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Gearing up for New Year’s Eve

2 min read


The last night of 2011 will bring celebrations nationwide, from quiet nights with a few loved ones to splashy Vegas parties, as Americans bid farewell to another 12 months of economic uncertainty and hope for better from the year to come.

Big private parties still aren’t back, as evidenced by Chicago restaurateur Grant Achatz’s change in plans. The Daily Meal reported that Achatz had offered to rent out three eateries for private parties but shifted gears when all of the requests he got were for smaller groups. Instead, he’ll present more traditional fixed-priced meals at Aviary and Next.

Partying like it’s 2006?

The San Jose Mercury News reported that many plan to ring out 2011 with a quiet celebration at home, while others plan to use the holiday as an excuse for upbeat parties, hoping to get 2012 off to a positive start. Some Bay Area bars, restaurants and hotels are seeing a last-minute surge of New Year’s Eve reservations, including The Fairmont San Jose, which by Tuesday was 85% sold out for its $150-per-person party.

Not everyone’s cutting back this year. People in Las Vegas apparently plan to party like it’s 2006, if not 1999, with a $525 six-course dinner at Picasso and a $475 seafood feast at Le Cirque, both at Bellagio, the Las Vegas Sun reported. New Year’s Eve traditionally brings a flood of tourists to the city. This year, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority expects about 314,000 guests, KLAS-TV reported, and they’re set to spend about $192 million at hotels, restaurants and shops.

While Sin City is used to visitors this time of year, it’s a pretty new phenomenon for New Orleans, where restaurants and hotels are seeing the historically slow tourist period pick up, WVUE-TV reported.

Nationwide, restaurants are getting the word out in newspapers and on foodie websites about what they’ll offer for the final meal of the year. Meanwhile, chefs aren’t planning only for New Year’s Eve — some are lending their expertise also to the morning after. Several Las Vegas chefs shared their favorite hangover cures in The Street, including coconut water, bloody marys and greasy burgers.

How will your restaurant ring out 2011? Tell us in the comments.