Drama-Free Drinking on New Year’s Eve

Everyone has their best NYE parties list, but here’s the list you secretly want

If you’re like me, you just want a chill New Year’s Eve. None of that wallet-busting prix-fixe, velvet-rope, bottle-buying business. Fortunately, there are several places in Los Angeles where you can just show up without having to contend with any of that. In most cases, you don’t even have to dress to impress.

Big Bar in Los Feliz is going all out for its New Year’s Eve but for no cover. The bar has celebrated the New Year of time zones all over the world before, but this year from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. (that’s 10 time zones and 10 countdowns) it’s showcasing special cocktails (about $10 each) and music inspired by each of the specific time zones. Revelers will be able to pick up passports featuring cute drink art by Home Bar Basics‘ author/illustrator Dave Stolte. With every new year, get that book stamped at the bar. You won’t really get anything for stamping your passport except bragging rights and a fun souvenir at the end of the night, but getting an early start on New Year’s Eve drinking is reward enough. Here’s what you can look forward to at Big Bar.

Other hot spots that are chilling that evening include Pablo Moix and Steve Livigni’s beautiful The Chestnut Club in Santa Monica. It’ll be festive thanks to the DJ, but again, you can just walk in and spend your last hours of 2014 drinking well-made cocktails at the bar.

Brilliantshine in Santa Monica will open regular hours, and the only New Year’s to-do will be the champagne toast at midnight.

Although the 1933 Group’s Harlowe and Sassafras are throwing special NYE bashes, a couple of its other bars will have low-key drink specials and DJs.

  • Bigfoot West: $10 specialty champagne cocktail, urban grass band from 8 to 11 p.m. and DJ after 11 p.m.
  • The Thirsty Crow: $5 Woodford Reserve Double Oaked 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., $50 champagne bottles, free midnight toast, DJ after 10 p.m.

Mid-Wilshire’s brand-new Spare Tire gastropub, by the folks behind Busby’s, will be open regular hours from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and offer 2-for-1 drink specials on beer, wine, and not-premium booze. A small jazz band will perform, making it a quieter alternative to its rowdy upstairs sister Busby’s East.

Or why put yourself in the position to keep track of your bar tab? Three Clubs in Hollywood will be selling $50 unlimited drink passes for NYE. There’s also a cover-free dance party.

If you haven’t yet checked out what Jeremy Fall (Golden Box) did to the iconic King Eddy’s Saloon, stop by New Year’s Eve when it’ll have an ’80s hits DJ set by Righteous Trash and cheap drinks as per usual. But bonus is that, for one night only, the bar will resurrect its 6 a.m. opening time on New Year’s Day to help you nurse your hangovers.

For those who want to eat their way to midnight, Republique is offering an a la carte menu and walk-in seating at communal tables and the bar, while Ink is doing its regular menu but with special upgrades like truffle or caviar add-ons if you want them. They’ve also expanded their sparkling wine menu just for the occasion, including Dom by the glass and half bottles.

Happy New Year, everyone, and be safe out there!