"I dunno. What do you wanna do?"
And so it goes in my house. Over and over and over.
My wife and I start mulling New Year's Eve on the day after Christmas. But our annual plan just never seems to come together. Often, we're still asking the question as we sit tipsy on the couch, staring at the boob tube while the ball falls in New York City.
It is pathetic, and we both know it.
"Next year we're going out," my wife says first thing every New Year's Day.
My line? "Damned straight. We'll do it up right next year."
Well, we'll see.
One thing is certain: There are plenty of parties to be had. From dance clubs to Tucson's best restaurants and hotels, the choices are many.
Get a great steak at Cappricio or knock back a few--or more--at The Mint.
With all the stress this country's put up with since September 11, when those kooks slammed into the World Trade Center, who couldn't use a night of Laffs?
Don't feel like going home? No problem, just bop till you drop, then snuggle in at Smuggler's Inn.
If you're going out, remember that beauty is in the eye of the beerholder, but in the eyes of a cop, a bleary beerholder with booze breath is a slam-dunk. With the .08 drunk level, it doesn't take many swigs to land you in the tank. So keep an eye on consumption or plan on a designated driver.
If getting sloshed isn't your bag in the first place, there are other options, including a city-sponsored jog and a night of traditional tunes in a smoke- and alcohol-free zone.
The thing is, whether you end up at a party or get stuck on the couch, Happy New Year!
DRINKIN' AND DANCIN'
Plush. 340 E. Sixth St. 798-1298. All lit up with nowhere to glow? Plush presents The Glow Ball. Experience Plush by firelight, effervesce in the bubble room, an effusion of light and sound. Come and glow! Dress accordingly, of course. Here's the activities rundown: 9:30 p.m. to 12:45 a.m. there'll be music by Sunday Afternoon, the obligatory toast is at midnight, and at 12:45 a.m. prizes will be awarded to those with the most turned-on outfit. This sounds like fun. Party favors and various other goodies are included in the $15 cover.
Maverick King of Clubs. 4702 E. 22nd St. 748-0456. Vince Moreno and Sundown kick it country-style. To be a part of this boot-scootin' party, pony up $15 in advance, or $20 at the door. Party favors included. Call for reservations.
Wee Went Wongs. 4844 E. 22nd St. 748-7570. Avatar rocks Wee Went Wongs, where you can also get the same ol' outstanding food. Tickets are $25 per couple or $15 per person, and include party favors and champagne at midnight. Call or stop by for tickets.
Guido's. 424 N. Fourth Ave. 628-8664. Live music and champagne at midnight. These guys will have drink specials throughout the night. Sure to be rockin'.
O'Malleys on Fourth. 247 N. Fourth Ave. 623-8600. Tongue Dried Sun shines again for this bash. Champagne at midnight, free party favors. Have a blast at O'Malleys.
Chicago Bar. 5954 E. Speedway Blvd. 748-8169. The Rowdies tear up a place much loved for its inviting ambiance. The show starts at 9 p.m. Sip champagne, graze at the midnight buffet and shoot some pool while you're at it. A measly $10 makes it happen.
The Mint Cocktails. 3540 E. Grant Road. 881-9169. If you would rather shoot pool than dance on tables, check out this funky spot for pool tourney fun. Great drinks, too.
Buggy Wheel Bar and Grill. 3156 E. Drexel Road. 573-0035. The Slic Lizzerds are slithering again at Buggy Wheel. Add to the music free party favors, a free toast at midnight and delicious munchies and you've got yourself a one-stop party.
The Boondocks Lounge. 3306 N. First Ave. 690-0991. Don't miss The Mollys at 9 p.m. A huge buffet will be rolled out at 7 p.m. Party gear and midnight bubbly cap another great celebration at this fun haunt. Advance tickets cost $15 (drop in for a brew and get your tickets), or $20 at the door.
Embassy Suites, Tucson International Airport. 7051 S. Tucson Blvd. 573-0700. Just $159 gets you and a lover a room, dinner, champagne toast and breakfast. Did I mention that Rambler will be playing? Party favors are part of the deal, too.
New West and Gotham. 4385 W. Ina Road. 744-7744. Not getting any? Might as well take a ride on the mechanical bull. Super drink specials all night.
Club Congress. 311 E. Congress St. 622-8848. Choices, choices, choices. At Club Congress a mega-event includes a Giant Baby Drop (actually, it's a 250-pound man in a diaper) from the second floor. A $15 cover also gets you more than an earful--The Zsa-Zsas will be doing their funky thing at 10 p.m. on the mainstage. Bebe and Serge will open. An '80s disco will be hopping in the banquet facility. OK. But you'll also be delighted to find a Russian accordion player in the lobby, and don't be surprised when you bump into the jugglers and magicians.
DV8. 5851 E. Speedway Blvd. 885-3030. Champagne and midnight party stuff tops off a night of '80s and '90s dance mix. Go early to increase your chances of winning something--giveaways throughout the evening. A ten spot gets you in.
It's 'Bout Time. 616 N. Fourth Ave. 882-3053. Zip. Nada. As in no cover to a gathering at IBT's. A light buffet from 6 to 8 p.m., dancing, toasting and party favors make this one a very good deal for a gay old time.
Double Zero. 121 E. Congress St. 670-9332. The ABCs of a hell of a good time? Try Double Zero, where the live music lineup will include The Elemenopees. Also on the stage--Good Talk Russ.
Che's Lounge. 350 N. Fourth Ave. 623-2088. No cover, kids. This place will be rockin' as the band Spacefish helps you launch into 2002. The music starts at 10 p.m. Standard drink specials. (Hey, some things you just can't improve on.)
Heart-Five. 61 E. Congress St. 903-0911. Now in its fourth year, Heart-Five's New Year's masquerade ball goes full-bore from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Co-sponsored by KFMA and featuring five DJs, this is the place to be for monster music. Masks available, champagne's free. Tickets are $25 singles, $40 couples.
Berky's Bar. 5796 E. Speedway Blvd. 296-1981. Do you voodoo? Catch the VooDoo Dudes at 9 p.m. Midnight champagne and party favors. Tickets cost $10; call the club.
PLEASING TO THE PALATE
Capriccio. 4825 N. First Ave.
887-2333. Get in the mood for a filet mignon with a red wine glaze. No? How about chili-rubbed center cut pork loin stuffed with sautéed spinach and roasted red peppers? OK, OK. You can have the shrimp and scallop bienville au gratin, lively spiced in the creole style. The New Year's Eve weekend celebration at Capriccio Bistro and Bar means you can eat Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday. Serving from 4 p.m. to close. Call for reservations.
Catalina Grille. Omni Tucson National. 877-2377. New Year's dinner here is a five-course prix fixe affair. The cost of $85 per person includes party favors and a bottle of champagne. Two seatings, call for reservations. Time: 5:30-11:30 p.m.
French Quarter. 3146 E. Grant Road. 318-4767. One party just ain't enough for the guys at this Cajun hot spot. On New Year's Eve, Frank Ace brings his smokin' blues band to Tucson's little stretch of the French Quarter. A $10 cover gets you beads and drink coupons for the party that starts at 9 p.m. But wait. There's more. On New Year's Day you can indulge in your holiday favorites. We're talking turkey--fried turkey, along with the traditional must-eats, black-eyed peas. Many, many delicious options for the feeding, which runs from 1 to 9 p.m. Adults cost $18.95 and the price includes bloody Marys and mimosas. Kids are $9.95. Reservations are required, so get on the horn.
Janos Restaurant and J Bar. 3770 E. Sunrise Drive. 615-6100. Janos has a great evening lined up and you've got a decision to make. First option: At Janos, enjoy a six-course menu at $100 per person without wines or $140 per person with wines paired with the meal. What's to eat? Pillow of lobster, sea scallops and chanterelles on cauliflower purée with saffron-scented lobster consommé and pearls of root vegetables. Or try the squab with roast figs, foie gras sauce, pomegranates and fingerling potatoes. That's just a hint. Second option: At J Bar, there are no choices in menu; you will get everything! Served family style, the offerings include Oaxacan holiday relleno with walnut sauce and pomegranates and smoked rib-eye with barbecue black beans and tangerine/smoked poblano salsa. This is a ganga deal for hungry people--just $50 a person. Musicians will travel between the restaurants. Call for reservations.
Wildflower Grill. 7037 N. Oracle Road. 219-4230. Maine lobster ravioli, tempura shrimp, fresh hearts of artichoke. Making your mouth water? Wildflower has a 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. meal that runs $40 per person and a 5:45 to 11 p.m. meal that's $55 a person. Call for reservations.
Bistro Zin. 1865 E. River Road. 299-7799. Looking for dinner on the late side? Look no further. Bistro Zin's got a 10:30 p.m. event that will have you licking your lips as you await 2002 with staff and other guests. Appetizers--there will be five to choose from--include seared dayboat scallops over truffle-whipped potatoes. Entrées--six of these--include miso-glazed Chilean sea bass over baby bok choy and tempura sweet potato. Four or five desserts will complete the feast for $60 per person. An earlier seating starts at 7:45. A lengthy wine list caters to any taste. Call for reservations.
Café Terra Cotta. 3500 E. Sunrise Drive. 577-8100. It's business as usual this year--and that's pretty damned good. In addition to the regular menu, the kitchen is busy fixing up a few specials. Call for reservations.
Soleil Restaurant. 3001 E. Skyline Drive. 299-3345. It'll cost you, but hey, New Year's only comes around 60 or 70 times in a lifetime. Get sumptuous eats and a panoramic view for $110 per person. Seatings are at 5, 7 and 9 p.m. for a seven-course extravaganza that includes Osetra caviar and Maine lobster. A five-course option costs $90 per person. The ever popular Martha Reed Trio will perform beginning at 6:30 p.m. Call for reservations.
Smuggler's Inn. 6330 E. Speedway Blvd. 296-3292. Party at Smuggler's Inn and stay the night. A smokin' package ($139 per couple) includes a prime rib dinner, soft bed and breakfast in the morning. Oh, yeah, party favors and champagne also are part of the deal. Call for reservations.
Marriott University Park. 880 E. Second St. 792-4100. Couples fork over $249 for a night to remember. Your hosts for the evening, KWFM's Alan Michaels and Andi Bennett, will keep things lively starting at 9 p.m. Still Cruisin' and Shear Delights will be turning out the tunes. The deluxe room package also includes prime rib, pork loin, grilled chicken, Atlantic salmon and a fabulous seafood station presented by executive chef Greg Smith. Call for reservations.
Club Congress. 311 E. Congress St. 622-8848. So you've read about the Giant Baby Drop (if not, see Club Congress under Drinkin' and Dancin'). A $150 package deal gets you tickets to the big gig--plus a room, champagne and breakfast. If that's not enough, a Bloody (Mary) Tuesday party starts New Year's Day "as soon as everybody wakes up." So, what are you waiting for?
Westward Look Resort. 245 E. Ina Road. 297-1151. Pick a late Christmas package. Westward's got several options to choose from. Enjoy a four-course evening in the Sonoran Ballroom for $195 per couple without a room, or $298 with a room. Johnny and the Nighttrain provide the music. Or you can indulge yourself in the resort's Gold Room for $250 per couple without a room or $353 with a room. This deal's also a four-course event. Other packages are available. Call for more information and reservations.
Rio Rico Resort. 1-800-288-4746. Let your hair down out of town. Something called Diamonds and Denim is ready to roll at this resort down the road from Tucson. The special package includes a deluxe room, dinner and dancing.
Laffs Comedy Caffé. 2900 E. Broadway Blvd. 32-FUNNY. Brian Bradley of Broadway's Grease and Seinfeld wants to tickle you. The comedian performs in two huge shows, the early dinner show and the club's big breakfast bash.
Casino of the Sun. I-19, exit Valencia West. 879-5417. Belly up to the slots or fill your belly with great food. With New Year's tunes courtesy the Garcia Brothers and Fito Oliveras, the evening also features a feast from Chuy's Mesquite Broiler, party favors and a countdown to midnight. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the party starts cranking at 8. Advance tickets are $30. Call for reservations or log on to www.ticketmaster.com.
Tucson Greyhound Park. 2601 S. Third Ave. 884-7576. Get the jump on your celebration with a 3 p.m. live matinee. Chow down on fantastic pastrami, corned beef or chicken sandwiches throughout the afternoon. The card will include 15 or 16 races.
Tucson Friends of Traditional Music. Temple of Music and Art Cabaret Theater, 330 S. Scott Ave. 579-2951. The New Year's Gala Contra Dance is a smoke- and booze-free party. It's an easygoing fun dance so bring your friends. A pot-luck supper before the dance will help you meet new friends. TFTM provides soft drinks and will cap the evening with a sparkling cider toast at midnight. Admission is $8. Students get in for $6 and TFTM members pay $7.
The Rio Nuevo First Run. 791-3109. This is a Race to Keep Our City Clean. It starts at 10:30 p.m. As Tucson joins this worldwide event, Tucson Clean and Beautiful will make this run a catalyst for Tucsonans to enjoy a safe, clean and fun New Year's Eve. The event, centered on a 1-mile fun walk and 5k race, will take place in the heart of downtown Tucson. In addition to the running and walking events, there will be costume contests, food and entertainment.