If watching the ball drop from the warm comfort of your own home just doesn’t cut it for you — and hey, we can all agree that Carson Daly is no Dick Clark — you need plans for tonight. From dinner at a Marc Vetri or Stephen Starr restaurant to a Balkan brass band in the Italian Market, here are my picks for New Year’s Eve, including plenty of affordable options.
You Had Me at “Tomato Pie”
Philly comedians Chip Chantry and Carl Boccuti and Quizzo guy Johnny Goodtimes are hosting a comedy night/Motown dance party at South Philadelphia haunt La Stanza. Tickets are $50 and include open bar (beer, wine and well drinks only, so save your Grey Goose-and-soda orders for Whisper), free tomato pie, performances by some of the city’s best comedians (Doogie Horner among them), and a DJ spinning Motown classics.
Where the Cute, Sweaty Girls Will Be
Johnny Showcase and his Lefty Lucy Cabaret join forces with the West Philadelphia Orchestra down at Connie’s Ric Rac on 9th Street for a dance party for people who want to dance but don’t want to do so to Top 40 or thumping techno. $25 gets you in (cash bar) but an extra fiver gets you access to the Balkan buffet, which includes dishes I’ve never heard of like Ćevapčići and lukovina. If you want live music, you can do no better.
Keeping a Low Profile
If you don’t want to make a big deal about New Year’s Eve but you still want to get your drink on, our friends at Foobooz have compiled a handy New Year’s Eve guide to bars where you won’t break the bank. Cool places like Johnny Brenda’s and Hop Sing Laundromat offer a party without a premium (or a cover). One they missed: quintessential dive Bob and Barbara’s hosts its annual party with DJs, $3.50 Specials (Pabst + Jim Beam) and a free champagne toast, all for no cover.
Because You Gotta Eat
If I were going out for late night eats on New Year’s Eve, which I am almost definitely not, I’d probably head to David’s in Chinatown for dumplings and salt baked squid. If you’re looking to ring in 2013 over something a bit more refined, I checked OpenTable and found some late night tables for two at several of the restaurants on our just-published Top 50 Restaurants list: Amis (10:30 p.m.), Bistrot La Minette (10:45 p.m.), The Dandelion (11:15 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.), Koo Zee Doo (10:45 p.m.), Parc (10:30 p.m.), Pumpkin (11:15 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.), Sbraga (10:45 p.m.), Supper (10:15 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.), and Zama (10 p.m.).
If the Kids are Part of the Party
Hop Sing and Parc probably won’t work if you’re toting the tots. The best kid-friendly bet is the Battleship New Jersey. It’s $18 per person (or $50 for a family of four or five) to tour the ship this afternoon and then stick around for the 6 p.m. fireworks over the Delaware. And if your kids don’t think that viewing the fireworks from the deck of a boat that fought in wars from World War II to the Middle East is awesome, then I can’t help you.