By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Aces and Eights
Frat boys and the halter tops who love them will find themselves very much at home at this Upper East Side bar, where DJ P-Love spins until 6 a.m. and a free buffet breakfast opens at 4. Open bar from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.; non-ticket-holders gain entry an hour after midnight for $10.
9 p.m., $50; 1683 First Avenue, 212-860-4020
With Anchor Bar's downtown cred, seven-hour open bar, and reasonable ticket prices, we aren't sure why you'd go anywhere else on New Year's Eve (general admission is just $75). The Soho hotspot plans to pull out all the stops with booze, food, and music.
8 p.m., $40-$225; 310 Spring Street
Hope for lucky strikes at Bowlmor this New Year's Eveand if you have less than six in your party, hope also for cute, single lane-mates. The early shift: Bowl from 9 p.m. to midnight for $125 per guest, or reserve a lane for $645; night owls secure their balls from midnight to 3 a.m. for $95 a piece, $495 for the group.
9 p.m., $95$625; 110 University Place, 212-255-8188
Partiers on the prowl at exclusive Chelsea club Cain will feel right at home amid the elephant-trunk door handles, the Capetown-imported beads, and the zebra-skin bar; the DJ spins behind a rock façade to complete the lounge's African theme. Admission guarantees a five-hour open bar, food, and party favors.
9 p.m., $135-275; 544 West 27th Street, 212-947-8000
Canal Room's tall ceilings, billowy drapes, and serious mood lighting provide an ideal setting for anyone seeking the New York New Year's Eve they dreamed of when they moved from Iowa last year. There are four levels of swank to be had: general admission, $95; seated VIP, $175; ultra VIP (seats plus bottle service), $195; and platinum VIP (bottle service with more booze), $250. Or get in after 12:30 a.m. for $60.
9 p.m., $60$250, 285 West Broadway, 212-941-8100
Central Bar is one of the only college bars in the city where we've actually had a pretty good time, so don't rule it out for your New Year's plans based purely on its proximity to NYU. (The students are all on Christmas vacation, anyway.) There's an open bar from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., with food, party favors, and a live DJ.
9 p.m., $100; 109 East 9th Street, 212-529-5333
People dying to dance but not dying to do so with a million other people should anchor their night's plans with a trip to the relatively intimate club Cielo. Willie Graff DJs with special guests and the doors are open from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. If you don't have fun, you have no one to blame but yourself.
10 p.m., $50; 18 Little West 12th Street, 212-645-5700
Cipriani (42nd Street)
Bask in the old-school glamour of Cipriani, with its flawless service, eats, and ambience. A surprise DJ takes over the Grand Room, with its soaring 65-foot ceilings and sparkly chandeliers, and fancy-pants VIP tables are available for those willing to spend the big bucksthe Chapel Platinum VIP package costs $400 per person. Others can get in for $150 ($100 after 12:30 a.m.).
9 p.m., $100$400; 110 East 42nd Street, 212-499-0599
Tri-level mega-club Element was pretty much made for parties like those thrown on New Year's Eve, and if you can swing it, scoring a VIP table in the bar's catacombsa subterranean lounge called Vaultcould make for a special-seeming night. Element caters to the young, hip, Lower East Side crowd. If that's not you, you probably don't belong. General admission is just $75.
9 p.m., $60$225; 225 East Houston Street, 212-254-2200
Formerly known as Au Bar and 58, the Grand boasts the same owners as eatery Phillipe, which boasts the former chef of Mr. Chow'sso the food at the club's New Year's Eve party is arguably half the draw. The other half? The Asian-inspired cocktails. General admission costs $150, which covers the open bar all night long.
9 p.m., $115$225; 41 East 58th Street, 212-308-9455
Home and Guesthouse
Home (the Chelsea hot spot) and Guest- house (Home's little sister) stand to host the ultimate New Year's Eve after-party, but u they're in on the early action, too: Home and Guesthouse are also hosting one mega-shindig with the option for a mega-ticket$400 for an all-access pass to the 22 parties that Velvet Sky is sponsoring.
9 p.m., $85$400; 542 West 27th Street, 212-273-3700
Harlem's Sugar Hill Quartet ring in the new year at Lenox Lounge with three sets: 8 p.m., 9:30 p.m., and 11 p.m. Admission to the first two shows is $30; the later performance runs $45. But you get hats! And horns!
8 p.m., $30$45; 288 Lenox Avenue, 212-427-0253
Expect the ultimate professional party when the posh, 15,000-square-foot basement opens its six-hour all-expenses-paid bar and multiple food stations (not that anyone who goes here actually eats, mind you). No-frills general admission costs $125.
8 p.m., $75$215; 511 Lexington Avenue, 212-593-7575
This gorgeous Tribeca space calls itself the "crown jewel" of Japanese haute cuisine; we love it because we're suckers for wraparound staircases. (Doesn't take much!) With 13,000 square feet and a $6 million interior, it's the ultimate choice for anyone with a hip hankering for sake. The most basic packagefood, drink, party favorscosts $95; platinum VIPticket-holders ($300) score spots in the Kimono Lounge.
9 p.m., $60$300; 62 Thomas Street, 212-964-7777
Celebrate New Year's Eveand New Year's Daywith Boris and Victor Calderone over 24 hours at Pacha, where we've been promised that the late-night crowd will be full of "boyz, queens, and party freaks." The VIP package, which includes a four-hour open bar and champagne at midnight, costs $125; general admission after 1 a.m. is priced at $75. Show up (or just stay) the next morning at 8 a.m. for $60.
9 p.m., $60$125; 618 West 46th Street, 212-237-2380
The Plumm has no designated dance floor, but the notorious stiletto-resistant banquettes work just fine as the makeshift space for showcasing movies, thank you. The Noel Ashman incarnation offers two floors of DJs (downstairs has a more intimate atmosphere), open bars, and free access to the party at Sol; general admission for the whole night starts at $150.
9 p.m., $100-$295; 246 West 14th Street, 212-675-1567
Providence taps into New York's obsession with exclusivity by organizing a large-sale party that only has 750 tickets for sale. The 13,500-square-foot Midtown space features three levels, four bars, and a crazy-beautiful 35-foot cathedral ceiling. Produced by NY Balldrop, the party will likely sell out in advance, so arrange your admission soon.
9 p.m., $150-$275; 311 West 57th Street, 212-307-0062
One of New York's newest clubs, Rebel offers one of the longest open bars on New Year's Evea whopping six hours, in comparison to the average four. Located one block from Penn Station (you're so not getting a cab tonight), the space inhabits three stories and 11,000 square feet of custom-made birch bars and Brazilian-walnut dance floors. DJs Scott Melker and Brooklyn Dawn spin a mix of hip-hop, dance, rock, Top 40, and '80s; dress code is "festive."
8 p.m., $85$165; 251 West 30th Street, 212-695-2747
Cover bands lead the pack at Red Lion on December 31, with the Hangovers (classic rock), the Mike Tait Band (U2, Bowie, Coldplay, etc.), and Peter May & Mayhem (um, more classic rock). Other offerings: the requisite champagne toast, party giveaways, and a broadcast of the ball drop on six big screens.
7 p.m., $20; 151 Bleecker Street, 212-260-9797
Capitalize on the tasty cocktails at Retreat's rustic-themed getaway. Flatiron's anti-club club has an excellent sound system (where the DJ is situated in a mini-treehouse of sorts), a six-hour open bar and "butler-passed" hors d'oeurves all night. And as with most of the night's admission costs, revelers can head to the after-parties at Home and Guesthouse starting at 3 a.m.
9 p.m., $150-$250; 37 West 17th Street, 212-488-6600
Sapphire loves the ladies: There are myriad admission options for the Lower East Side lounge's festivities, but all prices reflect an appreciation for the fairer sex. DJs spin hip-hop, R&B, funk, soul, and house music from 8 p.m. until the break of dawn, and general admission after 3 a.m.if you're still upis just $10.
8 p.m., $10$160; 249 Eldridge Street, 1, 212-777-5153
Good luck getting into Snitchthe rock-'n'-roll club is only selling 200 tickets to the party that, in past years, has played host to performances by the Killers, Velvet Revolver, and Smashing Pumpkins. General admission is $85, which includes access to the yummy comfort-food buffet (Snitch mac 'n cheese!); the price drops to $60 after 12:30 a.m.
At 9 p.m., $60$225; 59 West 21st Street, 212-727-7775
Looking for south-of-the-equator warmth on a frigid night in New York? Head to Soho's SOB's (it stands for Sounds of Brazil), where New Year's Eve offers live music by Son Sublime at 9 and 11 p.m., Matraca and the Batucada Beat Dancers at midnight, and 8 y Más at 1 and 3 a.m.; hot Latin DJs La Makina and Mario Axe fill the space between.
9 p.m., $30$150; 204 Varick Street, 212-243-4940
You can only kiss one person at midnight, but with a multi-level mega-club in Chelsea, you can celebrate midnight as many times as you want. Sol boasts exposed-brick walls, 30-foot-tall ceilings, and a "surprise" DJ spinning a mix of hip-hop, dance, rock, Top 40, and '80s; for those without table service (plebes!), an open bar is available from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
9 p.m., $60$225; 609 West 29th Street, 212-643-6464
The Rub's annual dance tradition continues at Southpaw, the 5,000-square-foot Park Slope space that once occupied a 99-cent store. DJs Ayres, Eleven, and Cosmo Baker also spin every first Saturday of the month at Southpaw, if you want to check 'em out in advance; guest DJ Sureshot joins the action on New Year's Eve.
9 p.m., $40 includes food and champagne; 125 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-230-0236
For a New Year's hookup you know for sure you'll never see again, you can't do much better than a tourist. Find one (or two) for sure at Spotlight Live, the massive Times Square space where karaoke stars' dreams really do come true. General admission brings a six-hour open bar, a special live performance from a "surprise guest," and a free pass to Lotus come 4 a.m.
8 p.m., $195$285; 1604 Broadway, 212-246-2693
Most New Year's parties want to woo the young and the restless, but Stay just comes out and says it: "This extravaganza caters to upscale, trendy hipsters and young professionals, aged 22-30s." Tables are available for $150, and while they only accommodate six comfortably, there's no limit to how many guests can share one. Good thing all the customers are thin and un-old!
9 p.m., $75; 244 East Houston Street, 212-982-3532
Drink from the open bar for six hours while you scout for celebs at the home-away-from-Hollywood hotspot Stereo. Choose from one of four packages (the most basic is $135; high rollers pay $275) to catch the world-renowned DJ that has yet to be announced; if unimpressed, head to the after-parties at Home and Guesthouse for free.
8 p.m., $60-$275; 555 West 33rd Street, 212-268-5862
Stone Rose packs the beautiful people into its beautiful lounge. Rande Gerber's Time Warner Center lounge, with its fourth-floor sweeping views of Central Park, has welcomed parties by such varied hosts as Zac Posen, Wyclef Jean, and Jerry Bruckheimer; the New Year's party offers a five-hour premium open bar and a mini-buffet with petite Maryland crab cakes, arancini, and Parmesan cocktail meatballs.
9 p.m., $60$400; 10 Columbus Circle, 212-823-9769
We appreciate Strata's decision to keep it simple come New Year's Eve: Either you're VIP or you're not. The Flatiron club with the twinkly ceiling pinned down DJ Mike Dominico for the decks that night; he'll helm the raised dance floor that anchors the 12,000-square-foot space. General admission: $125; VIP: $195.
9 p.m., $125$195; 915 Broadway, 212-505-7400
Brand-spanking-new Touch opened only a few weeks ago, so the clientele the Times Square club will attract remains to be seen. If you want to get in on the action early, check out the New Year's party. Find more information (and other Times Square options) at timessquarenyc.org.
9 p.m., $40-$275; 240 West 52nd Street, 212-724-3900
With 60 feet of bar, keeping your free drinks filled should be easy-breezy at Village Pourhouse, the schizophrenic space that caters to financial types, college kids, and randoms drawn in the by the neon lights. The front room feels old-school New York, with oodles of stained glass, while a sports memorabilia gallery accompanies 21 flat-screen televisions; private rooms are also available, called the Dugout, the Vegas Room, and the Red Light.
9 p.m., $125$175; 64 Third Avenue, 212-979-2337
Four floors. Six rooms. One million balloons. Webster Hall's celebration also offers live performances by Infected Mushroom, Shane Savant's GoGo Rama, aerial and trapeze performances, and some much-needed roughage in the morningthe doors don't close until 9 a.m.
8 p.m., $60-$499; 125 East 11th Street, 212-353-1600