Rick's Picks: Celebrate New Year’s Eve in your style

December 22, 2011

When it comes to New Year’s Eve, folks have distinct preferences in how to spend the evening. Some want to do it up big, while others want to crawl under the covers. Some want to be out among throngs of folks, while others prefer to be with a circle of friends. However you choose to spend the evening, ya gotta eat, so here are a few suggestions that should dovetail with your plans, no matter what your New Year’s Eve preferences. Of course, reservations are always suggested.

Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club
3700 N Halsted | Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 525-1111 | http://www.kitkatchicago.com
New Year’s Eve is a drag! Then spend it at Kit Kat Lounge where divas Traci Ross (pictured) and Madam X will impersonate a parade of female pop icons including Madonna, Tina Turner, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga among others during this year's "Glitter and Glam" celebration. Included in the ticket price is a four-course dinner menu (two seatings at 7 and 10 p.m.) and a Hpnotiq champagne cocktail toast. The 7 p.m. seating is $75 per person and $95 for the 10 p.m. seating. Kit Kat will also feature special prices for bubbly; Cristalino will be $38 bottle, $8 by the glass, Moet & Chandon for $80 bottle and Veuve Cliquot for $95 bottle. Reservations are suggested. Call (773) 525-1111 or go to kitkatchicago.com.

Alhambra Palace Restaurant
1240 W Randolph | Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 666-9555 | http://www.alhambrapalacerestaurant.com
I want to wear my cha-cha heels. Then you should head to Alhambra Palace’s “Salsa New Year’s Eve.” There are three ticket levels: Green tickets ($35) include general admission only with entry beginning at 9:00 p.m.; Yellow tickets ($12) include an open bar from 9-12:30 and Gold tickets ($175) include dinner at 7:30 p.m. with a three-hour open call bar. All include the salsa dancing in the Marrakesh Room at 8:30 p.m.

702 W Fulton | Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 850-3017 | http://www.carnivalechicago.com
New Year’s Eve is a drag and I want to wear my cha-cha heels. Carnivale’s celebration will feature not only drag queens and dancing to Latin beats, the entertainment will also include a fan dancer, contortionist, stilt walker, magician and burlesque entertainer. A photo booth will also be set up in the bar and lounge. The evening will culminate with a balloon drop and champagne toast at midnight.

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
25 E Ohio | Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 329-9463 | http://www.flemingssteakhouse.com
It’s not New Year’s Eve without surf and turf. Both the Chicago and Lincolnshire locations of Fleming's Steakhouse and Wine Bar are offering a special menu for $69.95 per person (excluding tax and gratuity) as well as the regular menu. The New Year’s Eve surf and turf specials include filet mignon on a bed of sautéed portobello mushrooms with smoky bacon prawns or paired with crab-stuffed prawns. You may also choose prime rib-eye served with butter poached king crab, grilled asparagus and champagne béarnaise sauce. If you’d prefer surf and surf, opt for North Atlantic lobster tail with drawn butter, served with lobster mac & cheese. Moët & Chandon Impérial Champagne is available by the glass ($20) and by the magnum ($200). A champagne cocktail, the Sparkling Star, is available for $10.95 a glass.

Jacky's On Prairie
2545 Prairie Ave | Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 733-0899 | http://www.jackysonprairie.com
It’s a time to celebrate endings and beginnings. Jacky’s on Prairie will observe the restaurant's last meal as Jacky's on Prairie. The restaurant will reopen in early January with a new name, Hota. For its final New Year’s Eve Jacky’s will serve a four-course prix fixe menu for $65 per person (wine pairings available for $20 per person). Guests have the opportunity to choose one of three items available for each course.

Chen's Szechwan
3506 N Clark St | Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 549-1280 | http://www.chenschicago.com
Too many drunk drivers, I want to stay in the hood. For those in Boystown, Chen’s Chinese and sushi rings in the New Year with an authentic Chinese buffet, fresh Japanese sushi, open bar, and party favors at midnight for $45 per person. Chen's will also accept regular dinner reservations. Tickets are required. Or take advantage of the five-course dinner at Hearty, $55 (for the 5:30 seating) or $65 (7:30 and 10 seatings). Wicker Parkers can head to Frontier for its $95 package, which will feature a 4-hour premium drink package, a toast at midnight, a smoked whole animal buffet and DJ.

Table Fifty-Two
52 West Elm | Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 573-4000 | http://www.tablefifty-two.com/
I want to be at one of the trendiest spots in town. You’d be hard-pressed to get a reservation at Table Fifty-Two most nights, but celebrity chef (and GLBT Hall of Famer) Art Smith’s restaurant is offering a special menu that is surprisingly reasonably priced, devoid of package mark-ups and there are still a few reservations left. Or head over to Dale Levitski’s Sprout for a ten-course “countdown” menu. It’s $125 with a Champagne cocktail, $65 more for wine pairings.

Agio Italian Bistro
64 S Northwest Highway | Palatine, IL 60074
(847) 991-2150 | http://www.agiobistro.com
Going into the city is such a pain, I want to stay in the ‘burbs. Agio Italian Bistro in Palatine will feature a five-course menu, live entertainment, party favors and Champagne for $55 per person (seating between 6 and 8, $75 seating after 8:30. Reservations and a $20 deposit per person are required, but parking’s free and plentiful.

Crystal Gardens
700 East Grand Ave | Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 595-5434 | http://www.crystalgardenscatering.com
I want to pay too much money and hang around with a bunch of drunk, straight people. Head over to Navy Pier where you can pay $110 per person to spend the evening at the Crystal Gardens. The ticket includes a full premium open bar and apps, as well as the ubiquitous champagne toast at midnight. Oh, you’ll also pay nearly $30 to park.

Giordano’s Belmont
1040 W Belmont Ave | Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 327-1200 | http://www.giordanos.com/
I want to stay home and take it easy and watch the ball drop on TV. Head over to Vino 100 for its selection of 100 sparkling wines and Champagnes for $25 or less per bottle. Then call up Giordano’s and order the “Babysitter’s Special” (they don’t need to know that you’re not the babysitter) and they’ll send over a pizza, noisemakers and hats.


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