By Jay Jones
8:20 AM PST, December 18, 2012
Whether you’re saying, “Good riddance, 2012” or “Thanks for the memories,” Las Vegas has a venue where you can welcome the new year in whatever style suits you.
You can try the $20 all-you-can-drink party at the Silverton or the $60,000 “Ultimate” package at the Mandarin Oriental. You can turn back the clock to the 1920s and party in an airport hangar or listen to a Grammy winner.
Party central, of course, is Las Vegas Boulevard, which transforms itself into a festive pedestrian mall, where the masses, drinks in hand, count down the seconds to a gigantic fireworks display that rings in the new year.
The pyrotechnics are provided by Grucci, known as the “first family of fireworks,” and will be launched from the rooftops of seven Strip hotels, from the MGM Grand to the south to the Stratosphere to the north.
Ringside seats for the aerial display and people-watching will be available at Serendipity 3, a Caesars Palace restaurant at Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road. For $50 a person, guests will be able to reserve a table that, starting at 10 p.m., will be theirs for the next three hours. The price includes champagne and party favors. The special New Year’s Eve menu includes a “fireworks sundae” ($14) topped with a sparkler.
Also ideal for fireworks viewing are the venues atop THEhotel at Mandalay Bay. Its miX restaurant on the 64th floor will be offering a four-course, prix-fixe menu starting at $95 a person. General admission to miX Lounge will cost $100.
Other great indoor views available at two popular nightclubs: Château at Paris and LAVO at Palazzo. Château will be hosting rapper 2 Chainz, and Grammy award-winning singer Brandy will perform at LAVO.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers, also Grammy winners, return to Sin City on New Year’s Eve for their first concert here in seven years, but unless you have great connections, general admission tickets for the 11 p.m. show at the Chelsea Ballroom inside the Cosmopolitan is sold out. Partyers can still catch the concert on the hotel’s 65-foot digital marquee that towers over the Strip.
One of Las Vegas’ newer restaurants and bars — SHe inside Crystals at CityCenter — will welcome its first guests on Dec. 31. SHe will feature a boutique steakhouse with its own runway and nightly fashion shows. Above the restaurant is the nightclub in the space previously occupied by Eva Longoria’s eatery and club, which closed in April.
Also new this year is a private soiree at the Wynn. Its Lafite Ballroom will be transformed into a club. Beginning at 9 p.m., guests will be treated to an open bar and food-tasting stations with spreads from six of the property’s fine-dining establishments. The $500 per person price tag includes Dom Pérignon, party favors, tax and gratuity.
For fans of oldies music, a less expensive option is available downtown along the Fremont Street Experience, which is adults-only for the night. It’s less crowded than the Strip, but the pedestrian mall, with its overhead light show, will still be buzzing. The street party begins at 6 p.m. and throughout the night, a variety of bands, including Buckcherry and Queensryche, will perform. General admission tickets cost $30 until Thursday and $40 thereafter and are available online.
Six miles south of Caesars Palace just off Interstate 15, the Silverton Casino Hotel will host its “Skip the Strip” party, which may be the best deal in town. For $20, you can buy a wristband that entitles you to unlimited drinks at all casino bars from 7-10 p.m. The price includes admission to the DJ Dance Party starting at 10 p.m.
The Silverton is home to Twin Creeks restaurant, which ranks among Vegas’ best. For New Year’s Eve, it’s offering a five-course meal priced at $75. On the menu: twice-baked Parmesan soufflé with crispy prosciutto and a seafood risotto with Maine lobster, scallops and sea bass.
Nearby, one of the more offbeat parties will be inside two hangars at the Henderson Executive Airport. Collective Zoo, an events company, is throwing a Great Gatsby bash at which attendees will be transported back in time to the Roaring '20s, when, its info about the party says, “the parties were bigger, the morals were looser and the liquor was cheaper.” (That might also aptly describe modern-day Vegas.)
Men must be in black-tie for this affair, and women are encouraged to wear their finest flapper attire to ring in the new year among vintage aircraft.
Only two couples will be able to enjoy the Mandarin Oriental’s “Ultimate Presidential New Year’s Eve Package.” For $60,000, the deal affords includes three nights in a presidential suite and a gala dinner at Twist restaurant.
The six-course meal will be prepared by Chef Pierre Gagnaire.
For fireworks viewing, a table for two will be reserved at the Mandarin Bar, which is hosting its own celebration. The package must be booked by Thursday by calling (702) 590-8888. A bottle of Champagne is included, as is a “hangover brunch” on New Year’s Day.
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