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Buh-Bye 2009

Where to celebrate the dawn of a new year: Our guide to the best events in town.

The year is finally coming to a close, and it's a close a lot of people are more than happy to embrace. With the recession technically "over," we're all eager to kick 2009 to the curb and launch ourselves into a slightly more secure future. So we've compiled a list of events that should help you end the year in magnificent fashion. Whether or not you remember anything the next morning is entirely up to you.

Houston Press

New Year's Eve Party

House of Blues

1204 Caroline, 713-652-5837

www.livenation.com or www.hob.com/houston

The Houston Press and DJ Wyatt Magnum are taking over the House of Blues' Bronze Peacock Room for a night you won't soon forget. You can get in free, but you must RSVP to julialarson@livenation.com. The ticket includes access to the members-only Foundation Room. Doors open at 7 p.m. Next door at the Music Hall, Cross Canadian Ragweed will be playing; tickets are $55. And at the HOB Dining Hall, it's Thunderpants' Totally '80s New Year's Eve Bash; tickets are $30.

Alexander the Great Fine Greek Cuisine

3055 Sage Rd., 713-622-2778

The first seating for this year's New Year's Eve meal will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m., with the regular menu at $50 per person. The second seating is 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 belly dancers and live music.

All Stars Men's Club

6340 Westheimer, 713-266-4012

www.allstarsmensclub.com

Celebrate with free cover and buffet until 8 p.m. and $1.50 well drinks and domestics until 9 p.m. Couples are free, and there will be a midnight champagne toast.

Arena Theatre

7326 Southwest Fwy., 713-772-5900

www.arenahouston.com

Arena Theatre presents Earthquake, Tony Rock and Huggy Lowdown on New Year's Eve. Show time is 8 p.m. Prepare yourself, Houston, for side-splitting laughter.

Artista

800 Bagby, 713-278-4782

www.cordua.com

This evening will feature live music from Mango Punch, a four-course meal, champagne, three drink tickets, one raffle ticket for door prizes, and party favors, all for $135 per person. Door prizes include Continental airline tickets and a Miss Saigon theater package. Every guest will receive a complimentary $20 dining certificate. The doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Azzarelli's

17754 Katy Fwy., 281-398-4070

www.azzarellis.com

Azzarelli's will be celebrating New Year's with a prix-fixe menu of its signature dishes at four seatings, 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., with five price options, from $35 per person to $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity. From options such as tomatoes Camilla and seafood gumbo for the first course to a main course of potato-crusted chicken or lobster tail on a bed of pasta, you'd better make your reservation early.

Bullpen Pizza and Sports

14019 Southwest Fwy., 281-242-0190

Celebrate with hats, horns, a champagne toast and a breakfast buffet at 12:30 a.m. The price is $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Byzantio

403 W. Gray, 713-520-6896

www.byzantiohouston.com

Byzantio will have drink specials all night as well as a champagne toast and a black and white theme. Proper dress is required. There will be no cover.

Café Byblos

6134 Richmond, 832-251-0505

cafebybloshouston.com

This event is $100 per person and includes appetizers, dinner and dessert, as well as

live entertainment by Jabbour, belly dancing and party favors. VIP tables are available.

Dosey Doe

25911 I-45 North, 281-367-3774

www.doseydoescoffeeshop.com

Going from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., The Dosey Doe Motown Review costs $64 to $74 and includes dinner and a show. Celebrate New Year's Eve with a three-course meal from award-winning chef Dan McEachern. The Level One Band is onstage with a special tribute show to the Supremes and the Temptations. Dancing definitely allowed.

Downtown Aquarium

410 Bagby, 713-223-3474

www.downtownaquarium.com

For the younger crowd, Sharkey's New Year's Eve Party is just the thing. Starting at 2 p.m. and ending at 5 p.m., this party includes a balloon drop and a buffet.

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium

705 Main, 713-228-9472

www.beerknurd.com/stores/houston

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium hosts its annual New Year's Eve party featuring live music from The Four Wisemen beginning at 9 p.m., plus party favors and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Admission is free for U.F.O. Club members and $10 for nonmembers. Reservations are available beginning at $40 per table or for $10 per seat, and get customers party favors and a bottle of champagne for their table. At 11 p.m., Flying Saucer will host a drawing for a bottle of Samuel Adams Utopias.

GrumBar and Grill

306 Main, 713-224-6448

www.grumbar.com

Enjoy the countdown to 2010 at GrumBar and Grill with all premium drafts for $4, starburst shots for $5, and bullblasters and Irish carbomb shots all night. Dynamite Amber is playing live, with no cover.

Hobby Center for the Performing Arts

800 Bagby, 713-315-2400

www.arslyricahouston.org

Houston's premier early music ensemble, Ars Lyrica Houston, plans a New Year's Eve performance that will include an American premiere of J. A. Hasse's early masterpiece Marc Antonio e Cleopatra. Composed in Naples in 1725 about the famous tale of ­Anthony and Cleopatra, the piece showcases two brilliant young singers, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton and soprano Ava Pine. Ars Lyrica Artistic Director Matthew Dirst will be leading the ensemble from his customary seat at the harpsichord. The concert will be followed by a New Year's Eve Gala and Silent Auction with champagne, delectable hors d'oeuvres and donated prizes that will take place at the Founder's Club in the Hobby Center. Guests will have the chance to bid on items such as Continental Airlines tickets, private house concerts and a catered dinner for 12. Tickets for the performance and the gala can be purchased through the Ars Lyrica Web site.

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