It doesn’t get more glamorous — magical, romantic or thrilling — than welcoming in the new year in New York City. Since 1907, the gilded ball touching down in Times Square at the stroke of midnight has been a boisterous ritual, relished on television screens across the globe. Experiencing the cherished tradition firsthand in Times Square, however, isn’t for everyone. True, some enjoy the camaraderie while packed in like sardines with around 1 million strangers, shivering and longing for a restroom and a larger patch of concrete — others, not so much.
This list of nine New Year’s Eve parties in New York City, which we helpfully divided by save, spend and splurge, is for those not braving the crowds, for revelers who want a party with real bathrooms and everything from thoughtful, Champagne-filled spreads to inventive dance parties or a concert where head-banging might ensue.
Just remember, the streets will be jammed with fellow revelers, and they’ll all want a taxi, too. Don’t waste time hailing one for naught; skip the cab and book a sedan well in advance, or install the Uber app on your phone — although beware the escalating fares on this much-in-demand evening — to snag a car or keep your destination within walking distance.
Save: $60 and Under
Artichoke Basille’s Pizza and Bar
The garlic breadsticks and burnt anchovy pies served at Artichoke Basille’s Pizza & Bar hit the spot any evening, but on New Year’s Eve, when paired with a five-hour open bar (9pm to 2am), those carbs will be especially satisfying. At the pizzeria’s swank Meatpacking District-meets-Chelsea outpost, in a collaboration with the nightlife gurus behind clubs Tao and Lavo, plentiful booze and pizza will be heightened by a complimentary champagne toast at midnight while watching a live feed of the Times Square ball drop. The party runs from 8pm to 5am. Bonus: You’re near all the Meatpacking District club madness if you choose to wander. $55. 114 10th Ave., 212-228-2004, artichokepizza.com
Never Ending Party – Never Ending Beer at Irving Plaza
Andrew W.K. — singer, songwriter and general nightlife force and presence behind the album Get Wet –takes to the stage of legendary Union Square venue Irving Plaza for the appropriately titled, Never Ending Party – Never Ending Beer. The heavy metal show is open to those 16 and up and features punk rock-karaoke band Team Spirit. For those 21 and up with ID, tickets include unlimited rounds of tap beer. Doors open at 8pm. $40. 17 Irving Pl., 212-777-6800 irvingplaza.com
Blk|Market Membership and Resolute New Year’s Eve at Output
For those who want to dance their way into 2014, the European-inspired Brooklyn club Output, in Williamsburg, awaits. Kicking off at 10pm, the 24-hour party has a roster of DJs from New York and across the globe such as Avatism, Konrad Black and Quenum. $50-$60. 74 Wythe Ave., no phone, outputclub.com with tickets at ticketfly.com and residentadvisor.net
Thai feast at Kin Shop
Top Chef Harold Dieterle is serving a $75 three-course feast — with an amuse bouche of yellowtail and caviar wrapped in a betel leaf to begin — at his West Village Thai restaurant Kin Shop. Spring for it now, and you’ll slurp up jungle curry soup with kabocha squash dumplings, and tuck into roasted guinea hen laced in a fish sauce caramel with ginger sticky rice on New Year’s Eve. Fork over another $45 to add wine pairings. Seatings are from 6pm to 10:30pm. After dinner, retire to the bar to ring in the new year with The ALN, a gin cocktail with pickled Kirby cucumbers and spicy Thai pickle brine. 469-6th Ave., 212-675-4295, kinshopnyc.com
From dinner to DJ at Extra Fancy
All night long, the bar at Brooklyn seafood shack Extra Fancy, in Williamsburg, will be dispensing lobster rolls and oysters, but settle in for a proper meal — the first seating is at 7:30pm, the second at 9:30pm — and you’ll be treated to a $75 five-course spread that includes a Prosecco toast and handmade chocolate truffles. Upgrade to the $125 “Extra Fancy” version, in which dishes are tricked out with ingredients like foie gras, caviar and black truffles. Stay late, or come at 11:30 p.m., when the joint starts jumping with a DJ, dancing and disco balls. 302 Metropolitan Ave., 347-422-0939, extrafancybklyn.com
8,000-square feet of dance floor at Santos Party House
Bi-level Santos Party House, straddling Chinatown and Tribeca, attracts its fair share of celebs — Jay-Z and Hugh Dancy among them. While you may not be able to catch a glimpse of them on the dance floor this New Year’s Eve (although who knows?), surely the five-hour premium open bar (from 9pm to 2am), midnight Champagne toast and live DJ are enough incentive to hightail it to this 8,000-square-foot party mecca that never seems to have a bad night. Doors open at 8pm. $75. 96 Lafayette St., 212-584-5492, santospartyhouse.com
Splurge: Over $100
Champagne dreams at Maison Premiere
Ushering in the New Year on a heated patio beside a Champagne bar is a possibility at Maison Premiere in Brooklyn. The retro Williamsburg cocktail den will be serving oysters and shrimp cocktail from 4pm to 4am (individually priced), but for a heartier feast, savor the four-course dinner (6pm seating, $95; 9 pm seating, $125) featuring refined dishes like raw scallop and shrimp with horseradish; foie torchon; halibut with leeks, potatoes and Champagne sabayon; and absinthe panna cotta. 298 Bedford Ave., 347-335-0446, maisonpremiere.com
Lavish French affair at Café Boulud
Put on the pearls and make your way to the Upper East Side for renowned chef Daniel Boulud’s festive gala at his cozy Café Boulud, inside the Surrey Hotel. While there is a gentler priced pre-gala dinner for $145, a more lavish affair, for $450, includes a worthwhile five-course tasting menu, dancing to a live DJ at the adjacent Bar Pleiades along with a midnight toast and a parade of chefs. 20 E 76th St., 212-772-2600, cafeboulud.com
Burlesque over the bridge at Galapagos Art Space
Just over the Manhattan Bridge, in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Dumbo, you’ll find the beautiful Galapagos Art Space. To celebrate 2014, it’s putting its Floating Kabarette front and center. The eye-popping show channels 1920s Paris with a mélange of burlesque and can-can dancers, aerial artists and acrobats. The entertainment starts at 9:30 pm, but don’t fret, the dance party and open bar go strong until 1am. $125 and up. 16 Main St., 718-222-8500, galapagosartspace.com
Click here to read more about great ways to celebrate the holidays in New York City, and don’t forget to check out our deals and discounts for tours, cruises and shows this holiday season.