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Jon Watson: Last minute New Year’s Eve ideas

Maybe it is just because I’ll pounce on any excuse to have a good time, but I always look forward to New Year’s Eve every year. Like a handful of other holidays, New Year’s is dedicated entirely to getting together with a large raucous group of your friends and getting your proverbial party on. I’m usually the guy leading the charge, renting out the bar, planning the house party, or buying the concert tickets.

That is, except for this year. I guess we are finally getting old, and that kind of sucks.

Though by most generation’s standards we are late to the game, my social circle has finally reached the point where more of us are married than single, and – lord forbid – some of my friends have even started reproducing. One of the many disappointing byproducts of this jump into actual adulthood, as opposed to “young adulthood”, is that forking over $150 to join 5,000 other people at a hotel party or throwing some Animal House style rager at a friend’s house loses a lot of its appeal.

And while I mourn certain aspects of my dwindling youth, I’m doing something new for NYE this year, and I’m actually looking forward to it. Last week, a group of about 15 of my friends and I all made a reservation at a nice restaurant in town – sorry, can’t tell you where – for a relatively low-key dinner with friends, followed by a few drinks at a nearby bar to watch the ball drop. There is no cover, there is no “all you can drink”, and there (probably) won’t be an ice luge anywhere in sight.

This got me thinking…I’m sure that there are a lot of you that, like us, waited until close to the last minute to make a plan. So, I’ve put together a quick little list of dinner spots where you can finish out 2010. Some are super fancy, for those that want to splurge, and some aren’t.

This list is far from comprehensive, and there are tons of places offering special menus for the 31st, so if there are any great NYE deals out there that I have not included, feel free to add the details in your comments!

Keep in mind, most of these have a deadline of TODAY to make your reservations, so get on it quick!

4th and Swift

Ring in the New Year with a seasonal five-course menu from chef Jay Swift complete with amuse and dessert. $70/person for the five-course menu, or $100/person including a wine pairing.

621 North Ave., Atlanta, 678-904-0160,

Restaurant Eugene/Holeman & Finch

Chef Linton Hopkins’ neighboring restaurants are going full James Bond in this 007 themed evening. Things kick off with including Bond-themed cocktails, appetizers, and casino-style games at H&F, and then the party moves across the driveway to Eugene, where Hopkins will serve a four-course dinner (seating at 5:30 p.m., $200/person) or a five-course dinner (8:30 p.m., $250/person).

2277 Peachtree Rd, Buckhead, 404-355-0321,


Bocado will offer a special New Year’s a la carte menu, including a gussied up “New Year’s Eve” burger topped with black truffles.

887 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta, 404-315-1399,

Food 101

Food 101 in Sandy Springs will offer four-course prix fixe menu for $59/person, or $82/person including wine pairing.

4969 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs, 404-497-9700,

Ray’s at Killer Creek

In addition to a selection of prix fixe menus ($55-$85/person), Ray’s at Killer Creek will also serve an array of appetizers and sides to complement your New Year’s Eve meal. Stick around after dinner to drink your way into 2011, as the bar will be open until 1 a.m.

1700 Mansell Rd, Alpharetta, 770-649-0064

- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog

Jon-Watson-Tagline- Jon Watson writes about Popular Eats for the AJC Dining Team. He also publishes his own blog, Live To Feast

7 comments Add your comment


December 30th, 2010
9:27 am

Livingston Restaurant in Georgian Terrace is almost booked up for dinner reservations but the bar is charging no cover and will have live entertainment, drink specials, etc. Westin Peachtree Plaza has a few rooms still available if you’re going to the Zac Brown Band concert, other downtown parties, or just want to surprise the wife with a romantic night away from the house.


December 30th, 2010
9:35 am

Westin Peachtree Plaza is now sold out…

ATL Quebecer

December 30th, 2010
11:45 am

funny article Jon – sounds like we’re right about at the same age. I’ve always done the big parties, stayed up all night kinda thing. doing dinner with friends this year too…..

bat hunter

December 30th, 2010
7:29 pm

nan for nye dinner is the spot…


December 30th, 2010
8:01 pm

The Mansion on Peachtree has a great bar and there will be live jazz. Its convenient to the Buckhead Marta station ( 5 mins walking) just behind Craft. It’s a very nice place.

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January 2nd, 2011
7:54 pm

Nothing wrong with making that jump to adulthood! It’s been a long time since I did the animal house style party thing, but we just celebrated our 10th annual NYE party at our house complete with lots of friends and all of their kids. It was a small party this year with 13 adults and 7 kids. We still manage to drink a little too much and stay up until 3 am. Although now we stay up playing games or the Wii :-)