32 Places to Party West of the 405 on New Year’s Eve
By Will Theisen
2016 is going to be a long year.
Technically, it’s only going to be one day longer than this year (366 days instead of the usual 365), but it’s certainly going to feel much longer. We will have a lot to debate: Superman or Batman? Do we want the Chargers, the Raiders, or the Rams? Who should win Olympic gold in Rio? What’s the point of having these award shows if we’re just going to give all the trophies to Adele anyway? And, oh yeah, who are we putting in the White House?
Yes, 2016 will be a long, busy year, with plenty to argue about on social media. So let’s forget our phones at home when we go out for New Year’s Eve. We won’t need a hashtag to debate about the best beer at the Tripel (spoiler: it’s Chimay). We won’t spend any time choosing a filter for a selfie at The Victorian, because they have a photo booth, and we’ll be too busy dancing down in the Basement Tavern anyway. We might need to apologize for something we do at Bar Melody’s New Year’s Bash, but at least no one will be able to make a Vine out of it. We’ve got an eventful year coming up, so let’s enjoy the one holiday that celebrates something everyone on Earth can agree on!
Usher in the New Year at one of these 32 Westside parties:
NYE White Party at Areal
OK, you can disregard the “no hashtag” rule for this one. Areal has worn the pound key off the keyboard while promoting this event. The only rule they do have: wear white. Regular dining or a prix-fixe dinner happen between 5 and 7 p.m., then DJ Dazzler will get the party started.$95 for prix-fixe dinner. 2820 Main St., Santa Monica. (310) 392-1661; arealrestaurant.com
Masquerade Ball at the Basement Tavern (in The Victorian)
With three floors of live music, beautiful décor, classic cocktails and a large outdoor space to unwind, Basement Tavern’s NYE party has become legendary. The party starts at 8 p.m. $53.99. 2640 Main St., Santa Monica. (310) 392-4956; basementnye.nightout.com
The décor of the Bungalow is so homey that it can sometimes feel like you’ve actually walked into someone’s house and ordered a cocktail. Its New Year’s Eve party is a black tie affair, but that shouldn’t reduce the dressed-down hospitality they’ve become known for. The party goes from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. $150, call ahead for a table 101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 899-8530; thebungalowsm.com
Burton Chace Park Fireworks Show
The party in the park starts at 7 p.m. with a live outdoor broadcast of CNN’s New Year’s Eve special from Times Square, with a 10-minute fireworks show starting right as the ball drops at 9 p.m. Pacific Time. Free. 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey. (310) 305-9545; marinadelrey.lacounty.gov
Café del Rey
Every item on the New Year’s Eve four-course menu sounds mouthwateringly delicious. If you’re the kind of person who has a hard time choosing between sautéed squid or venison loin with spiced pear puree, then you may want to start looking over the menu now.
$95 in advance. 4451 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey. (310) 823-6395; cafedelreymarina.com
Canal Club’s “Island of Earthly Delights” NYE Party
Start early and stay late at this extended tiki-themed party, which goes from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Exxplosivo DJs will be spinning, and the grill will be cooking. No cover 2025 Pacific Ave., Venice; canalclubvenice.com
Cantalini’s Salerno Beach Restaurant
Salerno Beach is inviting patrons to beat the crowds by coming in between 4 and 6 p.m. for all-inclusive “twilight specials.” Then the party heats up with fine wine, champagne, chef specials and party favors. It’s a classy way to send off 2015, starting at 7 p.m.
193 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey. (310) 821-0018; salernobeach.com
Mariachi New Year’s at Casa Sanchez
Raul Sanchez and Mariachi Voces de Mexico are joined by the Ritmo Caliente Latin Band for an authentic mariachi dinner show and dancing from 9 to 1:30 a.m., featuring a three-course meal, party favors and champagne toast. $50 to $100 4500 S. Centinela Ave., Del Rey. (310) 397-9999; casa-sanchez.com
Chinois on Main
If the power happens to go out on New Year’s, this Asian-fusion restaurant will be prepared. They are hosting a “candlelit celebration,” which is sure to be beautiful. There will be two seatings throughout the evening, and as with any celebration that includes a menu created by Wolfgang Puck, reservations will fill quickly. Call for reservations. 2709 Main St., Santa Monica. (310) 392-9025; wolfgangpuck.com
Nautical New Year’s Eve Cocktail Cruise at Fisherman’s Village
With Uber fees expected to surge after midnight, why not put that money towards something truly memorable and take a yacht instead. Get there before 9 p.m. to see the fireworks, and then hop aboard for a three-hour cruise through the marina, complete with a DJ, champagne, party favors and hors d’oeuvres. $120 in advance. 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey. (310) 301-9900; hornblower.com
Guitar Shorty at Harvelle’s
The big-time energy and rockin’ blues style of Guitar Shorty starts the party at 9 p.m. and welcomes in the New Year with party favors and free champagne at midnight. $25. 1432 4th St., Santa Monica. (310) 395-1676; santamonica.harvelles.com
Sonny & The Mis-B-Havers at Hinano Café
Head into the New Year with ‘50s to ‘70s rock ‘n’ roll, R&B and blues from the lively bar band Sonny & The Mis-B-Havers. The party includes Hinano’s famous burgers and runs from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., with champagne served at midnight. No Cover.15 Washington Blvd., Venice. (310) 822-3902; hinanocafevenice.com
Black and White Masquerade Party at Hotel Shangri-La
Not to be outdone by competing masquerade balls, the Shangri-La is putting its rooftop bar to excellent use for New Year’s. The party starts at 8 p.m., and dapper guests will receive a glass of champagne upon arrival. Jay Strongman will provide the sounds. $65 in advance, $150 for prix-fixe dinner. 1301 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica. (310) 451-0717; shangrila-hotel.com
Le Cellier Wine Bar
You’ve got to love a party that has a special “welcome drink.” This year’s champagne cocktail with lychee sounds particularly tantalizing, as does a menu that includes duck, lobster and a profiterole with melted chocolate ganache for dessert. Oui, oui!
$98, call to RSVP 417 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey. (424) 228-5491; le-cellier-winebar.com
There’s always magic in the air on New Year’s, with the feeling of hope and optimism for the coming year. Why not go the extra step and add in some card tricks, or a rabbit in a hat? The New Year’s show at Magicopolis has been praised as one of the best on Earth. There’s popcorn and soft drinks for the young ones and champagne for the adults. The show starts at 9 p.m. $60, available online. 1418 4th St., Santa Monica. (310) 451-2241; magicopolis.com
Melody Bar & Grill
Usher in the New Year with DJ Creepy and Friends at Westchester’s most relaxed bar. No cover. 9132 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester. (310) 670-1994; barmelodylax.com
Old Town Music Hall
Ring in 2016 with the Mighty Wurlitzer, a surprise feature film, classic short films, musical performances and light refreshments (including sparkling cider) during one of the silent movie theater’s most popular events of the year. $20 (cash or check). 140 Richmond St., El Segundo. (310) 322-2592; oldtownmusichall.org
Playa Provisions and The Tripel
Whether it’s waiting in line or waiting online, getting a wristband for a cool event is generally not too glamorous. Luckily for anyone who wants to attend the NYE party at Playa Provisions, you can get a wristband simply by eating and drinking at The Tripel beforehand. Chefs Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts created the menu at both places, so you’ll be well fed and “socially lubricated” with the finest beer menu. Menu prices vary. The Tripel, 333 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey. (310) 821-0333; thetripel.com | Playa Provisions, 119 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey. (310) 683-5019; playaprovisions.com
The recently reopened Rose Café is hosting a NYE party in the heart of Silicon Beach, with Venice local legend DJ OSAMU on the wheels of steel, a raw bar, a pizza station and frequent champagne toasts. Get there by 8 p.m. for all the festivities. $75 in advance, includes two drink tickets. 220 Rose Ave., Venice. (310) 399-0711; rosecafevenice.com
The Rose Room
Dancing, music, full bar, bottle service and Brazilian DJ Claudio spins all night long at the Venice Ale House’s VIP event space. $25 advanced, $40 at the door. 6 Rose Ave., Venice. santamonicanightlife.com
Santa Monica Playhouse NYE Musical Revue
Kick off the evening at 6 or 9:30 p.m. with a buffet supper followed by Actors Repertory Theatre’s family-friendly Rudie-DeCarlo musical revue, with prizes, sing-a-longs, dancing, humor and other special moments selected from five decades of the theater’s productions. The 9:30 p.m. show includes a cast meet-and-greet at midnight. $49.50 or $29.50 kids under 12 (add $10 for late show). 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. (310) 394-9779; santamonicaplayhouse.com
The theme of this NYE celebration is “bottomless.” That includes draft beer, house wines, frozen pina colada and rum punch. You do have to wear pants, though. $45 in advance, $55 at the door; $10 for entry without “bottomless” drink purchase. 822 Washington Blvd., Venice. (310) 448-8884; sunnyspotvenice.com
To reserve a spot at Tompkins Square’s NYE party, you have to actually go into the bar. That means you can party there tonight, while making your reservation for the party. That’s a New Year’s Eve party pre-party! $10 in advance. 8522 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester. (310) 670-1212; t2barandgrill.com
Tony P’s Dockside Grill
Everyone knows the marina is the place to be for fireworks, and Tony P’s is setting their whole party up around the display. Putting their spin on the age-old office joke, “I’ll see ya next year,” they say if you get dinner after 9 p.m., the table is yours until 2016.
$10 cover, free with dinner. 4445 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey. (310) 823-4534; tonyps.com
Throwback Thursday NYE at the Townhouse
While everyone else is forging ahead into 2016, the Townhouse & Del Monte Speakeasy is making a hard turn back in time for a special NYE edition of its Throwback Thursday event. Mr. Choc and DJ Vinyl Don will keep command of the party from their usual positions behind the turntable, and the champagne will be flowing freely as midnight approaches. 52 Windward Ave., Venice. (310) 392-4040; townhousenye.nightout.com
A Steely NYE at Typhoon
Tribute band Steely Jam brings the sounds of rock-jazz fusion group Steely Dan to life for multiple sets from 9 p.m. ‘til the ball drops.
$30 3221 Donald Douglas Loop South, Santa Monica. (310) 390-6565; typhoon.biz
New Year’s Eve Twenty
Sixteen Black Tie Masquerade Ball at the Viceroy Hotel It’s hard to imagine a more appropriate use of the term “pulling out all the stops.” Co-produced by KCRW and featuring Morning Becomes Eclectic DJ Jason Bentley, this is the hottest ticket this side of town. Enjoy drinking your champagne poolside on the roof, if you’re one of the lucky ones to get a ticket before they sell out.
$180 1819 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica. (310)260-7500; viceroyhotelsand-resorts.com
The Upper West
There’s no cover to check out the DJ after 11 p.m. and watch the ball drop while the beat drops, but you’ll probably want to partake in the prix fixe dinner earlier in the day. There are two seatings — one from 5 to 7 p.m., and another from 8 to 10 p.m. $90 in advance. 3321 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 586-1111; theupperwest.com
The shipmates at the Warehouse can always be relied upon in the holiday season. Starting at 9 p.m., the bar will be serving festive drinks to celebrate the New Year, and a live band will help count down to midnight. It will also be a great place to check out the fireworks. No cover. 4499 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey. (310) 823-5451; mdrwarehouse.com
Whiskey Red’s has all the stuff you’d expect at a NYE party, from the DJ to the buffet to the big screen countdown. But it does have one thing most places can’t provide; the best view of the fireworks display over the marina. The party starts at 7 p.m. $80 for buffet, $20 for walk-ins after 9 p.m. 13813 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey. (310) 823-4522; whiskeyreds.com.
Sweet ’16 Black and White NYE Ball at Wokcano
This Asian-fusion mainstay has been fighting for the “best NYE party” title for a few years, and they definitely know how to throw a party. DJ Frankie will provide the tracks, and there will be no shortage of champagne or hors d’oeuvres. Mind the theme, though … you don’t want to be the one person wearing purple. $40 in advance, $50 at the door Wokcano, 1413 5th St., Santa Monica. (310) 458-3080; wokcanorestaurant.com
Ye Olde King’s Head
This British pub is on London time, so it’s no surprise that they are hosting a New Year’s Eve party when Big Ben strikes midnight — that would be 4 p.m., Pacific Standard Time. Don’t worry, though, the party will still be going strong eight hours later. This might be the only NYE celebration with a DJ and a bagpiper. Call for info. 116 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 451-1402; yeoldekingshead.com
Zanzibar’s NYE Brazilian Carnival
KCRW deejays Jeremy Sole and Anthony Valadez hold down the music for a Brazilian Carnival-themed New Year’s complete with drink specials, party favors, samba dancers and a midnight drum line. $25 presale or $35 at the door; call for table reservations. 1301 5th St., Santa Monica. (310) 451-2221; zanzibarlive.com
Calendar writer Michael Reyes contributed to this list.