When it comes to New Year’s Eve, folks tend to fall into one of four categories

  1. People who like to celebrate in bars and clubs
  2. Those who prefer to be attend a party with friends
  3. Those who look upon the event to splurge on a fancy dinner 
  4. The folk who turn off the lights and curl up in a ball at home.

Let’s forget about the last type in our list; there’s nothing we can do to get them to change their ways. Bar and club folks seem to have no trouble finding a place to kiss strangers and have drinks spilled upon them. Are you getting the feeling that I don’t fall into either of those categories? You’d be right, I’m more partial to attending parties with friends. As someone who dines out professionally, I usually avoid going to restaurants on New Year’s Eve. But, as Miss Jean Brodie says in the titular play, “For those who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like.” 

Most of the restaurants along the Drive, including Ethos and The Grille will be serving their regular menus. Of course, you know Alibi is going to be crazy. Its annual New Year's Under the Stars event starts at six for you early birds and continues through the night. The dining room will have a few specials, but the focus here is on the bar’s party, although they host “Recovery Brunch” the next day with $4 Bloody Mary or Mimosa specials. Don’t drink and drive, if you’re feeling a little tipsy, head over to Courtyard Café to grab a bite to eat and sober up. The community favorite will be open 24 hours on New Year’s Eve/Day. 

For those who like to ring in the new year with a festive meal, there is no shortage of places offering you that opportunity. All of the following places are in Fort Lauderdale and reservations are strongly suggested.

Mojo, 4140 N. Federal, is offering a four-course meal featuring a choice of three starters (shrimp cocktail, tuna tartare or carpaccio) and a salad (beet, house or Caesar). Entrée options include halibut, scallops, filet mignon or rack of lamb. The meal concludes with a choice of babka, flourless chocolate torte, Napoleon or Key lime pie. Call 954-568-4443 for reservations.

Chef Paula DaSilva at Burlock Coast will present a four-course dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The $199 per person meal includes an open bar. If you want to start your evening later, head to the restaurant’s bar lounge for music, balloon drop and party. Starting at 9 p.m. they’ll be serving a five-course dinner, for $289 per person. The package also includes open bar and premium champagne bottle service. Call 954-302-6430 to make your reservation.

 B Ocean, 1140 Seabreeze Blvd., hosts a Masquerade Ball at numerous price points starting at $120 per person with a live DJ, the hotel’s legendary mermaid show, and food from Naked Crab, call 954-564-1000 for more information. 

A cocktail reception and a six-course tasting dinner will be the star attraction at Lona, 321 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. Chef Pablo Salas dishes up an array of his signature dishes. The evening also includes a champagne toast, party favors and music from DJ Diego. Both seatings (8:30 and 9:30 p.m.) are $150 per person. Call 954 245-3069 for reservations.

Join the Ritz-Carlton, for an evening inspired by the Gatsby Era. The event includes dinner, open bar, live entertainment, favors, champagne toast and more! It comes at a Gatsby level cost, $299 per person. Reservations are required, call 954-302-6425.

Although Hawaii won’t celebrate the midnight ball drop until six hours after we do, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate in Polynesian style! Head to Mai Kai, 3599 N. Federal, for dinner and/or a show. If you prefer to drink the night away, the Molokai Bar will open at 5 p.m. and will celebrate happy hour until 7 p.m., with half-off appetizers and drinks. Live entertainment starts at 8 p.m. Call 954-563-3272 for more information or to make reservations for dinner and a show.