Chicago's Ultimate New Year's Eve Guide

By Sarah Freeman  |  December 20, 2013

How do you do New Year's Eve? Maybe it's with an elegant, multi-course dinner with a certain special person, or a big night on the town with your entourage. Here at Zagat, we put together some options for you that are sure to deliver a night to remember.

Dinner and Drinks

Take in all the glitz and glam of dinner at Sepia. Feast on boudin blanc with black truffle, celery root and truffle jus; striped bass with sunchoke barigoule; and venison with pumpkin and confit of chestnuts, followed by a champagne toast. Choose from four courses for $90 per person with wine pairings for $65, or five courses for $120 per person with wine pairings for $90.

Chef Dirk Flanigan will be running the kitchen of Storefront Company, which still lacks an executive chef. The dinner will offer a preview of his coming-soon restaurant, Il Coniglio, with dishes such as hand-made pasta with duck liver, chestnut and saba for $100, with optional $50 beverage pairings.

Join in the Bonenkai, or “forget the year,” party at Yusho. Leave 2013 behind and welcome 2014 with a tasting menu of twice-fried chicken, braised brisket ssam and more for $99, with optional $50 beverage pairings.

Toast of the Town

Get bubbly at The Boarding House during its Bubble Bash. Starting at 8 PM, the evening toasts with sparkling wines from around the globe along with select reds and whites. The $35 ticket also includes bar provisions, party favors and a celebratory champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are available online.

For the perfect low-key celebration in the heart of Chicago, ENO Wine Bar will be serving wine, cheese and chocolate flights from 4 PM to Midnight.

Bubbly wine and bubbly punch leads to an overall bubbly bash at Websters Wine Bar. Dive into an open bar as well as a selection of cheese, charcuterie, salads and flatbreads for $80 while dancing the night away to Gipsy Trio.

Hey, Big Spender

Things are going to get a little naughty when the Aviary goes burlesque. Party on with a five-piece band, 12 femme fatales, two comedians and one master of ceremonies, and a ten-course menu inspired by the jazz era of classic cocktails and dishes for $493.65 by emailing nye@theaviary.com.

Rebar, on the mezzanine-level of Trump International Hotel & Tower, will be transformed into a modern interpretation of a Victorian-era circus with a Cirque Soiree Celebration. Guests will enjoy performances from DJ Vourteque and his steam-punk gramophone, a photo booth, a variety of entertaining performances, bites and cocktails. Tables cost between $495 and $1,595 depending on party size and extravagance.

Make sure the last meal of the year is the best with dinner at Grace. The evening begins with at 9 PM with a Champagne reception in the kitchen, with passed canapés with chef Duffy and the culinary team, followed by a 10-course tasting menu and ending with a Champagne toast at midnight for $265. Earlier seatings with a six-course menu are available for $165.

Dirty Dancing

Beers, video games and live music: all the makings of a memorable New Year’s Eve shindig. Party at Emporium with Archie Powell and The Exports; there's a $10 cover charge which can be purchased in advanced online.

Fuel up with a five-course dinner with beer pairings at Dusek’s. Then head downstairs and dance the night away in everyone’s favorite retro-chic cocktail den with a fish tank built into the bar. The punch-fueled dance party and dinner costs $75 (drinks at Punch House are not included in the price).

Spend New Year’s Even in the Polynesian party house known as Three Dots and a Dash. A $45 ticket gets you passed “Island Fare” appetizers and a special souvenir mug. Or, $400 gets six general admission tickets, a table and six souvenir mugs. Drinks will be à la carte, but there will be plenty of tiki party favors to go around. Purchase tickets online.

Hangover Brunch

Bub City is breaking out the barbecue brunch to help bring New Year’s Eve revelers back to life. Feed the hangover with fried chicken and waffles with jalapeño-bacon honey, white-sausage gravy and whipped butter, or two eggs with cheddar biscuits and white-sausage gravy. Do yourself a favor and order up a Bloody Mary - garnished with meat and seafood - for the ultimate “hair of the dog.”

Don’t change out of those PJs for a pajama brunch at Francesca’s Forno. Roll out of bed and keep the comfy clothes on while dining on tomato braised pork hash, Amaretto-soaked French toast or a Glazed and Infused donut trio.

If Bloody Marys are the hangover cure of choice, take in brunch at Perennial Virant. The Lincoln Park restaurant will be serving $5 Bloody Marys along with French toast with carrot jam, whipped cream cheese, candied and spiced pecans; three-egg skillet with tomato eggplant relish, spinach, smoked cheddar and capriko cheese; and biscuits and gravy with Gunthorp Farm chicken sausage and two eggs sunny-side ups.