list of New Year’s Eve celebrations that fit any party style.
Up-and-comers will take over the Adler Planetarium (1300 S. Lake Shore) for Entrepreneur’s Eve, a networking celebration that calls itself “the New Year’s Eve for starters.” Look for a Hennessey Black VIP lounge with cocktails by Drumbar mixologist Ben Newby, a cigar lounge, stellar views of two fireworks shows and an entertainment lineup headlined by New York-based DJ Zeke Thomas. Tickets $200 to $325, and funds help support cancer research via The H Foundation. Find tickets at EntrepreneursEve.com.
Reserve a table in the Parlor Room at the plush new River North restaurant Tortoise Club (350 N. State), where crimson-lacquered walls, red leather banquettes and a flickering fireplace combine to add amore to the changing of the calendar year. Order classics off the regular menu — oysters, lobster thermidor, Berkshire pork chops and more — and stick around for dessert and a slow dance in the lounge. Learn more at Tortoiseclub.com.
Chicago’s pretty young things will vie for tables at River North rooftop nightspot Paris Club (59 W. Hubbard), with a soundtrack provided by DJ Jerzy (shown above). General admission tickers are sold out, but the club’s VIP signature bottle service is still available; Parisclubchicago.com.
For culture vultures
Ring in the new year on a high note as Lyric soprano Kiri Deonarine (currently appearing in “Hansel & Gretel”) headlines the New Philharmonic Orchestra’s “Viennese Pops with a French Twist” concert at Dominican University Performing Arts Center in River Forest (7900 W. Division). Tickets are $65 and include a Champagne toast around 9:30 p.m. — you’ll be home by midnight to watch the ball drop; Home.cod.edu/atthemac/newphilarmonic.
CheekyChicago is teaming up with singles hot spot Vertigo Sky Lounge at the Dana Hotel (2 W. Erie) for a Winter White party complete with an open bar, passed appetizers from Argent Restaurant and Raw Bar, a midnight countdown viewed on a 12-foot screen and a glam all-white dress code. Tickets $135; VIP tables $1,000; Cheekychicago.com.
An early celebration at Lincoln Park’s Fish Bar (2956 N. Sheffield) starts at 5 p.m. and includes kiddie cocktails, party favors, fish sticks and mac ’n’ cheese cupcakes, all designed to appeal to the younger-than-12 set. Call (773) 687-8177 or visit Fishbarchicago.com.
For the wellness buff
A healthful alternative is the annual Yogic New Year’s Eve at the Fine Arts Building (410 S. Michigan) in the Loop. Billed as a night of “meditation, gonging, chanting and community,” the event includes a vegetarian potluck dinner, Kundalini mantra dancing and a midnight fireworks viewing. Registration is $54 for one or $100 per couple; Shaktakaur.com.
For the pampered
Unwind at Wicker Park’s recently renovated Ruby Room (1743-45 W. Division). The inviting suites at the spa’s inn can be had for $155 to $175 for the night, and NYE visitors will get complimentary Champagne and chocolate as well as any two spa services for $150. Having dinner out on the town? Prep with Ruby Room’s $145 NYE special: An intuitive reading, makeup, blow dry and style — and more bubbly, of course; Rubyroom.com.
At the last minute
Forgot to make plans? Worry not: Walk-ins are welcome at the Sofitel’s Le Bar (20 E. Chestnut), where $50 per person includes appetizers, DJ-spun tunes and a Taittinger toast at midnight. Also look to slick new Asian restaurant Red Violet (121 W. Hubbard), where tables and bar seating are fair game between 10:30 p.m. and 2 a.m.; Lebarchicago.com and Redvioletchicago.com.
Go down with the ship at the Music Box Theatre’s (3733 N. Southport) fourth annual “New Year’s Eve on the S.S. Poseidon.” It’s a campy, costumed celebration of the 1972 disaster flick that’s precisely timed so that 2012 viewers share the “horror” of the ocean liner’s stroke-of-midnight demise. Hell in a Handbag Productions provides running commentary. Tickets are $22 in advance ($27 at the door) and include a Champagne toast and party favors; Musicboxtheatre.com.
Many Chicago restaurants will offer early and late seatings for their prix-fixe NYE menus, which usually come with wine pairings for an additional cost. Our top picks? The pheasant with sunchoke foie gras that’s making an appearance at Wicker Park’s sceney Storefront Company (1941 W. North; six courses for $78), the rack of lamb with eggplant at the West Loop’s elegant Sepia (123 N. Jefferson; five courses for $110), the ancho-chile-and-espresso-glazed short ribs at Bridgeport’s organic restaurant Nana (3267 S. Halsted; five courses for $75), and the jerk-spice-seasoned filet mignon with smashed plantains at the just-opened River North spot Baume & Brix (351 W. Hubbard; six courses for $95). All prices are for the seatings closest to midnight; check with the restaurants for more options.
Story by Amalie Drury | Photo by Ramzi Dreessen