In Lawrence, find New Year's Eve parties for every taste


New Year's Eve events throughout Lawrence will offer something for everyone, whether you want to fancy it up, rock out or stay in.

Your first New Year’s resolution of 2013: Stop kicking off the new year by doing something that’s not your style.

Unless your heart is set on a big black-tie gala, you can find — or create — social events to suit your own taste here in Lawrence, whether you’re eyeing something laid back or dressed up.

Fine food, champagne foam

For foodies with the budget for an elegant dinner out, Pachamama’s, 800 New Hampshire St., is offering a special prix fixe menu on New Year’s Eve.

Planned is an appetizer of Bruleéd Duck “Faux Gras” followed by four more courses — the last of which is toasted angel food cake with lemon ice cream and champagne foam.

General manager Richard Garcia says the restaurant likes to provide something special for the community, and dreaming up the special dinner is fun for the staff, too.

“We do have all this talent here in the kitchen,” Garcia says. “They like to showcase that.”

Dinner with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine is $75 per person. With wine pairings for each course, dinner is $100 per person.

Prices do not include tax or gratuity.

Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling Pachamama’s at 841-0990.

Dancing and ball-watching

One party that isn’t happening this year is the annual bash at Abe and Jake’s Landing.

The venue is in the middle of a lease transfer, approved Tuesday by the City Commission, and expects to start renovations quickly, event manager Rosie Ralston says.

There will be parties elsewhere, though.

The Eldridge Hotel, 701 Massachusetts St., will have a dance band from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. in its Big 6 Bar.

Cover, which includes a champagne toast at midnight, is $20, or $10 if you have dinner in one of the Eldridge’s restaurants, Ten or the Jayhawker.

The Eldridge party is a relaxed, fun atmosphere that typically draws an older crowd, says Lindsay Robinson, general manager of Ten and the Jayhawker.

The restaurants will serve their regular menus plus a few festive specials, including crab legs.

For the first year, Pachamama’s is planning a New Year’s Eve party in its Alton Ballroom, adjacent to the restaurant.

The Alton party, featuring DJ Hector the Selector and big screens to watch the Times Square ball drop, goes from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Cover is $15, or $5 if you dined at Pachamama’s, and includes a champagne toast and light hors d’oeuvres.

Rocking out

Live bands are routine at Lawrence bars, but many liven things up for New Year’s Eve.

At Jazzhaus, 926 1/2 Massachusetts St., for one, there will be balloons, streamers, party favors, specials on champagne and a barwide countdown to midnight, manager Courtney Smith says.

“I feel like there’s just a lot more festivity in the air and a lot more excitement,” she says.

The Crumpletons will bring old-school rock for the early show at Jazzhaus at 7 p.m. The Majestics Rhythm Revue plays at 10 p.m. Cover is $5 for the early and $10 for the late show.

Other New Year’s Eve concerts include Murder by Death at the Granada, with Cowboy Indian Bear and Y(our) Fri(end); Mountain Sprout and Tyler Gregory at Bottleneck; Approach, Cloud Dog and Radkey at Jackpot; Pale Hearts, Stiff Middle Fingers and Monsoon Lazer at Frank’s North Star Tavern; The Sluts, Rev Gusto and Alien Jones at Replay Lounge (with DJ Proof on the patio); and Team Bear Club at Eighth Street Tap Room.

For times, ticket prices and other information, see the events calendar at

Staying in

Covers and crowds not your thing? Play host to your own party and make it just the way — and the size — you want.

Food and drinks are at the heart of an at-home gathering. But they don’t have to be terribly expensive or time-consuming, says Jan Hornberger, the Club Room manager at Hy-Vee, 3504 Clinton Parkway.

Beer and wine is fine, or a select few cocktails. Hornberger says a signature cocktail — like the brandy slush she had at a recent gathering — is a festive alternative.

“I think it’s fun for New Year’s to do a signature drink,” she says. “That makes it special.”

And if you’re on a budget, she says, there’s nothing wrong with asking your guests to bring something.

Since most New Year’s Eve parties start later in the evening, an hors d’oeuvre buffet is enough to keep everyone satisfied.

A cheese platter is an easy yet showy centerpiece, Hornberger says. Grocers such as Hy-Vee can prepare one for you, or you can build one yourself. Display the cheese with fresh or dried fruits, nuts, olives and whole-grain crackers or thin-sliced ciabatta bread.

For variety, consider a few hot and a few cold items, and some sweet and some savory. If it’s in your budget, Hornberger says, shrimp or crab is a nice touch, and hot spinach artichoke dip is always a hit.

Don’t forget to have something for guests with special dietary needs, or invite them to bring a dish themselves.

When it comes to serving pieces, matchy-matchy is not a requirement, Hornberger says. It’s OK to mix the pieces you have and even pull that decorative bowl, basket or vase from another room to serve snacks in — if it’s not food safe, line it with another dish.

And especially with New Year’s Eve, there’s no rule you can’t eat dinner at an unusual hour — Hornberger says she once had a party where she served breakfast at midnight.

“Think outside the box,” she says.


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