How to Celebrate New Year's Eve in NYC Without Spending a Ton of Money
New Year’s in New York can be stressful. Not only do you have to decide what to do, who to do it with, and how you’re going to get there with the inevitably obscene Uber surge and lack of cabs, but finding an NYE party that’s actually affordable can seem impossible. While sitting on your couch in PJs with takeout may seem tempting for the night of December 31st, we’ve scoured the city for some of the coolest New Year’s Eve experiences that a) don’t cost more than $100 and b) will actually let you have fun ringing in 2017 -- even during that dreaded countdown at midnight. Well, maybe.
If you’d rather go back in time than move into 2017, head to Videology where you can boogie your way through the music of the ‘70s and ‘80s before the inevitable future sets in. Costumes are encouraged and Champagne will be served at midnight.
The recently reincarnated speakeasy will celebrate yet another year of legal drinking with a burger and a bottle special that includes a Chumley’s 86’d Burger (topped with secret sauce and crispy shallots), fries, and a half bottle of Champagne (Bollinger Special Cuvee) -- which is really all you need, right? The à la carte food and drink menu will be available as well.
Upper West Side/Central Park
Price: $45-65 (depending when you register)
Get on those New Year’s resolutions as soon as the clock strikes midnight; that’s when the New York Road Runners will kick off their 4 mile run across Central Park as fireworks sparkle in the air. For those who need the extra nudge to exercise, a pyrotechnic display is a good incentive. Volunteers are also needed for those who are anti-running.
Port Morris, Bronx
This new gastropub from the owners of Gun Hill Brewing Company will host an $80 open bar from 9pm to midnight, which includes beer, wine, well drinks, a Champagne toast, and an unlimited food buffet (so you forget all your anxieties about what 2017 may bring by stuffing yourself with spicy wings).
Get nostalgic for a simpler time at Hail Mary’s pastel-hued Brooklyn diner, which will be doing a fried chicken feast including chicken skin dressed salad, biscuits with giblet gravy, chicken fat minced meat pies, and fried chicken with fixin’s, all served with gold-wrapped 40s, so you can chase down all that chicken with some fancied-up malt liquor.
Price: $95 (and up)
Literally no one wants to admit that we’re moving further away from the ‘90s, so head to The Cannibal where you can forget post-millennium life and dance to ‘80s and ‘90s classics while eating burgers, wings, Reuben egg rolls, and unlimited raw bar offerings like oysters and shrimp cocktail. Be sure to queue up your Boomerang app to capture your whiskey shots from the bone marrow luge.
Secret Brooklyn warehouse
Price: $60 and up
Dance and drink your way through space and time with this party that promises to rage from 6pm to 6am on New Year’s morning with food vendors and interactive performances, fire breathers, aerialists, zip line performances, and much more keeping you entertained until daybreak. If you wanted an untraditional party to usher in 2017, this is it.
Price: $50, $15 additional for sake
Eat a traditional Japanese new year’s meal at this cozy Downtown restaurant, which will have special seatings at 7:30 and 9pm. Celebratory and symbolic dishes will include broiled sea bream (which brings luck), salt-grilled shrimp (for a long life), sweet potatoes with chestnuts (for wealth and financial success), and many more comforting and inspiring Japanese dishes.
Price: $65 for three courses from 5pm-7:30pm, $85 for four courses after 8pm
Decked out with streamers and festive decor, this dim-lit Downtown bistro is the perfect place to strap on a sparkly hat and dig into charcuterie and cheese, homemade tagliatelle with bolognese, and crispy iron-roasted split chicken. To welcome in 2017, a 3ft-tall croquembouche (think donut hole tower covered in honey) will be paraded around the restaurant for everyone to share.
It’s just 10 bucks to get into beloved Alphabet City cocktail spot The Wayland, which will have Western swing band The Brain Cloud playing live music from 9pm until midnight. In addition to food and drink specials, there will also be a complimentary Champagne toast to ring in the New Year.
Astorians don’t need to leave the neighborhood to celebrate the new year in style. This neighborhood bar will be hosting a party starting at 9pm which will include an open bar with beer, wine, and legit cocktails including Old Fashioneds and Manhattans (it will be too easy to drink your money’s worth... ), along with pub food like fried pickles, sliders, grilled cheese, fries, and more. Proceeds from the party will go to poverty relief organization Concern Worldwide, so you can feel good about drinking the night away.
Forget the ball drop -- a ball pit drop will ring in 2017 at the Brooklyn Bazaar’s quirky NYE event, complete with a musical performance by Titus Andronicus along with additional artists and DJs throughout the night. Shred a paper with your worst memory (or multiple) of 2016 for an angsty confetti-throw at midnight and make new year’s great again.
Various meeting points
Hop on your bike, unicycle, or rollerblades to join in on this annual bike ride hosted by Time’s Up. The ride will cross the Williamsburg Bridge and venture through Washington Square Park and Madison Square Park before the midnight finale at Belvedere Castle (feel free to make that your only destination, via subway) for a dance party. Bring a flask.
Price: Depends on what you order, but a hot pastrami sets you back $19.99
Carnegie Deli closes its door forever at midnight on December 31st, so bundle up to wait in what will inevitably be a long, long line for your very last Carnegie pastrami sandwich. Grab a knish and slice of cheesecake to go to make it last until 2017.
Price: $100 for two
It’s Sunday, you’re in Brooklyn, and you’re ringing in 2017 with a festive seafood feast -- a special wood-roasted lobster with mussel butter and lobster raclette custard will be served to share, and a Pét-Nat toast will take place at midnight.
South Street Seaport
Price: $28 for Premium Plus tickets
If you’re looking for something low-key (but still indulgent) settle in at this fancy new movie theater, where you can watch movies while drinking prosecco ($12) and Champagne ($17), and eating Baked Alaska ($8) from your premium reclining seat.
Sign up here for our daily NYC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun New York has to offer.