More bash, less cash
Party like it's 1929 at these 20 fetes for $25 or less.
The no-bottle-service New Year’s
The Apartment and the Lion Head Pub
2251 N Lincoln Ave (773-348-5100). 11pm, $25.
Vie for a spot on one of the Apartment’s beds to watch the bar’s video countdown, which features a compilation of news and music clips from the year that was. The price for the club and pub’s two-level party doesn’t include drinks, but you will get to experience balloon blasts.
100 W Grand Ave (312-836-0066). 8pm; $15, $25 per couple.
DJ Morgan heralds the New Year with multiple big-screen broadcasts of the Times Square ball drop. Admission also includes Champagne and supersecret party favors.
The Leg Room
7 W Division St (312-337-2583). 11pm, $20.
Look longingly at the open bar that costs $60, but then smile smugly because your modest $20 still gets you a party hat, a Champagne toast and a chance to take one of those higher rollers home with you.
1206 N State Pkwy (312-475-9450). 1–4am, $20.
Watch the ball drop at home before continuing the celebration at McFadden’s—you’ll make your first appearance in 2009 looking fresh as a daisy compared to the lushes who’ve been at it all night. The cover doesn’t get you more than a chance to party until daybreak, but when all the other Gold Coast bars are closed, that’s priceless.
3341 N Halsted St (773-871-6227). 7pm, $20.
Frugal partygoers can snag a mini version of minibar’s pricier New Year’s celebration: Twenty bucks gets you in the door and a glass of Champagne at midnight. The hotel-style lounge also offers reserved tables, but unless you can snag a megasize group of friends, the $300 price tag is a little steep.