When it comes to New Year’s Eve celebrations, London offers almost too much choice – so we’ve narrowed your selection down to 10 great events. Whether you’re in the mood for a rip-roaring Hogmanay blowout, an end-of-year fancy-dress extravaganza, or a 1920s’ masterclass in elegant excess, make New Year’s Eve 2012 a night to remember with Square Meal.
Being a Scottish restaurant, Albannach is a natural choice for a top-flight Hogmanay shindig. This New Year, its theme is the Best of Britain; diners can look forward to a five-course dinner featuring canapés such as Bloody Mary Cornish rock-oyster ‘shooters’, and venison Wellington with buttered baby carrots, green beans and redcurrant sauce. The meal includes a glass of Champagne and live music late into the night. Tickets cost £100 (or £85 for the 6.30pm sitting).
Beach Blanket Babylon (pictured, top right)
Both the Shoreditch and Notting Hill branches of this funky bohemian bar are embracing all things 1920s for New Year’s Eve – so expect flapper dresses, the Charleston, Prohibition-era cocktails and free-flowing bubbly. Diners can book a table of 10 (minimum spend £500 per table) and enjoy a four-course Hogmanay dinner with a glass of Champagne. Alternatively, join in the fun at the after-dinner party, held in the each venue’s Champagne lounge (entry costs £25).
The Battersea bar is taking revellers back to the 18th century this year by hosting a Venetian masked ball. Guests will be presented with a Venetian mask and a martini royale cocktail upon arrival, then whisked into the dining room for a six-course Italian feast. An after-party will see diners through until dawn. Dinner costs £85; entry to the after-party costs £20 when booked in advance.
Although both branches of Dishoom are hosting their own parties, both with a ‘Bombay Vintage Glam’ theme, head to Shoreditch for the hippest version. You and your friends can sit down to a 10-course feast of sharing dishes before bopping the night away to music from Cornershop, the indie outfit best known for their hit Brimful of Asha. Tickets cost £48, including a welcome cocktail.
The stand-out newcomer comes highly recommended by the Square Meal team. Step into the world of film noir, where shady private detectives usher drinkers through the hidden door in their office to a secret Prohibition-style bar.
Galvin is preparing a full-on French menu for its New Year's Eve celebrations. Choose from dishes such as pumpkin velouté with roast chestnut and ceps and daube of beef bourguignon with pommes mousseline, before tucking into a plate of cheeses and a selection of decadent desserts. Live jazz from New Orleans outfit Sax & the City will keep the party swinging until the small hours. Tickets cost £85.
This snazzy brasserie and Champagne bar is offering the ultimate New Year combo: guests can sit down to a four-course dinner, then get their groove on in the bar, where Electric Swing Club DJ Max Pashm will blend the tunes of the 1920s with modern beats until 3am. Dinner costs £49; entry to the Champagne Bar, including a free cocktail upon arrival, costs £20.
The Roaring Twenties are a recurrent theme for New-Year revellers this year. At Lucky Pig, gals should make like a flapper with pearls and kiss-curls, and fellas should don their suits and spats in anticipation of a night of canapés, cocktails, Champagne and swing tunes. Tickets cost £50.
Even if you’re a regular at Paradise, you can arrive incognito this New Year’s Eve, when once again the whole venue will be opened up for a masquerade ball. Handmade masks are the desired dress code, so go wild with frou-frou ribbons, bijou beading and other fin-de-siècle accoutrements. Entry costs £25, and DJs will rock the dance floors until 4am.
Non-members of The Gherkin’s exclusive club can toast the New Year in style this December with a four-course meal, eaten at an altitude of 180m. Take in the 360-degree views of London as the sun sets, glass of Champagne in hand, then sit down to a four-course meal with live entertainment. Tickets cost from £230 (£290 including wine).
This feature was published in December 2012.