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.
New Year's Eve Party
Houston Press New Year's Eve Guide 2009
House of Blues
1204 Caroline, 713-652-5837
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 email@example.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
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.
7326 Southwest Fwy., 713-772-5900
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.
800 Bagby, 713-278-4782
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.
17754 Katy Fwy., 281-398-4070
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.
403 W. Gray, 713-520-6896
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.
6134 Richmond, 832-251-0505
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.
25911 I-45 North, 281-367-3774
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.
410 Bagby, 713-223-3474
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
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
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
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.
Home Plate Bar & Grill
1800 Texas, 713-222-9977
From 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve, Home Plate will throw a $10-per-person party complete with complimentary appetizers, free raffle prizes, free hats, tiaras, and party favors as well as a free champagne toast at midnight. Live DJs will be spinning all night, and domestic drafts, house wells, frozen margaritas, Washington Apples, kamikazes and lemon drops will all go for $3. Parking is free.
The Horn Bar & Grille
6025 Richmond, 713-266-8711
Doors open at 8 p.m. with Rick Marcel and Radiance appearing at 10 p.m. Southern Lady will be serving Cajun food all night, and there'll be a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Admission is $20 at the door, or call for reservations.
2525 West Loop South, 281-830-2803
Hotel Derek is throwing what it calls its Five Minutes to Midnight New Year's Eve Affair from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. The price is $50 for general admission and $100 for VIPs. Ring in the New Year at Houston's premiere upscale party featuring three spaces and a team of Houston's hottest DJs. Presale rates, discounted rooms, bottle service, reserved seating and group rates are available.
220 Main, 832-667-4450
The Hotel Icon has two packages for New Year's Eve: The package starting at $220 includes champagne delivered to your room, a DJ dance party and complimentary valet. The package starting at $618 includes those things plus a five-course dinner at Voice prepared by award-winning chef Michael Kramer, a midnight toast at Voice and brunch there the next day. Stay and play "All Night Long." Call for details.
800 West Sam Houston Pkwy. North, 866-842-0100
Make it your first resolution to spend New Year's Eve at Hotel Sorella City Centre. Package rates start at $389 and include room accommodations for two, dinner at Bistro Alex on New Year's Eve with a glass of champagne, two cocktails at Monnalisa Bar, valet parking and a late checkout of 2 p.m. on New Year's Day. Call for details.
5701 Main, 713-526-1991
Go back in time to the Roaring '20s as Hotel ZaZa counts down to midnight at Monarch Urban Bistro & Lounge and the Phantom Ballroom. Enjoy surprise performances, silent movies in the lobby and delectable hors d'oeuvres while sipping bubbly from the champagne tower with fellow flappers (dress is "Flapper Fabulous, Black Tie Suggested"). Choose from the Monarch package, with a five-course dinner, a three-course wine pairing, live entertainment and valet, all for $350 per couple. You can get the New Year's Eve Celebration Dinner with an added champagne toast and a dance complete with a DJ for $499 per couple. Also available is the New Year's Eve Dinner and Room Celebration, which adds a breakfast and brunch on New Year's Day at $595 per couple. The Phantom Ballroom packages are good for singles. The activities run from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., and dinner service is available from 6 to 9 p.m.
Houston Marriott Westchase
2900 Briarpark Dr., 713-978-7400
From 6 to 10 p.m., the Marriott will be offering a prime rib buffet dinner for $14.95 per person. Diners can take the elevator home when, for just $69 more, they can reserve a deluxe guestroom. Dishes include the Ponderosa Ranch prime rib of beef with Jack Daniel's glaze and a Jack Daniel's fruit cobbler with citrus whipped cream.
Howl at the Moon
612 Hadley St., 713-658-9700
General admission for this party is $20, but you can upgrade to a $50 party package including reserved rail seating, a buffet from 7 to 9 p.m. and half-priced drinks, not to mention the traditional champagne toast. For $85, you'll receive reserved seating as well as everything listed above as part of the deluxe party package. Doors open to the public at 9 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Hotel
1200 Louisiana, 713-654-1234
Celebrate New Year's Eve at the Hyatt with four drink coupons per person, party favors, live music, and dancing from Mary's Band and the Argyles while DJ 33 1/3 spins in the lobby. There will be a balloon cascade at midnight. Advance tickets are $79, and at-the-door tickets are $89. Special room packages are available. The party lasts from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.
516 Westheimer, 713-524-2170
There will be a five-course dinner with seatings from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and from 9 p.m. onwards. There will also be music and dancing.
4100 Westheimer, 713-960-8472
Kiran's will have three seatings, at 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., with a four-course chef's tasting menu and a DJ. The first two seatings are $65 per person; the third is $75 per person (includes a champagne toast at midnight and party favors).
Knights of Columbus
6320 Madden, 713-991-1720
With dinner from 7 to 9 p.m. and dancing from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., the party at Knights of Columbus allows you to bring whatever food or drink you want while you listen to the musical stylings of the band What is Hip (a.k.a. Tejano Knights). Tickets are $15 beforehand and $20 at the door. Setups will be sold.
4212 Washington, 832-748-3413
The Lot celebrates New Year's with the Fire and Ice Ball, with no cover before 9 p.m. DJ Mark G will be performing, guests will receive complimentary party favors and there's a champagne toast at midnight.
Lucky's Pub and Warehouse Live
801 St. Emanuel, 713-522-0881
Starting at 8 p.m., Sports Monkey and The Buzz will be celebrating the New Year with live music from Adrenaline and the Spicolis, as well as several DJs and plenty of dancing. There will, naturally, be drinks available, party favors, a toast at midnight and hotel discounts on offer.
403 Westheimer, 713-522-8903
There will be a Free Press New Year's Eve Party with the Sideshow Tramps, B L A C K I E, Grandfather Child, Robert Ellis & The Boys, The Manichean, Female Demand, and Hollywood Floss.
2117 Chenevert, 832-537-5739
Enjoy a free traditional New Year's Eve buffet and complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Doors open at 7 p.m. and cover starts at 9 p.m.
3718 Main, 713-522-9985
Ring in the New Year with performances by Flowers to Hide and If the War Should End, DJ sets by The Watermarks, and KupKakes by KakesByKlassic. The event will take over the entire Mink on Main complex starting at 9 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door to the Backroom on the night of the event for $10, with a $12 champagne toast option for those interested and over 21. Entrance to the front bar will remain free as usual. Longtime Houston musicians Flowers to Hide will set the stage for the New Year with their distinctive breed of psychedelic pop, while If the War Should End will showcase its version of textured indie rock. The Watermarks will also be on hand to spin some of their favorite tracks as the night goes on. Rounding out the evening, and helping you get in one last sugar rush before your New Year's resolution starts, will be Kasey from KakesByKlassik, with her distinctive brand of sweet treats.
1985 Welch, 713-533-0200
Mockingbird will be having a prix-fixe menu of four courses, with choices including scallop and sweet corn chowder, smoked duck salad, and seared Pacific sea bass. Party favors and champagne will be served all night. Price per person is $75, plus tax and gratuity.
Museum of Fine Arts Houston
1001 Bissonnet, 713-639-7300
The museum will be open on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day with the hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., respectively.
14543 Memorial, 281-496-3232
Nirvana is going to celebrate New Year's Eve with a sumptuous four-course dinner and live music from pianist Ronnie David, with two complimentary glasses of wine, party hats and favors. Come dance the evening away. The first seating is at 6 p.m. and the second is at 9 p.m. Entertainment starts at 9 p.m. $65 per person; $75 after 9 p.m.
The Penthouse Club
2618 Winrock, 713-974-2100
The buffet is complimentary until 10 p.m.; there'll be a champagne toast at midnight, and a buffet breakfast will be served from 2 to 4 a.m.
2815 S. Shepherd, 713-533-1200
Pravada will be having an Empire City Celebration with an open bar, a $5,000 balloon drop and a confetti explosion at midnight. The entire club will be decorated, and there will be party favors for everyone. Packages are available for large groups. Doors open at 9 p.m.
4105 Washington, 713-869-0404
For New Year's Eve, Reign Lounge is open from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Cover will be $25 for general admission pre-sale tickets, which can be purchased online. Reign will offer packages for bottle service and table reservations for both inside the club and at rooftop tables.
2401 San Jacinto, 713-759-9606
Rich's New Year's Eve Party is the party everybody will be talking about the next day. Admission includes a champagne toast at midnight and free party favors. If you're interested in special packages and reservations, call or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. $20.
(at the Hotel Granduca)
1080 Uptown Park Blvd., 713-418-1104
Celebrate Italian-style in the heart of Houston. Enjoy an elegant, intimate and, above all, memorable New Year's Eve as Executive Chef David Denis offers a multicourse prix-fixe menu. Reservations are required.
Rudyard's British Pub
2010 Waugh Dr., 713-521-0521
Doors open at 9 p.m., music starts at 10 p.m. There will be a champagne toast at midnight. The price is $10.
Sam Houston Race Park
7575 North Sam Houston Pkwy. West,
Sam Houston Race Park invites Houstonians to ring in 2010 in style at the Second Annual New Year's Eve Celebration at The Park, presented by 107.5 The Eagle and the Houston Press. The event encourages "come-as-you-are" attire — in boots and jeans or in your favorite party dress — for a night of thoroughbred racing, fantastic dining packages, live entertainment by the Zach Edwards Band (www.countryzeb.com), dancing, a champagne toast and the largest fireworks display in town. Ticket packages start at $19 per person. Space is limited.
18307 Egret Bay Blvd., 281-335-0002
The New Year's Eve Party at Scout Bar features The Hunger, Saturate, Erase The Virus, and From Guts to Glory. It's free with an invitation, $20 without, and includes a free champagne toast, cash and prizes, and a balloon drop at midnight. Invitations are available at Scout now.
531 N. Main St., Schulenburg,
All champagne packages include dinner, tickets to the dance hall, party favors and unlimited champagne after 11 p.m. To the lucky ones who buy the champagne packages: After you do so, please call the Hall and make reservations.
Sherlock's Baker St. Pub
There will be live music, a midnight champagne toast and party favors at all Sherlock's Baker St. Pub locations as well as at the Baker St. Pub & Grill locations.
8401 Westheimer, 713-532-0550
Simposio Ristorante will be hosting a six-course dinner to celebrate the arrival of 2010, with two seatings, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. The cost is $150 per couple, plus tax and gratuity. Due to limited seating, prepaid reservations are required. The menu will include such dishes as lobster poached in butter with frisée, pears and truffle oil, filet of beef with sweet gorgonzola and Barolo reduction, and ricotta cheesecake with pan-roasted berries.
Sonoma Retail Wine Bar and Bistro
2720 Richmond, 713-526-9463
This restaurant's New Year's Eve prix-fixe menu costs $39 plus tax and gratuity or, with wine pairings, $69 plus tax and gratuity. Starting with a cremini mushroom and French brie soup paired with a Mountain View Pinot Noir (Central Coast, California), and ending with a tiramisu paired with a Domaine Carneros Sparkling Brut (Carneros, Sonoma, California), it promises to be a great way to celebrate the New Year. Call for reservations. Sonoma's regular menu also will be offered.
10505 Cash Rd., 281-208-6900
Stafford Centre's 4th Annual Rockin' New Year's Eve Bash starts at 7 p.m. and features dinner followed by dancing to your favorite Beatles and party music performed live by Houston's own The Fab 5. Tickets are $85 and include dinner catered by Ray's Gourmet Country, two drink tickets, dancing, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight.
2404 San Jacinto, 713-659-5400
Spend New Year's Eve with The Dirty & Lushed Up as they ring in the New Year. Every person who attends the party will get an immunity pass. Dirty it up — what happens here, stays here. There'll be outdoor staging and lighting displays with confetti cannons, as well as a champagne toast at midnight. $40 for pre-sale tickets; $50 at the door.
8944-A Clarkcrest, 713-661-9505
A night of theater, a full buffet, hats and noisemakers starts at Theatre Southwest at 8 p.m. Prices are $50 for an individual and $95 for a couple.
Tila's Restaurante and Bar
1111 S. Shepherd, 713-522-7654
Beginning at 6 p.m., Tila's party will include live Mo-Town music by Old Harmony, a three-course dinner and a complimentary glass of champagne. $70 per person.
Under the Volcano
2349 Bissonnet, 713-526-5282
Under the Volcano is offering a breakfast buffet, party favors and a champagne toast, as well as live music from the New Orleans Hustlers Brass Band. The cost is $25.
723 Main, suite 500, 713-236-8150
Come to the Venue on New Year's Eve for a night of live entertainment, festive decor and a champagne toast. Packages are available.
The Wortham Center hosts the Triple Crown New Year's Eve Bash from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. There'll be DJs, live music, food, valet parking and a coat check. Musical acts include the Smash Band, Jam Blaster, and G.T. There will be a ball drop, confetti, a light show and party favors, as well as a VIP room complete with complimentary champagne and a buffet.
Yao Restaurant and Bar
Gracie Chavez, Chris Miguel and Tonio will be DJing this event at Yao, which includes a complimentary champagne toast, $5 well drinks, $3 domestics, $4 sushi and appetizer specials, and the possibility of a door prize, an autographed Yao Ming cap. There will be no cover. The event is for ages 21 and up, and takes place from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Yelapa Playa Mexicana Restaurant
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Yelapa will be celebrating New Year's Eve with two seatings, at 6:30 and 9:30 p.m., of a seasonal six-course prix-fixe menu for the evening. The cost is $78 per person, or $108 with wine pairing, plus tax and gratuity. Seating is limited, so prepaid reservations are required. With a wide variety of foods, including spiced guava pork and spiced Mexican drunken chocolate, this evening will be completed by a glass of champagne.