New Year's Eve Guide 2012 

Our picks for the best places to be when the ball drops

Parties & Events

Black Ensemble Theater New Year's Eve Celebration The company performs excerpts from The Jackie Wilson Story, The Marvin Gaye Story, One Name Only, and others, followed by an open mike, dancing, and champagne toast. 8 PM, Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark, 773-769-4451, blackensembletheater.org, $125, $200 per couple.

Bootlegger's Ball Roaring 20s-themed party, with open bar, dinner buffet, DJs, party favors, and champagne toast. 8 PM, Moonshine Brewing Company, 1824 W. Division, 773-862-8686, moonshinechicago.com, $90, $65 in advance.

Burlesque New Year's Eve Striptacular Gorilla Tango's Geek Girls perform holiday-themed bits as well as selections from shows including Boobs and Goombas, A Nude Hope, Temple of Boobs, The Empire Brings Sexy Back, Boobs of the Dead, and Fellowship of the Boobs. 10 PM, Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee, 773-598-4549, gorillatango.com, $60 (tickets must be purchased in advance).

Chemically Imbalanced Comedy Dinner buffet and drinks, followed by an improv show at 9 PM, followed by more drinks and food, and then short improv games at 11 PM. Champagne toast; music and dancing until 2 AM. Advance purchase required. 8 PM, Chemically Imbalanced Theater, 1420 W. Irving Park, 773-865-7731, cicomedy.com, $50, $95 per couple.

Kiss Kiss Cabaret New Year's Eve Hullabaloo Burlesque show with buffet and cash bar, onstage champagne toast, and "special guest, Mindy the Capuchin Monkey!" 10 PM, Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-404-7336, greenhousetheater.org, $42, $75 for two.

Nerd Year's Eve Star Wars-themed party, with drinks and food, prizes, and a champagne toast. Star Wars dress/costumes or "fancy" party attire required. Advance purchase required. 9 PM, Challengers Comics + Conversation, 1845 N. Western, 773-278-0155, challengerscomics.com, $30.

New Year's Eve @ the DANK Haus A demonstration and tasting of Feuerzangenbowle, or flaming tongs punch, is among the festivities. Music by the Polkaholics. Admission includes a raffle ticket to win an Epiphone guitar from the Polkaholics. 9 PM, DANK Haus, 4740 N. Western, 773-561-9181, dankhaus.com, $15, $10 in advance.

New Year's Eve on the S.S. Poseidon Screening of The Poseidon Adventure, preceded by Hell in a Handbag Productions' Camp Midnight show, hosted by Dick O'Day. 70s cruisewear encouraged. With a costume contest and champagne toast. 11 PM, Music Box, 3733 N. Southport, 773-871-6604, musicboxtheatre.com, $28, $23 in advance.

2nd Story New Year's Eve NYE party edition of the storytelling series, with four stories, live music, and a DJ after midnight. 9:30 PM, Morseland, 1218 W. Morse, 773-217-8679, 2ndstory.com, price TBA.

Slo 'Mo The New Year's Eve edition of this dance party features performances by burlesque troupe Les Soubrettes, an open bar, hors d'oeuvres, and "other surprises." 9 PM, the Whistler, 2421 N. Milwaukee, 773-227-3530, whistlerchicago.com, $100.

Time Travel Spectacular Open bar, hors d'oeuvres, dancers, a magic act, and live music from different eras of American history by Joe Messing & the Wisemen and Antony & the Tramps. Mon 12/31, 9 PM, Elastic, 2830 N. Milwaukee, 773-772-3616, timetravel2013.com, $75.

Concerts

Airborne Toxic Event Orchestral, sing-along-ready indie rock absolutely dying for a balloon drop during the moody single "Sometime Around Midnight." 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-4140, metrochicago.com, $71, $61 in advance. 18+

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires The "Screaming Eagle of Soul" throws on a dapper suit and his dancing shoes to show you how it's done. 10 PM, Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln, 773-525-2501, lincolnhallchicago.com, $75.

Eternals Espiritu Zombi Group One superband of locals crams onto a tiny stage. A fusion of funk, reggae, hip-hop, and African music follows. 10 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433, hideoutchicago.com, $20.

Marked Men, Bad Sports The dirty, hooky garage punk of Denton, Texas, invades Chicago. Get drunk. 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600, emptybottle.com, $25.

Wanda Jackson Fresh off the release of Unfinished Business, the rockabilly queen struts her stuff. 10 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160, doubledoor.com, $55.

Porter Robinson EDM young'un drops the bass hard enough to make your insides gurgle. 8 PM, Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee, 773-276-1235, congresschicago.com. 17+

Clubs

Beauty Bar Open bar 8-10 PM, champagne toast, and sets from the Hood Internet, Moon Boots, and Only Children. 8 PM, 1444 W. Chicago, 312-226-8828, thebeautybar.com/chicago, $40.

The Castle Open bar 9 PM-1 AM, interactive video countdown, live video mixing, and a friggin' confetti storm. Tickets for Paul Oakenfold's set are $175, $150 in advance. 9 PM, 632 N. Dearborn, 312-266-1944, visionnightclub.com, $125, $100 in advance.

Evil Olive Porn and Chicken blowout dance party featuring an open bar, dinner buffet, champagne toast, and party favors. 9 PM, 1551 W. Division, 773-235-9100, Do312.com/pornandchicken, $85.50.

Funky Buddha Lounge Party favors, champagne toast, and catering from La Scarola. DJ 33 1/3 and "other special guests." 8 PM, 728 W. Grand, 312-666-1695, funkybuddha.com, $30.

The Mid "Top-shelf" open bar till 1 AM, small-bite buffet, and a balloon drop and champagne toast. 9 PM, 306 N. Halsted, 312-265-3990, themidchicago.com, $150, $125-$135 in advance.

The Shrine Appetizers 8-10 PM and, you guessed it, a champagne toast. DJ B-Man spins, and R&B singer Teedra Moses performs. 8 PM, 2109 S. Wabash, 312-753-5700, theshrinechicago.com, $100.

Spy Bar Open bar 9 PM-1 AM, champagne toast, and DJ sets from Kalendr, Inphinity, and Gene Farris. 9 PM, 646 N. Franklin, 312-337-2191, spybarchicago.com, $50.

Where to eat . . .

Acadia Chef Ryan McCaskey hosts "A Midwinter Night's Dream," featuring a tasting menu served at 6 and 9 PM ($150 and $175, respectively, includes wine pairings). There will be costumed performers and a special celebration at midnight—says the announcement, "Last year, a marching band came through the space; expect no less this year!" A vegetarian option is available with 48 hours' advance notice. 1639 S. Wabash, 312-360-9500, acadiachicago.com.

Avec New chef Erling Wu Bower offers a four-course prix fixe served family style, with seatings on the half hour between 5 and 10:30 PM. Courses include a Provençal fishermen's stew, Moroccan-style wood-oven-roasted pork with couscous, and cassata, a Sicilian-style cake with ricotta. An optional course of oysters and caviar is $35. 615 W. Randolph, 312-377-2002, avecrestaurant.com, $60, $90 with pairings.

Big Jones A four-course prix fixe begins with a modern take on the southern good-luck dish Hoppin' John: red pea "cappuccino" with puffed rice and bacon froth. Other choices include gumbo, turtle soup, grilled rib eye, and coconut cream cake. 5347 N. Clark, 773-275-5725, bigjoneschicago.com, $69, $99 with pairings.

Blackbird Chef David Posey offers an eight- course tasting menu. A la carte dining will also be available. 619 W. Randolph, 312-715-0708, blackbirdrestaurant.com, $120, $185 with pairings.

Chilam Balam Chef Natalie Oswald offers a five-course prix at 9:30 PM; choices include rib eye and chocolate tacos with Oaxacan ice cream. BYO. 3023 N. Broadway, 773-296-6901, chilambalamchicago.com, $95.

Deleece A four-course prix fixe featuring prime rib or filet mignon and lobster thermidor; the a la carte menu will also be available. 3747 N. Southport, 773-325-1710, deleece.com, $70, $90 with pairings.

Due Lire Vino & Cucina A three-course prix fixe menu featuring traditional Italian dishes such as braised lentils with cotechino sausage, pear-ricotta ravioli with veal ragu, and panettone bread pudding with zabaglione. Add a bottle of prosecco for $20. 4520 N. Lincoln, 773-275-7878, due-lire.com, $50.

Fork Chef Tim Cottini offers a four-course menu served family style, with courses including house-made charcuterie and artisan cheeses; beef tenderloin with truffled mashed potatoes and foie gras butter; and sticky toffee pudding. (A vegetarian option is also available.) It's $55, with wine pairings for an additional $27, beer pairings for $24. 4600 N. Lincoln, 773-751-1500, forkchicago.net.

Grass Fed A four-course prix fixe featuring grass-fed sirloin steak ($50) or rib eye ($75) includes house-made bread, a selection of desserts, and a complimentary toast. Pairings of sparkling and reserve wines are available for $45. 1721 N. Damen, 773-698-8852, grassfedbucktown.com.

Jerry's Andersonville A four-course menu with choices, each with a separate beer pairing, available at seatings from 6:30 to 10 PM. A limited a la carte menu will be available at the bar. 5419 N. Clark, 773-796-3777, jerryssandwiches.com, $65.

Longman & Eagle Chef Jared Wentworth offers a five-course menu for $95 (seatings at 5:30 and 9 PM) and an eight-course menu with a champagne toast at midnight for $125 (10:30 PM seating); optional pairings are available for both. 2657 N. Kedzie, 773-276-7110, longmanandeagle.com.

Mercadito Chef Patricio Sandoval's regular menu will be available prior to 6:45 PM, followed by a family-style four-course prix fixe served from 7:30 to 8:30 PM ($45) and a five-course menu starting at 9:45 PM ($55, $100 for dinner plus a two-hour open bar). 108 W. Kinzie, 312-329-9555, mercaditorestaurants.com.

Mercat a la Planxa Spanish-style celebration featuring a four-course tapas menu with a cava toast at midnight; an a la carte selection will also be available. 638 S. Michigan, 312-765-0524, mercatchicago.com, $85, $125 with pairings.

Nacional 27 The pan-Latin restaurant offers a three-course menu between 5 and 6:30 PM for $35 ($62 with cocktail pairings); from 7 to 10:30 PM a four-course menu is $95 per person ($122 with cocktail pairings). A premium bar package from 9 PM to midnight is $100 per person and includes mojitos and margaritas as well as house wine, beer, and sangria. Live music from 6:30 to 9:30 PM; DJ and dancing from 10 PM to 2 AM. 325 W. Huron, 312-664-2727, nacional27.net.

Nana A five-course prix fixe for $60 at the 5 and 7:30 PM seatings; it's $75 at the 10 PM seating, which includes live jazz, party favors, and a complimentary glass of cava. Vegetarian menu available. 3267 S. Halsted, 312-929-2486, nanaorganic.com.

Nia A dinner and dance party from 8 PM to 1 AM features an eight-course menu (vegetarian available on request), an open bar, a DJ, and a champagne toast at midnight. 803 W. Randolph, 312-226-3110, niarestaurant.com, $100.

Park Grill The restaurant offers family-friendly seatings from 6 to 9 PM, with live jazz and a three-course tasting menu for grown-ups ($65). After 9 PM a five-course tasting menu is $85, which includes party favors, a champagne toast, and a complimentary trolley ride home "within a two-mile radius." 11 N. Michigan, 312-521-7275, parkgrillchicago.com.

People Tapas Lounge A dinner package features a four-course menu with choices, plus beer, wine, and cocktails from 9 PM to 1 AM; after 1 AM there's a cash bar. 1560 N. Milwaukee, 773-227-9339, peoplechicago.com, $100.

The Publican Chef Brian Huston's four-course menu includes a chocolate-persimmon salad with pomegranate, prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, and bourbon bread pudding with creme fraiche ice cream. Seatings on the half hour between 5:30 and 10:30 PM. 837 W. Fulton, 312-733-9555, thepublicanrestaurant.com, $45.

Senza Chef Noah Sandoval offers a gluten-free six-course menu; courses include parsnip-apple soup with lobster and caviar, house bread service, foie gras with caramel-corn brulee, and loin of lamb with lingonberries, horseradish, and black walnuts. 2823 N. Broadway, 773-770-3527, senzachicago.com, $100, $175 with pairings.

Sepia Chef Andrew Zimmerman offers a four-course prix fixe menu between 5:30 and 6:45 PM ($85, $150 with wine pairings) and a five-course prix fixe from 8 to 9:30 PM ($110, $205 includes wine pairings and a "welcome cocktail"). 123 N. Jefferson, 312-441-1920, sepiachicago.com.

Slurping Turtle Screenings of Godzilla and other classic Japanese kaiju films accompany chef Takashi Yagihashi's family-style tasting menus (four courses for $45-$60, nine for $80), with seatings at 6 and 8:30 PM. 116 W. Hubbard, 312-464-0466, slurpingturtle.com.

SmallBar Division Limited seating is available for an 8 PM three-course meal with drink pairings and a bottle of sparkling wine per couple. Reservations required. 2049 W. Division, 773-772-2727, smallbardivision.com, $100.

Storefront Company From 6:30 to 7 PM a four-course menu featuring a choice of pheasant or lamb as the main course is $62, $96 with wine pairings. From 9 to 10 PM a six-course menu is $78, $130 with pairings, which includes a cocktail reception. 1941 W. North, 773-661-2609, thestorefrontcompany.com.

Tesori The early-bird special, from 5 to 7:30 PM, features a three-course menu for $40; an $85 four-course menu, available from 9 to 10:30 PM, includes live music, dancing, and a champagne toast. 65 E. Adams, 312-786-9911, tesorichicago.com.

Trenchermen Seatings at 5:30 and 7:30 PM feature a three-course menu for $50, $70 with pairings; at the 9:30 PM seating a five-course menu is $85, $125 with pairings, with options including foie-gras-stuffed trotters. Vegetarian menus available upon request. 2039 W. North, 773-661-1540, trenchermen.com.

Yusho Chef Matthias Merges will choose and "interpret" seven traditional New Year's Eve dishes served in Japan's seven largest cities, with an eighth dish designed to "highlight" Logan Square. Seatings from 7 to 9 PM. 2853 N. Kedzie, 773-904-8558, yusho-chicago.com, $100, $150 with pairings.

Zed 451 An all-you-can-eat buffet from the "harvest tables" plus a raw bar, table-side entrees, and miniature pastries is $75 per person between 5 and 11 PM. A party package in the lounge from 9 PM to 1 AM includes passed hors d'oeuvres, a deluxe open bar, party favors, a DJ, and a midnight toast; it's $95. 739 N. Clark, 312-266-6691, zed451.com.

Zocalo From 7 to 7:30 PM the regular menu will be available. For seatings at 9 and 9:30 PM a three-course dinner-and-drinks package including margaritas, beer, and wine is $65 per person. A drinks-only package from 9 PM to midnight is $30. Live Latin music starts at 9 PM and will be followed by a DJ, dancing, and a midnight tequila toast. Cash bar till 2 AM. 358 W. Ontario, 312-302-9977, zocalochicago.com.

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