Whether you were too busy to host a party or your friends have tired of taking those responsibilities (perhaps after your unruly behavior last year), either way you're SOL for New Year's Eve and need a contingency plan. Leave the planning and the party aftermath to the professionals by hitting up these solid NYE dinner parties around Chicago.
Owen & Engine: Party like it's 1832 at Logan Square British gastropub Owen & Engine, where the restaurant will be hosting a four-course pre-fixe dinner with beverage pairings inspired by Victorian haute cuisine for $75 from 5-11 p.m., followed by a $75 all-you-can-eat/drink midnight package at 11 p.m.-2 a.m. We're told that they're "suspending the rules that govern decent society," so it will probably be pretty wild. For reservations, call 773-235-2930.
In Fine Spirits: Or you can always party like it's 1922 at wine bar In Fine Spirits in Andersonville, where they'll be hosting a very boozy Prohibition-inspired party featuring six courses of Italian, Chinese and Indian dishes, which were popular at the time. Seatings at 6 p.m. ($70 per person, plus $40 for wine pairings) and 9 p.m. ($100 per person, plus $40 for wine pairings). For reservations, call 773-334-9463.
Chalkboard: If you're stuck with kids but still want to do something special, head to Lincoln Square for Chalkboard's kid-friendly party inspired by chef Gilbert Langlois's five-year-old son with grilled cheese, chicken strips, and other kid favorites, plus sparkling cider toast. The earlier dinner is held at 5-6:30 p.m. for $12 per child (adults order from the a la carte seasonal menu). At 7 p.m., the restaurant will transform into a classier kid-free spot with five-course French-inspired menu for $100 per person, including wine pairings. For reservations, visit Open Table.
Taxim: For whatever reason, Wicker Park Mediterranean restaurant Taxim doesn't get nearly enough love. And for this reason, we can assume the crowd on New Year's Eve should be far less obnoxious than the folks across the street at Debonair Club (though, fair warning: chef/owner David Schneider is apparently smashing pomegranates in the foyer of the restaurant to spread the seeds of good luck, as is tradition on New Year's Eve in Greece). Taxim will be hosting a prix-fixe dinner that includes two small plates and one entrée from the regular menu, plus glass of champagne and dessert. Seatings are at 5:30-7:30 p.m. for $75 per person and 8-10:30 p.m. for $95 per person, with reservations available by calling 773-252-1558.
Henri: Located directly across from Millennium Park, Henri is an excellent spot to take in New Year's Eve fireworks over a rich menu of a la carte dishes like seared foie gras, escargot, and dressed oysters with a glass of Champagne. Reservations are available from 5 to 11 p.m. and can be made by calling 312-578-0763 or their website.
Roka Akor: If you're planning on partying in River North, hit up Roka Akor beforehand to toss back some oysters and sashimi with their opulent six-course Omisoka dinner at Roka Akor for $128 per person, with seatings at 5-6:30 p.m. or 8:30-11 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made at 312-477-7652 or through Open Table.
Acadia: If you've been meaning to check out brand new South Loop hotspot Acadia, New Year's Eve is an excellent excuse for their prix fixe New Year's Eve dinner, with seatings at 6 p.m. ($125 per person (including wines); $100 per person for the vegetarian menu); and 9 p.m. ($150 per person (including wines); $125 per person for the vegetarian menu). Check out the menu here and call 312-360-9500 for reservations.
El Ideas: Act fast and you can snag seats to an extremely intimate dinner at eight-seat BYOB fine dining restaurant El Ideas, which is hosting two seatings at 5:30 and 10 p.m. For reservations and more details, e-mail reservations@ELideas.com.