Sparkling wine at The Wine Thief in New Haven, CT

This New Year‘s in New Haven

In Monday’s “This Week in New Haven,” we highlighted 12 things to do for New Year’s Eve this Saturday. Here are 10 more, ranging from bashes that check all the boxes to ones that step well outside the box:

Food & Drink Parties
Irish pub Anna Liffey’s (17 Whitney Ave, New Haven; 203-773-1776) is offering a $40 open bar and buffet for those who want it, and a no-cover cash bar for those who don’t. After “specialty beers” get tapped “around 8 p.m.,” the buffet gets cracking at 9 p.m., with “bar swag… given away all night” and a DJ spinning “Top 40, hip hop and a mix of old school and classics” throughout.

Oak Haven Table & Bar (932 State St, New Haven; 203-915-9413) is throwing a “Champagne Mixology Black & White Affair,” which, true to its name, offers a special champagne cocktails menu—plus a “cascading fountain” pumping out bubbly—and encourages attendees to wear black and white. Seatings for the night’s special four-course prix fixe menu, which contains two fancy options for each course, happen at 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30 and cost $60 per person. The “noise makers, party favors, etc.,” however, as well as a dance floor that opens at 10 and a champagne toast at midnight, are free.

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Ordinary (990 Chapel St, New Haven; 203-907-0238) is embracing an extraordinary theme with its “Retro Ski Lodge New Year’s Eve Party.” $60 per “lift ticket,” or $110 for two, gets you access to the “ice bar” for cocktails, the first of which is included, and the “warm and cozy moose lodge for passed hors d’oeuvres,” which are being served all night. Doors open at 8 p.m., dancing starts at 10 p.m. and complimentary bubbly makes the rounds at midnight.

Artsy Parties
Gordon Skinner’s Art Cafe, a “new artist-run cafe popping up for… New Year’s Eve,” offers an open bar and catered food; live music and a DJ; and an “exclusive environment with amazing people” out of a space in Erector Square’s Building 4 (315 Peck St, New Haven). Lasting from 9 p.m. to 1 in the morning, $65 tickets include a champagne toast at midnight.

The New Year’s theme at Three Sheets (475-202-6909) manages to be both retro and of-the-moment. Celebrating “music and memories from all our lost faves”—referring to the seemingly high number of entertainment icons who have died over the past year, from David Bowie to Muhammad Ali and, presumably, some who have died since the event flyer was made, like George Michael and Carrie Fisher—a special menu of food and cocktails is set to honor the dead, as is the night’s playlist. The initiation of a 2017 “Celebrity Death Pool,” meanwhile, adds some dark levity along with the promise of prizes down the road for any winners.

Dance Parties
If you’re serious about your salsa—or your merengue or bachata—you probably already know about Club Vandome (102 Hamilton St, New Haven; 203-789-2066), a hotspot that gets a lot of its heat from Latino-infused Fair Haven. For the club’s “New Year’s Eve Ball,” which lasts from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., a $10 cover includes hats and noisemakers plus—can you guess?—a champagne toast at midnight.

From 9 p.m. to 3, Terminal 110 (240 Sargent Dr, New Haven; 203-624-6200) presents “NYE Experience.” Along with four DJs spinning across two floors, a $20 ticket gets you “complimentary hors d’oeuvres,” party favors and bubbly at midnight, while a $50 ticket gets you all that plus comped Hennessy drinks from 9 to 11.

Non-Traditional Parties
If you’re staying away from alcohol (and drugs), the Elm City Phoenix Club (56 Wallace St, New Haven) has a party for you. A “sober club” and “recovery haven,” whose mission is to “provide a safe, welcoming… social space free of drugs and alcohol,” its New Year’s Eve celebration begins at 7 p.m. and features hot food, coffee and a DJ, with cold drinks available for purchase.

Experience Ananda (900 Grand Ave, New Haven; 203-530-4273)—which, among other things, offers regular cuddling workshops that help adults expand their understanding of how to be platonically or romantically intimate with each other—is hosting a “New Year’s Eve Cacao Celebration,” inviting attendees to experience “bliss… with the help of cacao medicine.” Lasting from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. and costing $30 per person, the night’s itinerary includes “various exercises to help us reconnect with our hearts, set intentions for our year ahead and enjoy each other’s company.” Recommendations include arriving “having eaten light,” so that the cacao can achieve its full effect, and bringing a mug, journal, pen, comfortable clothing, water and a “yummy, healthy snack.”

DIY Parties
Hosting or attending a house party? Check out the sparkling wine selection at The Wine Thief downtown (181 Crown St, New Haven; 203-772-1944), where about 60 different kinds of Champagne, Cava and Prosecco—a few of them pictured above—fill a grid of 16 cubbies. A chat with one of the shop’s famously knowledgeable sales reps, Alexander Michaud, reveals that Champagne—and here, at least, we’re talking about certain sparkling wines that come from the Champagne region of France, which often get lumped with other fizzy wines into the lowercased catch-all “champagne”—isn’t always the best choice, even on New Year’s.

“If you’re willing to go to Spain and get some nice Cava,” Michaud says, “or northern Italy where Prosecco is made, you’ll find a product that’s probably pretty similar and definitely really delectable, for a much lower price.” Example: You can get “a phenomenal bottle of Prosecco” for $20, he says, while a bottle filled with Champagne of similar quality usually starts above $40.

There are underlying differences, of course. “Prosecco is going to have more notes of green fruit” with bubbles that are “a little bit bigger,” he says, whereas Champagne is going to be “toastier” with bubbles that are “smaller and more refined.” Cava, meanwhile, is “going to look more similar to Champagne than Prosecco,” and is “typically quite dry.”

Either way, your party won’t be.

Written and photographed by Dan Mims. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.

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