Gold Coast restaurant Jellyfish will be serving a special cocktail for… (Kaitlyn McQuaid / For RedEye )
If you're hoping to ring in the New Year somewhere more exciting than your buddy's apartment, it's time to get planning. From a romantic dinner for two to a massive themed bash to hit with your entire crew, this list of early warnings has you covered for Dec. 31 revelry.
New Year's Eve at Hot Chocolate
1747 N. Damen Ave. 773-489-1747
Owner Mindy Segal spent her honeymoon this fall in Paris and now she's bringing the romance and food of France to her Bucktown restaurant with a menu including lobster bisque, dover sole, steak frites and tiramisu. Come early for a four-course dinner or dine later and score an added cheese course. For an additional $40 you can add drink pairings that include an aperitif, three wines and a cider made from frozen apples that resembles ice wine.
When: 6, 6:30, 8:30 or 9 p.m.
Price: $60 (6 and 6:30 p.m.); $75 (8:30 and 9 p.m.). Reservations accepted by phone.
New Year's Eve at Jellyfish
1009 N. Rush St. 312-660-3111
The Gold Coast restaurant is going all-out for its first New Year's, offering a drink package that covers everything on their regular menu and including a signature Golden Sunrise cocktail made with sake and gold flakes. Along with grabbing passed appetizers such as Peking duck bao buns, you can graze from four stations serving indulgent bites such as caviar, lobster tails and maki made with torched Wagyu beef, truffle and asparagus. DJ Jimmy Munoz spins.
When: 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
Price: $195. Buy tickets online at eventbrite.com.
New Year's Eve at Dusek's Board and Beer
1227 W. 18th St. 312-526-3851
At this Pilsen restaurant, chef Jared Wentworth prepares a five-course tasting menu featuring seared scallops, braised pork cheek and braised rabbit ragout with beer pairings from Colorado's New Belgium Brewing Company. Along with your dinner, you'll get access to basement bar Punch House, where you'll find a cash bar and DJ beats.
When: 6:30 or 9:30 p.m.
Price: $75. Reservations accepted by phone
New Year's Eve at Billy Sunday
3143 West Logan Boulevard 773-661-2485
The Logan Square cocktail bar throws it back to years gone by with a nostalgic Victorian menu of food and drinks including Punch Romaine, a firkin of cider, old world wines and specialty cocktails, along with passed canapes like caviar, oysters, charcuterie and pig trotters.
When: 9 p.m.-2 a.m.
Price: $175. Email Jon@Billy-Sunday.com or call 733-661-2485
New Year's Eve Masquerade Bash at Roof
201 N. State St. 312-239-9502
The bar on top of the Loop's The Wit hotel offers passed appetizers and cocktails—featured spirits include Patron, 10 Cane, Maker's Mark and Belvedere—until 1 a.m. DJ Zen Freeman spins until 2 a.m., so you can keep the party going with the cash bar and take advantage of a 14 percent discount on hotel rooms.
When: 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m.
Price: $163-$225. Buy tickets by phone or online at roofonthewit.com.
Chicago Scene 14th Annual New Year's Eve Party
The Drake Hotel 140 E. Walton Place 312- 787-2200
This bash sells out every year, so book early if you want to be one of the 2,500 revelers spread over the Gold Coast hotel's three ballrooms (four for VIPs) and 45 (yes, you read that right) bars. Graze on appetizers and a dessert and coffee buffet, and ring in 2014 with a champagne toast and balloon drop. DJ Jem, Dance Floor Junkies and Miro on Drums spin. You'll also start the year with some good karma since a portion of the night's proceeds benefit charities such as the Anti-Cruelty Society and Make-A-Wish.
When: 9 p.m.-2 a.m. (8 p.m.-2 a.m. for VIP)
Price: $135-$185; $165-$215 for VIP. Buy tickets at chicagoscenenewyearsparty.com.
New Year's Eve at the Palmer House Hilton
17 E. Monroe St. 312-726-7500
Play poker, craps, roulette and blackjack for a shot at winning cash prizes at this benefit for the Starlight Children's Foundation. DJs from 103.5 KISS FM spin in three ballrooms and VIPs have access to two more which will be rocking out to tunes from DJ FM and cover band Your Villain My Hero. A buffet offers pasta, 10 different appetizers and desserts. Admission includes six drink tickets with more available for a $1 donation to the Red Cross, plus access to a pre-party at Sound Bar on Dec. 30 and an after-party at Hard Rock Cafe.
When: 9 p.m.-2 a.m.
Price: $135; $165 for VIP. Buy tickets by phone at 312-697-9107 or online at chicagonye.com.
New Year's Eve at Castle
632 N. Dearborn St. 312-266-1944
The sprawling 60,000-square-foot River North nightclub spreads its party across five rooms (six for VIPs) with local DJs spinning and a video countdown to a midnight confetti storm and balloon drop. Drink packages and a buffet are available from 7-11 p.m. with an upgraded version for VIPs from 9 p.m.-1 a.m.
When: 7 p.m.-4 a.m.
Tickets: $49-$59; $79 (with food and drink package); $129-$159 for VIP. By tickets by phone or online at castlechicago.com.