Get ready for the most anxiety-inducing holiday of them all: New Year’s Eve. Replete with already failed resolutions, Uber surge prices, and knockoff champagne, New York is undeniably both the greatest and the worst place to start out 2018. Still, we think you should stick around. Crowded, expensive, and cold, this city is nonetheless also home to some of the most strange, elegant, and elaborate parties out there.
Those of you who want to watch the ball drop in Times Square -- I fear for your sanity. For everyone else, we’ve compiled a list of all the most inspiring places to go that do not involve watching Phish perform beside a giant Olive Garden. Here are all of the best venues in New York to eat, drink, dance, and try to forget that 2017 ever happened.
Buffalo Chicken Beer Cheese Fondue Fries Are Like an Edible Sports Bar
Greenwich Village To enter this secret underground den, you’ll have to walk through the dining room at Air's Champagne Parlor. But don’t expect to drop in for a casual drink -- the place only offers “Vinyl Jukebox" dinners. There are two or three seatings a night, each with a custom vinyl playlist, champagne, and a family-style izakaya menu. On New Year’s Eve, the seatings are at 7:30pm and 10pm, both offering a seven-course prix fixe menu, and of course, a curated vinyl soundtrack. Highlights on the menu include king crab, uni, and most importantly, sake. Cost: $75
East Village This East Village staple has long been a favorite local date spot. With a well-to-do crowd, and a thoroughly impressive cocktail roster, it’s not hard to see why. This New Year’s, the window-lined corner eatery will offer a three-course dinner at 5:30pm, with a post-meal cocktail at a neighboring bar, Ghost Donkey. Then, at 9pm, there’s a four-course meal culminating in a Champagne toast at midnight. Cost: $95 for the 5:30pm seating; $150 for the 9pm seating
Williamsburg If you’re looking for some hearty Italian fare just like Mamma used to make, look no further than Leuca. Stationed at the bottom of the William Vale hotel, the high-end venue will host a 5:30pm seating with an a la carte menu, and an 8:30pm seating with a five-course prix fixe meal. At either time, your options include wood-oven manicotti with braised veal, fontina and black truffle, lobster in purgatorio, and crispy suckling pig to share. Cost: $135 for the prix-fixe menu, prices vary for the a la carte menu
Upper East Side From the team behind Estela and Café Altro Paradiso, this Met Breuer eatery was named one of Thrillist’s best new restaurants of the year. Marble tables, artisan liquors, and clientele of art connoisseurs make this a fine venue for a New Year’s Eve dinner. Chef Ignacio Mattos masterminds a six-course and a seven-course menu, with seatings at 5:30pm and 8:30pm. Guests can expect delicacies like sea urchin with burrata, duck breast with foie gras, and the restaurant’s signature Oester caviar. Cost: From $175
Greenpoint This narrow restaurant on Manhattan Avenue is your Brooklyn go-to for fresh seafood. Whether you’re looking for a plate of oysters from the raw bar, fillets of fish to take home from the market, or a full-on seafood dinner, Greenpoint Fish & Lobster has you covered. On New Year’s Eve though, they’re offering a four-course prix fixe menu that includes Maine lobster cavatelli, seared scallops, and fresh house ceviche. Cost: The four-course meal runs for $65; add wine pairings for an additional $35
Flatiron Specializing in all-things-bird, Le Coq Rico is a natural choice for holiday dining. For New Year’s, the place will be serving a specialty five-course prix fixe menu centered around chef Antoine Westermann’s famous roasted goose (with the option to add truffles for an additional $45). The meal will start with house-made baguette topped with 12-spice foie gras, followed by Blue Point oysters with truffle butter. From there, expect frog-leg chervil soup, and of course, the stuffed Endem goose. We’ll be amazed if you can save room for dessert. Cost: $124
West Village At this cozy West Village staple, you can watch a caramel ball drop from a 3-foot cream puff tower. We assure you, it’ll be far more entertaining than the actual ball drop. But before the dessert ceremony, the place will be holding two separate seatings -- one at 5pm, and another at 8:30pm. At the first seating, you can choose from plates like seared potato gnocchi with butternut squash, roasted split chicken, and maple syrup pie throughout the four-course meal. Guests at the later seating will receive an additional, fifth course -- Left Bank’s renowned local wild mushroom toast with shaved Parmesan and herbs. Cost: The 5pm seating is $65, the 8:30pm is $85
East Village What better way to welcome 2018 than with noodles? Little Tong, the famed Chinese noodle shop helmed by chef Simone Tong, will offer a New Year’s tasting menu at 6:30pm, with a whopping seven courses (get excited for the banana shrimp mixian noodles in smoked tomato shellfish broth). Drinks are not included, but gratuity is -- and each guest will go home with a complimentary joy luck gift bag curated by the chef. Cost: $68
Lower East Side Tucked behind a secret door in the back of a small Essex Street pawn shop, this elegant bar/restaurant serves some of the best craft cocktails in the city. It’s hard not to love this place, or at least be bowled over. An elegant spiral staircase connects the two floors, the bathroom attendant pours champagne (seriously), and the entire menu sings with elevated American fare. The ticketed New Year’s party, running from 10pm to 2am, includes a four-hour open bar, and a lengthy stream of hors d'oeuvres. The event has a strict dress code, so be sure to rock your classiest garb. Cost:Tickets are $250 with food and a four-hour open bar included
SoHo It’s not easy to find a rooftop bar with absolutely no cover charge in SoHo on New Year’s Eve, so for those of us making resolutions about frivolous spending, Bar Hugo is the perfect place to start 2018. The indoor/outdoor bar is only a few blocks from the Hudson, and will feel just as luxurious as many of the far pricier options around NYC. You’ll have a spectacular view of the fireworks, a live DJ, and notoriously delicious craft cocktails. Expect complimentary Champagne at midnight, of course. Cost: No cover! Complimentary midnight Champagne!
Central Park There’s no better way to part with 2017 than running as fast as you can in the other direction. Ring in the new year with a midnight run around a 4-mile course in Central Park. Fireworks await at the end -- proof that you made it out of 2017 alive. Cost: Entry fees start at $30
Chelsea Instead of wandering/standing/waiting for the fireworks in your less-than-weather-appropriate outfit, stay warm at “Camp Porchlight,” a cabin-themed reimagining of Danny Meyer's Chelsea restaurant. For the holiday, the whole place will be decked in fur, flannel, and lodge decor. From 9pm to 2am on the 31st, the cozy venue will offer ticket-holding guests bottomless drinks from the seasonal cocktail menu (think house-made eggnog and truffle martinis), small bites, a roaring fire, and live bluegrass. When the countdown to midnight begins, each guest will be supplied with their own mini bottle of champagne -- so prepare to get soaked. Cost: Tickets are $175 with all food and drink included
Williamsburg For a New Year’s filled with old Hollywood glam, look no further than Videology Bar. All night, it will be celebrating with a costume party devoted to Hollywood’s leading ladies. Come dressed as Ingrid Bergman, Marilyn Monroe, or Bette Davis, and revel in an evening filled with confetti poppers, vintage-inspired party hats, and Champagne. There’s no better way to bid goodbye to the hellfire that was 2017 than paying homage to some truly classy ladies. Cost: Admission is totally free, though drinks will cost you
Williamsburg This indoor/outdoor Williamsburg bar is a local favorite, with a taco truck stationed on the heated patio, a divey front room, and a downstairs dance floor. Every Monday, it hosts Reverend Vince Anderson and The Love Choir, and New Year’s Eve is no different. For $10, hit the dance floor and listen to dirty gospel tracks, surrounded by an army of beardy Williamsburg residents. Cost: Tickets are $10
West Village Hidden above a Five Guys in the West Village, the Garret is always a prime option for drinks downtown. For New Year’s, the speakeasy will be hosting a soiree from 9pm to 4am with a full open bar. Sip whiskey neat, nurse Champagne all night, or opt for one of the spot’s innovative craft cocktails (try the Missus Wheeler, with bourbon, Giffard banana, and ginger Drambuie). Once the festivities fade, the Garrett will provide free pizza from the one-and-only Joe’s, which saves you waiting in line down the street. Cost: Tickets are $115 with open bar, pizza, and a Champagne toast included
Greenpoint For a strange, new-age synth-focused party that screams “Brooklyn,” head to Saint Vitus. There you’ll find not one but three live DJs through the course of the night, presiding over an enormous dance floor. If you’re looking to do some dancing in the dark (on a budget), this is the place to come. There’s no dress code, the cocktails are strong and simple, and the party will go on until 5am. Cost: Tickets are $10
Midtown If you’d rather spend New Year’s with your Xbox than a live deep-house DJ and a tribe of well-dressed strangers, we have the perfect solution: an enormous party in the middle of a bar arcade. There may not be any Grand Theft Auto, but there will be Skee-Ball, bowling, Frogger, and a whole lot of alcohol. From 9pm to 1am, there will be an open bar, a live DJ, complimentary hors d'oeuvres, and all of the games of Pac-Man you could possibly want. Cost:Tickets are $89 with an open bar and small bites included
Lower East Side If you don’t know what to wear this New Year’s, Mr. Purple is an excellent option -- it’s hosting a masquerade ball. So instead of searching for a sequined blazer, pick a mask and ring in the new year with a little mystery. The popular LES venue has panoramic rooftop views of the city (and thus the fireworks), and the indoor space is lined with floor-to-ceiling windows. With your ticket, you’ll get a midnight Champagne toast, and plenty of cocktail weenies. Cost: Tickets are $75 with a Champagne toast included
Upper East Side/Lower East Side You may not want to run into 2018, but what about biking? Meet up with fellow bikers in Central Park, just opposite the Plaza hotel at 9:30pm, and ride through the city’s mesmerizing New Year’s commotion. Once you and the gang make it downtown, you’ll head straight to the Future Positive celebration in the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space. There will be free valet bike parking, a live DJ, and a series of NYC-centric films by local artists projected on the walls. Cost:Tickets are $30
Bushwick It comes as no surprise that the House of Yes NYE party sold out immediately, but lucky for us, the iconic, outlandish venue is throwing a second party just down the street. For an evening of glamour and decadence, hit The 1896 for The Grand Ball. In typical HOY style, there will be aerial performances, champagne showers, provocative ice sculptures, and naturally, fire-eating-dancers. The dress code is black tie, but gold and silver are actively encouraged. Cost: $105, or $160 including a three-course Grand Feast dinner beforehand. If you can wait until 4am, it's only $35.
Your couch You don’t want to be anywhere near Times Square when the ball drops. Trust us. If you’re really committed to witnessing the iconic event, we suggest you order some takeout and pop some personal Champagne at home, while enjoying the live Phish performance on TV.
Sign up here for our daily NYC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun New York has to offer.
For some New Yorkers, a library card is a vintage accessory, tucked into a wallet between a half-full coffee shop punch card and a CVS receipt. With the introduction of Culture Pass, that old library card is like a golden ticket. To culture!
Here’s how it works: Get a library card in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens if you don’t have one already. Browse this list of museums and cultural institutions citywide, including the Guggenheim, the Whitney, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Frick, the Met, the MoMA, and 27 other attractions, many of them among the best museums in NYC. Log onto the Culture Pass site, book up to two locations at a time in advance, and go -- for free. Start with the expensive spots.
From Los Angeles to San Diego: Every Pit Stop You Need To Make Along The Way
With zero humidity and palm trees in the rearview mirror, cruising down the Pacific coast to San Diego from Los Angeles is summer. Of course, LA traffic can make it less cruiseworthy and more bumper-to-bumper. But with authentic taquerias, whale watching, and iconic surf breaks, there’s a quintessential SoCal pit stop just about every mile of the ride to distract you. Here’s seven summer getaways you can easily hit on the way to San Diego -- just don’t forget the sunscreen and a swimsuit.
Move Maps, Ban Backpacks, and Shut Up: How New Yorkers Would Fix the Subway
If you live anywhere in the five boroughs, you have probably spent as much time griping about the subway as you have riding it. Transit chatter is small-talk king because the M platform this morning was ridiculous. Plans are tentative, because weekend service changes. And formalities drop because the fucking 7 train. For New Yorkers, “How’s your commute” is a more effective pickup line than “Can I buy you a drink?” or even the tried-and-true “I’m a Rockefeller.”
Lines 1 through 7, A to Z (and sometimes G!) -- the subway is the lifeblood of New York -- however many rats call it home. In spite of the meetings you’ve missed, the minutes you’ve lost, and the day-drinking brunch troll who threw up on your shoes at Delancey/Essex, you need the subway. And you need it to get better.
We asked a smattering of New Yorkers -- urban planners, technicians, transportation writers, artists, camp counselors, council members, and educators -- to tell us about the simple things that would improve their subway commutes. Here’s what they had to say.