It happens. Procrastination and apathy have you shrugging your shoulders once again about the night that is December 31. (It's hard to get really excited about $50-plus cover charges just to get in the door, and 5x Uber surge pricing.) That's OK. Why? Because there are plenty of great, low-key options out there where silly hats are optional, tasty food and drink are abundant, and swinging deals are obvious. Check em' out!
Sparkling wine-o-phile? Stoneburner in Ballard is your spot. Open on NYE during normal operating hours (so, til 10 p.m.), Ballard's arguably most beautiful restaurant is having sort of a sparkling wine/Champagne olympics with flights featuring bubbles from Italy, France and the USA. There will also be two-ounce pours and offerings by the glass. Drink up freely, but remember rule number one: If it's not grown in the Champagne region of France, it's not champagne, it's sparkling wine.
Reservations preferred: Stoneburner / 206.695.2051 / 5214 Ballard Ave. NW
Not interested in the mass of humans that will be corralled in the Pike and Broadway area? Stay on the northern end of Capitol Hill and relax at Monsoon until 11 p.m., where alongside its daily menu of Thai favorites, the sibling chef team of Sophie and Eric Banh are prepping a special prix-fixe menu for $48 a person. Notable features include a unique take on Shigoku and Kumamoto oysters as well as Roger Martinho's "Double Happiness" pastries with Valrhona chocolate and vanilla cream. For me, the toughest decision of the night would come in the mains department--having to choose between duck two ways, short ribs or a grilled whole branzino. Chiyo (cheers!)
Reservations preffered: Monsoon / 206.325.2111 / 615 19th Ave. E
Wait, so you DO want to be part of the masses on Capitol Hill? Then head to Capitol Cider where $15 will gain you admittance downstairs, a free glass of tasty cider and danceable funk music starting at 10 p.m. The doors open at 9 p.m. and that's exactly how they want you dressed (think Gatsby) because those jacket tails just might get you a prize for best dressed.
Capitol Cider / 206.397.3564 / 818 E. Pike St.
French-American eatery RN74 is offering tasting menus thick with savory vegetable creations (think roasted beets with burrata and a 25-year-old balsamic drizzle) and two options for wine pairings. The 5 p.m. seating will feature six courses for $95 while the 7 p.m. seating has eight courses for $150.
Reservations necessary: RN74 / 206.456.7474 / 1433 4th Ave. and Pike St.
Ethan Stowell and his team are putting a full Legion Of Boom double-corner blitz on NYE: each one of his restaurants have created something special for the night. The menu that had me saying, "Yes, yes, I like that...oh that too...and some of that," the most went to Mkt. (Market) for its four-and-a-half-course $75 tasting menu (the half being an amouse of crispy gougere pastry topped with fennel pollen, orange mascarpone and salmon roe) that reads like the most dreamy, plucked-from-the-forrest menu this side of Rainier. Also on the menu: caviar, foie grss, half-shell oysters, Niman Ranch beef carpaccio, lamb three ways, a grilled black cod and Dungeness crab lasagna (what!), short ribs, black truffle gnocchi, and you know, some desserts. Aside from the starters, each course has three options, so grab two other people, and order one of everything.
Mkt. / 206.812.1580 / 2108 N. 55th St.