We’re counting down some of our favorite ways to ring in the new year in Chicago. From a dart party to the return of Hot Doug’s, here are our picks in no particular order.
From 9 pm to 12:30 am on December 31, enjoy food from three of the Italian emporium’s restaurants, including the newest limited-time-only option, BAITA. There will be an unlimited menu of fresh pasta, risotto, pizza, arancini and bottomless wine. For dessert, look forward to plenty of panettone and pandoro, plus pans of tiramisu. A live band and toast at midnight will help ring in 2019. Tickets: $125. 43 E. Ohio St.
The spy-themed bar and restaurant hosts a James Bond-themed gala starting at 10 pm with a live DJ, food buffet and hosted bar, plus champagne toast. TVs will broadcast both the New York and Chicago countdowns, and a magician will be present with plenty of tricks. Dress up since there will be a costume contest - $100 for the best-dressed couple and $50 for the best dressed Bond and Bond Girl. Tickets: $55 in advance, $65 at the door. 60 E. Ontario St.
Chicago’s newest restaurant and nightclub has a New Year’s Eve party as glamorous as the celebrities it attracts. The nightclub hosts a four-hour premium cocktail reception from 9 pm to 1 am along with passed hors d’oeuvres, a midnight champagne toast and a lineup of top DJs. Tickets start at $150/person. At the attached restaurant, serving award-winning Pan-Asian specialties, opt for the third seating at 8:30 pm, which will include a platter of the best dishes on the menu including Tuna Pringles and Satay of Chilean Sea Bass. Additional early seatings begin at 4 pm. Tickets: $200 per person. 632 N. Dearborn.
The social dart bar hosts games and then some on New Year’s Eve beginning at 7 pm-9:30 pm or 10 pm-1 am. Enjoy an open bar, champagne, bites by chef Rick Gresh and darts of course. Group packages get you a reserved game space for up to 12 people plus a seafood tower, three bottles of Prosecco and a premium open bar. $63 per person, special pricing for group packages. 111 W. Wacker Dr.
The bar arcade has plenty of vintage Ataris, pinball machines and other game consoles. Entry includes game time plus five drink tickets, chef-driven appetizers (from 8-10 pm), a champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight and party favors. Plus, you’ll get entered to win a grand prize of 10 pairs of concert tickets to any Chicago concert during 2019. The party goes from 8 pm to 2 am. Tickets start at $70. 213 W. Institute Pl.
The Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier may be one of the prettiest New Year’s Eve venues in the city, set inside a one-acre botanical garden housed within a six-story glass atrium. General Admission tickets include premium top shelf drinks at 20 premium liquor bars and a food station from Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants from 9 pm to 1:30 am. For entertainment, there’s music from DJ Dante as well a premier view of Navy Pier’s midnight fireworks show. Tickets: $99 per person or VIP starting at $149. 700 E. Grand Ave.
If eating one last fabulous meal in 2018 is on your agenda, check out the prix-fixe dinner at this restaurant (inside Loews). The five-course menu includes West Coast oysters with hibiscus sorbet and pickled fresno; seared foie gras with fall-spiced pineapple upside down cake and brown butter; sumac and cumin-crusted scallops with parsnip puree, delicatta squash, blood orange and walnuts; dry-aged strip steak with whipped potato, charred onion, chanterelles and bone marrow; and chocolate truffle cake with raspberries and champagne sorbet. Tickets: $85 per person and includes a complimentary champagne toast. 455 N. Park Dr.
If a new outlook is what you are looking for in the new year, check out the scenery at the Vu Year’s Eve party. The premier elevated event space, with a heated, year-round rooftop, starts things off at 5 pm with a variety of signature cocktails and featured dishes plus an unparalleled city view including a prime spot for Navy Pier’s firework display. DJs, party favors and more are planned. Ticket: $25 in advance, $35 at the door. 133 E. Cermak.
For one night only, the legendary and much-missed Hot Doug’s comes back to life at the Library Bar at the Ambassador Chicago. The “no jackets” party takes place from 4-9 pm and features Doug Sohn’s unlimited gourmet sausages including the signature Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli and Foie Gras Mousse, plus the popular duck fat fries. A cash bar features wine and beer under $10 and a live DJ set will offer a playlist curated by Doug himself. Tickets: $75 per person. 1301 N. State Pkwy.
And one more for New Year’s Day…
After a late night of partying you’re bound to be hungry. Simply roll out of bed and head to Jake Melnick’s from 9 am-12 pm for build-your-own Bloody Mary skewers; a buffet including deep-fried French toast, biscuits and gravy, cinnamon rolls, sausage links and more; plus games including giant Jenga. The brunch buffet is $10 per person and Bloody Mary's are an additional $7 each. 41 E. Superior St.