There are still four more days before Christmas, but if you want to be at the best parties this New Year's Eve, you'd better start planning pronto. There are a ton of bars and restaurants in town that would love to have you toast to the New Year at their establishment, but for our money, these are the ten best New Year's Eve bashes in the greater Phoenix area. Some are extravagant while others are a steal; no matter what you want to spend, there's a party on the list for you.
Extravagant A Gatsby New Year's Eve at W Scottsdale
Celebrate like it's 1922 at this opulent Great Gatsby-themed gala. Even before you get to the door, there will be an ornate gate, colorful flowers, and vintage rides setting the stage for the evening. The hotel will be decked out with golden candelabras, glimmering strands of pearls, and flirty feathers, and Scott Keo will serenade partygoers with classic '20s tunes. The New Year's Eve package with a two-night stay, two tickets to the Gatsby bash, in-room champagne amenity, a flask for men and beaded necklace for women, and invitation to the reception starts at $374.50 per night. Just want to crash the party? Tickets are $100 for gentlemen and $75 for ladies. To reserve a VIP table or cabana, contact 602-405-0099.
Start your New Year off on a decadent foot at one of the Valley's best restaurants, Forbes Five Star Award and AAA Five Diamond Award restaurant Kai. Diners get to choose how much to indulge: 5 courses are $140, or 9 courses are $225 per person (additional for wine pairings). Both menus include an amuse bouche of rabbit agnolotti with beets, sherry vinegar, and grated winter truffle; braised Korobuta pork cheek with squash, corn and anasazi bean cassoulet, and gooseberry pear relish; grilled Columbia River sturgeon with caviar and sauteed vegetables; and a gourmet plate of milk n' cookies. For reservations, call 602-385-5726.
If you can't remember eating a single incredible meal in all of 2012, it's not too late. J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician has you covered with a four-course meal for $92 that uses all of the key ingredients for a comforting gourmet meal: diver scallops with warm black truffle-garlic toast, slowly baked codfish with celeriac-maple puree and pink peppercorn vinaigrette, lobster with black truffle gnocchi in an herbal broth, roasted venison loin, grilled fillet mignon with potato gratin, and not one but three desserts. This menu will be available from 5 to 10 p.m., so after you've indulged yourself, you can take the party to any bar or house of your choice.
The past year marked a huge milestone for our state. No longer a kid, Arizona celebrated its centennial on Valentine's Day. With a five-course desert-inspired meal and Arizona wine pairings, this New Year's Eve party is one last hurrah for the state's big year. The amuse bouche -- Schreiner's bacon-wrapped Arizona dates filled with Black Mesa Ranch goat cheese, drizzled with organic agave nectar, and infused with purple sage from the restaurant's rooftop garden -- sets the stage for the menu. Other items include rabbit and carrot stew with rosemary honey, smoked prairie quail with creamed corn and grilled nopales, and Arizona grass-fed beef short ribs with a chili that pays homage to the late Senator Barry Goldwater's famed mix. The first seating is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and costs $59 for adults, $30 for wine pairings, and $34 for children under 12. The second seating, from 8 to 10 p.m., is $69 including a champagne toast. Call 602-817-5400 for reservations.
Two special menus will be served in honor of both New Year's Eve and Posh's fourth anniversary. Staying true to his improvisational style, Chef Joshua Herbert is keeping his "Best of 2012" menu a surprise until that evening. The second offering will be a vegan menu with items such as sweet potato "lasagna" with sage and butternut squash, ramen with mushrooms and tofu, "cheese" assortments, and vegan Snickers bars. Dinner will be served from 5 to 11 p.m. Both five-course menus will start at $60 per person, and an extensive list of cocktails and wines will also be available, including the St. Germain Cocktail with its namesake, champagne, and soda water. Call 480-663-7674 for reservations.
For New Year's Eve, Iron Chef Jose Garces' Scottsdale restaurant Distrito will be hosting a new menu release party. Its award-winning taco menu (3 for $9 to $14) is being expanded with 10 new combinations, including cabrito (goat, orange, habanero salsa, goat crema), lengua (veal tongue, red chile, cilantro, white onion), and hongos con rajas (poblano rajas, forest mushrooms, Mexican crema, radish). To complement the tacos, 10 new specialty margaritas are also being added to the menu. Celebrate the occasion with an Avo Rita (mezcal, habanero agave nectar, lime juice, avocado puree, simple syrup) or Wine a Rita (malbec, triple sec, lime juice, agave nectar). If you feel like you're missing the bubbly, head to The Saguaro's other restaurant Old Town Whiskey at midnight for a complimentary champagne toast. Call 480-970-4444 for reservations.
This restaurant is a great pick for numerous reasons, especially if you're planning a romantic date. Starting at 7 p.m., a five-course dinner with wine pairings will be offered for $50. Cheapskates can choose the alcohol-free option for $35 and then head elsewhere to imbibe. On the other hand, if you decide to go from spendthrift to Rich Uncle Pennybags in the course of the evening, stick around for Centurion's chocolate and wine pairing with live music. Starting at 10 p.m., there will be a buffet of savory and sweet chocolates paired with ten high-end champagnes. The chocolate and wine event is $150 per person, but both the dinner and after party can be purchased for $175 per person. Call 602-687-8796 to reserve your spot.
With an à la carte menu and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight, it's easy to find ways to save a little dough at Cask 63. There will be a selection of holiday menu items including baked and stuffed lobster; Maple Leaf Farms duck breast cassoulet with cannellini beans, bacon belly, mire poix, and parmesan panko crust; and Scottish king salmon served with beet and mustard crust, creamed Israeli cous cous, roasted beets, and orange balsamic gastrique. These items will be available from 5 to 10 p.m. To book a table, call 480-922-5666.
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If you need to take a date somewhere fancy yet fairly affordable, The Herb Box's five-course dinner will do the trick -- especially if she's a lightweight drinker. At $59 per person including a glass of champagne, you can feel like you're celebrating big without the huge price tag. The prix fixe menu includes yellow tomato gazpacho soup with jumbo lump crab; Lucky Black-Eyed Pea salad with grapes, avocado, radish, fried okra croutons, and champagne herb dressing; shrimp with white cheddar grits and candied prosciutto; fried chicken and sweet potato waffle; and a dessert duo of pink champagne cake and pomegranate liqueur truffle. Call 480-289-6180 for reservations at the SouthBridge location, or 480-289-6180 for DC Ranch.
To accommodate every budget and time, Crudo has three menu and seating options for New Year's Eve. There's a six-course menu for $65 and an eight-course for $100, but those who have been waiting for an excuse to pull out their wallets to sample Chef Cullen Campbell's unique selections will be happy to hear that there's a three-course bar menu available at 7 and 10 p.m. For $45, diners will receive a salad of beets, arugula, pickled grapes, and horseradish vinaigrette; albacore crudo with squid ink aioli; and short ribs with polenta and foie gras sugo. Mixologist Micah Olson completes the picture with pristinely crafted cocktails. Call 602-358-8666 for reservations. Follow Chow Bella on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.