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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
www.anvilhouston.com

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
www.brennerssteakhouse.com

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
www.brennerssteakhouse.com

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
www.caffebello.com

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
www.ciaobellohouston.com

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
www.aquariumrestaurants.com

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
www.downtownhouston.com

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.

Fitzgerald's
2706 White Oak Dr., 713-862-3838
www.fitzlivemusic.com

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 LiveNation.com to purchase tickets.

J.W. Marriott
5150 Westheimer, 713-510-5845
www.nyehouston2011.com

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.

Kiran's
4100 Westheimer, 713-960-8472
www.kiranshouston.com

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
www.latorrettalakeresort.com

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.

Laurier Café & Wine
3139 Richmond, 713-807-1632
www.lauriercafe.com

From 5:30 to 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve, Laurier will be serving a special four-course menu for $70 per person. Customers can choose from three different plates for each course. Choices include seared scallop, vichyssoise and oeuf salad for the first course; lemon risotto, seasonal fish and vegetables, and bouillabaisse for the fish course; beef tenderloin, grilled rack of lamb and veal sweetbreads for the meat course; and, finally, chocolate cake, rice pudding and assorted cheeses for the dessert course. For wine pairings in addition to the four-course meal, the overall price is $90 per person. Laurier's regular menu will also be available.

The Lot
4212 Washington, 832-748-3413
www.thelothouston.net

The Lot celebrates New Year's with Reverse Happy Hour from 7 to 10 p.m. Prices will include $2 select drafts and champagne bottle specials all night. From 9 to 11 p.m., DJ the Chad will be performing live entertainment.

Lucky's Pub
801 St. Emanuel, 713-522-2010
www.sportsmonkey.com

Celebrate New Year's Eve with SportsMonkey's BLT (Black Tie, Lingerie, Toga) New Year's Eve Party at Lucky's Pub, with an inclusive bar from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., live music from Adrenaline and Alter Ego , Multiple DJs including Kungfu Pimp, a midnight toast, party favors and the presence of Rockstar Photographer Tre'. Anyone 21 and older is welcome. Tickets are $79 per person. Other packages are available.

Manor on Washington
4819 Washington, 713-426-0123
www.manoronwashington.com

On New Year's Eve, Manor on Washington will celebrate the year's end with live performances by DJ Pollo and DJ David Cruz. Presale tickets are $20 for table packages with liquor. Naturally, there will also be champagne and special treats as well. This event is open only to customers 21 years of age or older.

Massa's Seafood Grill
1331 Lamar, 713-655-9100
www.massas.com

Massa's is going to have a special three-course menu for the price of $75 per couple, as well as live entertainment by the Mood Indigo jazz duo.

Moody Gardens
Seven Hope Blvd., Galveston, 888-388-8484
www.moodygardens.com

From 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., put on your dancing shoes and ring in the New Year in grand style with Moody Gardens at the Midnight in the Gardens New Year's Eve Gala.  The New Year's Eve party will feature nonstop entertainment by the premier party band Commercial Art. Guests will enjoy an open bar, elaborate food stations, deluxe party favors, a champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight. Event tickets are $425 per couple or $225 per single.

Pete's Dueling Piano Bar
1201 Fannin, suite 310, 713-337-7383
www.petesduelingpianobar.com

The fun begins at 8 p.m. this New Year's Eve at a party complete with party favors, light hors d'oeuvres, singing and a bottle of champagne for table reservations. Reserved seating is available for $200 per table of four. General admission starts at $20 per person. Reservations are recommended.

Pete & Shorty's Kitchen & Tap
17790 Katy Fwy., 281-492-7555, or 16549 Southwest Fwy., 281-313-7383
www.peteandshortys.com

Ring in the New Year at Pete & Shorty's New Year's Eve Party, complete with door prizes, live music and a champagne toast at midnight. There will also be a dinner special of $29.99 available starting at 4 p.m. The event will be happening at both locations.

Republic Harley-Davidson
12707 Southwest Fwy., Stafford, 281-295-1000
www.republichd.com

Hang out at Republic Harley-Davidson for their New Year's Party as part of a 24-4-The-Cure fundraiser event to raise awareness for childhood cancer. Beginning at noon, Snowdrop Foundation president/co-founder and 93Q morning personality Kevin Kline will run on a treadmill for 24 continuous hours in the display window at Republic Harley-Davidson. At noon the next day, Kline will come down from the display window and run 13.1 miles, a half marathon, into Texas Children's Cancer Center.

Ristorante Cavour
1080 Uptown Park Blvd., 713-418-1104
www.granducahouston.com

For those interested in ringing in the New Year Italian style, Ristorante Cavour Executive Chef Renato DePirro has designed a celebratory five-course New Year's Eve menu, including Tasmanian Salmon Tartare, Duck Consommé, Risotto Milanese, a choice of Wagyu Filet "Rossini" or Seared Branzino Fillet, and Chocolate Celebration.

This meal will be offered from 5 to 10 p.m. The price is $125 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Guests may add an additional $45 per person for wine pairings if requested. Vegetarian options will be available.

The San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center
5222 Seawall Blvd., Galveston, 409-744-1500
www.sanluisresort.com

Celebrate New Year's Eve at Galveston's premier extravaganza hosted by the San Luis Resort from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the resort's luxurious grand ballroom. There will be a four-course meal with wine service, and guests will also enjoy a blend of smooth jazz, soft favorites, disco, R&B, top 40, country and Latin beats topped off with a midnight champagne toast, balloon drop, and party hats and favors galore. The celebration event is priced at $190 per person, $589 per couple for VIP seats.

Simposio Ristorante
8401 Westheimer, 713-532-0550
www.simposioristorante.com

Simposio will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. offering the regular menu as well as a special New Year's Eve menu from 5 p.m. to midnight. Live entertainment includes a champagne toast and party favors at midnight. Reservations are recommended for special dates.

Stafford Centre
10505 Cash Rd., 281-208-6900
www.staffordcentre.com

Head to the Stafford Centre for the Rockin' New Year's Eve Bash with The Spiffingtons, featuring party favors, a midnight champagne toast, two drinks and a four-course meal.

Stereo Live
6400 Richmond, 832-251-9600
www.77002.com

Insomniac and NightCulture.com will be having their 3rd Annual New Year's Eve Ball at Stereo Live. It will feature Benny Benassi in a live musical performance, a midnight countdown complete with free champagne toast, five full-service bars, more than ten different artists and DJs, and party favors. Doors open at 9 p.m. and close at 4 a.m. Customers 18 years and older are welcome. More is available with the purchase of a VIP ticket.

Studio 55 at Hilton Americas-Houston
1600 Lamar, 713-739-8000
www.hiltonamericashouston.com

Go to Studio 55 and dance to the music as DJ Damon spins the hits of the '70s. Groove to the music of headliners Mary Griffin and Todd Honeycutt and get down to the sounds of the Ernest Walker Band. Choose between the $109-per-person Party Only package, which includes a live band, a hosted bar, party favors, a champagne toast and a midnight breakfast buffet, and the $349-per-couple Guest Room Party Package, which includes a deluxe hotel room, complimentary overnight self-parking, an invitation-only cocktail reception, a live band, a hosted bar, party favors, a champagne toast and a midnight breakfast buffet. The purchase must be prepaid, and is nonrefundable; 21 years of age and over only.

Sugar Land Town Square
15958 City Walk, 281-276-6000
www.sugarlandtownsquare.com

There will be a free New Year's Eve party in Sugar Land Town Square this year, with a children's celebration from 7 to 9 p.m., which will be followed by a more adult celebration from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Entertainment will include stilt birds, candy sculptures, a musical performance by Fried Ice Cream, a light show and, for the finale, a 3-D sugar cube drop at midnight (for those who want a little variety on the New Year's Eve balloon drop).

Theatre Southwest
8944-A Clarkcrest, 713-661-9505
www.theatresouthwest.org

Theatre Southwest holds its New Year's Gala beginning at 7:30 p.m. and ending at 2 a.m. Neil Simon's comedy Plaza Suite will be performed at 8:30 p.m. Appetizers and beverages will be served from 7:30 to 8:30 and during intermissions. Afterward, there'll be a full-course buffet dinner, followed by dancing and New Year's goodies. The prices are $50 for one or $95 for two. Reservations are needed.

Tila's
1111 S. Shepherd, 713-522-7654
www.tilas.com

The New Year's Eve Fiesta at Tila's, on the South Shepherd curve, will include a live band playing Motown music from 8 p.m. to midnight, with a three-course dinner and champagne toast served from 5 p.m. to midnight. Price is $70 per person (plus tax and gratuity).

Tony's
3755 Richmond, 713-622-6778
www.tonyshouston.com

Early seating will cost $75, while late seating costs $125 per person. As part of the festivities, customers will also be able to dance to the Julie Johnson Band.

Under the Volcano
2349 Bissonnet, 713-526-5282
www.underthevolcanohouston.com

New Orleans's Glen David Andrews will be playing on New Year's Eve.

Winetopia
6363 San Felipe #240, 832-858-1149
www.winetopiatx.com

Winetopia celebrates New Year's Eve with a New Year's Masquerade Party, complete with hors d'oeuvres and a bar that's open all night long. Entrance into the party is $100 per person or $180 per couple.

Zilkha Hall (Hobby Center)
800 Bagby, 713-622-7443
www.arslyricahouston.org

Ars Lyrica Houston plans a New Year's Eve program of Musical Resolutions including a Bach suite, a Telemann concerto and Handel's cantata Apollo e Dafne. The program, led by Ars Lyrica Artistic Director Matthew Dirst, features a number of Ars Lyrica favorites, including soprano Melissa Givens, bass-baritone Timothy Jones, plus Kathryn Montoya on recorder and Colin St. Martin on Baroque flute. The concert starts at 8:30 p.m. and will be followed by a New Year's Eve Gala and Silent Auction with champagne, hors d'oeuvres and donated prizes that will take place at the Founders Club in the Hobby Center. Guests will have the chance to bid on items such as Houston Grand Opera founders' box seats, private house concerts, and a helicopter sightseeing tour with luxurious picnic. Prices for the concert range from $31.25 to $41.25, and gala tickets are $51.25.

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