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HOUSTON PRESS NEW YEAR'S EVE GUIDE

Kiss 2008 goodbye in style

To a New Year

Ready to say goodbye to 2008 with its Hurricane Ike and economic tailspin? Not sure about how the next year will go? Don't sit at home brooding — get your party best on and hit the town. Houston's bars, clubs and restaurants are setting up for a mind-blowing New Year's Eve. With music and champagne at the ready, most are offering special deals that should fit your budget. So stare 2009 in the face and get out there.

Alden Houston

1117 Prairie, 832-200-8879

www.aldenhotels.com

The Alden Hotel will be hosting a New Year's Eve Party out on the veranda, complete with an open bar, party favors, a DJ and dance floor, and a champagne toast at midnight. After midnight, the resident restaurant, *17, will be serving breakfast bites. RSVP by December 19 to courtney.briggs@aldenhotels.com, and if you're interested in special treatment, check out the Overnight Rockin' Eve package at $368 a couple. Visit the Web site for more details.

Alexander the Great Fine Greek Cuisine 3055 Sage Rd., suite 170, 713-622-2778 www.alexanderthegreatgreek.comThis year, experience New Year's Eve at Alexander the Great Fine Greek Cuisine. The first seating will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m., with the regular menu, at $50 per person. The second seating will be from 7:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.; $75 per person will get you a four-course meal, a complimentary champagne toast at midnight, party favors and entertainment throughout the night with live music and belly dancers.

Arena Theatre

7326 Southwest Fwy., 713-988-1020

www.arenahouston.com

Fantasia and Rickey Smiley will be performing at the Arena, the historic in-the-round theater, on New Year's Eve. The show is called "Jokes and Gams" and should be a great showcase for the American Idol star.

Bar Rio

6400 Richmond

www.ArmandvanHelden.com

Bar Rio is presenting the New Year's Eve Ball 2009 with Armand Van Helden as its musical guest for the largest musical NYE event Houston has ever seen. There'll be a free champagne toast at midnight and the largest balloon drop in Houston. A world-famous DJ will be performing a live broadcast of Ball Drop in Times Square. There will also be a mind-blowing light and visual show. Also attending will be Houston's finest DJs and sexiest go-go dancers, and there will be an amazing magic show.

The Belvedere 1131-01 Uptown Park Blvd., 713-552-9271 www.belvedereinfo.comStart the New Year out in Latin style with DJ Nelson from Miami spinning all night. The $25 cover will get you in the door and includes lavish hors d'oeuvres and complimentary champagne. Call for table reservations.

The Big Easy

5731 Kirby, 713-523-9999

The focus here is on local blues and zydeco artists — the living legends from Houston's heyday as one of the country's top blues towns, and the club's high volume level and physical intimacy offer patrons the chance to put these titans under a visual and aural microscope. This New Year's Eve brings a live show by Guitar Shorty.

Big Texas Dance Hall & Saloon (Spring)

19959 Holzwarth, 281-353-8898

www.bigtexassaloon.com/spring.html

Aaron Watson will be performing at Big Texas to celebrate the New Year's approach. The Abilene-based artist will probably be doing some tunes from his Angels & Outlaws CD. There'll be a midnight countdown, party favors and a balloon drop. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Bistro Don Camillo 6510 Del Monte Dr., 713-782-3011Head over to Bistro Don Camillo, where, for $68 per person (tax and service not included), you can enjoy the food and atmosphere this holiday season with seatings at 6, 6:30, 7, 7:30 and 8 p.m. For $78 per person, you receive unlimited seating time with live music featuring Vlad and Kelly at 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m. or 10 p.m.

Bistro Lancaster 701 Texas, 713-228-9502 www.thelancaster.comBistro Lancaster is offering a NYE Dinner Package, which includes deluxe accommodations, sparkling wine and party favors, valet parking, a breakfast buffet for two served with Bloody Marys or mimosas, and dinner for two at the Bistro.

Blanco's Bar & Grill

3406 W. Alabama, 713-439-0072

www.houstonredneck.com/blancos.html

Blanco's is offering old friends The Mitch Jacobs Band. As Blanco's puts it: "This isn't going to be any kind of fancy-schmancy New Year's Eve party — just a good old night at the honky tonk with cold beer and good friends and great music."

Bohemeo's

708 Telephone Rd., 713-923-4277

www.bohemeos.com

The East End's first music-and-art coffeehouse offers desserts and quality setups. Don't miss Frenetica on New Year's Eve.

Bourbon Street Sports Bar 803 S. Mason, suite 410, Katy, 281-398-2424 www.bourbonstreetsportsbar.comEnjoy live music from the best band in the Houston area, Empty V. There is no cover. There will be party favors and a champagne toast at midnight.

Brenner's on the Bayou

1 Birdsall, 713-868-4444

www.brennerssteakhouse.com

Delight in the tender steaks and succulent seafood and toast 2009 in the two-story dining room overlooking beautiful, lush grounds and a cascading waterfall this New Year's Eve.

Brenner's Steakhouse 10911 Katy Fwy., 713-465-2901 www.brennerssteakhouse.comCelebrate New Year's Eve at Brenner's Steakhouse. A four-course meal is offered at $85 per person. Call for reservations.

Byzantio 403 W. Gray, 713-520-6896 www.byzantiohouston.comThere will be no cover for the New Year's Eve party at Byzantio, which will come with a champagne toast at midnight and drink specials all night long.

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