The Absolute Best Ways to Celebrate New Year's Eve in Portland

Toast to the end of 2020.

It’s a bit ironic that in 2020, the year most people are likely desperate to celebrate the end of, there won’t be the same level of revelry as in years past. As COVID-19 rates continue to spike in Portland and the rest of the state (and country), cramped dance parties and Champagne flights at bars are out of the question. Historic New Year's Eve parties like the Governor’s Ball have been canceled, and the many dinners and Champagne toasts at Portland’s top restaurants are gone for the year, or for good. Like the rest of the year, the end of 2020 is looking to be... disappointing.

But not all is lost. There is still some revelry to be had seeing goodbye to this horrendous year. It’s just going to look a little different than before. Here are a few opportunities to celebrate the end of this godforsaken year in the City of Roses.

Celebrate New Year's Eve with Kachka at home

Now through December 31
Kachka, one of Portland’s most beloved dining spots, is bringing the end of year celebrations to your home. The Russian restaurant has a number of New Year’s Eve specials available for preorder at its website, including a Ruskie Zakuski Experience that comes with platters of cold Russian treats, a Spotify playlist, a gift, and guide to celebrating like Russians for the end of the year. Other packages include potato vareniki with caviar, beef sirloin roast, Bird’s Milk Cake, and “Carnival Night” champagne punch.

Go on a virtual speed date

December 31
2020 was not the best year for meeting new people. Those in relationships were able to settle in at home, but those on the market found dating much more difficult, on account of the whole “strangers might give you a deadly disease” thing. That’s why Speed Portland Dating has set up a New Year’s Eve virtual speed dating event to close out the year. A host will guide groups through dates that last seven to eight minutes, and interested parties can exchange emails with their dates for the possibility of post-pandemic meet-ups. It’s not the most traditional New Year’s Eve experience, but where else are you going to meet exciting new strangers?

Party at the Hoxton

Now through January 2
Old Town’s boutique hotel the Hoxton is offering an end-of-the-year special, running from December 22 to January 2. The hotel group has partnered with Champagne expert Ariel Arce, who also runs CaviAIR, an online caviar delivery program, for the dinner package. The indulgent package includes a one-ounce jar of kaluga caviar with potato chips, creme fraiche, mother-of-pearl spoons, and bubbly and includes overnight accommodations at the hotel. The dinner is available in rooms only, so you can enjoy these treats in the safety and seclusion of your own room as a kind of staycation.

Watch the sunset From Mt Tabor

December 31
Mt Tabor
Rising up from the center of Southeast Portland, Mt Tabor is a volcanic cinder cone and city park well-known to the residents of Portland. With its many benches strewn throughout, it’s a lovely place to catch the sun finally setting on 2020. And, because the sun seems to set sometime before 4 pm in winter, you’ll still have plenty of time to go home and drink some wine or, hell, just get to bed early.

Argyle Winery
Argyle Winery

Drink some Oregon sparkling wines at home

December 31
It’s no surprise that Oregon has an incredible wine scene. From the Willamette Valley to the Columbia Gorge, Oregon’s Pinots, Chardonnays, Gamays, and other varietals have spent the last few decades emerging as a powerhouse on the global wine scene. Oregon also has some pretty killer sparkling wines: big names like Argyle, who pioneered Oregon’s sparkling world, are always a safe bet, but wineries across the state have their own takes on bubbly wines. Grab some fresh oysters from a local fish shop and go to town on the evening of December 31.

Enjoy chocolate and sparklers from a vending machine

January 1
Pix Patisserie is well known for being one of the best wine bars in the country for Champagne and other sparkling wines. Normally this means a chocolate and wine-filled extravaganza for the end of the year, and Pix isn’t going to let something like a pandemic get in the way of some of that. The Pix-O-Matic, the patisserie’s self-serve vending machine outside, will unlock on the first second of 2021 for free chocolate concoctions and sparklers for all. The event is first come, first served, and guests are expected to take a single treat per person. Doing otherwise and taking more than your fair share will certainly see a full year of bad luck towards your way.

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Alex Frane would like you to contact your state representative and ask them to pass cocktails-to-go in Oregon so that 2021 might see at least a few of Portland’s bars and restaurants return. You can follow him at @franiacdrinks.