It was another difficult, pandemic year. And COVID may bring its own set of challenges ahead. But if you’re not looking to stay in this year, skip the Times Square envy and check out these ways (and places) to ring in 2022.
Chef tasting menus and Gilded Age society parties in Newport, R.I.
Kick 2021 to the curb by eating your way into 2022, one plate at a time. In Newport, R.I., Gurney’s Resort & Marina will offer a New Year’s Eve party starting at 8:30 p.m. at with DJ sets, hors d’oeuvres, and craft cocktails ($150 per person). You can also reserve a VIP Igloo for $500 for up to four people (must be 21+). Showfish’s three-course tasting meal with cocktails is $99 per person and their four-course dinner with a champagne toast is $149 per person.
Deck yourself out for the New Years Eve Gala (with Gilded Age glamour) at The Chanler by Newport’s iconic Cliff Walk. The property, which requires a stay of at least two nights, is linked to Caroline Astor, who was known for her lavish parties. Cara, the restaurant in the hotel, will offer a four-course dinner with wine offerings with “one long community table with cuisine such as Waygu beef and foie gras.” The Lounge, a waterfront destination with dark woods and fireplaces, will be converted into a dance floor with views of the Atlantic. The Terrace will offer billiards, games, tarot card readings, cigars and cognac, and a Kolikoff caviar station.
At the Castle Hill Inn, Chef Louis Rossi will offer a four-course tasting menu ($165 per person), starting with a family-style hors d’oeuvre and followed by three courses of your choice, such as black truffle spaghetti, seared scallops with a delicata squash and brown butter sauce, king crab with a creamy polenta, and poached halibut. Complimentary champagne will be included, and there’s live music. Brunch on New Year’s Day runs from 10:45 a.m. to 3 p..m. Here’s the menu.
Take in a 95-year tradition at Hotel Viking as executive chef Patrick Popores (a Johnson & Wales University graduate who has worked at resorts across the country) is offering both 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. seating times for a champaign toast and tasting menu.
At the Vanderbilt in downtown Newport, bar keepers will be crafting a tower of vintage glass coupes at the bar and popping champagne bottles for a weekend of festivities starting on Thursday, Dec. 30. Expect a five-course tasting meal, an intimate conversation with the Mansion Tarot Reader, live jazz music, brunch on New Year’s Day, and a view of the fireworks show.
Cocktails at your local speakeasy in the city
About 100 years ago, Prohibition banned the sale, distribution, creation, and consumption of alcohol. But speakeasies, especially in Rhode Island, continued to secretly serve forbidden fare. This year, head to the most unassuming lounges in Providence and beyond for craft cocktails and small bites.
Courtland Club will be hosting its first ever New Year’s Eve celebration this year. Book a table for 10 p.m. and keep it for the night (until they close at 1 a.m.) The admission of $75 per person includes two cocktails of your choice, a champagne toast at midnight, hors d’oeuvres throughout the evening, and live entertainment.
Hyde is tucked under the stairs of The George on Washington, where they serve their own spin on classic cocktails, small plates, and feature nightly entertainment. It was the same place, local legend says, where favored guests would receive outlawed cocktails in a chilled cocoa pot during Prohibition, and barkeepers would receive bottles of top-shelf liquors through a shallow tunnel that still exists behind a closed cabinet. The Zach Millian Trio will be performing upstairs at the lounge on New Year’s Eve while DJ Jackie Treehorn will be performing at Hyde.
In Olneyville Square, the lingerie store-looking front is actually Justine’s, an art deco-style lounge. Grab a classic Manhattan, or allow the bartender to make you something unique. It’s open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Call 401-454-4440 to ask about reservations.
Along South Main Street in Providence sits a a small room with plum-colored velvet curtains and stools, a gold bar and wall accents, and dark wooden paneling. It’s The Walnut Room, a speakeasy that opened last July, and is known for their wine list (the Luberri Rioja Orlegi from Spain — for $35 per bottle — is hard to find elsewhere), cheese boards, and cocktails. Best part: There’s no cover or reservations needed on New Year’s Eve, you’ll get complimentary champagne, and there will be live entertainment.
Cozy up in red leather chairs against exposed brick walls in Needle and Thread on Peck Street in Providence. They’ll be offering a special New Year’s Eve menu, which includes ceviche, filet mignon with a gorgonzola and shallot compound butter, and desserts like the Callebaut (fine Belgian chocolate) mousse. Reservations are required.
Live music and bumping nightclubs
Fete Music Hall on Dike Street in Providence will have two rooms of live entertainment, including BigTunes the DJ, DJ King Collins, Julz, and more. If you get yourself on the VIP list, you can go to the open bar reception. Tickets range from $40 to $120.
PNB Rock and other entertainers will be hosting a NYE Bash at The Strand Ballroom & Theatre in Providence. Tickets are $40 for the “early birds” and $50 in advance.