Eat, Drink and Be Merry 

New Year's dining options include everything from family fun to Sunday brunch to happy hours

Time flies when you're having fun. No matter what kind of year it's been, we yearn to wrap it up on a high note.

For almost all of the events chronicled here, reservations are either recommended or required; tax and gratuity are generally not included in the quoted price.

If you celebrate like there's no tomorrow, consider bringing along a designated driver or calling a taxi. All the hotels offer overnight packages, so if financially flush, take the worry out of driving drunk--or defensively--and spend the night.

Have fun!

The Hotel Congress hosts New Year's Royale Extravaganza with a three-course prix-fixe dinner from 6 to 11 p.m. for $80 or $100 per couple; that also includes two tickets to Club Congress' 007-themed New Year's Eve party. Black tie optional; 311 E. Congress St., 622-8848. Also see the music write-up in this guide for more information.

The JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa combines the Tucson Jazz Society's 30th anniversary with a New Year's Eve fundraiser. Set the mood for a well-crafted three-course meal. The evening will begin with a jazz performance, followed by classic R&B and Latin salsa dancing. The party costs $125 per person including dinner, entertainment, champagne and valet parking. All proceeds benefit the society's charity. Call the Tucson Jazz Society at 903-1265 or visit

tucsonjazz.org; the City Week and music write-ups in this guide have more info, too.

You've seen this in the movies, but now it's time to let life imitate art: Enjoy a four-course meal with filet mignon and lobster tarts, party favors, a champagne toast and a balloon drop at midnight with live music by the Fabulous Pelicans at the Grand Pavilion at the Westin La Paloma Resort. Doors open at 8 p.m., and dinner is served at 9 p.m., for $129 per person; 615-8328.

Janos will be serving two New Year's Eve menus, both of them featuring wild and sustainable seafood, as well as organic, sustainable and naturally raised meats and vegetables. A four-course early tasting menu with complementary champagne will be available from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. for $75 per person, or $100 per person with wine pairings. A six-course tasting menu will be served all evening long beginning at 5:30 p.m. for $135 per person (or $180 per person with wine pairings). Dinner includes handmade cascarones from Anjelita Montoya, party favors and a champagne toast. At the J-Bar, a four-course family-style meal will be served for $65 per person beginning at 5:30 p.m. Starting at 9 p.m., celebrate New Year's Eve with dancing and other festivities at the J-Ball. Admission is complementary with dinner; there's a $20 cover charge without dinner; 3770 E. Sunrise Drive; 615-6100.

Soleil offers a multi-course prix-fixe meal with options for $75 per person between 5 and 6 p.m., and $85 per person after 6 p.m. Partake in the bubbly by adding champagne pairing to dinner for an additional $30 per person. A vegetarian menu is also available. A jazz quartet begins at 6:30 p.m. and plays to midnight, when you'll ring in the new year with party favors and a champagne toast at 3001 E. Skyline Drive; 299-3345.

Acacia at St. Philip's has two different sittings, each offering six courses from a specially prepared menu. The 6 p.m. seating features live music with Ed DeLucia for $85 per person. The late seating at 9 p.m. is $100 per person and will include live music with the Smoking Section, dancing and a champagne toast. Each seating is limited to 100 guests in the main dining room at 4340 N. Campbell Ave.; 232-0101. Get your edible floozies while you're at it; a floozy is a chocolate dipped tuile cookie filled with a flourless chocolate cake and caramel mousse.

The European Multi-Ethnic Alliance of Tucson sponsors a dinner dance at the Doubletree Hotel at Reid Park with a choice of three entrées: filet mignon, salmon or chicken. The cost is $65 and includes dinner, dancing to the sounds of big band music, party favors and a midnight champagne toast. Call 777-8187 or 326-7330; the deadline to make reservations is Dec. 27. Also see the City Week section in this guide for more information.

Both Kingfisher Bar and Grill and Bluefin Seafood Bistro will begin open seating and special menus at 5 p.m. The à la carte menu will consist of special offerings as well as selected favorites at 2564 E. Grant Road; 323-7739, and 7053 N. Oracle Road; 531-8500, respectively.

Starting at 4 p.m., Terra Cotta will serve a specially prepared three-course menu with options for $55 per person at 3500 E. Sunrise Drive; 577-8100.

Fox Concepts restaurants (Bistro Zin, Montana Avenue, NoRTH and Wildflower), with their respective personalities and tantalizing menus, are offering three- and four-course dinners for $55 per person. Reservations are required and must be guaranteed with a credit card and phone number. Cancellations must be made 48 hours in advance. For more information, visit foxrc.com. Montana Avenue will also be serving Sunday brunch on New Year's Eve from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Here's an original thought: Celebrate the last night of the year with your mature kids at O'Shaughnessy's Song Hall and Supper Club, where 13 servers and chefs burst into song--as will some members of the inspired audience. Entrées include prime rib, shrimp and game hen. The cost is $40 per person for a champagne toast or soda for the kids at 2200 N. Camino Principal; 296-SING.

Tired of Tucson? Escape to the village of Greer in the White Mountains to celebrate at the intimate Amberian Peaks Lodge and Restaurant, where warm hospitality meets good food, and skiing is only 15 minutes away. Savor a festive dinner, champagne and entertainment by Tucson's own Gerry Glombecki for $89 per person. Rooms at the Lodge start at $100 per night; (800) 556-9997; peaksaz.com.

Looking for something a little bit more casual? Jonathan's Tucson Cork will be open 4 to 7 p.m. for happy hour bar appetizers. Or enjoy dinner specials such as surf and turf for $40.95, in addition to the regular dinner menu, starting at 5 p.m.; 6320 E. Tanque Verde Road; 296-1631.

Last year, the Hacienda del Sol Resort featured classic rock with the Undercover Band, and 200 people rocked in the New Year. Dinner sold out, as did the bungalows and resort. This year, the evening starts out with the same band and an acoustic dinner set at 9 p.m. Then the band plays on until the last couple is standing; details at 299-1501.

This celebration showcases the versatility of Tucson Symphony Orchestra players. A harpist will greet patrons as they arrive for welcoming cocktails and hors d'oeuvres in a private courtyard on the grounds of the Arizona Inn. Next, guests move inside for the first concert. A three-course dinner is served in six intimate and elegant dining rooms. Celebrants reconvene for the second concert and then return to the private dining rooms for dessert, coffee and festive favors to ring in the New Year before moving to a sophisticated jazz club to dance. Viennese coffee stations, fruit, cheese and nut platters will be served, and the new year will be toasted with champagne for $180 per person. For ticket information, call 882-8585 or visit tucsonsymphony.org; our City Week section of this guide also has more information.

Roma Caffé will serve a four-course Italian meal with options and cannoli for dessert for $29 per person, or $49 per couple; 4140 W. Ina Road; 744-2929.

Ring in the new year with a luxurious four-course meal at Feast, where the warm, golden light always makes everyone look good. A prix-fixe menu with options costs $60 per person. Add an additional $25 for wine pairings with first, second and dessert courses at 4122 E. Speedway Blvd.; 326-9363.

When gourmet dining and dancing just isn't enough to pop your cork, the Westward Look Resort explodes with a fireworks display at midnight. The Gold Room offers three seating times at 5:30, 7 and 10 p.m. The early-bird seating at 5:30 p.m. features a three-course pre-fix menu and champagne toast for $55 per person. The 7 and 10 p.m. seatings include a four-course meal with champagne toast for $85 per person. The Lookout Bar and Grille has open seating for a three-course menu from 5 to 10 p.m. at $40 per person. Both offer free admission to the party in the Catalina Ballroom, with two bands and a spacious dance floor. Skip dinner and go directly to the ballroom, where tickets are $40 each; includes one well drink and champagne toast. Call 297-1151 or visit westwardlook.com .

The French Quarter invites you to spicy Cajun cuisine and bayou brio from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. A $10 admission scores party favors, a midnight champagne toast and live entertainment by the Little Kings and Sting Ray Vasquez. Celebrations continue with a special New Year's Day feast for $19.95 per person; $10.95 for children younger than 12; 3146 E. Grant Road; 318-4767.

Agave at the Desert Diamond Casino will offer a dinner gala from 4 to 10 p.m. The prix-fixe meal includes entrée options such as New Zealand lamb shank, medallions of monkfish and cepes-dusted diver sea scallops. The $39.95 cost includes party favors and a champagne toast; 393-2720.

Think ahead to the football frenzy on Jan. 1 and take advantage of what Roma Imports has to offer on Dec. 31. Pick up groceries, deli items, catered trays and frozen ravioli from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 627 S. Vine Ave.; 792-3173.

Ric's Café offers a Sunday brunch from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. with prices ranging from $5 to $15. From 4 to 9 p.m., the regular dinner menu will be served along with special selections plus live music from 6 to 9 p.m.; 5605 E. River Road, No. 121; 577-7272.

Staying home to watch the ball drop? Magpies delivers until 10 p.m., or stop by earlier in the day for a pizza to take and bake. Check out magpiespizza.com for a store near you.

Red Sky Café dishes up a four-course prix-fixe gourmet dinner with side orders of two bands for $72 per person at 2900 N. Swan Road; 326-5454.

Cuvée World Bistro is proud to present the fourth annual "Can't We All Just Get Along" dinner from 5 p.m. to midnight for $75 per person without wine, or $85 per person; includes a champagne toast at 3352 E. Speedway Blvd.; 881-7577.

Savor a New Year's Eve dinner for two at Intermezzo, including a salad, your choice of one of three entrées, a dessert platter to share and a bottle of Chandon Brut. Dinner will be served from 4 to 10 p.m. for $100 per couple, including tax and gratuity; 5350 E. Broadway Blvd., No. 128; 748-8100.

More by Karyn Zoldan


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