How to Have a Safe and Fun New Year’s Eve in Nashville

Goodbye, 2020. We won’t miss you.

The phrases “New Year’s Eve” and “good judgement” rarely appear in the same sentence, but that’s what revelers will need to consider this year as we simultaneously set fire to the 2020 calendar and offer good wishes for 2021. Social gatherings are problematic at best, but hopefully those that do choose to partake in the good cheer will do so with all due precautions. 

Current dining and drinking regulations dictate a 10 pm last call at bars anyway, so you’ll probably want to make plans to be somewhere safe and warm with your chosen one when the calendar page turns. With that said, here are some notable opportunities to bid this year adieu around Nashville or from the comfort and safety of your own home with your quaranteam.

Cook along with Chef Tony at home

Tony Galzin and his wife Caroline love to welcome the party people into their cozy Italian restaurant, Nicky’s Coal Fired, particularly on New Year’s Eve when they’ve traditionally thrown one of the best dinner parties in town. But they get it; you might prefer to stick close to home this year. So they’re bringing the party to you with a special four-course dinner-kit for two which you can carry home to cook in your own kitchen as you follow along online with Chef Tony as he walks you through every step of the process. The package also includes a link to an exclusive online performance by Nashville favorite R&B and soul songstress Allana Royale. Optional beverage packages will cover your drinking needs, so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy a complete evening out while staying in.
Cost: $150 for two

Flip on Channel 5 and enjoy the Nashville NYE Concert

While we’re surprised that we’re actually nostalgic about standing shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of people in the freezing cold for hours for the chance to watch Keith Urban shred his guitar while his wife Nicole Kidman dances behind him, reigniting our love for the movie To Die For, honestly we could use a year off. But the show must go on, only over the air this year as WTVF broadcasts the Nashville NYE concert featuring local indie-rock heroes Moon Taxi plus opening act The Shindellas playing their powerful female-powered soul music. There will also be highlights from previous years’ celebrations. If you’re looking for a taste of Music City, you can order a $50 Nashville New Year’s Eve Box of Cheer filled with sweet treats and the tools for a perfect cocktail.
Cost: Free

Celebrate how much 2020 s(h)ucked with the oyster experts at Henrietta Red

Available for dine-in or carryout, Henrietta Red has put together a NYE feast for the ages with several options for you to choose from. The “Sparkles + Snacks” kit features a full oyster presentation with all the fixin’s, caviar, potato chips and dip plus a bottle of bubbly starting at $135, and if you haven’t paired chips, caviar and champagne yet, you’re missing out! Or pick an entire dinner with choices of apps, entrees and desserts for $145 and up. Available add-ons include collard greens and black-eyed peas for good luck, wines and sweet treats.
Cost: $135 and up

Let Josephine do the cooking while you take the credit

12 South
Your friends at Josephine want to make sure that you’re still around to dine with them again in 2021, so they’ve prepared a special dinner you can enjoy at home until you can all be together again. They’ll even package it so that you can reheat it at home and serve it on our own china so that your date will think you did the cooking. (Just don’t let them peek in the recycling bin.) Dinner includes a shrimp cocktail and salad plus your choice of a 12-ounce prime or two jumbo lump crab cakes. Pull out the big plates, because you’ll also get a twice-baked potato, brussels sprouts and rolls plus chocolate cake and cookies for dessert.
Cost: $150 for two

Pick up a pack from Sinema

Sinema is without a doubt one of the sexiest restaurants in town, but if you prefer to celebrate at home in your own little love nest, they’re offering prix fixe NYE dinner packages for pickup, sized for two to three or four to six diners. (Hmmm...maybe that “love nest” idea just got a little weirder.) You have your choice to pick it up heated and ready to serve or portioned out to cook on your own at home, and the spread of food you’ll lay out on the table is spectacular: three apps including a brie, blood orange, pistachio and baby arugula salad; baked crab cakes with spicy aioli and truffle ricotta ravioli; followed by your choice of snapper en papillote or pan-seared ribeyes and skillet cookies for dessert.
Cost: $150 for two to three and $250 for four to six

Get fancy with “Wine & Dine at Home” from STK

The Gulch
It’ll probably be a little chilly to grill out on NYE, so go ahead and let the meat masters at STK take over the task for you so all you have to do is set the table, sit down and eat. Their dinner-for-two deal starts out with sourdough bread smeared with bleu cheese butter and a caesar salad with manchego cheese, followed by expertly-prepared filets with yukon mashed potatoes and green beans on the side plus apple pie for dessert. It’s exactly the sort of comfort meal you need to usher out this year.
Cost: $99 for two

Build an international feast from Otaku and Cafe Intermezzo

Multiple locations
Sometimes, variety is the spice your life needs, so why not order in from two local favorites to create a trip around the world as the earth races around the sun for the last time this year? Pick up some hot chicken buns, gyoza and a couple piping bowls of ramen from Otaku Ramen and then take a little trip to the Continent for a selection of desserts from the delightful little downtown European-style bakery, Cafe Intermezzo. Their pastry cases overflow with sweet treats like chocolate peanut butter cup cheesecake, tiramisu, totes, crêpes, and frutti di bosco, a berry-topped shortcake filled with chantilly creme. You can start your diet resolutions tomorrow.
Cost: Prices vary

Enjoy Old Crow Medicine Show’s annual Ryman Auditorium takeover

Beloved bluegrass folk rockers Old Crow Medicine have made the iconic Ryman Auditorium their home base for ringing in the new year for a while now, and they’re not gonna let a little microscopic virus mess with tradition. They’ll be back at it again this December 31, albeit with a slightly earlier start time since downtown will essentially shut down at 11 pm this year. That’s cool, you’ll still have a great time and get a good night’s sleep for a change.
Cost: $39.50 and up

Go Back to the Future for NYE at the Virgin Hotel

Music Row/Demonbreun
What’s a club to do when regulations call for a closing time before the ball drops (or, actually doesn’t?) Celebrate New Year’s in other countries’ time zones, of course. That’s the idea behind the Virgin Hotel’s fun “Back to the Future'' event which will pay homage to the hotel’s British roots by ringing in the new year along with London at 6:00 at their lobby-level Commons Club and rooftop Pool Club. If you’re an even earlier bird, they’ll fete 2021 along with Dubai at 2 pm. You’ll need to get on the waitlist, because they’re working the velvet rope meticulously to maintain safe capacity levels, but it’ll be worth it to party with a live DJ, belly dancers, and champagne toasts.
Cost: Free

Celebrate NYE Canadian style at Nashville Newfie New Year’s

East Nashville
The city’s hippest and hottest new piano bar/karaoke lounge, Sid’s Gold Request Room, is following Virgin’s lead, sort of, with a celebration of somebody’s else’s changing of the calendars. In its own truly quirky style, Sid’s has picked Newfoundland as the clock and calendar to follow for its celebration, meaning that the frozen cod will drop at the really odd hour of 9:30 pm, allowing for at least an extra half-hour of celebrating before the mandatory last call. 
Cost: $10 and up

Send off 2020 at L.A. Jackson

The Gulch
The popular rooftop bar at the Thompson Hotel plays host to a grand kiss-off of this (un)forgettable year with its “It’s Almost Over” party featuring clever drinks whipped up just for the occasion, with fun names like the No Pants, No Problem, the Six Feet Apart, the Zoom Quarantini, and a sad drink called No New Friends. Maybe you can remedy that problem from a couple yards apart as you distantly mingle to the music of a DJ and fill in squares on your 2020 Bingo card. (That’s not a tired metaphor or anything; there will actually be Bingo every hour.)
Cost: Free

Wear two masks to the NYE Masquerade Ball at Fable Lounge

West End/Vanderbilt
Since you’ve gotta wear a mask anyway when you go out, go ahead and wear another festive one over your N95 at Fable Lounge’s gala NYE Masquerade Ball. The event is free, but you’ll want to make advance reservations because this already exclusive lounge is limiting admissions even further for the soiree. Once you’re past the velvet rope, enjoy especially crafted cocktails plus fun competitions with prizes. 
Cost: Free

Mangia on an Italian NYE Dinner at Lockeland Table

East Nashville
Lockeland Table is acclaimed for its fascinating menu of rustic European dishes crossed with Southern sensibilities and local ingredients. Available for carryout as well, the restaurant is presenting a feast that’s full of options with the choice of soup or salad, one of four pizzas cooked in their wood fired oven that warms the cozy dining room, four different entrees and three desserts. If you need help deciding, here’s the power order: fennel white bean soup, LT Pig pizza, and pork osso bucco over braised greens and lemon house ricotta. You’re welcome.
Cost: $75 per person

Partake in bluegrass, brunch, burgers, and bourbon at The Sutler

New Year’s Eve is an all-day affair at The Sutler, the entertaining saloon/restaurant in the Melrose neighborhood. The day kicks off with its popular bluegrass brunch featuring live music and classic morning dishes. In addition to serving its full regular dinner menu, the bar has been holding back on some of the rarest bottles of whiskey that it’s purchased all year for special flights and individual pours from the bar to celebrate New Year’s. These are whiskeys you won’t just stumble across at your local watering hole. While we don’t want to name names, at least a couple of them rhyme with “happy tan sprinkle.”
Cost: Prices vary

Catch the early bird at Etch

NYE kicks off early at Etch downtown, with first seatings starting at 4:30. Frankly, we’d wake up at dawn for the chance to enjoy Chef Deb Paquette’s food anytime, so her prix fixe menu of starter choices like venison crépinette or shrimp & grits, her persimmon beet salad, entree options of duck, grouper, filet mignon, scallops or mushrooms and chestnuts en croute plus carrot cake gateau or chocolate peppermint cake for dessert will have us setting our alarms for an early dinner.
Cost: $95 per person

Take a trip to the Gulf coast at Marsh House

The Gulch
Marsh House has a slightly different view of what the “fixe” part of their four-course, prix-fixe menu costs, because you’ll pay different prices depending which entree you choose from a list of shrimp, lobster gnocchi, scallops, wild mushroom orecchiette, duck, or a NY strip, but there are no bad options in the lot. Add on seafood-centric appetizer choices plus soup, salad, and delicious dessert options, and it’s a real meal deal.
Cost: $65 and up

Spend the evening Hidden in the Snow

Hidden Bar in the basement of the Noelle Hotel has turned into one of the worst-kept secrets in town, mainly because just about everyone has enjoyed a night or two behind that secret closet door quaffing quality cocktails and reveling in whatever thematic decor scheme and activities they’re showing off that particular month. For the holidays, the bar has converted the space into “Hidden in the Snow,” an indoor winter wonderland. For New Year’s Eve, you can reserve a two-hour block of time to partake in your own socially-distant party while sipping on cocktails, enjoying a champagne toast, live music and bites like crispy pork skins with juniper cream, tangy bbq glazed shrimp, and breakfast tartine with crispy duck bacon, foie gras, and maple mustard.
Cost: $95 and up per person

Top off with tapas at Mason’s

New Year’s Eve is a fine time for small plates, because you don’t want to be so full that you’re down for the count before midnight arrives. Mason’s at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel obliges that need with a fun selection of internationally inspired tapas plates available from 4-10 pm on New Year’s Eve so you can make it home to your couch in time for the final toast. Build a meal by snacking on dishes like honey-whipped goat cheese, bao buns, fried green tomatoes, pizza, smoked salmon, and short rib sliders, and you should still have room for champagne.
Cost: $9-16 per plate

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Chris Chamberlain is a contributor for Thrillist. 
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