.New Year’s Eve Guide 2018

The best places to nosh, dance, party, hear music, and watch the balloons drop this year.

A Special New Year’s Eve Performance of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

It is impossible to talk about albums that have defined a time period in music without including The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Released in summer of 1998, the album garnered praise with music critics across all aisles. In it, Hill portrays a deeply personal account of being a woman as well as the trials and tribulations of navigating love, work, motherhood, and self-worth, all while incorporating a multitude of music genres: R&B, reggae, hip-hop, and soul. This musical gem went on to be nominated for 10 Grammy Awards, taking home five that year. In honor of the 20th anniversary of its release, Ms. Lauryn Hill will be playing the album in its entirety on New Year’s Eve, making this easily one of the most anticipated concerts to end the year with a bang! — Azucena Rasilla

Dec. 31, 8 p.m., $99.50-$149.50, Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, TheFoxOakland.com


If New Year’s Eve is your favorite day of the year, you might wish it was possible to celebrate it multiple times a year, or even multiple days in a row. While we can’t promise balloon drops and count downs back-to-back days, we can suggest hitting up Coalesce for a three-day party leading up to the New Year. There will be the sort of bass that vibrates through your whole body, and all the bloops and beeps and drops and wubs and untz untz untz electronic dance music fans crave. Headliner Tipper hails from London and helped usher in the popularity of glitch hop. Another main attraction is Swedish-born producer Liquid Stranger, who takes dubstep to new, psychedelic, experimental, and internationally influenced heights. The Cosmic Synergy-presented lineup also includes Two Fingers, Spoonbill, and Jade Cicada, as well as live painting and other visual art. — Janelle Bitker

Dec. 29-31, 7 p.m.-2 a.m., $231-$252 for three-day pass, Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way South, Richmond, Facebook.com/CosmicSynergy

A Five-Course Meal at Abstract Table
For lovers of both art and food, Abstract Table, a new Japanese-inspired permanent pop-up dinner series inside the casual yet hip Gastropig, will be serving up a special New Year’s Eve edition of their dining “exhibitions” — food presented with an artistic edge. Chefs Andrew Greene and Duncan Kwitkor will be offering a special five-course menu, beginning with three different ocean trout “textures:” trout belly, kombu-cured trout loin, and chicharron made of trout, along with yuzu curd, wasabi crème fraîche, and kelp caviar. Next up will be saba, or mackerel, with smoked leeks, farro verde, and black garlic cream. There’ll also be kinmedai, a type of fish also known as alfonsino, served with pumpkin, pickled fennel, and satsuma oil; and venison along with wild fermented mushrooms and beet ice. For dessert, enjoy a Japanese honey cake with Fresno chili ice cream, candied citrus, and a ginger-carrot crème anglaise. Make reservations online at Resy. — Katherine Hamilton

Monday, Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m., $90, 2123 Franklin St., Oakland, AbstractTable.com

New Year’s Eve Balloon Drop
For many East Bay families, heading to the Chabot Space & Science Center has become an annual New Year tradition. That’s because staying up until midnight is usually not an option — or desired in the slightest — for parents and their young kids. At Chabot’s 18th annual New Year’s Eve balloon drop, families can celebrate strokes of midnight in other countries at much more convenient local times: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. Kids 12 and under can still count down and delight in the release of hundreds of colorful balloons — plus, there are plenty of fun activities to explore afterward throughout the museum. Members can already register to participate in the New Year’s Eve festivities, while the general public can start booking their slots Monday, Dec. 10. — Janelle Bitker

Monday, Dec. 31, 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m., free with museum admission, 10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, ChabotSpace.org

New Year’s Eve at Benchmark
Benchmark Pizzeria of Kensington has garnered acclaim for its neo-Neapolitan, sourdough pizza, along with its housemade pasta. This fall, Benchmark owners Melissa and Peter Swanson expanded to a second location in Old Oakland. For New Year’s Eve, both locations will be offering special celebratory menus. At the cozy, charming Kensington location, expect the usual menu including pizza (try the fried sage version), fresh salads, and pasta, along with special Dungeness crab and sparkling rosé to mark the occasion. At the historic, elegant Old Oakland location, you’ll find the usual a la carte menu along with a four-course prix-fixe meal ($85) of Italian New Year’s specialties such as cotechino, a slow-cooked pork sausage, and lentils, which are believed to bring prosperity due to their coin-like shape. Wine pairings will be available for an extra charge. At both locations, guests will receive party favors to ring in the New Year. Reservations are available online at Resy. — Katherine Hamilton

Monday, Dec. 31, 5-9 p.m., 1568 Oak View Ave., Kensington and 499 9th St., Oakland, BenchmarkPizza.com

New Year’s Eve 2019 Gala
Ladies, dust off your favorite LBD, and fellas, get your suits to the dry cleaner as soon as possible — you will need a fly outfit to attend this black-tie gala conveniently taking place at the Hilton Oakland Airport Hotel. While you wait for 2019 to make its grand entrance, you will be busy on the dance floor getting down to the sounds of ’70s- and ’80s-era funk, soul, R&B, and pop courtesy of DJ Keel, along with other live entertainment and a sit-down dinner. There will also be a silent auction benefiting Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Support Services and the Days for Girls Nairobi Zariel. There is no better way to end the year than having fun while helping out a noble cause. Once you place your bidding, get ready for the midnight balloon drop and, of course, a New Year’s kiss. —Azucena Rasilla

Dec. 31, 6 p.m., $81.24-$160.41, 1 Hegenberger Rd., Oakland, NewYearsEve-SF.com

Motown on Mondays NYE Party
This past October, the beloved Motown on Mondays party turned five years old. Thanks to New Year’s Eve falling on a Monday, those who have never experienced one of these nights with DJ Malachi and DJ Platurn behind the ones and twos can finally do so. The party sees spins of remixes, originals, and siblings of Motown tunes, so you can shout the lyrics along to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” with a bunch of sweaty, new best friends. Even if the music isn’t your thing, this will undoubtedly appeal to those who would rather head to their favorite bar than spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy event. At the Legionnaire, you can wear a casual outfit and hang out with familiar faces in a non-pretentious environment. The crew at Legionnaire will, of course, have a midnight toast, while DJs keep you on the dance floor to the tunes of soul, funk, and disco on both levels of the Legionnaire. —Azucena Rasilla

Dec. 31, 9 p.m., $5, The Legionnaire Saloon, 2272 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, LegionnaireSaloon.com

KALX Presents New Year’s Eve with Shannon and the Clams
We know Express readers love local indie band Shannon and the Clams — earlier this year, the indie garage act faced tough competition in our Best Of the East Bay’s best band category but managed to land as runner-up. All year, the quartet has kept busy promoting its latest album, Onion, a timeless and charming collection in typical Shannon and the Clams fashion. Their infectious hooks, which incorporate doo-wop, garage psych, and surf rock elements, are making an appearance at The New Parish for New Year’s Eve. KALX is presenting the show, which offers a high-energy way to listen to tracks from their latest release live with Shannon Shaw on vocals, guitar riffs by Cody Blanchard, key notes by keyboardist Will Sprott, and Nate Mahan rocking the drums. — Azucena Rasilla

Dec. 31, 9 p.m., $40-$50, The New Parish, 1743 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, TheNewParish.com

[image-10] New Year’s Eve with SambaDá 
Head to La Peña Cultural Center for a New Year’s Eve party with Brazilian flair. The main attraction will be the immediately festive, rockin’ live music from Afro-Brazilian act SambaDá. The Santa Cruz-based, six-piece collective has been starting raucous dance parties for more than 10 years, melding their diverse backgrounds into a mash up of samba, reggae, and funk that’s still rooted in musical tradition thanks to founding members and Brazilian natives Papiba Godinho and Dandha da Hora. The music won’t stop when SambaDá’s set ends, though. BRAZA Party will keep bodies moving with DJ sets all night, not to mention the feathered samba dance performances, a Caipirinha bar, and Brazilian eats for sale by Brazilian Breads. Join the Brazilian tradition by wearing white and bring the kids along — this promises to be the rare family-friendly event that goes all the way until 2 a.m. — Janelle Bitker

Dec. 31, 9 p.m.-2 a.m., $35-$50, 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, LaPena.org

[image-11] Oakland Zoo’s Zoo Lights
While some people enjoy the hustle and bustle of a night out for New Year’s Eve, others prefer a slightly less hectic approach. Nestled in the Oakland hills, the Oakland Zoo transforms itself during the holidays into a colorful winter wonderland. A million glowing lights adorn the zoo, and you can hitch a ride in one of the gondolas to enjoy our beautiful Bay Area skyline like never before. If you’d rather stay grounded and not reach for the sky, there’s plenty to do around the zoo, including a “Music in Motion” laser light show where you’ll be able to sing along to holiday classics — “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,” anyone? The gondola runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., which gives you plenty of time to enjoy this adventure and still make it home to watch the countdown from the comfort of your couch. — Azucena Rasilla

Dec. 31, 5:30 p.m., $8-$10, free for children under 2 and adults over 76, 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, OaklandZoo.org


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