New Year's Eve Dining and Drinking Guide 2015

New Year's Eve is not only one of the craziest holidays of the year, right up there with St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo, but it's one of the most popular nights for dining and drinking, usually with reckless abandon. Celebrators are out in full-force this year, looking to end 2015 on a high note and beckon the new year in the best way possible. Here's where to make that happen in Chicago this year:


Maple & Ash
Maple & Ash; photo by Marcin Cymmer

Maple & Ash: This is the steakhouse to be this New Year's Eve, as the Gold Coast newcomer prepares to celebrate its first new year with three different experiences throughout the lavish space. The first option is a seating between 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., which entails a four-course dinner of classic Maple & Ash dishes by chef Danny Grant. The cost is $95 per person. The second option is a seating between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., with a four-course dinner and a table for the remainder of the evening to enjoy a New Year's Eve party and dance floor in the atrium. The cost is $145 per person. The third option is a lounge table reservation, which start at 10:00 p.m. and go for $2,000 per table. Tables accommodate up to eight guests and include the aforementioned New Year's Eve party, dance floor, and beverages. Tickets can be accessed here

Acadia: This South Loop stunner is another restaurant borrowing inspiration from the 1920's golden era for its New Year's Eve festivities. The theme is a throwback supper club, wherein all guests are greeted through a velvet tunnel by butlers hoisting trays of Wassail and tea sandwiches. Ooh la la! For diners at the 5:00 p.m. seating, this is followed by a six-course tasting menu priced at $150 per person, with additional wine pairings at $105. The menu features dishes such as deviled eggs and caviar in gold egg holders, a "Waldorf salad" with grated foie gras, and prime rib that gets paraded through the dining room before it's carved and served. There's also a seven-course tasting menu at 9:00 p.m., which adds on items like Alba truffles in a cream of mushroom soup, and lobster Newburg with Champagne "caviar." A 20-piece marching band will help ring in the new year at midnight, at which point 2,000 balloons will drop from the ceiling. Acadia is also once again hosting its famous afterparty until 4:00 a.m. For $25, guests can enjoy all-you-can-drink cocktails, beer, and a buffet.

The Betty: Another incredibly cool option for New Year's Eve dining is the aphrodisiac-inspired dinner menu happening at The Betty. It's a five-course affair curated by chef Rachel Dow, served family-style. Items to be served include oysters and shrimp cocktail, charcuterie, truffled pasta, black-eyed pea cassoulet, and a banana-rum dessert. Three seatings are on hand for the holiday: 6:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. After the last seating, guests can opt for drinks only and reserve beverage packages featuring craft beer, wine, and speciality liquor. Reservations are mandatory and tickets are $69 per person, with supplemental beverage pairings for $55. 

Celeste: There's something for everyone at Celeste, River North's multi-story, multi-personality cocktail bar and supper club. On the second floor, the Deco Room is offering dinner reservations for a four-course prix fixe meal crafted by executive chef Amanda Barnes. Menu items include oat milk tofu, scallops and caviar, Wagyu beef, and chocolate. The cost for the dinner is $150 per person, plus $45 for optional cocktail pairings. For something a little less formal, the first and third floors are both offering bar package options, including premium tickets that entail five hours of premium bar and appetizers; or premium table tickets that include bottle service along with five fours of premium open bar and appetizers. The cost for the former is $125 per person and the latter is $200 per person. Purchase them here. The third floor will also feature house and Nu-disco music on the third floor. 

The Barrelhouse Flat: Craft cocktails and revelry take center stage at Lincoln Park's preeminent cocktail bar, The Barrelhouse Flat. And since New Year's Eve is all about drinking, this is where you should be. Especially since the two-floor bar is offering two party options for the holiday. On the first floor, a live band performs while guests enjoy a variety of classic cocktails and bites from Publican Quality Meats. The second floor, meanwhile, features jazz and ragtime music and an expanded menu. All guests can enjoy passed appetizers and a sparkling wine toast at midnight. Tickets for the first floor are $100, while the second floor goes for $150 per person. Tickets can be purchased by emailing 

Chicago Cut: Ring in the new year in ritzy steakhouse style at Chicago Cut, which will feature live music for the holiday. The menu includes standout decadent items fit for the occasion like garlic butter-brushed lobster tail, bone-in rib-eye, and truffle scallop potatoes. For reservations, call Chicago Cut. 
Spiaggia: Downtown's quintessential Italian fine dining spot is rolling out a savorous degustation befitting a regal end of the year finale. The tasting menu-only fete has three seatings — 5:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.; 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.; and 8:00 p.m. — priced at $175 per person, $250 per person, and $300 per person, respectively. Dishes include seared foie gras, porcini chestnut bigoli, and a veal and uni brioche. Reservations can be made by calling Spiaggia. 

312 Chicago: In more affordable Italian news, there's a four-course NYE prix fixe happening at 312 Chicago. The Loop mainstay is offering a "menu di capo d'anno" dinner for New Year's Eve, with four options available for each course. There are also optional Italian wine pairings for each dish. The cost is $70 per person, or $100 with wine pairings, and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant.

Balena: That's not all for Italian this year either. Balena is another spot offering a New Year's Eve prix fixe. This one is four courses for $65 per person, with optional wine pairings for another $30. The menu includes Asiago budino and optional courses like roasted Brussels sprouts, stracciatella agnolotti, fennel-pistachio stella pasta, striped bass, short ribs, and smoked almond cake or passion fruit semifreddo. Reservations are available between 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Anyone present at midnight will get a gratis glass of Prosecco and party favors. Call Balena to make a reservation. 

Embeya: Or you can go contemporary Asian with the NYE menu stylings at Embeya. The West Loop restaurant is offering two seatings for the evening, the first one beginning at 5:00 p.m. and the second at 7:00 p.m. Both feature multi-course menus by chef Michael Sheerin, with optional beverage pairings. First up is a three-course menu that includes six dishes for $75 per person. The second seating entails four courses and eight dishes, plus complimentary sparkling wine. For reservations, call the restaurant. 

Atwood: If butter-poached lobster and prosciutto-wrapped quail sound appealing to you (which they should), then you may want to make a reservation for New Year's Eve at Atwood. Along with a complimentary glass of Champagne, the Loop restaurant is serving a four-course prix fixe menu for the holiday, with meat and fish options crafted by chef Brian Millman. The cost is $75 per person and reservations can be made online or by calling Atwood. 


- Matt Kirouac