Black Ensemble Theater A performance of “the best of the best” of Black Ensemble Theater follows a champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception. After the show there’s an open mike and dancing. a8 PM, Black Ensemble Theater, 4520 N. Beacon, 773-769-5541, $100.
Celtic Crown: “Celtic Countdown to 2009” This party features an open bar till midnight, party favors, a balloon drop, and champagne toast. a8 PM-2 AM, Celtic Crown Irish Sports Pub, 4301 N. Western, 773-588-1110, celticcrownpub.com, $40.
Chemically Imbalanced Comedy The company will perform sketches from this year’s Seasonal Disorder; budding improv artists can hone their skills in interactive performances. Party favors, a midnight champagne toast, food (the actors will prepare their favorite dishes), drinks, and an after-party with the cast are included. Must be 13 or older. a8 PM-2 AM, Chemically Imbalanced Theater, 1420 W. Irving Park, 800-838-3006, $35.
Chuckle Bowl Spectacular In addition to 12 lanes of bowling, this event offers pizza, $3 domestic beer, and a revival of the local comedy game show Don’t Spit the Water. a9 PM-1 AM, Lincoln Square Lanes, 4874 N. Lincoln, 773-561-8191, $20 in advance, $25 at the door.
ComedySportz Theatre Two shows: a family-friendly one with an early countdown (6 PM, $21) and a later one with party favors, drink specials, a champagne toast, and a retro dance party afterward (10 PM, $30). aComedySportz Theatre, 929 W. Belmont, 773-549-8080, www.comedysportzchicago.com/.
Deja Vu: “Out With the Old and in With the Vu” The $35 general admission includes party favors, a balloon drop, and an open bar (till midnight); the $45 VIP package adds on hors d’oeuvres (8-10 PM) and access to a VIP lounge. a7 PM-4 AM, Deja Vu, 2624 N. Lincoln, 773-871-0205, dejavuchicago.com.
Dick’s Last Resort: “Broke Bash” The 20th annual “Broke Bash” promises cheap booze and grub plus live music from the hair-metal tribute band 80s Proof. a435 E. Illinois, 312-836-7870, free before 8 PM, $10 after.
Don’t Dress for Dinner According to Reader reviewer Albert Williams, “French playwright Marc Camoletti’s sex farce offers escapist fun... a crack ensemble handles the play’s rapid-fire repartee, racy double entendres, and broad physical comedy with aplomb.” The 10 PM show includes a champagne toast and “other great surprises.” a5 and 10 PM, Royal George Theatre Center, 1641 N. Halsted, 312-988-9000, theroyalgeorgetheatre.com, $49.50-$59.50.
The Drake Hosted by Chicago Scene, this gala event boasts four ballrooms of entertainment, a premium open bar (till 1 AM), hors d’oeuvres, DJs and a live band, a balloon drop, and coffee and dessert served after midnight. A buffet dinner with seatings at 6:30 and 7 PM is an extra $40. a9 PM-2 AM, Drake Hotel, 140 E. Walton, 312-787-2200, $175.
Elbo Room DJ Tony Healy spins hip-hop, soul, funk, and Latin music; there’s an open bar all night and dress is casual. a8 PM-1 AM, Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln, 773-549-5549, elboroomchicago.com, $65 in advance, $85 at the door.
Excalibur and Vision: “Get Stimulated New Year’s Eve 2009—Prices Rolled back to 1999” Four “environments” with a total of 25 bars, confetti, balloon drops, a multimedia countdown, and music from the Bad Boys of Live Late Night and DJ Pat Mann, DJ Dammit Jim, and DJ Slim Maybe. The $125 “penthouse” admission includes a premium open bar (8 PM-midnight), dinner buffet (8-11 PM), and access to the VIP penthouse; the $99 “platinum” admission offers the same minus penthouse access; the $59 “gold” admission includes an open bar (7-11 PM) and dinner buffet (7-9:30 PM). General admission is $40 and guarantees admission after 9 PM; general admission after 10 PM and reduced admission after 1 AM may be available. a7 PM-4 AM, Excalibur, 632 N. Dearborn, 312-266-1944.
Fat Cat At this Roaring Twenties-themed party, zoot-suit attired partyers have access to an open bar (9 PM-1 AM), champagne fountain, hors d’oeuvres, and fondue stations. a9 PM-2 AM, Fat Cat, 4840 N. Broadway, 773-506-3100, fatcatbar.com, $75 in advance, $100 at the door.
Finn McCool’s: “New Year’s Free” This year Finn McCool’s offers free admission to its bash with party favors, multimedia countdown, champagne toast, and DJ. a11 AM-4 AM, Finn McCool’s Irish Pub, 15 W. Division, 312-337-4349.F
Full Shilling: “Irish Eve” Includes an open bar (8 PM-midnight), appetizer buffet (9-11 PM), party favors, and a balloon drop. a7 PM-2 AM, Full Shilling Public House, 3724 N. Clark, 773-248-3330, fullshillingpub.com, $45.
Heartland Cafe After the annual Athletes United for Peace 5K race (free this year), there’s a party with giveaways, a champagne toast at midnight, and music by Snatch, Inc. The restaurant will be serving dinner until 8 PM and a limited menu from 8 to 10 PM; reservations highly recommended. aRace at 7 PM (register by 6:45), music starts at 9 PM, Heartland Cafe, 7000 N. Glenwood, 773-465-8005, heartlandcafe.com.F
Hilton Chicago Surreal hosts this bash, where general admission gets you an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, and a buffet, plus a champagne toast and confetti at midnight. A $1,000 VIP table seats eight guests, who get a personal cocktail server and premium open bar package, but doesn’t cover party tickets; the $2,000 VIP package is the same deal but also includes party tickets. a9 PM-2 AM, Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan, 312-226-6990, newyears09.com, $155 general admission.
Hyatt Regency Chicago Includes an open bar and appetizer buffet (till 11 PM), with live music by 7th Heaven and party games and prizes. a8:30 PM-1:30 AM, Hyatt Regency, 151 E. Wacker, 312-239-4536, chicagohyatt.com, $125 at press time, “price will increase without notice as event approaches.”
In Fine Spirits: “Black & White Party” This Truman Capote-inspired party features drink specials including the “Black Tie” and “White Lady;” included in the cover charge are party favors, black-and-white food, and a “special surprise” at midnight. a4 PM, In Fine Spirits, 5420 N. Clark, 773-334-9463, infinespirits.com, $20.09 in advance, $25 at the door.
iO Bails Out 2008 Whirled News Tonight presents its annual Year-in-Review Special in the Del Close Theater while the Deltones perform their Improvised Musical in the Cabaret (8 PM, $20). The musical New Year’s With the Cupid Players starts at 10:30 PM ($30). All shows include a champagne toast; music and dancing follow the last one. a8 and 10:30 PM, iO, 3541 N. Clark, 773-880-0199.
Landmark Grill & Lounge Open premium bar from 8 PM to 1:30 AM, a food station and organic passed hors d’oeuvres, and a champagne toast at midnight. a1633 N. Halsted, 312-587-1600, $100.
Leg Room: “Bon Voyage 2008” The $60 open-bar package (9 PM-midnight) features party favors, a DJ, and a multimedia countdown; tables can be reserved in advance. $20 general admission after 11 PM. a7 PM-4 AM, Leg Room, 7 W. Division, 312-337-2583.
Lion Head Pub & the Apartment: “Now That’s What I Call New Year’s!” Two parties on two levels, with a multimedia countdown and balloon drop. For $59, attendees get an open bar (8 PM-midnight) and dinner buffet (8-10 PM). $25 general admission after 11 PM. a7 PM-3 AM, Lion Head Pub & the Apartment, 2251 N. Lincoln, 773-348-5100, lionheadpub.net, apartmentlounge.com.
Moe’s Cantina Open bar (till 2 AM), appetizer buffet, balloon drop, and DJ. a9 PM-2 AM, Moe’s Cantina, 3518 N. Clark, 312-850-8151, $125.
Mystic Blue New Year’s Eve Cruise This cruise around the harbor, in addition to views of the Navy Pier fireworks display, offers a dinner buffet, open bar, a DJ, and a photo of each couple. aBoarding starts at 8:30 PM; the cruise is from 9:30 PM-12:30 AM, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, 877-299-7854, mysticbluecruises.com, $146.90 (not including taxes, fees, service charges, or fuel surcharges).
Navy Pier Crystal Gardens Alife Group’s party features a terrace view of the Navy Pier fireworks, DJ Jumpin’ James, and an all-night open bar and buffet. a9 PM-2 AM, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, 312-595-7437, admission starts at $110.
Navy Pier Family New Year’s Eve Bash An all-ages concert with hip-hop dancers, live music by ScribbleMonster & His Pals, and taiko drumming (6-7:45 PM) is followed by a family fireworks show at 8:15. DJ Warp spins for a dance party in the Family Pavilion from 10 to 11:30 PM. aNavy Pier, 600 E. Grand, 312-595-5184.F
Navy Pier Grand Ballroom Semiformal dress is required at this gala with an all-night open bar, appetizers, a balloon drop, giveaways, and view of the Navy Pier fireworks. DJs spin and the White Tie Affair performs. a9 PM-2 AM, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, 312-226-6110, $150.
Navy Pier New Year’s Eve Fireworks The lights on the Ferris wheel will count down to midnight, when the 18-minute display of fireworks set to music begins. aNavy Pier, 600 E. Grand, 312-595-7437.F
New Year’s Eve Comedy Blitz Stand-up by Dave Odd, Brian Dawidowitz, Mark Stewart, Bailey Bing, Trenton Willey, and others. Under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. a8:30 PM, the Edge Comedy Club, Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, 777 N. Green, 312-733-6000, $12, $10 students.
New Year’s Eve Cornstravaganza Corn Productions is combining two and a half hours of sketch, improv, and stand-up comedy with food and an open bar, plus dancing after midnight. The first set starts at 8:45 PM. a8 PM-2 AM, Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln, 773-458-6151, cornservatory.org, $40 per person, $70 per couple.
New Year’s Eve Zombie Pub Crawl Dress up in “your favorite zombie costumes and makeup” for this annual Weird Chicago crawl to favorite weird watering holes, complete with zombie games, prizes, and a ride on the Weird Chicago bus. a7 PM, Hard Rock Cafe, 63 W. Ontario, 888-446-7859, weirdchicago.com, $40.
O’Donovan’s Open bar, DJ, and party favors; chef Victor DeLeon will also create hors d’oeuvres and a dinner buffet of roast chicken, pasta, roast beef, Spanish rice, and desserts. a8 PM-1 AM, O’Donovan’s Pub and Restaurant, 2100 W. Irving Park, 773-478-2100, odonovansbar.com, $80 in advance, $100 at the door.
Odyssey New Year’s Eve Cruise This cruise includes an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, a four-course dinner, a chocolate fountain, a photo, live entertainment, and of course a view of the fireworks. aBoarding starts at 8:30 PM; the cruise runs 9:30 PM-12:30 AM, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, 888-957-2322, odyssey.com, $219.90 (not including taxes, fees, service charges, or fuel surcharges).
People Lounge The $60 package includes an open bar, party favors, and a DJ; for $100 you also get a four-course dinner of stuffed piquillo peppers, lobster empanadas, braised chicken and chorizo, and chocolate almond cake. aPeople Lounge, 1560 N. Milwaukee, 773-227-9339.
Pops for Champagne Open bar with Piper-Heidsieck champagne, passed hors d’oeuvres, and party favors. a601 N. State, 312-266-7677, popsforchampagne.com, $130, $150 for reserved seating.
The Poseidon Adventure Camp Midnight’s interactive screening of the 1972 disaster flick, hosted by camp maven Dick O’Day and Hell in a Handbag Productions, will be timed so that midnight comes at the same time on-screen and in the theater; a champagne toast and party favors are included. a11 PM, Music Box, 3733 N. Southport, 773-871-6604, musicboxtheatre.com, $20 in advance, $25 at the door.
Rio’s D’Sudamerica The $20 package gets you two drink tickets, party favors, a champagne toast at midnight, and music by Dino Latino; for $40 you also get a Peruvian dinner and a table. a9 PM-2 AM, Rio’s D’Sudamerica, 2010 W. Armitage, 773-276-0170.
Rogers Park Boogie A family dance party with music by DJ Tim Williams. a4-8 PM, Gale Park field house, 1610 W. Howard, rogersparkparents.com, $2.
2nd Story Serendipity Theatre’s program of storytelling combined with live music also features an open bar and food (starting at 9 PM). a8 PM-1 AM Red Kiva, 1108 W. Randolph, 312-226-5577, storiesandwine.com, $100 until 12/20, then $120.
Spin: “Retro Prom” “Prom-inspired fashions” are encouraged; entertainment by a DJ and VJ. An open bar (8:30-midnight), hors d’ouevres and a chocolate fountain, and a commemorative photo are included. Doors open to the general public at midnight. a8:30 PM-midnight, Spin, 800 W. Belmont, 773-327-7711, $45 in advance, $75 at the door.
Spirit of Chicago New Year’s Eve Cruise This cruise package features a buffet, open bar, DJ, and views of the fireworks. aBoarding starts at 8:30 PM; the cruise runs 9:30 PM-12:30 AM, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, 866-211-3804, spiritofchicago.com, $146.90 (not including taxes, fees, service charges, or fuel surcharges).
Stan Mansion: “A Black Tie Affair” This party on three floors of an unofficial Logan Square landmark boasts live music, DJs, party favors and noisemakers. General admission is $65; with a four-hour open bar package it’s $100. 18+ (21+ to drink). a9:30 PM-2:30 AM, Stan Mansion, 2408 N. Kedzie, 773-276-1099.
Swissotel Chicago Top-shelf open bar, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, champagne, and confetti at midnight. a9:30 PM-2 AM, Swissotel Chicago, 323 E. Wacker, 888-737-9477, $150, $175 VIP.
TangoChicago A beginner tango class from 7:30 to 9:30 PM is followed by dinner and dancing until “people pass out.” Party favors and a view of the Grant Park fireworks are included. a7:30 PM, TangoChicago, 408 S. Michigan, 312-788-3408, tangochicago.com, $50 before 12/29, then $75.
10Pin Bowling Lounge Included in the package here are hors d’oeuvres, an open bar all night, party favors, and a champagne toast. In addition to bowling, there will be a dance floor set up across the middle lanes and a DJ. a9 PM-1 AM, 10Pin Bowling Lounge, 330 N. State, 312-644-0300, $125 in advance, $150 at the door, $75 after midnight.
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind Doors open at 9:30 PM for a reception with nonalcoholic beverages and hors d’oeuvres before the 11 PM performance. Pizza and a midnight champagne toast follow the show. aNeo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland, 773-275-5255, $40, reservations required.
The Wyn Formal attire is required for this bash, which offers a top-shelf open bar, champagne, and an appetizer buffet. a9 PM, Wyndham Chicago, 633 N. Saint Clair, 312-573-0300, $150.
Y Bar The $75 package includes an open bar (9 PM-midnight), hors d’oeuvres, and party favors. For $135 per person, a group of six can also get a table and a bottle of Belvedere vodka and a bottle of champagne. aY Bar, 224 W. Ontario, 773-577-1992.
Zoo Year’s Eve This New Year’s bash for kids has activities, music, games, crafts, and an early countdown at 8 PM. a4:30 PM, Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st, Brookfield, included with admission, which is $11, $7 children 3-11 and seniors 65 and over, and free for kids under 3.