Well folks, I’d like to say that 2017 was an improvement over its predecessor, but alas, it’s been downright exhausting. All the more reason to celebrate the turning of the calendar page. We spend a lot of time here at Smile Politely sharing all the amazingness that C-U has to offer in terms of entertainment and dining, and it certainly does not let us down when it comes to New Year’s Eve revelry. Now, you may prefer to ring in 2018 at a house party or in your pajamas watching New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, but if you want to hit up some local spots we’ve got a mostly comprehensive list here of all that’s happening in the area. — Julie McClure

If you’re looking for a nice meal (and maybe want to go out on the town but also ring in the New Year in your jammies):

Black Dog Smoke & Ale House :: 201 N. Broadway, Urbana OR 320 N. Chestnut, Champaign

HOURS: Seatings at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

COST: $59.95 per person

Black Dog offers up all sorts of smoked goodness for NYE. It’s not often you can enjoy both smoked prime rib and smoked lobster in one delicious meal, plus the usual Black Dog sides, PLUS FRIED PIE. Call for reservations: 217-344-9342 (U) or 217-954-0465 (C). 

bacaro :: 113 N. Walnut, Champaign

HOURS: 5-10 p.m.

COST: $125 for nine-course tasting menu, $50 or $100 wine pairing options

Founder Thad Morrow is making an appearance as the guest chef, and will also be selecting the wine pairings. Seems like a pretty sweet opportunity, and I’m sure the offerings will be A-mazing. Make reservations by calling 217-398-6982 or online via their website or OpenTable.

MIGA :: 301 N. Neil Street, Champaign

HOURS: 5-11 p.m.

COST: Price Varies

Sakanaya :: 303 E. Green Street, Champaign

HOURS: 5-10 p.m.

COST: Price Varies

MIGA, and sister restaurant Sakanaya, aren't usually open on Sunday — but for this holiday, they sure are. Check out the times and locations above, and the special menus items for MIGA below.

Watson’s Shack & Rail :: 211 N. Neil Street, Champaign

HOURS: Pancake brunch on NYE 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Dinner 5-10 p.m., party 10 p.m.-12 a.m.

Correction: Initially we had the pancake brunch listed as New Year's Day, when in fact it is on New Year's Eve Day.

COST: Price Varies

Watson’s has a little something for everyone this year. A sit down prix fixe dinner (love the local tie ins with Hopscotch, Central Illinois Bakehouse, Page Roasting Co., and Delight Flower Farm), a late night shindig with champagne slushies and live music, and some next-day pancakes to soak up that hangover. Reservations required for dinner, contact rosemary@watsonschicken.com. Here's the dinner menu info from their Facebook event.

Appetizers (choose one)
Oyster Bienville
Kim chi devilled egg, smoked paprika, chicarones
Fried Boudin, remoulade

Table snacks:
CIB Parker House rolls, cultured sweet butter
Housemade pickles

Meat choices (choose one):
Spiced twelve-hour prime rib, horseradish bearnaise
Page Roasting Co. Coffee glazed ham, red eye gravy
Delight Flower Farm tea brined sturgeon, caviar hollandaise

Sides (choose three):
Crawfish jambalaya
Lobster mac ‘n cheese
Truffled mashed potatoes, chive butter
Duck-fat shoestring potatoes, malt vinegar aioli
Cane syrup braised yams
Brussels sprouts, twice-cooked pork belly
Hoppin’ John (black-eye peas and rice)
Spicy turnip greens

Dessert by Hopscotch!

Silvercreek :: 402 N. Race, Urbana

HOURS: 4-8 p.m.

COST: $39.95 for Adults, $15 for children

Silvercreek knows how to do a buffet, and their NYE version sounds quite wonderful. If you really want your kids to join you, the early dining option and children's buffet price is a nice touch. Call 217-328-3402 for reservations.

V. Picasso :: 122 N. Neil Street


COST: Varies

Make your reservations to enjoy a NYE brunch or dinner. They've got some tasty options no matter what time you want to celebrate. Here are the specifics from their Facebook page

Join us for brunch on New Years Eve! We'll have Steak and Eggs on special, featuring an 8oz strip, spicy hollandaise sauce with two farm fresh eggs AND a mimosa, all for $16!

And, on NYE we'll be ringing in 2018 with $2 oysters and a complimentary glass of champagne! Make your reservations today - cheers!

Big Grove Tavern :: 1 East Main Street, Champaign

HOURS: Open until Midnight on NYE, brunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m on NYD

COST: Varies

Hit up Big Grove for dinner and a champagne toast and/or brunch to cure your hangover the next day (or have a little hair of the dog with the mimosa bar). Regular menu options will be available as well as some New Year’s specials. Call 217-239-3505 for reservations.

Monarch Brewing Company :: 212 South Independence Street, Monticello

HOURS: 5 p.m.- 12 a.m.

COST: $55 per person

Monarch is serving up a five course dinner, with beer and wine pairings. If you've got a large group, private balcony seating is an option. Check out the details from their Facebook event:

Come ring in 2018 with us at MBC's first New Years Eve Celebration!

We will be offering a Five Course Dinner prepared by Chef Joe Zaranski. Each course will be accompanied by a select beer or wine pairing. Seatings for this dinner will be at 5:30pm and 8:00pm. The entire dinner package will be $55 per guest.

Menu :
1st course: Charcuterie Plate – Assorted Cured Meats
2nd course: Butternut Squash Bisque – Sage Cream, Candied Walnut
3rd course: Lobster Ravioli – Truffle Cream Sauce
4th course: Roasted Beef Tenderloin – Tart Cherry Demi, Wild Mushrooms
5th course: White Chocolate Champagne Fondue – Cake Cubes, Berries, Confetti Sprinkles
**Vegetarian and Gluten Free options are available.

Please email info@monarchbrewingco.com to reserve your seats for this special evening.

We will also have Karl Jendry performing speed paintings in our dining room.

Champagne Toast will be held at midnight.

Our Bar Area will be open to the public all night.

Private Balcony Seating will also be available for the evening. Our Large Balcony Suite seats up to 20 guests and includes two bottles of champagne for $250 plus purchase of individual tickets. We also have two Small Balcony Suites which seat up to 12 guests a piece and include a bottle of champagne for $150 each plus purchase of individual tickets. If interested in reserving, please email info@monarchbrewingco.com

If you're looking for the party scene...live music, DJs, drink specials and such...

The Canopy Club :: 708 S. Goodwin, Urbana

HOURS: 8 p.m.-2 a.m.

COST: $30 in advance, $35 at the door. Find tickets here

$30 for live music, open bar and some delicious Manolo's? Not too shabby. Sun Stereo describes themselves as "reminiscent of a wedding reception on acid sans the chicken dance."

City Center :: 505 S. Chestnut, Champaign

HOURS: 8 p.m.-2 a.m.

COST: Varies...purchase advance tickets here.

The City Center is another venue offering multiple package options for the evening. From their Facebook event:

NEW YEAR'S EVE BASH with Feudin' Hillbillys at The City Center!

Ticket levels:

$25- General Admission- Includes a Champagne toast at Midnight

$125- Reserved Table for 4 on Main Floor - $125 Each Table (Includes 4 General Admission Tickets. Must be purchased by table with 4 chairs)

$50- VIP - Main Floor Package
This is limited to 100 tickets and includes the following:
*OPEN BAR FOR THE NIGHT! – Draft Beer, House Wine & Well Liquor
*Champagne toast at Midnight

$60- VIP - Mezzanine Package
EXCLUSIVE ACCESS to the Mezzanine Level
This is limited to 100 tickets and includes the following:
*OPEN BAR FOR THE NIGHT! – Draft Beer, House Wine & Well Liquor
*Appetizer buffet at Midnight
*Champagne toast at Midnight

Cowboy Monkey :: 6 E. Taylor Street, Champaign

HOURS: 9 p.m.-2 a.m.

COST: No cover before 10:30

Your basic night out...DJ, ight hors d’oeuvres and a champagne toast.

51 Main :: 51 E. Main, Champaign

HOURS: Doors open at 8 p.m.

COST: $10 at the door

X-Krush delivers hard rock, pop, hip-hop, and country party tunes, then a DJ takes over for the after party. 51 Main is also offering free photos with fun props and such to help you remember the evening's festivities.

Bentley's :: 419 N. Neil, Champaign

HOURS: 10 p.m.- 2 a.m.

COST: No cover

DJ Nico, $5 infused bloody marys, $2 off whiskeys. Simple and chill.

The Iron Post :: 120 S. Race, Urbana

HOURS: 8 p.m.-midnight

COST: $10 cover

Live music from Chachi and the Bandidos, Relevator, The Merry Travelers and Paul Kotheimer.

Goldy's :: 123 S. Mattis #15, Champaign

HOURS: 8 p.m.-1 a.m.

COST: No cover

Vivacious Audio will be ringing in the New Year at Goldy's with rock, country, blues, and pop. Here are the details from their Facebook event:

Come ring in the New Year with live Rock & Roll, drinks, dancing, good people & fun, fun, fun!! Party favors provided, lots of great giveaways all night! And of course balloon drop and champagne toast at midnight. Only New years party in town of this magnitude for free!! VA's way of saying thank you for a great year.

Blackbird :: 119 W. Main Street, Urbana

HOURS: 9 p.m.- 2 a.m.

COST: $10 at the door

Funky music, funky costume contest (with a $100 cash prize), and a champagne toast.

Triptych Brewing :: 1703 Woodfield Drive, Savoy

HOURS: 12-11 p.m.

COST: No cover

Even though there isn't a special to-do at Triptych this New Year's, there's still an opportunity to hang there for all of you that don't want to be out of your own home past midnight. Good brews aplenty available, and they're open til 11 p.m., which is later than usual.

Riggs :: 1901 S. High Cross Road, Urbana

HOURS: 6 p.m.-midnight

COST: No cover, prices vary for food

Riggs has a little bit of everything going on, depending on your timing. Food, live music, and of course beer. Check out the Facebook details:

Ring in the new year with a Riggs beer!
No cover charge!
Live music!
Reservations and walk-ins wecome!

Gregory Street Catering menu:
- 1/3 rack ribs w/ Red Lager BBQ sauce or 2 American Lager soaked and roasted chicken leg quarters each served with Spaetzle, Red Cabbage & Hefeweizen bread $15 per plate
- Ribs & Chicken with 1/3 rack ribs, 1 leg quarter with above sides for $19.
- Snacks:
Bavarian Pretzel w/ obatzda $6
Brats $4
Pizza by the slice $5
Italian Beef Nachos $6
- Dinner: 6-9pm; Snacks: until midnight
- Table reservations can also reserve food

Live Music:
- Vinny Santanelli 6-8pm

- Can be made for food or tables
- Will not be taken for bar or party porch -- walk-ins welcome!

To make a reservation, please call the Tap Room at 217-718-5345.

Jupiter’s at the Crossing :: 2511 Village Green Place, Champaign

HOURS: 7 p.m.- 1 a.m.

COST: Varies

90’s Daughter will be ushering in the New Year at Jupiter’s at the Crossing, and you’ve got a multitude of experience options. A bonus: overnight parking is allowed, so feel free to Uber! Details from their Facebook event below:

Get your tickets at

Get paper tickets at Jupiter's Crossing and
save online service fees!
(General Admission and Prime Rib Only)

*Open Bar (premium beers & liquors)
*90's Daughter - Doors at 8:30pm, show at 9pm
*Pizza Buffet at Midnight
*Champagne Toast
*Photo Booth
*Party Favors
*After Party

*Includes GA Package
*Prime Rib/Chicken Buffet at 7:30

VIP HOTEL PACKAGE FOR TWO (limited availability) - $295
*Includes GA & Prime Rib Dinner Package
*Hotel Stay at Hawthorne Suites in Champaign, IL
*Hot Breakfast Buffet w/ Omelette Chef New Year's Day
*Transportation To And From The Show

VIP SEATING (limited availability)
$100 for a table of six (guests must buy ticket package)


Twitter: @90sdaughter
Instagram: #90sdaughtermusic

Overnight parking at Jupiters/Crossing is allowed - please don't drink and drive.

Thanks for all your support - it's why we do what we do!

Seven Saints :: 32 E. Chester Street, Champaign



Seven Saints is reprising their Speakeasy theme, for those who like to snazz it up a bit. Enjoy specialty cocktails and lots of fancily dressed people.

Radio Maria :: 119 N. Walnut Street

HOURS: 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

COST: No cover listed

Radio Maria takes on the 1920's theme as well. Not much info given about drink specials, but costumes are encouraged.

Barrelhouse 34 :: 34 E. Main Street, Champaign

HOURS: 9 p.m.-2 a.m.


NYE...Bill Nye...get it?? Grab your bow-tie and and enjoy a plethora of drinking options. 

Consider the following:

Join us at Barrelhouse 34 this year to celebrate NYE! We'll have test tube shots, specialty cocktails, and a beer list that's out of this world.

Bow-ties are encouraged, but not required. Champagne at midnight!

Soma :: 320 N. Neil Street

COST: $20-25

HOURS: 7 p.m. show and 9 p.m. show plus dancing at 11 p.m.

A comedy show might just be the what you need to celebrate the end of 2017. 

Esquire Lounge :: 106 N. Walnut Street, Champaign

HOURS: 8 p.m.-1 a.m.

COST: No cover

Here's what you can expect at Esquire in Downtown Champaign:

No cover! Come out on New Years Eve and listen to live music. From 5-8pm we will have a Traditional Jazz Orchestra, and from 9:30pm to 1am Kilborn Alley.

Rose Bowl Tavern :: 106 N. Race Street, Urbana

HOURS: 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

Here's what you can expect from Rose Bowl in Urbana:

Pre New Years Eve New Years Eve Party. Beat the rush. Come see Dennis Stroughmatt w/Greg Bigler, Darrel Cummings and Doug Rigsby. 8:30 pm.

Boomerang's :: 1309 E. Washington Street, Urbana

HOURS: 8 p.m.-12 a.m.

COST: No cover

Here's what you can expect at Boomerang's:

We finally landed the big fish - our favorite entertainer Candy Foster and Shades of Blue grace our stage for a New Year's Eve bash to rival the ages! FREE SHOW! 8pm

Overnight parking is allowed at The Boom - please don't drink and drive

For something a bit different...

Allerton :: 515 Old Timber Road, Monticello

HOURS: 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

COST: $80 per person

Ring in the New Year in style at the Allerton Mansion Masquerade Ball. Unfortunately, all of the guest rooms are sold out for the night. But, you can still grab your mask and enjoy cocktails, dancing, hors d’oeuvres, a photo booth, and more. Here’s more info from their website:

Spend a special evening at Allerton filled with costumes, cocktails, music, and dancing! Come in your masquerade mask and cocktail best to enjoy passed hors d’oeuvres, live music, an open beer/wine bar, and a fun photo booth. There will be a champagne toast at midnight and a late night snack.

Continue the fun (and celebrate responsibly!) by staying overnight (discounted package pricing available). A complimentary light breakfast on New Year’s Day is included.

Space is limited. Purchase tickets here.

NYE Event + Mansion Overnight* – $250/couple **SOLD OUT**
NYE Event + Guest House Overnight* – $235/couple **SOLD OUT**
NYE Event Only (No Overnight) – $80/person (If you are unable to stay, please plan your transporation prior to event.)

*Please note: Overnight accomodations will be in the Mansion or a guest house on the estate. Rooms will be assigned on a “first come, first served” basis. For specific room requests (i.e., number/size of beds, location, handicapped accessibility, etc.) please email Jordan at jmgiffor@illinois.edu. You can view all guestrooms here.

Please note that all sales are final.

Anju Above / Epiphany Farms :: 220 E. Front Street, Bloomington

HOURS: 9 p.m.-2 a.m.

COST: Anju: $15, Epiphany: $79 per person (wine pairing available for $41/$71)

If you're looking for something very different than spending NYE in Champaign-Urbana, celebrate it at one of these places in Bloomington nearby. A couple of great restaurants, both connected to one another — we've been including some Bloomington things here and there as they make sense.

The full menu at Epiphany Farms is available here.

Here's what you can expect from Anju Above:

Come join us at our 5th NYE Party! We will be hosting another epic party at Anju Above. 2 rooms, 2 shows and much more entertainment to enjoy!

We will be posting more details momentarily. Please tune in this event page and our website for the updates.

Tickets are available at our website ($15/person) with limited availability.

**We are offering only 2 VIP tables this year. Please contact us via email at contact@epiphanyfarms.com for more details.

Most of this article was written by Julie McClure, but Patrick Singer contributed a few entries. She did most of the work.