GET OUT: EAT UP
You're cutting it close this year. New Year's Eve gets going in a matter of hours. Yes, you can stay home in your fuzzy slippers and watch the ball drop on television, but that strategy yields very disappointing selfies. Here are a handful of food (and drink, of course) based NYE outings around Tampa Bay.
What says fancy New Year's Eve party loud and clear? French food. These days there are precious few emporia of mousselines and escargots, but Café Largo has you covered. There's a prix fixe dinner Thursday night for $72.50 per person (plus tax and tip), with a choice of appetizers (those escargots, foie gras and fennel soup with absinthe come with an extra charge), a salad with cheese, a choice of entrees (prime cut of beef, Scottish salmon or roasted pheasant galantine) and then dessert will ring in 2016 sweetly: chocolate verrine with nougatine and Bollinger Champagne. 12551 Indian Rocks Road, Largo. (727) 596-6282.
At glamorous New Port Richey newcomer Dulcet, equal parts restaurant and nightclub, Stevie B will perform for the evening. The celebration runs 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., general admission tickets are $50, VIP admission is $100 and features an all-you-can-eat buffet, and table reservations featuring an appetizer platter as well as a bottle of champagne available for $300. The sound in the 6,200-square-foot property is seriously good: There is a constellation of more than 40 Bose speakers up high, and one whole wall given over to a videotaped music system called 4K Atmosphere. 6220 Grand Blvd., New Port Richey. (727) 494-7654.
Or you could get out on the water with the Yacht StarShip. Their NYEve VIP fireworks cruise is a 21 and older celebration commencing at 8:30 p.m. and featuring an open, premium bar and gourmet, four-course seated meal, DJ music, party favors, a champagne toast at midnight and a great view of the fireworks at Channelside. Cocktail attire required. $199.95. 603 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 223-7999.
James Bond fans can glam it up at the Diamonds Are Forever festivities at the Hilton Hotel Downtown Tampa. Dress to kill for this 007-themed chic party with a red carpet entry, professional photographers, themed drinks, appetizers, DJ dancing, party favors and a liquor infused midnight snack. $55 and the party starts at 10 p.m. 211 N Tampa St., Tampa. (813) 447-8538.
At Greg and Michelle Baker's Seminole Heights Fodder and Shine, toast to the new year with '80s punk, pop and hip-hop with DJ Rich Ranck. There will be drink specials, champagne punch, midnight "Kill the Keg" and a complimentary midnight munchies buffet from midnight to 3 a.m., with the full dinner menu offered until 10 p.m. 5910 N Florida Ave., Tampa. (813) 234-3710.
Looking for a bargain so you emerge in 2016 as a more fiscally responsible you? The Blind Goat in South Tampa offers a $75 party with open bar all night long (seriously, any and all of the liquor, beer and wines, including the top-shelf quaffs), unlimited dinner (endless supply of pizza, wings and salads) until 11 p.m. and a champagne toast at midnight. There will be music and dancing as well as all the college football playoff games on TV. Things gear up at 8 p.m. and this is a 21-and-over party. 4106 Henderson Blvd., Tampa. (813) 515-7962.
Jackson's Bistro Bar & Sushi has long been one of Tampa Bay's best-known New Year's Eve celebrations. It includes indoor and outdoor party areas, fireworks viewing, party favors, balloon drop, entertainment and a champagne toast. Wear whatever floats your boat, and the party starts at 9 p.m. and continues until 3 a.m. $25 general, $55 VIP, $129 VIP Plus. 601 S Harbour Island Blvd., Tampa. (813) 277-0112.