First of all, if you're going to drink on New Year's Eve, designate a driver. Is that clear? Second... here's where the party's at.
- Light the Night - Crush Lounge in Downtown Hartford is hosting the Illuminated New Year's Party. DJ Derek D-Lite will be spinning some hot house anthems and of course there will be a champagne toast at midnight.
- The Man of Many Faces - Comedian Jeff Norris will be performing at Catch a Rising Star in Stamford. The guy is known for impressions that are so dead-on it's frightening. He's so funny he was a regular on XM Radio's "Opie and Anthony" for three years.
- Glitz and Glamour - This one will cost you some serious dough to get in, but all the celebs will be at Shrine Asian Kitchen, Lounge, & Nightclub at Foxwoods. You'll catch Aubrey O'Day of Danity Kane and other surprise performances. O'Day made both Maxim and Blenders hot lists. The club will also have Chinese aerialists swinging from the ceiling and a premium open bar until 1 a.m.
- Music and More- Legendary rock group Hall & Oates will perform in the Mohegan Sun Arena. But if you don't feel like dropping cash on tickets, you can check out the concourse area. They'll have a disc jockey spinning down to 2009 as well as cirque entertainers performing jaw-dropping feats - right in the middle of the shopping area.
- Sushi and Jazz - We're pretty pumped about the New Year's Eve celebration at Szechuan Tokyo in West Hartford - An Intimate Holiday. Tickets are cheap and the restaurant will be decked out for romance and partying. Nationally-acclaimed vocalist Nicole Zuraitis will be performing before the ball drops. We caught Zuraitis at the Litchfield Jazz Fest this summer. One word - amazing.
- Kids Party - Bring the family to Borders in Meriden to celebrate the countdown. They'll have games, crafts and a special holiday parade. Activities start at 2 p.m.
- Circus Tradition - It's the 15th anniversary of First Night in downtown Westport. They've got a real circus and circus workshop. Kids can have their faces painted then take a horse and carriage ride through town and check out the other activities. You'll find music from around the world, a huge all-night bonfire, and fireworks at 7 p.m. and midnight.
- Heads or Tales- Danbury is also hosting a First Night party. It's the least expensive First Night we found. You'll find arts and crafts for the kids, ice carving, live storefront vignettes, story tellers, magic, a drum circle and lots more. Bonus -- hot cider and cookies when the fireworks launch from the train yards.
- In The Jungle- If the kids can't make it until the ball drops, consider taking them to the Rainforest Cafe. The restaurant in the West Farms Mall is hosting a family event from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. with a "knee-high" buffet for the little ones, entertainment, free goodies and prizes, and a sparkling cider toast. It's just $5.99 for kids - adults order from the regular menu.
- Prix Fixe - Firebox Restaurant in Hartford is serving up three amazing courses for $40, along with a variety of other New Year's Eve specials from Chef Collins. Champagne, live music and dancing will follow. Reservations are required.
- Stuffed with Comedy - Stuff your gut with dinner at City Steam Brewery in Hartford, then catch the show at the Brew Ha Ha downstairs - $60 will get you three courses and comedy. J.J. Ramirez, of Comedy Central, and Lori Chase, of NBC's Last Comic Standing, will help split your sides before the ball drops.
- Get Some Zinc - They've got a special New Year's Prix Fixe menu for $47 at Zinc in New Haven. The food all sounds amazing, but seared jumbo scallops with lobster butter? Hello...
- Go Big or Go Home - g/r/a/n/d in Stamford's having a big ole' New Year's Eve party. Funky name, wild food and $65 will get you a little plate, a big plate and a sweet plate. After that, they'll break out the DJ, dancing and champagne.
- The REALLY Big Screen - The Hills Restaurant in Waterbury's throwing a big bash as well - $80 will get you dinner, dessert and a reception of fine cheese and top-shelf open bar. You can dance the calories off before and after watching the ball drop on a 10-foot projection screen.
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