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The Procrastinator's Guide to New Year's Events in Denver

The 11th-hour scoop on local fêtes and feasts
December 30, 2015
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by Ruth Tobias

As of right now, there's still room at every one of these dinners, parties and brunches. As of one minute from now? No guarantees. So you'd better get cracking to get in on the fun.

New Year's Eve

1515 RestaurantThis LoDo magnet for molecular gastronomers will take you on a seven-course flight of fancy that includes "multispectral cotton candy," arugula spaghetti with olive-oil powder and balsamic caviar, New York strip with smoked mashed potatoes and chocolate "wind" with a raspberry sphere. ($90; 303-571-0011)

Ace Eat Serve: You'd expect to drop cash on New Year's Eve, but how about winning some? Uptown's Pan-Asian playhouse is hosting a Midnight Madness Ping-Pong tournament starting at 9 PM, with plenty of booze specials and bar snacks to keep your energy up and your eye on the $1,000 prize. ($16; 303-800-7705)

Argyll Whisky Beer: The four-course prix fixe at this Uptown gastropub ranges from truffled potato-leek soup to wine-braised short rib to whisky-caramel bread pudding; seatings begin at 5 PM. ($50; 303-847-0850)

Avanti F&B: Though you can purchase a $70 bottomless-booze package here, there’s no cover charge for the shindig hosted at LoHi’s gourmet food court from 7 PM–1 AM. Also free: a champagne toast and, of course, spectacular views of the fireworks downtown. Meanwhile, all seven food vendors will offer à la carte specials. (720-269-4778) 

Basta: To celebrate its sixth anniversary, as well as the holiday, this Italian destination in Boulder has brought in loads of bottarga, caviar and truffles for you to add to any dish you choose; the room is almost sold out, so act fast. See also New Year's Day. (303-997-8775)

Beast + Bottle: A few late-night slots remain at this farm-to-fork fave in Uptown, where Paul Reilly will be dishing up some specials to supplement the regular menu. They'll also ply guests with complimentary bubbly and party favors, like noisemakers. Bar seating's also available on a first-come, first-serve basis. (303-623-3223)

The Bistro at Stapleton: The game plan at this Stapleton charmer: passed appetizers, entrée specials, a dessert station and a champagne toast. The gala gets underway at 7 PM. ($75; 303-388-9463)

Black Eye Coffee Cap Hill: It’ll be a very tiki new year at this cool coffeeshop and bar on Capitol Hill, which is throwing a benefit bash for Colorado Prostart and the Colorado Restaurant Association Education Foundation from 10 AM–2 PM. For $50, you get unlimited cocktails and beer from Lagunitas Brewing Company — plus a midnight champagne toast. A DJ will also keep the tunes flowing in time with the drinks. (303-955-1205)

Bistro Vendôme: If you hurry, you can just make it to this Larimer Square fixture’s four-course feast of French classics — an homage to Julia Child centered around boeuf bourguignon. The regular menu will also be on offer. ($50; 303-825-3232)  

Cart-Driver: Not only will everybody's favorite pizza and oyster bar be pouring glasses of prosecco for $5 a pop all day long, but it'll also be serving caviar, raw clams and smoked fish from Rosenberg's, along with its regular offerings. No reservations necessary — just drop on by. (303-293-3553)

The Corner Office: The Curtis Hotel's gathering spot for Downtown guzzlers and grazers has got à la carte midnight brunch service for famished revelers; belly up to brisket-fried egg po' boys and queso poutine from 10 PM–2 AM. (303-825-6500)

D Bar: From 10 PM–2 AM, Keegan Gerhard and Lisa Bailey’s upscale Uptown cafe is hosting a masquerade ball complete with hors d’oeuvres, a dessert buffet and a champagne toast — not to mention a live DJ and complimentary masks to top that slick outfit you'll be rocking. ($30 online/$35 at the door; 303-861-4710). 

EDGE Restaurant & Bar: You've got your choice of splurges at the Four Seasons' chophouse Downtown. Early birds can drop in for a three-course meal of tuna crudo, wood-grilled tenderloin and so on ($75); later birds will enjoy an additional course of options like foie gras parfait with pistachio chantilly ($150) – and they'll also have access to the Eyes Wide Shut-themed soirée in the lounge sponsored by Dom Pérignon, which kicks off at 8 PM. Night owls can stick with the party for $25 a pop. (303-389-3343)

Elway's Downtown: A few blocks away, the Ritz-Carlton's steakhouse is bringing in a three-piece combo to serenade you over a prix fixe of USDA prime, lobster and chocolate soufflé; dinner is served 4 PM-10 PM, with the music starting at 9. ($125; 303-312-3107)

Frasca Food and Wine: We can't believe it either, but Boulder's beloved destination still had a couple of tables left for its four-course dinner, which is accompanied by a live jazz pianist. ($110+; 303-442-6966)

Globe Hall: Barbecue, bar games and brews: this Globeville smokehouse and saloon invites one and all to its come-as-you-are banquet, capped off with a Miller High Life toast (because it’s the champagne of beers, get it?). (720-668-8833)

Gozo: The elegant, four-course menu this Baker Mediterranean go-to has planned in your honor includes pork terrine with burrata and seared scallops over pan-fried ricotta gnocchi in brown butter ($68; 720-638-1462).

Hideaway Kitchen + Bar: Feel like heading for the hills on New Year's? A four-course spread of oysters three ways, braised pork shank over wild-mushroom risotto, chocolate-dipped strawberries and other delights await at this Genesee getaway. ($60/$85 with wine pairings; 303-526-0556)

Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar: Celebrate the turn of 2016 with a splash: a seafood-focused five-course prix fixe at either Jax's Glendale branch ($70) or its Boulder flagship ($75/$110 with wine pairings). (303-756-6449/303-444-1811)

Lola Mexican Fish House: Meanwhile, Jax's south-of-the-border sibling in LoHi is throwing an NYE Pre-Party from 7 PM to 10 PM, when a DJ will keep the house jumping, the kitchen will pump out food specials aplenty and a tequila toast will cap off the fiesta. (720-570-8686)

Mateo Restaurant Provençal: This Boulder bistro is ringing things in in style: not only is it serving a four-course menu of pan-roasted quail, roasted lobster tail and so on for nine hours straight (from 3 PM to midnight), but it's also offering a special happy hour starting at 10 PM. ($75; 303-443-7766)

MAX’s Wine Dive: Ribeye with lump crab and Hollandaise will be the centerpiece of the three-course feast at this Capitol Hill watering hole, followed by Oreo bread pudding; a flight of bubbly is technically optional, but practically mandatory. ($50/$73 with booze; 303-593-2554).

The Nickel: Calling all gourmands: the Hotel Teatro's signature dining room Downtown has got two tasting menus in store for you. The five-courser ($65) includes truffle artichoke soup and New York strip with bone-marrow emulsion; the nine-courser ($95) adds octopus, eel, foie gras and pork loin into the mix. (720-889-2128)

Nocturne Jazz & Supper Club: The Henry Butler Trio is set to swing at this swanky ode to Five Points’ heyday as a jazz enclave; dinner guests will soak up the songcraft over a four-course meal of oysters, lobster bisque, pork-belly risotto and more ($95 for earlier seatings/$105 for later seatings), while seats at the bar can be reserved for half-price. (303-295-3333; tickets available here)

Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox: Justin Cucci’s super-sexy supper club is Ballpark’s party place on a normal day, so you bet it’s going all out on December 31, what with three DJs taking the stage from 9 PM onward, plus a balloon drop, a photo booth and a champagne toast. ($30; 303-993-8023; get tickets here)

OAK at fourteenth: Call pronto and you might get lucky – Bryan Dayton and Steven Redzikowski's modern American mainstay in Boulder is still accepting reservations for a multi-course extravaganza of celery-root soup with bourbon maple syrup and pink-peppercorn brown butter, king crab risotto with preserved lemon, pineapple upside-down cake with passion fruit sorbet and other suave luxuries. ($90; 303-444-3622)

Prohibition: Keeping it casual? In addition to a midnight champagne toast, this Capitol Hill hangout is tacking on a special happy hour, which gets you $3 craft drafts and well drinks and $4 wines by the glass until closing time. (303-832-4840)

Rioja: At present, there are still a few early and late seatings available for the Black and White New Year’s Eve Tasting at Jennifer Jasinski’s Mediterranean favorite in Larimer Square. The name alludes not to required costume attire (whew) but to the Perigord and Alba truffles featured on each of four courses (think celery-root raviolo in apple-mushroom brodo); the regular menu will also be available. ($125; 303-820-2282)

Table 6: Per tradition at this Alamo Placita bistro, Aaron Forman will be popping beaucoup large-format bottles of bubbly, so come join the party with one of the city's best sommeliers; no tables are available, but walk-ins at the bar are welcome. (303-831-8800)

TAG: Troy Guard’s Larimer Square den of East-West cuisine will ring in 2016 with a five-courser featuring such eclectic choices as foie gras mousse with ginger-pineapple chutney, char siu over egg-yolk ravioli in pork dashi and grapefruit cream puffs with prosecco caviar. ($89; 303-996-9985)

Tamayo: The modern Mexican anchor of Larimer Square invites you to a three-course fiesta of seafood chiles rellenos, carne a la tampiqueña, tres leches bread pudding and the like, accompanied by a champagne toast. See also New Year's Day. ($69; 720-946-1943)

Wild Standard: From 9 PM onward, Bradford Heap's seafood-centric Boulder hot spot still has spots available for a six-course feast of oysters Rockefeller, lobster ravioli, beef tenderloin on parsnip chips and other small plats, which the floor staff will be serving from trays and carts, dim sum-style. ($70; 720-638-4800)

Zeal: Also in Boulder, this clean green eatery boasts what may be the evening's best bargain: a four-course menu of roasted-kabocha soup, prosciutto-wrapped meatloaf in thyme-sage gravy, vegan peach cheesecake and more, plus a glass of sparkling wine, for only $35. (720-708-6309)

Zengo: Take your pick of two seatings and two different four-course menus at this Latin-Asian longtimer in the Platte River Valley; either way you'll enjoy ceviche, Thai chicken empanadas and a champagne toast. See also New Year's Day. ($55 for first seating/$69 for second seating; 720-904-0965) 

New Year's Day

Basta: After a rocking New Year's Eve, Kelly Whitaker's throwing the doors open to his Boulder flagship yet again for a blow-out brunch benefiting the Colorado Chefs Collaborative; in past years, it's been an industry-only affair, but this year anyone who wants to support the troops is invited to the all-inclusive feast of fried chicken, caviar, cocktails, bubbly and more – provided, that is, there are seats left. ($150; 303-997-8775)

Kachina Southwestern Grill: Bottomless Bloodys and mimosas, blue-corn waffles, huevos rancheros and all, this outpost of contemporary Southwestern cuisine in Westminster is rustling up a Wild Wild West Brunch from 6:30 AM to 2 PM. (303-410-5813)

Punch Bowl Social: In between rounds of bowling, billiards, cornhole and karaoke, get a load of this Baker house of fun's brunch buffet: from 8 AM onward, you can pile your plate with prime rib, omelets, sandwiches, pastries and more while grabbing some hair of the dog from the Bloody Mary bar. ($35; 303-765-2695)   

La Biblioteca/Tamayo/Zengo: All three of Richard Sandoval's Latin-inspired haunts will open on Friday morning for their famous bottomless brunch, featuring unlimited libations and small plates – which means guava mimosas, ceviche and chilaquiles galore. ($39; 720-946-1943/720-904-0965)  

The West End Tavern: This Boulder institution's revving up for its annual Bowl Day Chili Cook-Off; come rate the grub while you root for your team – and score some drink specials and swag in the process. (303-444-3535)

Winter Warmer 2016: Consider this 20+ parties in one: purchase Imbibe Denver's seasonal passport now, and as of New Year's Day you'll get two-for-one drink deals at 21 different establishments, including Ste. Ellie, Rebel RestaurantThe Squeaky Bean and Blue Island Oyster Bar. ($20; click here to buy)

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