This New Year’s Eve it’s possible to party like you’re at CBGB during its punk heyday, kick back in a Harlem jazz club, whisk yourself to Chicago with a Charlie Trotter-inspired dinner, or giddyup your way into a madcap pursuit to find the Holy Grail.
And those are just a few of the ways to welcome 2014 open to Tucsonans.
“Last year was so much fun, and we had the disco ball going, and it looked so much like Times Square,” said David Slutes, the entertainment director at the historic Hotel Congress. “So I said wait a second, ‘Why don’t we just become New York this year?’”
Downtown partygoers can get a little piece of the Big Apple at the hotel’s NYC/NYE party. The giant disco ball will make its annual appearance, but this time, the newly refurbished globe will dangle over a Studio 54-styled patio with Rockettes performing every hour. There will also be a hot dog cart, New York-style pizza and a couple other surprises Slutes said he couldn’t talk about yet.
Indoors, the club’s stage will evoke the iconic hard core and punk CBGB in Manhattan. Talking Heads cover band Naïve Melodies will bring its new wave sound from California. A classic speakeasy will take shape in the Harlem Jazz Club VIP lounge, with private seating and entertainment, buffet and hosted bar.
The idea was that each area of the club would feel like a different part of being in New York, Slutes said. And of course, a champagne toast and fireworks will cap off the midnight celebration.
Revelers can also get to NYC via Chicago by starting the evening across the street with dinner at Maynards Kitchen. Addam Buzzalini, Maynards’ head chef, was inspired by chef Charlie Trotter, who founded his namesake restaurant in Chicago in 1987. Trotter died in November. “It was a pretty devastating day in the culinary world,” Buzzalini said. “Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we were right across the lake, and he was my first idol, if you will.”
Buzzalini composed a New Year’s menu to honor Trotter and the “big food city” of Chicago, and as a complement to the New York City theme across the street at Congress. Trotter’s signature Asian influence and wild mushrooms make appearances in items like the saffron risotto with toasted black quinoa, lamb loin with black trumpet mushrooms, and a Nigori sake sorbet with poached Asian pear that Buzzalini calls “pure Charlie Trotter.”
Another Tucson icon, the Loft Cinema, is giving fans of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” a chance to honor a long-standing tradition — yelling the lines along with the movie.
“We’re raffling off a pair of coconut clackers,” said program director Jeff Yanc, who will be hosting. “If you know the movie, you know what those are.” Festivities will kick off with jokes and prizes, and there will be a countdown to a toast at midnight, followed by the screening, when at least one lucky viewer will be able to saddle up and clack merrily along.
All the events in the New Year’s roundup, below, take place on Dec. 31 (and on Jan. 1 if noted). They are arranged alphabetically by venue within each category. Reservations are always strongly recommended and may be required. Prices generally do not include tax or gratuity unless noted otherwise.
New Year’s Eve with Not Burnt Out, Just Unscrewed: Improv Comedy — Sheraton Tucson Hotel & Suites, 5151 E. Grant Ro ad. Doors at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m., comedy at 7:30 p.m. Dinner and the show includes salad, stuffed breast of chicken and dessert. An overnight package includes a suite and two tickets for $230. $60; $40 children 12 and under. 323-6262.
Those Beatles Guys — Mac’s Pub & Patio, 190 W. Continental Road, Green Valley. 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Free. 625-6062.
Rick Brauns’ New Year’s Eve — Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa, 3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd. Trumpet player Rick Braun brings jazz saxophonist Mindi Abair, guitarist Norman Brown and singer Elliott Yamin. Festivities begin with the Tucson Jazz Institute’s Ellington Big Band. Tickets include five-course dinner, midnight champagne toast and balloon drop. 6:30 p.m.-1 a.m. $199-$269. 230-8910.
Music ‘til Midnight: New Year’s Eve with the TSO — Westward Look Resort, 245 E. Ina Road. Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, dinner with wine pairing and performances by Tucson Symphony Orchestra violinist Lauren Roth, principal flute Alexander Lipay, pianist Paula Fan and the Brass Quintet plus a nightclub, champagne and dancing to Genevieve and the LPs. 7 p.m. $250. 882-8585.
Tucson Blues Dance — Maker House, 283 N. Stone Ave. Dance class begins at 7 p.m., open dancing from 8-9:30 p.m. Free. 1-864-245-8641.
New Year’s Eve Contradance — Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Cavalcade of callers and live music by the Open NYE Contradance Orchestra. Potluck with finger food, desserts and beverages. Beginners welcome. 8 p.m.-12:15 a.m. $10; $5 for students. 325-1902.
Holiday Shows at Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium — Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium on the University of Arizona campus, 1601 E. University Blvd. “Holiday of Lights” show. Also, “Laser Holidays” laser light music show. Holiday of Lights: 1:30 p.m. $5. 621-4516.
“Santa’s Little Outlaws” Wild West Stunt Show — Pinnacle Peak/Trail Dust Town, 6541 E. Tanque Verde Road. Pinnacle Peak Pistoleros outdoor show. Down-on-their-luck outlaws Ringo and Darla use Christmas spirit to thwart Bad Bob’s bid to get Santa Claus. Loud noises may frighten small children. 7 and 8 p.m. $4; free for children 3 and younger. 398-5618.
New Year’s Eve Bowling Parties
Specials all day and into the night at four locations. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Two hours for up to six people for $34.95 per lane, shoes included; or open bowling for $2.49 per game. 6-8:30 p.m. Family Cyber Bowl: Unlimited glow bowling, rental shoes, door prizes and a “giant” cheese pizza with pitcher of soda for up to six people on one lane for $44. 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. “Rockin’” New Years Eve Party: Bottle of champagne or cider, hats, party favors, music, light show, unlimited bowling and door prizes, up to six people on a lane for $55.
- Cactus Bowl, 3665 S. 16th Ave. 327-4926.
- Fiesta Lanes, 501 W. River Road. 887-2695.
- Lucky Strike Bowl, 4015 E. Speedway. 327-4926.
- Tucson Bowl, 7020 E. 21st St. 747-1363.
The Monty Python New Year’s Eve Party — The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway. “The Holy Grail” on the big screen with other Python fans laughing at the gags and reciting the dialogue. Pre-show activities at 11 p.m. including raffle, champagne toast and countdown to midnight, when the movie will start. 11 p.m. $8. 795-0844.
Parties and dining
Acacia Real Food and Cocktails — 3001 E. Skyline Drive. Five-course menu, champagne toast and party favors. Entertainment by Ed DeLucia, reservations required. $95. 5-9 p.m. 232-0101.
Agustin Kitchen — 100 S. Avenida del Convento. Live entertainment and a five-course prix-fixe menu with champagne toast for $75. 5 p.m.-1 a.m. 398-5382.
TYP Presents “Resolution 2014” — Aloft, 1900 E. Speedway. Hors d’oeuvres, multimedia and light show, party favors and champagne toast at midnight from Tucson Young Professionals and ABUD Entertainment. Room and taxi discounts available. Purchase tickets online at: typ2014.eventbrite.com 9 p.m.-2 a.m. $75. 275-4408.
China Bay — 65 W. Valencia Road. Buy one entree, get the second half off. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. $7.95 and up. 294-4646.
Club Congress and Cup Cafe — 311 E. Congress St. Cup Cafe offers its regular dinner menu and specials including roasted rack of lamb, $28, and surf and turf with a poached lobster tail, $36. Club Congress’ NYC NYE Party opens for general admission at 8 p.m. Live entertainment, DJs, and champagne toast at midnight. Harlem Jazz Club VIP includes private bar, lounge seating, music and dining including carving station and oyster bar. General admission, $25; VIP, $125. 798-1618.
Ghini’s French Caffe — 1803 E. Prince Road. Breakfast all day, $5 Bloody Mary’s and mimosas. Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m. 326-9095.
Jonathan’s Cork — 6320 E. Tanque Verde Road. Five seatings, regular menu and specials beginning at $26.50, complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Seatings begin at 5 p.m. $22-$44. 296-1631.
Loews Ventana Canyon — 7000 N. Resort Drive. Reservations are required. 615-5495.
- Flying V Bar & Grill:
- Four-course prix-fixe, $75. 5-10 p.m.
- Canyon Cafe:
- Holiday buffet or dinner menu, $40. 5-10 p.m.; brunch, $65; $30 children 6-12, $10 children under 5. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Jan. 1.
- “Under the Spanish Sky” New Year’s Party
- — Formerly called “A Night in Spanish Harlem,” the event will now feature live music from Tesoro and Sol Down, a tapas-style menu and Spanish wines. Party favors and complimentary champagne toast at midnight. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. $25. 615-5496.
Mama Louisa’s — 2041 S. Craycroft Road. Regular menus and holiday specials. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 31. 790-4702.
Maynards Market & Kitchen — 400 N. Toole Ave. Wine pairings and champagne toast included. Dinner only: $75; dinner and general admission ticket to Hotel Congress party: $95. Seatings at 5:30, 7 and 10 p.m. 545-0577.
North Italia — 2995 E. Skyline Drive. Prix-fixe menu with appetizer, entree, and dessert. Options include rosemary chicken, seared diver scallops, and New York strip. $40 from 4-5:30 p.m.; $50 after 5:30 p.m. 299-1600.
Pastiche — 3025 N. Campbell Ave. Champagne specials all day. 11:30 a.m. — midnight. 325-3333.
The Time of Your Life New Year’s Party — Quail Creek Country Club, 2055 E. Quail Crossing Blvd, Green Valley. Cocktails and appetizers at 7 p.m., five-course dinner at 8 p.m. Music and dancing until midnight with Heartbeat of Tucson. Party favors and midnight champagne toast included. 7 p.m.-midnight. Dec. 31. $75, tax and gratuity included. 393-5822.
New Year’s Eve Dinner and Fireworks — The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, 15000 N. Secret Springs Drive, Marana. Gala Dinner at Core Kitchen & Wine Bar featuring a four-course menu and including a Dom Pérignon champagne toast. Live jazz, optional dessert, fireworks at 11:45 p.m. Reservations required. 5:30-9 p.m. $145. 572-3000.
Wildflower American Cuisine — 7037 N. Oracle Road. Three-course prix-fixe, starters include Dungeness crab chowder, entrees include short rib ravioli and Spanish paella. $45 from 4-5:30 p.m.; $55 after 5:30 p.m. 219-4230.