Chefs, sommeliers and bar managers are hard at work planning special evenings for December 31. Great food and spirited drinks, live music, DJs and dancing are popping up all over the Bay Area to greet 2016 on New Year’s Eve. Where will you be to count down the final moments of 2015?
Farallon – If New Year’s Eve doesn’t call for a five-course tasting menu featuring champagne, caviar and truffles, no evening ever will. Farallon’s fun space is an underwater fantasy with five-star service. The menu is offered at $160 per person, $90 additional for wine pairings. Alternatively, if caviar isn’t your thing, go with the NYE tasting menu at $110, $70 additional for wine pairings. Heavenly spiked eggnog, anyone? Dinner reservations are encouraged for New Year’s Eve. Farallon’s bar service begins at 4:30 p.m. and dinner seating is open from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Be there at midnight for a champagne toast.
E&O Kitchen & Bar – This two-level modern Asian restaurant with soaring ceilings and a trendy bar will offer a specialty cocktail to ring in the New Year. Guests can sip a Sweet (Twenty) Sixteen cocktail to welcome 2016, made with Botanist gin, grapefruit and Brut rosé for $11. E&O is the perfect place to celebrate for those looking for flexible, reasonably-priced festivities, where dining a la carte is not replaced by a fixed menu on New Year’s Eve. Reservations are recommended.
Bluestem Brasserie – Celebrate the New Year with a #TBT prix-fixe menu at Bluestem Brasserie, where Executive Chef Jeff Banker has created a menu to salute the inspirations he has gathered from chefs, dishes and restaurants over the years. Come on the early side of the evening for a three-course throwback menu served from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for $75 per person, or come later for the five-course meal served between 7 p.m. and11 p.m. priced at $135 per person. Bluestem’s signature cocktails include the award-winning Karl the Fog, packed with plenty of personality plus brandy, Benedictine, Frangelico, coffee liqueur, brewed coffee and toasted marshmallow meringue.
Press Club – When you walk into this handsome, sleek, sophisticated lounge on New Year’s Eve, they’ll hand you a glass of bubbly to begin your evening anytime from 9 p.m. A spectacular dance party is underway with DJ Jerry Ross. There’s live coverage of New Year’s Eve festivities around the country, sparkling wines, festive lights, balloons and NYE party favors. The bar is open until 1 a.m., and a menu of light bites and a complimentary beverage of choice await. Bluestem Brasserie and Press Club are neighbors in Yerba Buena Lane, off Market St. Tickets are $65 through 12/15, $75 after that date or $100 at the door.
Feinstein’s At The Nikko – San Francisco is lucky that Michael Feinstein himself will be performing at his intimate 140-seat cabaret on New Year’s Eve in two shows only at 7:30 p.m. and at 10:30 p.m. Feinstein, a multi-platinum-selling, Drama Desk Award winner, two-time Emmy, five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer, is known for his wonderful selections from the Great American Songbook, always special classics. Tickets are $100-$250.
One Market Restaurant – Save room for dessert. Chef Mark Dommen and Pastry Chef Patti Dellamonica-Bauler are preparing a locally-sourced menu. Across from the Ferry Building, there’s always an energetic buzz from the open exhibition kitchen at One Market. Two 90-minute seatings are planned at 6 p.m. (four courses priced at $95) and at 8:30 p.m. The second seating at $145 per person includes live music, a sparkling wine midnight toast, party favors and a view of the fireworks at midnight.
Schroeder’s – Do New Year’s Eve in traditional style this year at San Francisco’s oldest and largest German restaurant. The Front Street venue is just two blocks from the midnight fireworks display. Meanwhile, an a la carte menu of casual gourmet food means it’s the ideal spot to come with friends or bring the whole family — admission is free. If you make it ’til midnight, the spacious restaurant is hosting live coverage of the ball drop on its many flat screen TVs, with party favors for everybody.
25 Lusk – New Year’s Eve Joie de Vivre Soirée is all-inclusive — even the complimentary valet parking and coat check. Arrive at 8 p.m. to begin the special evening with passed hors d’oeuvres and a complimentary premium open bar until 1:30 a.m. All cuisine is as included, as well as a Laurent Perrier champagne toast at midnight. Join Foodie Chap Liam Mayclem and DJ Frenchy le Freak. The entire event and all the music lasts until 2 a.m., with tickets beginning at $175.
The Keystone – A special menu and celebratory champagne cocktails are being created by Executive Chef Banks White and Beverage Director Kelly Naughton. If you’re planning an evening with friends, this is the place to be for the beginning, middle or end of your evening. Sit at the communal table, order family style and chat at this hip social house. On the first day of the new year, start off right with The Keystone’s Brand New New Year’s brunch. You can’t beat Southern fried chicken Benedict with bottomless Mimosas ($25) or Oprah’s Favorite Thing cocktail with Ketel orange, chai spice, aloo vodka and lemon.
Nico – Chef Nicolas Delaroque’s San Francisco restaurant opened in 2014, offering guests modern French cuisine in the fine dining tradition, yet combined with clean sensibility and seasonal, market-driven ingredients. Bonjour, Michelin star! On New Year’s Eve, guests say goodbye to 2015 in style with Nico’s special offering: a six-course menu at $85, a wine pairing at $65 or a premium wine pairing at $85. Make it all-champagne if you prefer. Salutations to 2016!
The Commissary – If crowds are not your thing, escape into the quiet of the eucalyptus-scented Presidio on New Year’s Eve. Facing the Main Post lawn, The Commissary is offering a five-course prix fixe menu paired with live music in a special evening overseen by Chef Traci Des Jardins. Seatings are at either 6 p.m. or 9 p.m. at $105 per person (wine pairings are available) for a menu featuring gorgeous dishes like ceviche Andaluz, sherry and artichoke soup, local sturgeon with caviar and grilled Ibérico presa. Book ahead.
Spaghetti Bros. – The newly-opened elegant saloon is all about having some serious fun. They’re incorporating all the bells and whistles for their very first NYE on Scott St. A five-course prix fixe menu has oysters, caviar, foie gras, truffles, crab and lobster. Dinner is served from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at $85 per person or later in the evening, when the jazz quartet arrives, at $125 per person (excluding beverages, taxes, and gratuity). On cue, of course, a midnight champagne toast creates the final memory of 2015.
In the Castro
Canela Bistro & Wine Bar – Say “¡Hola!” to 2016 over a delicious Spanish-style five-course meal for $85 per person in this cozy Castro District favorite. Share Spanish favorites like gambas al ajillo (seared shrimp with garlic, lemon, olive oil and parsley); croquetas with jamón (fried Béchamel croquettes flavored with Spanish ham); and carrillada de cerdo (braised pork cheeks, pork gravy, and braised purple cabbage with bacon). Order a pitcher of Sangria for the table or sip a hand-picked Spanish wine from the cellars.
In the Mission
Hog & Rocks – Did someone say oysters? The Mission District gastropub unveils a brand new four-course prix fixe menu on New Year’s Eve. For $65 per person, guests begin with an amuse bouche of Kusshi oyster topped with uni and yuzu. Lots more delicious things happen before chocolate pot de crème with bourbon Chantilly and citrus concludes. Enhance your meal with truffles, foie gras and/or caviar at market price. The $35 wine pairing includes bubbles to toast 2016 in style.
Monk’s Kettle – New Year’s Eve at Monk’s Kettle means all-you-can-eat-and-drink time. Will you be one of the 45 guests? Tickets are $175 per person for an all-inclusive, intimate evening featuring an open draft list and a midnight toast of Dupont’s Avec Les Bons Voeux. Food offerings will include a large cheese and charcuterie board plus heavy doses of passed appetizers throughout the night. For more information or reservations, get in touch without delay.
Precita Park Café – Stay in the ‘hood for New Year’s Eve and avoid surging transportation fees. Your neighborhood place is doing a relaxed NYE: Executive Chef Richie Wilim offer diners’ favorite dishes like handcrafted pizza with bacon, pumpkin, kale, cresenza and pecorino or Devil’s Gulch pork chop with red potato and pumpkin hash, grilled fennel and mustard braised apple. Pair dinner with one of Precita’s local beers on tap or a wine from the curated selection and treat yourself to that yummy chocolate chip bread pudding. More good news? They are definitely doing hearty New Year’s Day brunch specials all day on Jan. 1.
Poggio Trattoria – Warm, comforting dishes are always perfect when they come straight from Chef Benjamin Balesteri’s kitchen. What better than to welcome the New Year with a winter warmer supper of orecchiette with fennel pork sausage, broccoli di ciccio, red onion, and pecorino romano and polpettone, meatloaf braised in a savory tomato sauce, potato puree, and arugula. Sommelier Johnny Catalano will suggest house bubbles, such as the J Rose or Domaine Carneros Brut, or perhaps a Larkmead 2012 cabernet or Dumol, Russian River Valley 2012 pinot noir. The restaurant is decorated handsomely for the holidays and in anticipation of 2015’s final moments, there are party favors and a complimentary champagne toast for all.
Comal – Berkeley’s Comal is the perfect place to be transformed into a dance hall, with their state-of-the-art Meyer Sound system cranking it out for New Year’s Eve. Music begins at 9 p.m. so guests can join DJ Jose Ruiz spinning Latin Funk all night. Be among the first 300 guests to receive an authentic “lucha libre” wrestling mask to dress up the dance floor. Chef Matt Gandin is in the kitchen, making assorted antojitos (little snacks) to keep guests fueled, while Bar Manager Matthew Campbell presents a full cocktail menu plus a special NYE cocktail. Tickets are $45 and they’ll sell out again for this fourth annual Comal NYE dance party.
plank – Oakland’s Jack London Square is the place to be for a fun, festive atmosphere on December 31st. Choose a noontime party ($30 per person in advance) for the whole family or wait until 8 p.m. for the 21-plus event with drinks and champagne ($65 per person or $115 per couple in advance). Both events have DJs, games and a buffet of sliders. With two different events from which to choose, guests have the option to celebrate with the whole family or make it a night on the town.
Wente Restaurant – Farther east in Livermore, wine lovers know that the beautiful Wente Vineyards rings in the New Year at The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards with a fabulous four-course meal offering three choices for each course. Priced at $95 per person ($40 additional with wine pairings), guests enjoy main course favorites like roasted duck breast, Delmonico ribeye or roasted striped sea bass. See the entire menu online.
1313 Main – A Big Band New Year’s Eve Party and Vintage Dinner comes complete with a five-piece band playing music from Sinatra, Ellington, Fitzgerald and more all-time greats. The band will play until 10:00pm and DJ Marcus-T will take you until 1:30am. Everything begins at 6 p.m. and features a six-course tasting dinner featuring new takes on classic dishes and expertly selected wine pairings. Did we mention the open bar? Guests can also indulge in Valhrona chocolate s’mores in the outdoor Winter Wonderland. Ticket, dinner and party options begin at $160 per person.