Let's be honest. This year has been a rough one for most Houstonians.
Other than the thrill of hosting the Super Bowl, and the Astros first-ever World Series victory, the city hasn't had a lot to smile about in 2017. Thousands of Houstonians are still displaced while construction crews rebuild their Harvey-damaged homes. Others are moving to higher ground.
The time has come to say "don't let the door hit ya'" to 2017, and embrace the possibilities that a new year afford. Our guide to New Year's Eve parties and dinners may not feature much geographic diversity — it's mostly inner loop — but it does offer options at all price points.
Whether people are out and about, or enjoying a night at home with friends and loved ones, here's wishing all CultureMap readers a safe, happy, and prosperous new year.
Chapman & Kirby
Houston’s hottest nightclub is ringing in its first ever New Year’s Eve with an all-out masquerade affair. Black tie attire will be “strictly enforced” at the party, which will feature a Möet & Chandon champagne toast, balloon drop, DJ, and a live band. VIP options are available for those who truly want to splurge.
Hours: 7 pm to 2 am
Midtown New Year’s Eve Fest
On New Year’s Eve, the Salt ‘N Pepper Group unites its three midtown properties — Pub Fiction, Irish Cowboy, and 3rd Floor — into a veritable Cerberus of partying. Each venue will feature its own DJ and champagne toast at midnight. VIP packages with bottles of alcohol and champagne are also available for groups from two to 12.
Price: $25 (general admission) to $1,350 (VIP for 12)
Hours: 7 pm to 2 am
The Dirt Bar
The downtown rock and roll bar celebrates its 13th birthday on New Year's Eve. Find an eclectic crowd sipping $50 bottles of Möet & Chandon.
Hours: 9 pm to 2 am
NYElectric at the Hotel Derek
The worst part of any bar experience is the hassle of closing out a tab at the end of the night. This party solves that problem by charging a higher entry fee that includes drinks made with well-known spirits like Tito’s, Jack Daniels, and Cuervo 1800. Admission also includes two DJs and a champagne toast. VIP Packages and group discounts are available.
Price: $129 to $1,695 (table for six)
Hours: 9:30 pm to 1 am
There is something quintessentially Houston about converting a church into a nightclub, which perhaps explains part of Spire’s appeal. The downtown club has been packed since it opened earlier this year. Superstar DJ RL Grime headlines a party that will last the sun comes up (almost). This event is 18+, so older patrons may want to inquire about the cost of VIP.
Price: $55 to $65
Hours: 10 pm to 6 am
El Big Bad
The downtown tequila bar that’s known for its massive second story patio embraces unicorns for its New Year’s Eve party. That means a unicorn margarita (with a bottle of Korbel champagne), unicorn costume contest, and a unicorn pinata “ball drop” at midnight. A VIP package that includes a buffet with food until 10 pm and drinks tickets is also available.
Price: $25 to $100
Hours: 9 pm to 1 am
Looking for a less expensive option? Consider Conservatory. The downtown food hall will transform itself into a Hawker-style night market with small plates of food under $6 each, $15 bottles of champagne from the Noble Rot wine bar, and $10 bottles of specialty beers. Between snacks, dance away while a DJ spins tunes.
Price: Free to attend, food and drinks per item.
Hours: 9 pm to 3 am
Say Anything and get Footloose at this party that celebrates the decade when MTV ruled music and portable phones were the size of a brick. Watch 16 Candles and Pretty in Pink for style inspiration, because attendees will vote on a prom king and queen. Vintage arcade games, Polaroid cameras, and more will add to the vintage atmosphere, while DJ Gonz spins retro tunes. Food and drink specials available all night.
Price: Free or $25 per person for table reservations.
Hours: 8 pm to 2 am
Astros owner Jim Crane will have the Commissioner’s Trophy on display at Potente (which he also owns), and diners are invited to pose for a photo. As for the food, executive chef Danny Trace will present a four-course menu that includes the restaurant’s signature cacio e pepe with black truffle, tuna crudo with foie gras freeze, and Harris Ranch Prime filet. Reservations required.
Hours: 5 pm to 11 pm
This River Oaks-area newcomer shows off its upscale, Japanese-inspired cuisine with a six-course tasting menu. Lobster and shrimp dumplings, a “decadent” sashimi platter, and a surf-and-turf of lobster tempura with Japanese wagyu beef should make for a memorable meal. Stay until midnight for a complimentary champagne toast.
Hours: 4:30 pm to 1 am
The Houston classic goes all-out on New Year’s Eve with a decadent four-course dinner, live music, cigar rolling station, and open bar. Really, any party that features a 30-foot long dessert bar sounds like it will be well worth the cost.
Price: $100 (bar and show only) or $165 to $185 for dinner and drinks
Hours: 7:30 pm to 1:30 am
The newly opened sports lounge near the Galleria has gotten off to a strong start thanks to its eclectic menu and friendly service. On New Year’s Eve, the restaurant will be open continuously from 11 am until 2 am with food and drinks, including a special four-course menu that features dishes like tuna poke in a jar, 12-ounce Prime New York strip, and mini sticky toffee pudding.
Price: $59 for the special menu, other items a la carte.
Hours: 11 am to 2 am
Weights + Measures
The Midtown favorite is stepping things up on New Year’s Eve with an eclectic four-course menu that show off chef Richard Kaplan’s diverse skill set. Dishes include lump crab ravioli, parmesan risotto with truffles, lamb chops with trumpet mushrooms, and a chocolate gianduja stack. Stick around until midnight for a complimentary champagne toast.
Hours: 7 pm to 11 pm; bar open until 2 am
Up in The Woodlands, chef Hilda Ysusi is serving a three-course menu for New Year’s Eve that includes dishes such as tuna tartare with edamame puree, scallops with pear and walnut risotto, and baked Alaska. All diners receive a glass of bubbles.
Hours: Two seating, 5 pm to 7 pm, or 9 pm to 11 pm.