It's still not too late to plan your New Year's Eve celebration. From a black tie affair to a fireworks spectacular, below are 11 top soirees to ring in the New Year, including festive fetes at five new nightlife hot spots, five happening hotel gatherings and one mammoth party in a warehouse studio.
Grade A with a couple of B’s
Lively Washington Avenue hot spot Julep is tops in our books thanks to stellar drinks and tasty Southern bites. Come New Year's Eve, the cocktail bar presents a deal featuring two of our favorite libations: bourbon and bubbly. Play it by ear and grab a seat on the patio or at the bar, or reserve a table (seatings: 4-7 p.m., 7-10 p.m., 10 p.m.-2 a.m.; prices vary), which comes with a seafood tower (lobster, Dungeness crab, crab claws, shrimp, oysters), bottle of champagne and customized bourbon tasting.
Play that funky music
Let your hair down and groove to the sounds of vinyl spins (the in-house record collection features over 300 selections) at downtown’s The Nightingale Room. Drink up thanks to an expanded shot menu and price break on select bottles of champagne (half-off until 9 p.m.). Pause for reflection during a midnight balloon drop and champagne toast, then go back to the dance party. Reserve a table or walk-in. It’s free to enter.
Fancy attire and cheap drinks
Play dress up, and video games, at whimsical East downtown watering hole Neil's Bahr (9 p.m.; free to enter). Don your formal attire, nosh on bites from the grill and sip discounted champagne, draft beer and liquor. Dress the part, but don’t get too serious (you're surrounded by sci-fi flick murals and comic book racks, after all). Raise the roof, not your pinky.
Break out your Halloween costumes
Pull out your required gangster and flapper costumes as you rewind to 1925 at Revelry on Richmond’s speakeasy bash. VIP’s (7-9 p.m.; message to get on the list) will enjoy complimentary hors d'oeuvres and champagne, plus nickel-priced cocktails. A five-piece swing band hits the stage at 9 p.m. and the bubbly flows at midnight with a champagne toast. After 9 p.m., it's business as usual with a cash bar.
An old favorite with a new twist
Historic Montrose bar Zimm's has been reborn. The completely remodeled venue will host an open premium bar, DJ, party favors, midnight toast and balloon drop this NYE ($75 per person). Feast at neighboring Pax Americana restaurant beforehand and receive a price break on your party ticket ($50 per person).
Now in its 37th year, the Hyatt Regency Houston will kick off 2015 with a 50,000-balloon cascade from the hotel’s 33-story atrium. Break out your dancing shoes for music via two bands and a DJ (7 p.m.-1 a.m.). Tickets start at $99 per person with an overnight hotel option starting at $299.
Light up the night
Fireworks are delightful, especially with a cocktail in hand and a bird’s eye view from Hotel Sorella’s swank Monnalisa Bar ($60 per person). CityCentre’s pyrotechnics extravaganza will light up the sky at midnight. In the interim, hang out inside the contemporary space, complete with a heavenly starlit ceiling and central fireplace, as you listen to live music. Make it an all nighter and take advantage of the hotel's overnight specials, starting at $369 per couple.
Hot in the city
You're in for a guaranteed good time at the racy and fun Hotel ZaZa. The posh Museum District hotel, with daring decor and a see-and-be-seen crowd, presents an evening of cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, dancing and midnight revelry ($75 per person). Room and party packages are available starting at $495.
Party it up with a chance to stay, free
The Black Swan at Omni Houston is your ticket to NYE paradise. The evening ($70 per person) includes: a champagne toast, balloon drop, party favors, hors d’oeuvres, two drink tickets, a roaming magician, photo booth, a live feed of ball drop in NYC and complimentary valet parking. Cross your fingers: Enter to win a complimentary stay at the hotel.
Celebrate like nightlife royalty
Live it up at the Royal Ball at Hotel Derek (tickets start at $125 per person). Aside from a countdown to midnight (with a champagne toast and party favors), the regal-themed fete promises live entertainment and a high-octane party atmosphere.
Ring in the new year at this all-inclusive party at Silver Street Studio, which includes open bar, breakfast buffet, midnight champagne toast and entertainment by cover bands LC Rocks and Rat Ranch, along with tunes from DJ Tony Styles. Tickets range from $100 to $150, with a special $2,500 VIP party for 15 with lots of extras. The Hilton Americas-Houston hotel offers a special $119 rate for partygoers.
Did we miss you favorite party place to celebrate New Year's Eve? If so, let us know in the comments section below.