No matter how rough the year was, we all want to go into the next full of optimism and possibly in a drunken stupor. This is the time when we celebrate with those closest to us, or a crowd of drunken strangers, as we welcome a New Year that is full of possibilities.
Even though this is our annual tradition, finding a New Years Eve party and planning the night has always a daunting task. It quickly becomes a headache when picking the right venue, the right ticket packages, and even discerning if the party will meet your high expectations.
So in this article, I’ll give you expert tips on “How to Choose the Best New Year’s Eve Party and Packages.” I’ve organized plenty of New Year’s Eve (NYE) parties happen, so I’ve seen it all!
If you aren’t fully aware of the latest restrictions on nightlife, then read my article, “The Current State of NY Nightlife And Rules You Should Know.” It may have a huge impact on your party decisions.
Imagine The Perfect New Year’s Eve Experience
Deciding on the party experience that you crave is the first and most important choice of them all. It’s the whole reason you are willing to leave home and brave the NYE party madness! So the first thing you should do is have the mental image of the ideal New Years Eve experience, then go on your hunt to chase down that purple dragon.
Do you want to be dressed down, elbow to elbow in a dive bar? Do you want to be totally uninhibited at a rave in your grungiest of threads? If you’re looking for a luxurious setting to flaunt your tuxedo or form-fitting cocktail dress as you gyrate to deep house music thumping in the background, then you’ve already narrowed down your search a lot.
After determining the type of experience you are looking for, you can start searching for parties that match that criteria. These are 5 things that you should research to find the right party to fit your tastes:
- Pictures or videos of the venue online
- Past party reviews
- The type of music they play on normal party nights
- Guest performers and DJ’s
- The venue’s ambiance
Additionally, you could visit the location in advance on a party night to get a feel for the vibe. Also check for any special guest DJs, celebrities, or performers who may be appearing at nearby parties. All of this will help you get a sense of the crowd that will be there, the ambiance, how to dress, and the overall experience that you can expect.
PRO TIP: When looking for parties with celebrities, never pay extra for someone who is just making an “appearance.” An appearance doesn’t mean that they will perform or even visible to the crowd. They could be in a hidden private VIP room or just dropping by. This is a common, and misleading, promotional tactic that I have seen many parties use to bump up ticket prices.
Select The Right Venue Type
The next step to finding the perfect New Year’s Eve party is choosing the type of venue. Once you have narrowed down to the parties that fit your expectations, this can be a simple process of elimination. These are generally 6 types of venues that you will choose from:
- A Private Party/Event Space
- A Pub/Bar
- An Upscale Lounge, Restaurant, Rooftop
- A Popular Nightclub
- A Boat Party
- An Underground Party
If, for example, you wanted a more discrete and classy experience, then you would likely select an upscale lounge. If you are plugged into a network to get invitations to private parties, then that would be another option. Once you have narrowed down to the right parties and venues, then you can start thinking more about costs.
Pro Tip: With recent restrictions in nightlife stemming from the 2020 pandemic, you’re best chances of a successful night will be at private parties. Public venues are likely to have severely limited capacity and hours of operation.
Lock-in A Group To Party With
Partying with friends is always a great option and it enhances any night out. Rolling will groups also adds a welcome layer of safety, as well as an opportunity for ticket discounts, which we’ll discuss later on.
However, making new years eve plans with a large group of people can be a stressful experience.I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had groups reach out to me for New Year’s Eve tickets at the last minute since their friends couldn’t agree on a location! Late decision have you end up paying 3 times the original ticket prices!
So, stick to friends that can commit to plans and get a firm group size in mind. Then you can set a solid budget for some great ticket options.
Pro Tip: Ticket prices increase as New Year’s Eve draws near, and the deals can usually be negotiated for larger groups. So I recommend that you always get your friends on board and start planning for NYE at least 2 months in advance to get the best deals.
Set A Realistic Budget
It’s always prudent to set a realistic budget that fits your expectations. If you wanted a luxury experience, but are looking to spend under $50 on a New Year’s Eve party, then places like nightclubs and lounges shouldn’t be on your radar.
Even if you are able to grab a low-cost ticket, drinks at these types of venues easily run $10-$15 each and will take you over that $100 threshold quickly. So if you want to spend your New Year’s Eve at one of the top dance clubs in the city, then be prepared to pay a premium for it.
Here’s a breakdown of how much New Year’s Eve party tickets cost on average in a city like NYC:
|Venue||Average NYE General Admission Ticket Price|
|Private Party/Event Space||$0-$100+|
|Pub or Bar||$25-50|
|Upscale Lounge, Restaurant, or Rooftop||$50-$100|
Since private parties could be promotional and sponsored by brands, companies, and even your friends, it is possible that they could be free to attend.
On the other hand, bars, lounges, nightclubs, and organizers for underground parties are looking to make a big profit. This is one of the most lucrative nights of the year for any nightlife business, so they want to max out capacity and milk every dollar possible!
Now that you have a budget in mind you can narrow down your venue options even further!
Select The Right New Year’s Eve Package
A New Year’s Eve party package includes 2 things, the ticket granting you admission and any additional perks included as a package. And choosing the best New Year’s eve party ticket really comes down to one question. Do you want to stand in the crowd or watch it from your VIP section? This makes the decision a relatively simple one.
There are essentially only 3 core New Year’s Eve ticket types that you will choose from:
- General Admission Ticket
- Open Bar Ticket
- VIP Bottle Service Ticket
Here is a breakdown of example of some of the different New Years Eve packages that would be included with general admission tickets (with the average prices included):
You will often find many variations of these 3 core types, which can make your selection very confusing. This is because organizers often make many tickets for different group sizes, bottle packages (e.g. middle shelf vs premium top shelf liquor brands), table sections (e.g. balcony vs. ground level), and so on.
If you want to learn more about the different types of New Year’s Eve tickets, calculate their values, and even how to negotiate discounts, then be sure to stay tuned for my article, about “The 3 Types of New Year’s Eve Tickets and How To Get Discounts” coming soon.
Important Details That You Should Check For
When you buy a bottle package, naturally you will assume that you’re going to be sitting some of the most luxurious and comfortable seating in the spot. Eh, wrong!
Never assume that your bottle service will put you in a booth with a glowing table and comfy sofa to stand on. Every venue and party may have different types of table seating. Some may have standing pub tables, while others have seated sofas. And they normally charge a different rate each, offering the best to guests spend more or have bigger groups.
Refer to the image below to see what I mean.
So here is a list of some common New Year’s Eve Party tickets and important details that event listings often leave out:
|Ticket Name||Separate VIP Line||Table Type||Seating Type||Table Reserved All Night|
|General Admission||Not Included||Standing Room Only||Standing Room Only||Not Included|
|2-Hour Open Bar||Not Included||Standing Room Only||Standing Room Only||Not Included|
|VIP Bottle Service for 6||Included||Standing Pub Table||Pub chairs||Not Guaranteed|
|Ultra VIP Bottle Service for 10||Included||Private Section||Couch or sectional sofa||Included|
If you don’t see any of these details in the fine print of a New Years Eve party listing, then ask about them, especially if you’re about to spend big bucks
Eliminate Hassle With Bottle Service Packages
This also a great option even if everyone is not a fan of your bottle selection. Like if the bottle you chose is vodka, but some friends prefer whiskey. Your friends can still hop on a line at the bar to grab their preferred drink, and this also helps your bottle survive a little bit longer.
The bottle service option all comes down to your comfort and convenience. And in my professional opinion, it is where you get the most value. After all, you should want to spend the majority of your night partying and celebrating with friends, not waiting in lines, and worrying when your next drink is coming.
Close The Night Out Right With An “NYE End of Night Plan”
Sometimes a bad ending to a great night can ruin the entire experience and leaving you thinking, “I should have stayed home.” Always consider that by the end of the night, you just might be blackout drunk. Noone wants to ring in the New Year with a horror story about your 3-hour drunken journey home, how you fell asleep on the train and got robbed, or how you woke up in a strange place next to a stranger.
So let’s prevent that by making an “NYE End of Night Plan” with these 3 simple steps:
- Research the travel route back home
- Schedule a cab/rideshare
- Book a hotel room
Research The Travel Route Back Home
Don’t just map out how far a party is from home and the directions. Check the travel routes to see if there are any planned street closures, temporary suspensions in mass transit, or other travel impacting concerns going into effect on New Year’s Eve.
For example, NYC is notorious for shutting down train lines and blocking off entire avenues so people have to walk half a mile just to catch a train. Having to transfer 3 times to get to the right train is never fun.
Schedule A Cab/Rideshare For The Next Move
Catching a cab right after a New Year’s Eve party ends is a recipe for extended wait times and paying jacked up prices. You and just about every other person who crawled out of their respective parties are hammering on their smartphones for rideshares. So be smart and plan ahead by booking a reservation with a cab/limousine service or your favorite ridesharing app to pick you up at least 30 minutes before the party ends.
Pro Tip: New Year’s Eve parties generally start dying out around 2 AM. After the ball drops, the open bar is closed, the bottle service is done, and the crowd is winding down. So this is a good time to schedule your pickup.
Book A Hotel Room And Make An Afterparty!
After spending about 5 hours drinking and jumping around non-stop, anticipate that you just might be too wasted to make it back home. So if staying over at a friend’s house isn’t in the cards, then consider booking a hotel room. Even if you don’t book it in advance, at least find one that you would be comfortable at, is within walking or crawling distance of the party venue, and is within your budget. Just keep this information on hand in case you need it.
By reserving a hotel room, you won’t be one of those people randomly asking everyone “Where’s The After-Party?” Instead, split the room cost with friends and make your own afterparty!
Either way, it’s better not to worry about a potentially dangerous trip back home or standing on a street corner trying to figure out your next move at 4 am. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
Pro Tip: So check-in before you go to the party and stock your hotel room with a few bottles and mixers in advance. Then you will have your keys in hand at the end of the night, and ready to pass out in your room or keep the party going!
These tips should help you make a great choice for your New Year’s Eve party extravaganza, and end it in great form. You only do this once a year, so if you go out, go big. Or just stay home and go big all the same!
PS: No matter what’s going on in the world, we can’t deny our nature to be social creatures. We have a need to be connected, have fun, and be uninhibited to take our minds off of the monotonies of life. So try not to be too hard on each other and judgemental of those who organize or promote events, or those that just want to have a night out.
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Cheers to your health and have an incredibly Happy New Year!