It's the Final Countdown

2011 is almost here — how will you ring it in?

Don't feel like risking getting popped in the eye when you pop the cork? Feel awkward shouting the end-of-year countdown in your living room? This New Year's Eve, head to your local bar, where everybody shouts together and champagne comes in a glass! Don't miss the musical attractions or balloon drops either — those definitely can't be simulated at home.

Anvil Bar and Refuge
1424 Westheimer at Windsor, 713-523-1622

Anvil Bar & Refuge is celebrating the year's end with its New Year's Bubbles and Bourbon Bash. Candlelight, hip jazz music, New Year's party hats and noisemakers, a midnight balloon drop and a champagne or bourbon midnight toast are all part of the event, for which no reservation is needed. Guests can enjoy Anvil's seasonal cocktail menu or choose from the special New Year's Bubbles and Bourbon Menu, which will include the Seelbach Cocktail, the House Old-Fashioned, the French 75 and several more.

Brenner's On the Bayou
One Birdsall St., 713-868-4444

Brenner's will be offering a prix-fixe menu from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. in addition to its regular dinner menu.

Brenner's Steakhouse
10911 Katy Fwy., 713-465-2901

Brenner's Steakhouse will be offering a special four-course menu at $85 per person on New Year's Eve. Its hours of operation will be from 5 to 11 p.m.

Caffe Bello
322 Westheimer, 713-520-5599

For New Year's Eve, there will be a regular menu and open seating, with the option of a special multi-course menu at $39 per person.

Ciao Bello
5161 San Felipe, 713-960-0333

For New Year's Eve, there will be a regular menu and open seating, with the option of a special multi-course menu at $55 per person.

Downtown Aquarium
410 Bagby, 713-223-3474

Bring the kids in on the fun with Sharkey's New Year's Eve Bash from 2 to 5 p.m. on New Year's Eve. There, the whole family can watch the ball drop and help usher in 2011 with Sharkey and his friends in the Nautilus Ballroom. Guests of all ages will delight in tasty New Year's treats from the buffet, while the small fries enjoy their favorite tunes played by a festive, kid-friendly DJ. A kids' balloon drop, contests, giveaways and discounted passes are also available. Entrance is $15.99 for adults and $9.99 for kids from four to 12 years of age.

Downtown Houston
At Discovery Green and George R. Brown Convention Center

Downtown Houston will be celebrating with Gloworama New Year's Eve, a community celebration featuring skating demonstrations on the St Joseph's Medical Center's ICE at Discovery Green, live music on the Anheuser-Busch Stage, performances by America's Got Talent's electrifying ArcAttack, an illuminated art car parade and an unbeatable light show, which will all take place from 7 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. in and around Discovery Green and George R. Brown Convention Center. A limited number of VIP tickets will be available for the pre-Glow party at the George R. Brown from 7:30 to 9:15 p.m. For $150, VIP guests will have access to some of the best seats in the house for viewing the parade and light show, plus refreshments and food.

2706 White Oak Dr., 713-862-3838

Celebrate New Year's Eve with Free Press and Houston bands such as Wild Moccasins, Weird Party, Limb, Golden Axe, B L A C K I E, Hamamatsu Tom, Hex Dispensers, Fat Tony, Delicious Milk, and State Vs. Judd Nelson. There will also be loads of free giveaways, such as Free Press Summer Fest 2011 passes, T-shirts and more. Show is free for 21 and up, and $10 for under 21. Show starts at 8:30 p.m.

Celebrate New Year's Eve at HOB

Join Houston Press on Friday, December 31, for New Year's Eve at the House of Blues, 1204 Caroline. Reckless Kelly will perform with Sarah Pierce & Rich O'Tool, and there's a free NYE party in the Foundation Room before and after the concert. Or kick off the New Year with Thunderpants Totally '80s NYE III in the Voodoo Lounge for only $30. VIP Dinner Packages are available. Call 832-667-7797 to RSVP or visit to purchase tickets.

J.W. Marriott
5150 Westheimer, 713-510-5845

Head to the Marriott for the "5 Minutes to Midnight "New Year's Eve Party from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. The tickets are priced at $50 and up. The event will include multiple rooms to party in, live DJs, open bar VIP rooms, live jazz and more.

4100 Westheimer, 713-960-8472

There will be three dinner seatings, at 5, 7:30 and 10 p.m., for $95 per person. Guests will start with an amuse-bouche, followed by a three-course dinner, dessert, a complimentary champagne toast and chocolate-covered strawberries.

La Torretta Lake Resort and Spa
600 La Torretta Blvd., Montgomery, 936-448-4400

Revelers can ring in 2011 at La Torretta with a concert by acclaimed singer Cecil Shaw at the New Year's Eve Party. Partygoers can dance the night away in the Versailles Ballroom, the largest ballroom on Lake Conroe, to the sounds of chart-topping hits of the '70s and '80s from the man who worked with Motown legends Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles. This event is part of a New Year's Eve package; call for information.

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