It’s the end of the year as we know it, and should you leave it behind feeling fine. And what finer way is there to say goodbye to 2018 than by spending its last night in the place the whole nation is watching? Now, every cliché about New York’s suffocating New Year’s Eve crowds happens to be true. You’ll wait in line too long. The subway will turn against you. You might miss the ball drop. And the pressure to ring in the most climactic day of the year, with its attendant forced fresh starts, resolutions, and mandatory midnight kisses, makes the whole affair tantamount to rocket science. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Cynics call it amateur hour. Iconoclasts claim they’ll be in bed by 10. And the geniuses on Twitter will affect whatever position seems most likely to rack up the likes. But New Year’s Eve, perhaps more than any other holiday, is rich with hope and promise and second chances. It’s a night worth raising a glass to, whether your toast is ‘thanks for the memories’ or ‘see you in hell.’ And for all the crowds, cover charges, and overpriced plastic novelty glasses, NYC is the best place in the world to honor bid adieu to the old year and seize the new. So take the rocket science out of the equation this year, pair your NYE dreams with one of our nightlife options, and get ready for an incredible 2019.
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FOR DRAMA ROYALTY CRAVING A NIGHT OF PSEUDO GLAMOUR:
Midtown Men looking dapper and women dressed as flappers will flirt and fraternize Fitzgerald-style at this Gatsby-esque bash. An open bar never killed nobody. Cost: General admission $30; open bar $90
Midtown Watching the ball drop isn’t the only stereotypically NYC-themed way to go about New Year’s Eve. Enter the winning duo of skyline views and Champagne toasts in refined rooftop environs. The premium open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres, and live entertainment may or may not justify the price tag, but the Empire State Building backdrop has got to be worth some social media currency. Cost: Tickets start at $150
Chelsea This pan-Asian restaurant-adjacent lounge/club’s massive, modern chandeliers, plush seating, blue lights, and dazzling funky wall portraits give its space an upscale, elegant aesthetic. Your ticket gets you hors d'oeuvres, access to the four-hour open bar, and a glass of complimentary Champagne at midnight. Cost: General admission $200
Lower East Side For everyone over those velvet bodycon dresses that have dominated the past decade of New Years Eves attire, Mr. Purple’s Burlesque party offers a refreshing change of style. Start the year with some flair in fishnets, costume jewelry, a feather boa, and heavily-penciled brows. This is another great rooftop option with top notch skyline views, especially for the LES. Cost: $100
FOR REVELERS WISE ENOUGH TO KNOW THE BEST PLACE TO SPEND AN ORDINARY NIGHT (HINT: A BAR), ALSO REIGNS SUPREME FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS:
Greenwich Village Delight in first rate craft cocktails and bar snacks from Murray’s Cheese at this high end, low key bar. The cocktail den beneath MacDougal Street in what was once the 1960s beatnik haunt Gaslight Cafe has atmosphere for days. If you get off on William Morris floral wallpaper, a little snobbery, and plenty of marble, brass, and wood surfaces, I need say no more. Cost: Standing table $90; bar seat $125
Queens Not everyone wants to stumble into 2019 in their highest pair of heels with makeup smeared down their face having already texted their ex. Some people, we might say smart people, just want to drink, eat, and hang. A biergarten gala is the perfect place to do just that. Champagne toasts and open bars seem to be a standard offering for these $100-and-up NYE tickets, but Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden kicks up its value with a buffet dinner as well. Cost: $125
Bushwick A teeny steamy techno rave. Waves of fog and sultry dark corners made for lurking are the perfect cover for your midnight kiss... and whatever comes next. Dance or drink all night at this trendy, tropical local fav. Cost: Check back for price details
Park Slope Shed your workweek garb and show some skin at this metamorphosis fête. Some highlights: projection art, living sculptures, and “luxury cuddle puddles” (gotta use your imagination to figure what that entails; this writer has not participated). Musical talent includes Acid Pauli with Behrouz, Be Svendsen, and Mira. Note that this event is not at the House of Yes regular location (sold out) but at Grand Prospect Hall. They’ll make your dreams come true. Cost: $100-$120
Secret Brooklyn warehouse Rage through space and time at this annual intergalactic warehouse shindig. Expect fire breathing performers, soaring aerialists, zip line shows, and spandex on spandex. Claude Vonstroke will spin tunes, and performers like Bleep Bloop, Honey Comb, X&G, will take the stage. Not for the faint of heart or liver, the Time and Space party lasts until 5am and you’ll probably be moving and shaking the entire time, so you’ll want to get started on your fitness resolutions at least two weeks before the main event. Cost: General admission is $95
Williamsburg End 2018 loud and proud by rocking out to Allman Brothers Band alum and two-time Grammy winning bassist Oteil Burbridge with fellow renowned artists Melvin Seals, Eric Krasno, John Kadlecik, Jay Lane, Jennifer Hartswick, Natalie Cressman, and Weedie Braimah. Cost: $65 advance; $75 at the show
Lower East Side Catch Brooklyn-based indie folk band The Lone Bellow on the Bowery for a sweet soundtrack to start the new year. The trio will perform piano-based ballads, orchestral songs like “Long Way To Go,” and a singalong. Cost: $50
Bushwick You’re going to need to pregame with a French press before this 8pm-8am all-night extravaganza. Dance from dawn till dusk -- beats will blast for 12 hours, courtesy of Euro stars Mano Le Tough and Tensnake, as well as musicians Connie, Amber Valentine, and Andrew Devlin. The popular music venue is the perfect space for large groups -- slink from room to room and alternately hang with or avoid your companions. Cost: Tickets start at $65
Times Square For the most extra of our readers, we have just the thing: an indoor/outdoor, multilevel rooftop lounge right in the center of the action. Live the high life on the 15th story of the venue with a dance floor, open bar, hors d'oeuvres, party favors, and Champagne toast. Cost: Last minute tickets are $400
Midtown Let’s face it, 2018 was rough. You don’t need me to list off news stories, so I won’t. But you probably want to start 2019 with a laugh. And laugh you will at Johnny Utah's. The sprawling space near Rockefeller Center is goofy-Western style, complete with a mechanical bull to ride, Wild West decor, and country music shuffled into top 40 playlists. And its NYE bash checks all the boxes, including open bar, Champagne toast (duh), ball drop screening, and a good old countdown. Plus you can nab sliders, quesadillas, chicken fingers and veggies from the mini-buffet until 11:30pm. Cost: Tickets start at $79
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