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Tracking down the best spots to have a ball when the ball drops
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Tracking down the best spots to have a ball when the ball drops

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If the past few years are any indication, thinking we’re leaving 2022 in the dust with the dawn of a new year is, well, a little misguided. After all, we thought we had booted 2019, then 2020, even 2021 to the curb, and even though the calendar changed, other things didn’t. At this point, we get it — we can’t escape. The pandemic. The political divide. The crappy weather and insane gas prices. And while we’ve learned that a new year doesn’t necessarily mean a whole new world, it is an excellent chance for an epic party. With that in mind, we present our guide for where to go and what to do this New Year’s Eve.

*Editor’s Note — most of the open bars have ticket prices that fluctuate in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, therefore specific prices are not listed below. Be sure to check venue websites and social media for pricing.

For the big playersNew Year’s Eve and Atlantic City casinos go together like peanut butter and jelly — it’s hard to imagine one without the other. They don’t call it “America’s Playground’ for nothing, and if there’s ever a time for fun, it’s New Year’s Eve.

Head to Bally’s Atlantic City for “One Big Party” at The Yard that includes open bar and hors d’ oeuvres 9 to 11 p.m. followed by a cash bar, beer specials and live music from Stealing Savanah. And in Bally’s Grand Ballroom, guests can ring in the New Year with a dinner hosted by legendary Hall of Fame DJ “The Geator with the Heater,” Jerry Blavat. Event includes dinner, dancing to music by The Intruders, an open bar and champagne toast at midnight.

There’s plenty going on at Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa. Head to Gypsy Bar for music from Eleven Eleven followed by Liquid A; to B Bar for music from Black Car Gina Duo at 6:30 p.m. followed by Early Birds at 10:30 p.m.; and to Premiere Nightclub for a multi-day, New Year’s celebration that includes Marty Rock on Friday, Dec. 30 before Cash Cash rings in the New Year with premium bar options on Saturday, Dec. 31.

Over at Caesars Atlantic City, the party at Wild Wild West is sure to be wild, with $4 beers, $5 cocktails, $10 champagne splits and live entertainment featuring a DJ and Garden State Radio. Plus, enjoy an open bar at Boardwalk Saloon from 9 to 11 p.m., including a champagne toast at midnight. And at Toga Bar, ring in the new year with DJ Redline.

At Golden Nugget Atlantic City, ring in the new year at The Wave’s New Year’s Eve Party with a three-hour open bar from 8 to 11 p.m., party favors, complimentary toast at midnight and live entertainment by The Exceptions. Or, head to Rush Lounge for tunes from Michael Stevens, 6 to 10 p.m. followed by No Pressure from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Head to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City for plenty of live music — at Lobby Bar, Dane Anthony plays 1 to 4 p.m. followed by DJ Dr1ft from 4:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Dirty Dance Band from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., and Priceless from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; at Council Oaks Steaks & Seafood, Steve Myerson plays 6 p.m. to midnight; and at Hard Rock Café, Dueling Pianos take the stage 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

New Year’s Eve at The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s Resort is always one for the books, and this year is no exception. Ring in the New Year with DJ Chris Devine and DJ Dnial, a three-hour open bar from 8 to 11 p.m. before general admission opens at 11 p.m. and a party that goes until 3 a.m. At Eden Lounge, Big House Band rocks the New Year from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

The parties at Ocean Casino Resort are bound to be epic, including the Serendipity3 New Year’s Eve Celebration at 9 p.m., with a midnight toast with live music; and the Nola’s Bar & Lounge New Year’s Eve Celebration at 9 p.m., which includes a premium hosted bar and complimentary glass of champagne at midnight along with the music of DJ Luap, The Benderz and Crash the Party. At Villain & Saint, ring in the new year with tunes from The Coconutz at 6 p.m. and Element K at 10 p.m., and at HQ2 Nightclub, NYE includes a premium bar from 9 to 11 p.m. and music from Gattuso.

At Resorts Casino Hotel, check out the big party at Margaritaville with Remedy Band from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

Tropicana Atlantic City feels like New Year’s Eve on a regular day, so come the real deal, it feels supercharged. Get there for a Boogie Nights Bash with open bar from 9 to 11 p.m., balloon drop and a midnight champagne toast; to Kiss Kiss for open bar from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. with VIP tickets available for early entry and music by Vito G; to Anthem Lounge for an out of this world event with three-hour open bar from 9 p.m. to midnight, complimentary champagne toast, party favors, noise makers, music from DJ B Lee and galactic entertainment by Go Events Dancers all with a backdrop of futuristic decorations for this outer space themed adult; to Gin Rickey’s for live music, cocktails, and a champagne toast at midnight; to Tango’s Lounge for music from Abby Lee Duo followed by DJ Ahmed Khan; to Cuba Libre for a special midnight madness celebration with live countdown and ball drop viewing from Times Square, complimentary party favors, music by DJ B3bo and a VIP open bar from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.; or to Firewaters Saloon for NYE with Young Boi Mitch and L-Train.

It’s no longer a gambling destination, but it still counts as a biggie. Head to Showboat Hotel where NYE is going to be “Off the Hook” with an all you can eat VIP Crab and Lobster Fest with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight, open bar options, and entertainment from Down2Earth Band.

The No-Less Amazing Local BarsYour local watering hole is a perfect place to ring in the New Year. Not only are you likely to run into some likeminded friends and friends-to-be, but things are bound to be festive.

In Atlantic City, head to Rhythm & Spirits in Atlantic City for a party from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. featuring music from Haus of Queens and DJ Devenchy. Head to Vagabond Kitchen & Tap House for a NYE party featuring DJ Jerry McGee and a complimentary champagne toast; to Anchor Rock Club for a Sad & Boujee emo night dance party with free champagne toast at midnight; to The VUE Rooftop Bar at Claridge for a 3-hour open bar with appetizers, party favors, champagne toast at midnight and tunes from DJ Dahve from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.; or to Kelsey’s for music, noisemakers, open bar, buffet and a champagne toast.

The fun continues elsewhere in Atlantic County at Bulldogs Bar & Grill with a NYE performance from Mara Justine; to Sweetwater Marina and Riverdeck for a ’70s style New Year’s Eve bash with open bar and champagne toast, live music from Coast 2 Coast, signature cocktails, passed hors d’oeuvres, carving station and more; to JD’s Pub & Grille for a NYE with Petty Cash Duo; to Pitney Pub for drink specials, champagne toast, and music from 40 North; to Johnny’s Café & Bar for a NYE with Jontourage; to Brick House Pub for a NYE party hosted by DJ Univerzal from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; to Atlantic City Country Club for a special NYE a la carte menu with entertainment from Tommy Delcorio Jr.; to Gregory’s for NYE with a DJ; to Josie Kelly’s for not one, but two chances to celebrate the New Year (see: Irish New Year) including a New Year’s Eve bash at 9 p.m. with the Billy Walton Band and ball drop at midnight; to No. 79 for open bar, live music with Mel & Tony, and champagne toast at midnight; to Rocco’s for rockabilly, surf and country swing from Lower Band Kustums; and to Watering Hole to rock in the New Year with CoverBridge.

In Cape May County, things are no less rambunctious, with parties from the tip of the state all the way up to Upper Township, the northernmost part of the county. Starting at the top and moving our way down, head to Tuckahoe Inn for a NYE with musician Ben Singleton; to Yesterday’s Creekside Tavern for live music from Independence Day and a NYE countdown; to the Deauville Inn for a gala that includes a special 5-course prix-fixe menu, acoustic music from Joe Napoli during dinner, live DJ and dancing at 10 p.m., party favors, giveaways and champagne toast at midnight; to The Ludlam for a NYE party with Matt Quinton; to Beachwood at the Dunes for a NYE celebration with holiday-inspired specials, craft cocktails, midnight champagne toast and music from The Bar None Band; to Oar House Pub for a NYE party with Funz-A-Luv; to The Princeton for their annual NYE party with The Whitewalls; to Icona Avalon’s NYE party with 4-hour premium open bar, DJ entertainment, dancing, champagne toast, Viennese dessert buffet and more; to The Reeds at Shelter Haven for a champagne ball complete with a champagne wall, five-hour open bar, hors d’oeuvres, three-course plated dinner, midnight toast and breakfast (!) with live DJ; to Jester’s Dive Bar for NYE with Brandon Ireland Band; to Owen’s Pub for dinner specials, music from DJ Mikey D, complimentary champagne toast, party favors and continental breakfast; to The Inlet for music from LeCompt, dinner, dancing, top shelf open bar and champagne toast; to Goodnight Irene’s for a celebration featuring DJ Palk, $3 craft cans and complimentary champagne toast; to MudHen Brewing for a NYE party with live music from Amanda & Teddy Band and complimentary champagne toast at midnight; to Dogtooth Bar & Grill for music from DJ Denny Oh; to Nauti Spirits for a party with DJ Torey Whom, $10 kegails and Ragin Grill food truck; to Elaine’s for a NYE Gala and Comedy Show with seasonal cocktails, champagne toasts, hat and noisemakers; to Mad Batter for NYE with Jim Doran; to Congress Hall for their annual ‘20s-style Glitter Ball with live music, open bar and plenty of dancing; to Fins Cape May for NYE with DJ Brickhouse; to the Ugly Mug to celebrate the new year with Flip ‘N’ Mickeys; and to Carney’s for a NYE Masquerade Party with open bar, live music and a DJ.

And in Ocean County, head to Buckalew’s Tavern for a New Year’s Eve party with No Time Lost; to Nardi’s for Third Watch and Mr. Lovejoy; to Sun Harbor Seafood & Grill for NYE with the Drunken Clams; to Daddy O for a party with the Brian Parr Band; and to The Old Causeway to ring in 2023 with Naughty Pines.

The Irish New YearCalling all Irish! There’s no reason not to celebrate the New Year at midnight, but if you want a chance to double your fun, head to an Irish celebration, where they’re celebrating the ball drop in Ireland at 7 p.m. At Josie Kelly’s, the Irish & American New Year party kicks off at 5 p.m. and includes music from Tom Brett and Bill Feliz before a complimentary toast at 7 p.m. And at Lighthouse Tavern in Waretown, the Irish New Year’s Eve Party kicks off at 5 p.m. with Shay Mac.

Including the KidsWant to include the kids on your New Year’s Eve celebration but also keep them from having a midnight meltdown? Fortunately, there are lots of options for kid specific NYE parties.

Head to Ferry Park for their inaugural Kid’s New Year’s Eve Party with a photo station, face painting, kids dance party, a 6 p.m. ball drop, a kids buffet that includes favorites like chicken tenders and hot dogs, mac and cheese, french fries and cookies, and a special kid-friendly signature drink from 2 to 7 p.m.; to Carney’s for a kids NYE Masquerade Party with food, crafts, music, games, and a piñata as well as a cookies and milk toast from 5 to 7 p.m.; to Renault Winery, where kids enjoy a “Noon Year’s Eve” Celebration from noon to 5 p.m. with non-alcoholic champagne, decorations, ice skating, vintner express tractor wagon rides, and a countdown on the big screen; and to MudHen Brewing Company for a kid’s New Year’s Eve party with a DJ, balloon drop, and milk and cookie toast from 4 to 6 p.m.

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