While New Year’s is all about staying up until midnight, we looked into a few alternative celebrations. Actually, we found ideas for the 29th, 30th, 1st and even the 2nd! But if it’s a traditional late night fest you seek, we’ve definitely got some of those below.
Grasslands Meat Market – Anaheim Gardenwalk
Offering a December 29 “Pre-NYE” as well as the main event on Monday, Grasslands has differing entertainment options, depending on your music taste. Do you like early 90s? Hit them up Saturday night. A trio of country rock bands will ring in the new year if you celebrate New Year’s Eve. Both nights feature buffets, with Grilled Lobster Tails and Smoked Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushrooms added on NYE– justifying the additional $20 fee to the pre-party pricing. Go to Eventbrite for tickets. 400 W. Disney Way, (657) 208-1133; www.grasslandsusa.com.
Irenia – Downtown Santa Ana
[Editor’s Note: They’ve updated the hours to 6-8 p.m.] Sunday the 30th, our local Filipino spot is getting piggy with it by hosting a lechon par-tay to celebrate 2019’s Year of the Pig. This family-style meal seats as early as 4 p.m. and as late as 6 p.m.. Think White Corn Grits with Heirloom Beans, Pinakbet Braised Veggies with Fried Milkfish Belly, Atchara Payaya Salad, and of course, rice! This $65 feast can be reserved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. 400 N. Broadway, (657) 245-3466; www.ireniarestaurant.com.
Water Grill – South Coast Plaza
Party people will find a whole lotta oyster shucking when they book WG’s White & Gold Party (we see what you did there, Water Grill) for New Year’s. Your cover charge includes two drink tickets, apps of the eating variety, aforementioned seafood and midnight toast. Click the link on Eventbrite for all the details. 3300 Bristol St., (949) 208-7060; www.watergrill.com.
Queen Mary – Long Beach
Strolling performers, a black light party, jazz and absinthe speakeasy and more await when you spend the evening on board Queen Mary’s Past & Present New Year’s Eve Celebration. VIP attendees will have access to below and above deck exclusive parties that include a burlesque show and cage dancers. And be sure to scope out a viewing spot for the midnight fireworks! In the event of the munchies, a breakfast buffet kicks off immediately afterwards. For tickets and inquiries, go online or call (877) 437-2934. 1126 Queens Hwy., (877) 342-0738; www.queenmary.com.
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse – Irvine
Per Edwin’s recent review, steak is definitely recommended at Davio’s. So book your 31st at their first West Coast branch for a four course feast featuring filet mignon, Hand-Rolled Kale Gnocchi (also on E’s recommendations) and Maine Lobster Bisque. It’ll run you $85, pre-tax and pre-booze. They were this close to making our Top 5, thanks to killer popovers and service. 18420 Von Karman Ave., (949) 477-4810; www.davios.com/irv
Mesa – Costa Mesa
Yes, Mesa is throwing a fancy party for New Year’s. But we are more interested in their hangover ‘brunch’ the following day. Show up in your PJs, since the staff is already doing so! And try one of their Ketel One collab cocktails like the B12 Recovery. Service for this meal is from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.. We double-checked the times before typing that– we swear. 725 Baker St., (714) 557-6700; www.mesacostamesa.com.
Chapter One: the modern local – Santa Ana
Competitive spirits and newbies alike are welcome January 2nd, as Chapter One brings their 2019 monthly trivia nights with South Coast Repertory. Specially themed to match two upcoming performances (Sweeny Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Culture Clash (Still) in America), SCR will host this special evening. Teams of any size welcome. It all goes down at 7 p.m. And for their Pappy New Year dinner, featuring a flight of Van Winkle bourbon whiskey and Tomahawk Ribeye, do contact them for reservations! 227 N. Broadway; (714) 352-2225; www.chapteronetml.com.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.