Where to Party Like It’s 2018

Where to Celebrate New Year's Eve Around Chicago

New Year’s Eve is a weird mix of wishful thinking and hard, cold reality.

Wishful thinking: You’re going to have the best time of your life tonight because it’s New Year’s Eve and that’s how it works. Just stand there and good things will magically happen.

Reality: You forgot to book a reservation/make plans/do any research and everything worth doing or going to is already filled up. Uh-oh! Looks like DiGiorno pizza and the “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” broadcast on TV are your only options. In other news, Dick Clark is dead.

So let’s cut to the chase. New Year’s Eve is approaching. You need a plan. We have information. How about we put peanut butter and chocolate together (old commercial reference, millennials!) and make something special happen? We’ve done the work; now you make the call.

Ada Street 

1664 N. Ada St., Chicago, 773-697-7069

A “full night of luxury, secrecy, and pleasure” awaits at this exclusive party for the Ada Street Secret Society! Craft spirits at the open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres from Chef Michael Kornick, and more. The party runs from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., at a cost of $100 pp, inclusive of tax and service.


1400 W. Randolph St., Chicago, 312-563-1010

The West Loop’s Restaurant Row will be rocking, and the party starts right here with Bill Kim’s NYE Feast. For $45 pp, enjoy a toast from the rolling Whisky Cart and a ridiculous amount of family-style favorites, including Korean Fried Chicken, dumplings, Korean Short Ribs, Tea-Smoked Duck, and Vietnamese Cinnamon Donuts and sparkling sake for dessert. Complimentary valet parking for New Year’s Eve.

Big Jones

5347 N. Clark St., Chicago, 773-275-5725

Chef Paul Fehribach’s wonderful Southern hospitality extends to all with this traditional New Year’s Eve menu, four courses with choices for $49 pp (beverage pairings $30 extra) served from 5-10 p.m. Worth it for the Angel Biscuits with house-cultured sorghum butter and kumquat marmalade alone!


804 Davis St., Evanston, 847-859-2880

Chef Brian Huston offers a seriously scrumptious five-course New Year’s Eve menu that is as lucky as it is tasty — each course is composed of foods that symbolize good fortune and prosperity, with choices within each course so that you can put together the perfect meal for you! $65 pp, plus an additional $35 for drink pairings.

Booth One

1301 N. State Parkway, Chicago, 312-649-0535

Celebrate in Lettuce Entertain You’s newest incarnation of the famed Pump Room, ordering off the à la carte menu (hello, Lobster Cappuccino!) and sipping champagne. Live music begins at 9:30 p.m.

Cruz Blanca Brewery

904 W. Randolph St., Chicago, 312-733-1975

It’s Feliz Año Nuevo time at Rick Bayless’ West Loop hot spot. Baja-inspired passed appetizers, four drink tokens (think shaved-ice tropical cocktails and specialty beer tappings), and live music sets from DJ Proppa; general admission $60 pp; additional food and drink available for purchase. 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The Dearborn Tavern

145 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, 312-384-1242

Bring on the bubbly at this festive Loop spot, where you can ring in 2018 with a luxe and seasonal three-course menu ($72); wine pairings available ($37). There will be a live DJ all night long; plus a Taittinger champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight.

The Fifty/50

2047 W. Division St., Chicago, 773-489-5050

New Year's Eve Around Chicago: The Fifty/50
Photo courtesy of The Fifty/50.

It’s pajama time at this Wicker Park upscale sports bar! Wear your best nightie or flannel jams to their P.J. Bash. $70 general admission gets you a top-shelf drink package from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and a late-night breakfast buffet including steak and eggs, stuffed French toast, and more. Dance ‘til you drop, then dance some more.


925 W. Randolph St., Chicago, 312-690-7295

New Year's Eve Around Chicago: Formento's
Frank Catalano (Photo courtesy of Formento’s.)

Grammy-winning sax player Frank Catalano will be the top-of-the-line entertainment for this special evening. Passed bites, midnight champagne toast, and plenty of great jazz fusion music in Formento’s second-floor loft space for just $50 pp. What a perfect way to ring in the new year!


1631 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847-868-8945

This year’s theme, Midnight in Paris, will have a Roaring ‘20s-Paris Bohemian vibe. For $75 pp, expect a fun five-course, shared-plate menu, including a potato and caviar amuse bouche to start and Chocolate Roulade with Amaretto Cream for a sweet ending.

Geja’s Café

340 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, 773-281-9101

New Year's Eve Around Chicago: Geja's Cafe
Photo courtesy of Geja’s Café.

Get your romance on with fondue and champagne accompanied by classical guitar. There will be three seatings — 5 p.m. ($95 pp), 7:30 p.m. ($115 pp) and 10 p.m. ($130 pp) — for a four-course dinner of cheese fondue, salad, entrée, and a spectacular flaming chocolate dessert fondue, plus champagne, and the price includes tax and gratuity!

Girl & The Goat 

809 W. Randolph St., Chicago, 312-492-6262

New Year's Eve Around Chicago: Girl & The Goat (Stephanie Izard)
Stephanie Izard (Photo courtesy of Girl & The Goat.)

It’s a big night with celeb chef Stephanie Izard for American Express Card members. $225 pp gets you in the door for free-flowing cocktails, an innovative menu of passed appetizers and “interactive food stations” (will there be goat milking? Who knows?), midnight champagne toast, photo booth, complimentary valet parking, and a groovy DJ spinning the night away. If you’ve got an Amex, check it out here.

Heritage Restaurant and Caviar Bar 

2700 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, 773-661-9577

It’s their first New Year’s Eve and they are shooting for the stars. Two well-spaced seatings — 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. — mean plenty of time to savor your three-course Caviar Tasting ($90) with optional sparkler pairing ($40); or the four-course Signature Tasting ($120, pairing $100).

Izakaya at Momotaro

820 W. Lake St., Chicago, 312-733-4818

New Year's Eve Around Chicago: Momotaro
Photo by Galdones Photography.

Get subterranean at this Japanese speakeasy-style hideaway. Party from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. with a four-hour premium bar with sake, beer, wine, sparkling and specialty cocktails; heavy passed hors d’oeuvres; a midnight champagne toast; festive New Year’s Eve hats, beads, and noisemakers; and free coat check, all for $125 pp including tax and tip. Upgrade to VIP for express entry and reserved table service by contacting them at [email protected] ASAP.


980 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-280-2750

New Year's Eve Around Chicago: Spiaggia
Spiaggia Truffles (Photo courtesy of Spiaggia.)

Two New Year’s Eve seatings at this Michelin-starred Obama favorite! The first seating (5:30-7:30 p.m.) features an eight-course truffle-centric menu for $250; wine pairings will set you back an additional $140. The second seating (8-11 p.m.) will run $300 for a 10-course truffle menu (wine pairing $175). Now that’s indulgent — but what a way to say goodbye to 2017! Both menus include tableside oysters and caviar, plus take-home goodies for your New Year’s Day hangover.

Three Dots and a Dash

435 N. Clark St., Chicago, 312-610-4220

Travel to River North for an island luau like no other. From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., feast on passed Polynesian appetizers, signature tiki drinks, and live music by a special guest. Prices range from $70 pp for general admission, or opt for booth or table service for groups of four to six people for $500 and up.

The Violet Hour

1520 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, 773-252-1500

New Year's Eve Around Chicago: The Violet Hour
Photo by Eden Laurin.

The craft beverages will be flowing in earnest at this Wicker Park celebration destination. First seating (6-8 p.m.) will run $53 pp; the second seating (9 p.m. to 1 a.m.) runs $145 pp, but includes late-night bites and a celebratory midnight toast. Prices are inclusive of tax and gratuity.


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Julie Chernoff, Make It Better’s dining editor since its inception in 2007, graduated from Yale University with a degree in English — which she speaks fluently — and added a professional chef’s degree from the California Culinary Academy. She has worked for Boz ScaggsRick Bayless and Wolfgang Puck (not all at the same time); and sits on the boards of Les Dames d’Escoffier International and Northlight Theatre. She and husband Josh are empty nesters since adult kids Adam and Leah have flown the coop. Rosie the Cockapoo relishes the extra attention.