By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
In hipper quarters across town, the Back Room(102 Norfolk, 212-228-5098), a new bar that aims for "speakeasy" but doesn't hit the mark, served three different brandies on a recent chilly night: Imoya, E&J, and Hardy, all V.S.O.P.'s ($8 a glass). The Imoya is especially tasty, throat-searing and sweet at first, then blooming with a black-pepper kick. But all three are served in BR's signature teeny teacups on tiny saucers, which is as cardinal a sin as throwing ice cubes in a Guinness.
Move down the block to Schiller's Liquor Bar (131 Rivington, 212-260-4555), where, happily, leather armchairs aren't part of the design scheme. The pear-inflected Poire Williams ($9), served cold, only gets better as the drink warms to room temperature, while the Bushnell Calvados ($10) has an underlying apple-pepper hybrid taste. Bonus: Schiller's offers brasserie-style french fries, which may seem like a "don't" when you're savoring brandy, but really, fries are always a "do." WEINSTEIN
Party All the Time A couple of New Year's Eve bashes
From high-end boutique parties to sleazy downtown bashes, you can spend a million or nothing at all on New Year's Eve. Chelsea boys can dance to house music for a full day at Crobar's (530 W 28th, 212-629-9000) 24-hour New Year's Eve bash. Resident DJ Boris spins from 9 p.m. till 8 in the morning, then Victor Calderone takes over until 6 p.m. It's not really 24 hours, but after 21 hours of partying, who's keeping track? $125 if purchased before December 25, $150 after; includes open bar from 8:30 p.m. to midnight, with a bottle of champagne.
The folks at Cielo (18 Little W 12th, 212-645-5700) are celebrating for another reason: The club opened on New Year's Eve four years ago. Resident deep-house DJ Willie Graff guides you into the New Year with a special guest still TBD. $50 in advance, $75 at the door.
Feel like a celebrity and celebrate the New Year where the stars like to go, at Marquee (289 Tenth Ave, 212-255-4223). Jus Ske spins dance and house in the main room, where you can get a V.I.P. table for a mere $300 per person, which comes with two bottles, mixers, and hors d'oeuvres. Plus, they don't kick you out for the after-party. If you plan on dancingnot sittingall night, $175 gets you in. Show up fashionably late (after 2 a.m.) and $35 grants you entrée.
You can leave the fancy stuff to the real celebrities and get gritty at Lit (93 Second Ave, 212-777-7987). Last year's down-and-dirty party featured Leo Fitzpatrick (of Kids fame), Fannypack's Fancy and Kat, and Fischerspooner's Lizzy Yoder, among others. This year expect a similar vibe; dance to electro, hip-hop, booty base and rock into the wee hours. ROMANO