Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

New Years Eve: The Best Parties, Music and Food Events

You're going to need somewhere to go to celebrate the new decade, right? Our picks for the best ways to throw down.

Music & Parties:

Burritt Room's Standing on Stardust Disco Party
Get dressed up all sparkly in Studio 54 garb for the Crescent Hotel's disco-ball decorated Standing on Stardust New Year's bash. Hosted by the cocktail masters Bon Vivants, legendary disco DJ Bus Station John will be spinning the 70s jams made for nonstop dancing. There will be special drinks, 70s-style food, and oh, did we mention there will be go-go dancers and a giant unicorn ice sculpture? Get tickets here.

Better Off New Year's @ 111 Minna
On the flip side of the coin, 111 Minna will be honoring the 80s with local livewire tribute band Notorious to bring down the house, plus enough 80s music on the turntables to live through the entire decade again. One ticket gets you a hosted bar, a champagne toast, burlesque dancers, two dancefloors, cupcakes, the chance to get your hair and makeup done, plus unlimited sessions in their photo booth, courtesy of Magnolia Photobooth Co. Tickets available here.

Sonny & the Sunsets and the Fresh & Onlys @ Amnesia
Two of the city's hardest working bands have had a lot happen in 2010 to celebrate, and a lot to look forward to in 2011. Both acts never fail to bring the ruckus on stage, so you can be 100% positive that the $20 you'll shell out at the door is going to good use.

Primus @ the Fox Theater
Two entire nights of Primus-weirdness to ring in the new year? Yes please! This power trio, led sonically by savage bassist Les Claypool will get your hips moving and your drinks sloshing. What madness will they unleash at the stroke of midnight? Hopefully the wailing dance jam "Tommy the Cat", but there's no telling which song they'll dig up for your champagne toast. Tickets for Dec. 31st here.

Dresden Dolls @ The Warfield
If you really love letting loose on New Year's, the Dresden Dolls, a "Brechtian punk cabaret" duo consisting of multi-instrumentalists Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione, is an experience for you. Theatrical, dramatic, plastered in white makeup and covered in costumes, they're a band you just have to hear to believe. Stilt-walking, fire breathing, living statues, genre-bending rock. . .the witty Dresden Dolls have everything all the New Year's Eve nightclub parties don't. Tickets here.

The Mother Of All New Year's Eves @ Regency Ballroom
Three separate floors of parties for the price of one ticket, this insane night at the Regency Ballroom might just give you the most bang for your buck. Hip hop star Mike Posner (who had a huge 2010) will be headlining, bolstered local singer, the Jason Mraz-esque Kelley James and 19 solid DJs to keep  you continually in motion. There will also be a casino area, if you really want to ring in the new decade like a baller. Get tickets here.

Sea of Dreams @ Concourse Exhibition Center
Party starters Thievery Corporation headlines this massive celebration, and with the rest of the night's roster of DJs and beat makers (Balkan Beat Box, local boy Afrolicious, and many, many more) you definitely won't be standing around waiting for the action to begin. You're encouraged to wear your "costume dream" (which could be anything, really) and wander around in their "immersive interactive environments", which will probably be best after several drinks.

BOOTIE @ Mezzanine

What will it be for this special BOOTIE mash-up party? Lady Gaga vs. Notorious B.I.G.? Hall & Oates vs. MC Hammer? It could be anything vs. anyone in this non-stop dance party, and we suspect they'll pull out all the stops on this night to make sure everyone's dancing. There will be tons of live performances as well, plus a photo booth, free CDs to the first 500 people, and a massive balloon drop at the stroke of midnight! Get tickets here.

New Year's Events for Foodies:

Foreign Cinema, 2534 Mission St., (415) 648-7600
Gayle Pirie and John Clark are throwing a "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"-themed evening from 5pm to midnight, complete with a 1964 British bohemia dress code and a surprise film screening. Their special four-course prix-fixe menu isn't finalized yet, but expect something extra delicious to celebrate the start of a new decade with. First seating at 5:30 pm is $85 per person, the second seating, which includes a champagne toast, begins at 8:30 pm is $100 per person.

Chaya Brasserie, 132 The Embarcadero, (415) 777-8688
Park here for the night with good company and you'll get front row seats to the Embarcadero's firecracker extravaganza. Ring in the new year with a Carnivale theme, complete with hip-swaying Brazilian dancers and the Afro-Caribbean jazz stylings of the Sonando Project. You can choose from four different last meals of 2010: the 3-course prix-fixe, the 5-course prix-fixe, a cocktail party menu with chef's hors d'oeuvres, drink pairings, prime seating by the band and the best views of the fireworks, and the Sushi Lover's Omakase.

Luce in the InterContinental San Francisco, 888 Howard St., (415) 616-6566
Dominique Crenn continues to wow the tastebuds of everyone around, and she's not stopping on New Year's Eve. For an early, leisurely dinner before the fireworks start popping, make a reservation for her indulgent 5-course prix fixe menu. For $135 (plus $60 for wine pairings), feast on warm oysters with fennel seed sabayon, venison carpaccio, lobster and abalone with dashi, and goat cheese curd with wild rice, herbs and quince.

New Year's Day Brunch @ Absinthe
Soak up all that champage the morning after with a hearty brunch at Absinthe. Chef Adam Keough is really bring it lately, so stop by for a taste of his talent. The menu includes barbecue sirloin steak tips, mac n' cheese, cedar plank arctic char, oyster shooters, chilled and sauteed crab, plus a selection of "restorative" cocktails that will bring you back to life.