Last-minute New Year's Eve parties

  • Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar in Bridgeport
Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar in Bridgeport
December 22, 2012|By Samantha Nelson | For RedEye

Let's talk about why you haven't made plans for New Year's Eve yet. Maybe your friends are so hard to wrangle that you couldn't agree on plans until all the big bashes sell out. Or you're scarred from last year's experience shelling out for an open bar and spending most of the night waiting in line instead of drinking? Perhaps you just want a low-stress and low-cost way to ring in 2013.

Luckily, plenty of hangouts are nixing the standard prix-fixe dinners and all-inclusive packages in favor of low-key, no-reservations-required gatherings. There are plenty of reasons to buck the trend.

MJ Johnston, owner of The Greenville Tavern in Ukrainian Village doesn't want to charge customers a fee he wouldn't want to pay himself. “I have a hard time going and paying $75 or $80," he said. "That’s just a lot of money.”

Logan Square restaurant Reno just opened in November and didn't feel ready for a big party. In Pilsen, popular hangout Simone's Bar just sticks to business as usual because that's what its customers want. “We just try to keep it welcoming to neighborhood people who aren’t looking for that,” manager Sarah O'Connor said.

New Year's Eve may be only three days away, but you don't need to panic. The best thing about these parties is you can wait until the last minute to pick one.

Big Star
1531 N. Damen Ave. 773-235-4039
When: 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m.
Price: No cover
This Wicker spot bar has always been a great destination for lovers of Indiana's Three Floyds, but for New Year's Eve the brewery is staging a tap takeover, serving up classics like Gumballhead in addition to more unusual options like barrel-aged Black Sun Stout. If you need a break from brews, the bar's also offering cocktail and shot specials.

Delilah's
2771 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-472-2771
When: 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
Price: $20
Mondays are punk rock nights at this Lincoln Square spot, and management isn't changing the plan even if it is New Year's Eve. Expect a mix of serious music fans and college kids coming out for the Iron City Brewing American beer, Jim Beam cocktails and pool, all included in admission.

Fat Cat
4840 N. Broadway 773-506-3100
When: 9 p.m.-2 a.m.
Price: No cover
Don your best fedora or flapper dress for this '20s-themed bash, with a costume contest awarding a $100 gift card for the crowd favorite. The Uptown bar is switching out its regular menu for platters of canapés and mini-sandwiches ($10-$15) you can nibble on while sipping a $7-$9 Templeton Rye Prohibition Era cocktails. The ceiling will be covered with black, white and silver balloons to add to the festive atmosphere.

Half Acre Tap Room
4257 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-248-4038
When: Noon to 1 a.m.
Price: A nonperishable food donation
The Lincoln Square spot is kicking off a food drive for the Greater Chicago Food Depository and awarding your generosity with free appetizers, which they're bringing in starting around 9 p.m. “We thought instead of ending a food drive after the holidays, why not start one?” cultural coordinator Eric Kapraun said. The brewery is also celebrating its favorite beers of the year, offering you one last chance to enjoy some summer and fall brews. Miller High Life may call itself the champagne of beers, but Half Acre's contesting that by serving up Daisy Cutter treated with champagne yeast as a free midnight toast.

Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar
960 W. 31st St. 773-890-0588
When: 9 p.m.-2 a.m.
Price: No cover
Inspired by fears over the fiscal cliff, the Bridgeport bar's New Years Eve of Destruction bash is meant to protect your wallet no matter your tax bracket with $1 off draft beers. Expect party favors, a midnight champagne toast and tunes from DJ B-Side.

Reno
2607 N. Milwaukee Ave. 773-697-4234
When: 5 p.m.-1 a.m.
Price: No cover
The restaurant is staying open late to offer its regular menu of pizza and pasta ($9-$14) with whiskey and craft brews, plus a complimentary sparkling wine toast at midnight.

Simone's Bar
960 W. 18th St. 312-666-8601
When: 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
Price: No cover
Glasses of champagne are just $3, so you don't need to wait until midnight to start downing bubbly. DJ Presto spins hip hop, house and dance for what is expected to be a big crowd of regulars.

The Greenville Tavern
2210 W. Chicago Ave. 773-276-1411
When: 7:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.
Price: $25
Have some friends from the suburbs looking to join your city party? They can arrive in style by calling the bar to catch a ride from a limo, which will be driving back and forth to Union and Ogilvie Metra stations all night. "New Years is always a pain in the butt to get a cab and we want to make sure everyone gets where they’re going,” Johnston said. Jam band Mr. Blotto performs and party favors and a champagne toast are included.
 

MORE BARS WITH NO COVER ON NEW YEAR'S
>>The Anthem in Wicker Park (advanced tickets available for groups)
>>The Call in Andersonville
>>Five Star Bar in West Town 
>>Small Bar in Wicker Park (starting at 10 p.m.)
>>The Sofo Tap in Uptown
>>Tuman's in Wicker Park

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