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New Year's Eve Guide

It's that time of year again: the end. A time to reflect on months past and dream of those yet to come. It's a time for family... wait a minute, that time has passed. Tonight, we party.

Quite possibly the biggest party night of the year since the Super Bowl, tonight the town is exploding with hot events in all corners. From upscale restaurants to downright dirty dive bars, everybody is ringing in the New Year with cheer. Read on to find out what¹s going on in and around your favorite digs. -- Matt Sonzala

Anderson Fair 2007 Grant, 713-528-8576, www.andersonfair.com
Jam down to the sounds of Shake Russell, Ann Armstrong, Steve Hughes and -- it wouldn't be NYE at Anderson Fair without him -- Bill Cade, "singing in" the New Year. Cover includes snacks, champagne and party favors. $25.

Big John's Sports Bar 6150 Wilcrest, 281-498-3499, www.bigjohnsbar.com
This is one of the only New Year's celebrations without a cover charge. Big John's has been doing it for 20 years. Tonight ring in the New Year at a special Karaoke New Year's Eve Party with Extreme Karaoke. There'll be a champagne toast and party favors.

The Black Swan Omni Houston Hotel 4 Riverway, 713-871-8181
Tonight enjoy a swank, lively celebration, with a high-energy DJ featuring hits from the '80s and '90s. Party favors, champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight. 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m., $40.

Boaka Bar 1008 Prairie, 713-225-6372, www.boakabar.com
You won't want to miss this New Year's Eve bash with DJ Cipher of the Krackernuttz. Spinning the hottest in hip-hop, R&B, dancehall and more. 8 p.m.

Bossa 610 Main, 713-223-2622, www.e-brands.net
This ultrahip downtown eatery will have three seatings -- 5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. -- that will feature a four-course dinner and champagne toast. The 9:30 p.m. seating will feature live entertainment from the Mark Townes Band. Reservations are required and are being accepted now. Enjoy a fantastic selection of food, including duck, pork tenderloin, sunfish and more.

Byzantio Cafe/Bar 403 W. Gray, 713-520-6896 Come discover the Greek in you. Join the good folks at Byzantio this New Year's Eve and celebrate their one-year anniversary with International DJ Grendas of OUZO FM. Free.

Cactus Moon 7 W. Main, Humble, 281-446-2202, www.cactusmoonbluescafe.com
Enjoy the sounds of Malford Milligan. Hotel packages are available. $20.

Champps Americana 1121 Uptown Park Blvd., 713-627-2333, www.champps.com
Why go to Vegas when you can go Uptown and enjoy a special casino night complete with blackjack, craps and Texas Hold 'Em? Expect prizes, champagne toast, balloon drop and drink specials. A special menu will be available. Free.

Clicks Billiards 13380 Northwest Fwy., 713-895-9992, www.clicks.com/houston
Clicks Billiards, one of the finest upscale billiard rooms in town, is throwing a spectacular New Year's Bash. You'll love their beautiful Gold Crown pool tables, which are in immaculate condition. There are also video games, dart lanes and Tornado foosball tables. You won't find a better place to have a good time.

Continental Club 3700 Main, 713-529-9989, www.continentalclub.com
There's no cover at this New Year's Eve bash with the Allen Oldies Band and the El Orbits.

Cosmos Cafe 69 Heights Blvd., 713-802-2144
The Cosmos Cafe New Year's party features live music by the super-fabulous Norma Zenteno. Partiers pay $20 cover charge, $10 for champagne, and $45 for the sit-down dinner (which includes cover charge). Reservations strongly recommended.

Crowne Plaza Downtown 1700 Smith, 713-739-8800
Party, then spend the night in luxury. Special package for $99 plus tax includes champagne upon arrival and breakfast for two until noon. Complimentary parking is included. Be safe: Party downtown and stay downtown. Complimentary shuttle till 2 a.m. to and from select downtown locations. Enjoy dinner in the Brazos Restaurant.

Darkhorse Tavern 2207 Washington Ave., 713-426-2442, www.dhtavern.com
Ring in the New Year with drink specials, live music, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Never a cover charge and plenty of free parking at the best laid-back, no-attitude place to celebrate the New Year.

Dave & Buster¹s 6010 Richmond, 713-952-2233, www.daveandbusters.com You'll love the theatrics of Joey and Maria's Italian Comedy Wedding. There will also be a DJ, dancing, free billiards, photos, a champagne toast and a countdown at midnight.

Elvia's International 2727 Fondren, 713-266-9631
Latin sensations Mi Rumba will play live for your enjoyment. Dinner, dancing, live music, party favors and a champagne toast will round out the night. Seating begins at 8 p.m. $25.

Encounters 5718 Fairdale, 713-532-0840, www.encountersclub.com
Houston's hottest club for, um, adult extracurricular activities is offering a special hotel package at the Sheraton Four Points. $99 per night includes a 10 a.m. breakfast with a 3 p.m. checkout and limo service to and from Encounters. Go ahead and shack up with somethin'. $40 per couple.  

Firehouse Saloon and Eatery 5930 Southwest Fwy., 713-977-1962
Root, toot and boot-scoot your way on out tonight and party to the sounds of Honeybrowne and Mark Miller. Cover includes midnight champagne, party favors and breakfast. $20.

Fitzgerald's 2706 White Oak Dr., 713-862-3838, www.fitzlive.com
Trip away at this special New Year's bash with Us and Them -- The Ultimate Pink Floyd Experience. Word has it if you close your eyes real tight, you'll never know you're not experiencing the real thing.

Forbidden City 2005 Upper Sam Houston Park, on the corner of Lamar and Bagby, 713-691-0195, www.forbiddencities.com
Houston has not seen an event like this in many years. Forbidden City will feature outdoor fireworks, Aerial Silk Performers, exotic choreographed dance, a confetti drop, stilt twins, go-go dancers, Vegas costumed girls on swings, a pyro performance, three separate music areas (main, VIP and outdoor lounge), a sushi bar and so much more. Brought to you by Todd Markey, Lui Guzman, Joe Applewhite, Ryan Echiverri, Roguescene, Rick Riojas, Geno Segura and Swift Productions. Come party with thousands. This event will be held in a huge 13,000-square-foot tent. $35-$200.

Havana Latin Grill and Bar 818 Travis, 713-222-2254
he total package, Havana's Copacabana New Year's Eve Bash has it all! Dinner, dancing, live music, a DJ and a champagne toast at midnight. Havana has taken care of everything for you! Call for reservations.

Hilton Americas 1600 Lamar, 713-577-6139
Houston, you can ring in 2005 "As You Like It" this New Year's Eve at the Hilton Americas-Houston. This downtown hot spot will offer three unique options to meet a variety of tastes and pocketbooks. If black tie suits your mood, make your reservations at the Skyline Bar & Grill for a six-course dinner for two, free-flowing champagne and party favors, live music, dancing, champagne toast at midnight, a luxurious guest room, and a breakfast buffet and Bloody Mary bar on New Year's Day. Your splurge of $595 per couple includes all tax and gratuity. If you'd like a classy but more subdued affair, choose Spencer's for Steaks & Chops and feast on a five-course gourmet dinner for two with champagne, party favors all night long, live music, a champagne toast at midnight and an elegant guest room. The package goes for $395 per couple. And if you have theater or late-party plans and want a casual dinner on the way, the hotel's Cafe Americas will be serving a special menu with a glass of champagne and a three-course meal beginning at 5 p.m. for $50 per couple.

Hobby Center 800 Bagby, 713-315-2525, www.thehobbycenter.org
One of the most active country stars in the state, Bandera's own Robert Earl Keen will rock your conservative ass right into 2005. Then everything goes downhill from there.

The Improv 7620 Katy Fwy., 713-333-8800, www.improv.com/houston.html
Winner of NBC's hot reality series Last Comic Standing, comedian John Heffron has become the comic to watch and love. The Detroit funnyman whom Phyllis Diller referred to as "the cute one" has won a talent contract with NBC as well as other great opportunities. On tour for more than seven months straight, performing in theaters, comedy clubs and colleges across the country, he stops in H-town tonight.

Laff Stop 1952 W. Gray, 713-524-2333, www.laffstop.com
You probably know Jim Gaffigan as either an actor or a stand-up comedian. But wait, there's more! He's also a ballerina, or so he says. Find out all about this man tonight at a special New Year's extravaganza.

Last Concert Cafe 1403 Nance, 713-226-8563
It's a special New Year's Eve mix of live hip-hop, reggae, funk and rock with Dubtex, Friends of the Enemy, Kozmonix, DJ Swift, DJ C-Double, Fred Cee and Mark Cee. Come get funky in this bohemian oasis in the Warehouse District.

Licor Lounge 2204 Louisiana, 713-654-0869, www.licorlounge.com
It's the last Fabulous Friday of the year. Party to an eclectic mix of hip-hop, '80s and house. VIP area available. $20.

Maggiano's Little Italy 2019 Post Oak Blvd., 713-961-2700
A spectacular celebration will be held in the grand ballroom. Dinner will be served from a lavish buffet prepared by chef Johnny Poché, featuring a roast tenderloin carving station and a variety of Maggiano's signature salads and pastas, plus a bountiful dessert selection. Partygoers will enjoy dancing to the music of PF & the Flyers, merrymaking favors and a champagne toast to bring in the New Year. The entire evening, including an open bar, is $110 per person including tax and tip. For those with other party plans, the main dining room will be serving dinner; reservation times will be at 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Marfreless 2006 Peden, 713-528-0083, www.marfrelessbar.com
Downstairs it's business as usual, but upstairs you can purchase a package that includes a couch, a bottle of champagne, cheese plate, cheesecake and party favors. Prices depend on brand of champagne. No cover downstairs. Upstairs packages start at around $80. Take the concept of the midnight kiss to a whole 'nother level.  

Mary Jane's Fat Cat 4216 Washington Ave., 713-869-5263, www.clubfatcat.com
Tonight enjoy a special New Year's party with the John Sparrow, one of Houston's hottest bands. $10.

The Mercury Room 1008 Prairie, 713-225-6372, www.mercuryroom.com
Austin's Sensual Soul will be rocking the house along with DJ Lucky LaRue and DJ Cipher spinning hip-hop and dance music in the Boaka Bar. Advance tickets $25; New Year's Eve $30.

Mugsy's 3200 Kirby, 713-526-5595
The classiest New Year's Eve party in Houston, with a free champagne toast at midnight and party favors for those who like to ring in the New Year in an intimate setting.

Mystery Café Marriott West Loop Hotel, 713-944-CLUE, www.mysterycafehouston.com
Enjoy a sumptuous dinner and a hilarious interactive mystery followed by a New Year's celebration as the ball drops in Times Square. $49.99 per person. Special inclusive room packages at Marriott available.

Numbers 300 Westheimer, 713-526-6551, www.numbersnightclub.com
Classic Numbers with Wes Wallace spinning with Shawn Morado, James and Robot. Enjoy a big ca$h balloon drop.

Proletariat 903 Richmond, 713-523-1199, www.theproletariathouston.com
Proletariat New Year's Eve party with Fatal Flying Guilloteens, Ume, Dead Roses and DJ Fred in between, before and after. Free giveaways until supplies run out, so get there early. This could be the craziest rockin' New Year's party in town. Drink specials all night. Starts at 9 p.m. $5.

Red Lion 2316 S. Shepherd Dr., 713-529-0321
Come on down; they'll have the fireplace roaring and the pub decorated with garland. You'll love the warm and cozy atmosphere while you sip a fantastic mistletoe martini chased with champagne pops with peppermint. They're having a Royal Treatment New Year's Eve Party with complimentary nibbles and a toast at midnight, party favors and balloon drop. No cover.

Red Star 2006 Fannin, 713-655-STAR
It's New Year's in New Orleans. Come hang out in the Voodoo Lounge with Mardi Gras decor taking you back to Bourbon St., the mystical part of the Big Easy. They'll have complimentary masks, beads and crazy drink specials.

E-mail info@redstarnightclub.com for reservations. $10.

Rhythm Room 1815 Washington Ave., 713-863-0943, www.rhythmroomhouston.com
Tonight enjoy a special MySpace.com-sponsored showcase. Meet and greet all those folks you've only ever known as goofy JPGs; maybe one of those hot chicks from Singapore who keep e-mailing you will show up.

Rudyard's 2010 Waugh Dr., 713-521-0521, www.rudyards.com
Party to the sounds of three of Houston's funnest bands. Clouseaux, Pale and Three Fantastic will rock you well into 2005. Champagne at midnight. 4 p.m.-2 a.m.

Sam Houston Hotel 1117 Prairie, 832-200-8800, www.samhoustonhotel.com
Greet 2005 in high style at the Sam Houston Hotel. Enjoy three great parties in one hot place. Chill out in the Sam Bar, mix in the hotel lobby and party the night away on the sexy rooftop veranda. Includes a champagne toast at midnight. $120 per couple; $65 for singles. 9:30 p.m. Another New Year's Eve package includes dinner in the critically acclaimed restaurant 17, full access to the party and two nights' accommodation in a deluxe king room for $700.

Sherlock's Pub 10001 Westheimer, 713-977-1857; 1997A W. Gray, 713-521-1881; Clear Lake, 2416 Bay Area Blvd., 281-461-4702; Humble, 228 West First St., 281-446-0407, www.sherlockspub.com
It's always a party at Sherlock's Pub. Tonight, enjoy live music at each of their Houston locations. At the Westheimer pub, see A-Rival; on West Gray, see Head First; in Clear Lake, see Madigan; and in Humble, see Nervous Rex.

South Beach 810 Pacific, 713-529-7488, www.southbeachnightclub.com
Tonight, join JD Arnold for the most out-of-this-world New Year's Eve party in Texas. Who will your New Year's kiss be?

Super Happy Fun Land 2610 Ashland, 713-880-2100, www.superhappyfunland.com
New Year's noise party, featuring Black Mayonaise (Akron, Ohio), Murderous Vision (Cleveland, Ohio), Rotten Piece (Houston), Rusted Shut (Houston), Oscillating Innards (California), Jason Crumer (North Carolina), A Fail Association (Fort Worth), Deadly Orifice (Dallas), Kairos (Houston), Chiasma (Houston), Rainbow Blanket (California), Bully Pulpit/Organ Failure (Houston), Concrete Violin (Houston) and Muzac.

Tila's Restaurant & Bar 1111 S. Shepherd, 713-522-7654
Make reservations now to celebrate the New Year with a three-course dinner including champagne, live music and a festive ambience with party favors. $65.

Under the Volcano 2349 Bissonnet, 713-526-5282
The New Birth Brass Band -- an offshoot of Rebirth Brass Band -- will turn this party out. The New Birth Brass Band is at the forefront of the current New Orleans brass band renaissance. The band fuses hip-hop, Mardi Gras Indian chants, funk and modern jazz with age-old traditional sounds. $15 cover includes party favors, champagne at midnight and breakfast at 1 a.m.  

Undercurrent 3102 Seawall Blvd., Galveston, 409-750-8571
Hot male dancers will adorn the dance floor at this coastal New Year's Eve celebration location. Drink specials at midnight, DJs and a money balloon drop at midnight!

Union 202 Tuam, 713-529-5296, www.b2tf.com
Party like it's 1989 to tracks that take you back. Come celebrate the New Year along with your favorite Back 2 the Future DJs that always pack the dance floor. Baby Roo, Salucema and Matt & the Cheesy Cracka Collective will play all your favorite '80s and '90s hits, along with current remixes and old-school-influenced tracks.

Vito's 5810 Beverly Hill, 713-334-VITO
Vito's is available for a New Year's Eve private party! Call John Milam at 832-640-7596.

Walter's on Washington 4215 Washington Ave., 713-864-2727
Luxurious Panthers will make you dance to their high-energy rockabilly sounds. 8 p.m. $10.

New Year¹s Eve Big Apple Ball at the Rice Lofts

909 Texas Avenue, Friday, December 31, starting at 9 p.m.

The evening's entertainment includes live music from the Shape Shifters, DJ Sun and DJ Melodic, plus six fully flowing bars, party favors and champagne at midnight. Food includes early-evening appetizers and late-night Mexican breakfast. You can also watch The Main Event on Main Street from the balcony. Tickets are available for $75 advance pre-sale for the first 600 tickets sold, $85 pre-sale, and $95 at the door. Admission includes beer, wine, cocktails and food for the evening. Tickets are available at www.houstonpress.com or www.racecarclub.net.

BLT (Black Tie, Lingerie, Toga) New Year's Eve Party at the Meridian

1503 Chartres, Friday, December 31, starting at 8 p.m.

Celebrate New Year's Eve with Clubmonkey in style at The Meridian. As usual, Clubmonkey is offering you a new twist on this yearly celebration. We'll be dressing the place up with live bands on one end, DJs and dancing on the other, and plenty of libations in between for all!

The theme dress of BLT (Black Tie, Lingerie, Toga) is encouraged, not required! You can come in whatever clothes you want to ring in the New Year. As a Clubmonkey Tradition: We are celebrating six time zones from around the world starting at 8 p.m. Why only ring in the New Year once a year? We're gonna ring it six times in one night! Tickets are $59 and available at www.clubmonkey.com.

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