Before the last cookie is eaten, the last drop of egg nog drank, or the last gift unwrapped this holiday season, people are asking, “What are you doing New Year’s Eve?” With the Christmas rush, it’s easy to be left scampering for an answer. Fret no more! I’ve compiled a list of various options to ring in the new year, whether you’re looking for a big bash or a quiet affair.
Start the party off with the University of Louisville versus Kentucky basketball game . The game is set to tip-off at noon in Lexington’s Rupp Arena. Unfortunately for UK fans, Big Blue Country, a UK themed sports bar, closed November 1. However, you can expect a party for all fans at any of the sports bars in town.
If you’re staying in Louisville, take your pick from one of these options:
Spirit of Jefferson Riverboat Cruise (401 W. River Road, Louisville): $25-60. Two cruises are offered for New Year’s Eve: a 5:30 p.m. early dinner cruise and a late night New Year’s Eve bash. The 5:30 cruise offers a two-hour cruise and dinner buffet at a price of $40 per adult or $25 per child. The late night cruise boasts a lavish buffet, champagne toast at midnight, and party favors. The three hour cruise leaves the dock at 10:00 p.m. and returns at 1:00 p.m. Price is $60.
Galt House Hotel (140 N. Fourth Street, Louisville) – Night of All Nights: $129 and up. Live music featuring Burning Las Vegas. Burning Las Vegas is Nashville's foremost funk, rock, rhythm & blues soul band featuring a blazing hot horn section, a grooving rhythm section, and three powerful female vocalists that can shake you out of your shoes. Various packages offered with prices starting at $129.
Louisville's Biggest New Year's Eve Party! at Fourth Street Live ! Free - $80. Music from 100% Poly, a Times Square ball drop at midnight, plus register for your chance to win a trip to the 2012 Grammy Awards. This free event is hosted by Radio Now 98.9 and Louisville's Gen X Radio 100.5.The party starts at 9:00 p.m. and you must be at least 21 to enter. All access packages are available for $25 which grant you access to four venues: Angels Rock Bar, Hotel Nightclub, Tengo Sed Cantina, and The Sports & Social Club. All access plus open bar packages are $80 per person.
Hyatt Regency Louisville (320 West Jefferson, Louisville) is offering a special Fourth Street Live! Package which includes the two all access open bar tickets to Louisville's Biggest New Year's Eve Party!, mentioned above, plus overnight accommodations starting at $279.
Louisville Improv (441 S. Fourth St., Louisville) - Comedy of Bryan Callen: $18. If you don't recognize the name Bryan Callen, you'd recognize his face. Callen has been in a ton of movies and television shows including The Hangover, The Hangover II, Old School, How I Met Your Mother, MTV's Death Valley, and was one of the original cast members of Madtv. He has two shows New Year's Eve: 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. This is an 18 and over show and requires a two drink minimum.
Jim Porters Good Time Emporium (2345 Lexington Rd., Louisville) – New Year’s Eve Blowout: $20. Event features four live bands throughout the night: Cosmo & The Counts, Lindsay Lane & Axis, The Flying Martinis, and Bluestown. $20 ticket package includes party favors, midnight balloon drop, and champagne toast. Hotel packages at Best Western are also available.
Seelbach Hilton (500 Fourth Street, Louisville) - Retro New Year's Eve Party Hosted by 102.3 The MAX: $159 and up. Live DJ playing music from a different decade every hour up to midnight. Packages starting at $159 a couple include buffet dinner, champagne toast at midnight, and party favors. Throw in overnight accommodations for an additional $160.
Phoenix Hill Tavern (644 Baxter Ave., Louisville) - The Last Blast: $20. The Hill gives you six bands starting at 8:00 p.m and playing throughout the night this New Year’s Eve: The American Dream, Kirby’s Dreamland, Sponge, King Sonic, Wax Factory, and Centerfold. Admission also includes party favors, midnight balloon drop and champagne toast, and live countdown from New York’s Times Square.
Headliners Music Hall (1386 Lexington Rd., Louisville) - WFPK’s New Year’s Eve Latin Dance Party at Headliners: $10-12. WFPK DJ’s Woodrow on the Radio and Matt Anthony will broadcast live from Headliners beginning at 9:00 p.m. At 10:30 p.m., and playing until midnight, the band Cosa Seria takes center stage. Cosa Seria fuses Salsa with Timba and other contemporary Latin rhythms. The $10 advance ticket ($12 at the door) also includes photos from photoboothphotos.com, dance lessons from the Me Salsa es su Salsa Dance Company when the doors open at 8:00 p.m., and a balloon drop at midnight. This is an 18 and over show.
Also, check out our write ups of New Year's Eve at Zazoo's with the Broken Spurs and the Bad Reeds  and Tink's Pub, Louisville's only lesbian bar, which is closing on New Year's Eve .
If you happen to have a ticket to the sold out game and want to ring in the new year in Lexington, try one of these options:
Hyatt Regency Lexington (401 West High Street, by Rupp Arena) –New Year's Eve Package: $249. Package includes guestroom accommodations, admission into the New Year’s Eve Celebration featuring Caught Red Handed, cash bar, balloon drop, champagne toast, and New Year's Day breakfast buffet for two.
Cheapside Bar and Grill (131 Cheapside, Downtown Lexington) – Rockin New Year’s Eve Party: $10-15. Music by August Christopher. Table reservations for the entire evening are $15 per person which includes champagne and party favors at midnight. Cover charge for Walk-ins, with no table seating, is $10 per person.
Two Keys Tavern (333 South Limestone St., Downtown Lexington) – New Year’s Celebration: Free. A casual joint that boasts three bars, no cover charge, and cheap drinks. Doors open at 8:00 p.m.
Forte Live Venue & Night Club (815 E. Euclid Ave., Lexington) – New Year’s Eve Party: $15 and up. Live music featuring The Jimmy Church Band and Resident DJ John Sims. Reserved table seating is $45 per couple, $25 singles, General Admission is $25 per couple, $15 singles. Package includes party favors and champagne toast at midnight. Doors open at 9:00 p.m.
Buster’s Billiards and Backroom New Year’s Eve Extravaganza (899 Manchester St., Lexington Distillery District) - The G-Funk Allstars in concert: $8-10. Admission is $8 in advance, $10 day of show. Doors open at 9:00 p.m. This is an 18 and over show.
So there’s just a few options to ring out 2011 and ring in 2012. Of course, if none of these choices appeal to you, you could always get a bottle of champagne, a bag of streamers, and host your own fabulous bash in the comfort of your own home!