Did you spend last New Year's Eve home alone as revelers counted down to the new year on your TV? Was that you who spent the evening wiping up vomit at that not-so-happening house party? Could it be that you swore to find something cool to do next New Year's Eve as one of your resolutions?
Well, now is the time to act. Here are a few ideas:
Most everyone resolves to get in shape for the new year, so why not cram yourself full one last time? Check out the prime rib dinner at B.B. KING'S (147 Beale Street, 524-KING) and stick around for entertainment by Larry Springfield and Preston Shannon. Fifty bucks reserves a table for dinner, but if you've already started your diet, you can pay $20 just to watch the show. Seating for dinner begins at 7 p.m., and the music starts at 8 p.m. If it's jam bands you like, head over to BLUES CITY CAFE (138/140 Beale Street, 526-3637) and check out FreeWorld from 10 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. And since you're hanging out on Beale Street, you might as well hear some blues. The Eric Hughes Band will be laying down their Delta-blues sound at the KING'S PALACE CAFE (162 Beale Street, 529-0007) from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Reservations are required, but the $25 charge ensures you a table for the night. The NEW DAISY (330 Beale Street, 525-8979) is the place to go for a good dose of Memphis indie rock. Local faves Lucero will be heating up the stage along with The Glass, Secret Service, 7 $ Sox, Vending Machine, and Jeffrey Evans, beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and should be purchased in advance. THE PLUSH CLUB (380 Beale Street, 527-0063) is all about bringing in the new year with lots and lots of food. VIP tickets ($75) will get you admission to a dinner buffet (8-11 p.m.) and a breakfast buffet (12:30 a.m.). Other clubgoers ($30) can dine from the breakfast buffet at 1 p.m., and VIPs will join the rest of the crowd for a champagne toast at midnight. Performing at RUM BOOGIE CAFE (182 Beale Street, 528-0150) is James Govan and the Boogie Blues Band at 10 p.m. Reservations are required, and tickets are $25.
COLLIERVILLE/ CORDOVA/ GERMANTOWN
At EQUESTRIA RESTAURANT & LOUNGE (3165 Forest Hill-Irene, 869-2663), there's a four-course dinner where you can choose between such gourmet eats as stuffed shrimp, lobster bisque, grilled lamb chops, and roasted Chilean sea bass. The meal is $90 per person, and reservations are required. Not feeling so upscale? Have a famous Huey's burger and check out the sounds of The No Hit Wonders at HUEY'S CORDOVA (1771 N. Germantown Parkway, 754-3885) at 9 p.m. ($5 cover). If party-hopping is more your style, head to T.J. MULLIGAN'S CORDOVA (8071 Trinity Road, 756-4480) where you can hear Tom, Dick, & Harry ($10 cover) and pick up a wristband that will get you into all four T.J. Mulligan's locations for the night.
Downtown partygoers in the mood for a laid-back celebration should head to AUTOMATIC SLIM'S TONGA CLUB (83 South Second, 525-7948) where Memphis jazzman Gary Johns will perform. Enjoy the four-course dinner, complete with party favors, for $65 a person. But if it's beer (and a glass of midnight bubbly) you're after, the FLYING SAUCER (130 Peabody Place, 523-8536) is the place to be. Locals Deep Shag will be in the house, and $10 at the door will get a glass of champagne at midnight and party favors. Parties of four or more can reserve tables for $10 per person. The new South Main glass art gallery/cafe GLASSHOUSE 383 (383 South Main, 527-0055) will feature entertainment from Maria Spence. The $20 tickets include dessert, a commemorative photo, party favors, and champagne. For a really fancy shindig, check out the New Year's Eve Gala at the MADISON HOTEL (79 Madison Avenue, 333-1200) where Amy & The Tramps will be playing after a five-course dinner. Cover is $150 per person. Just a few blocks over, THE PEABODY is hosting another sophisticated affair. The bash is more like three parties in one with Gabby Johnson in the Grand Ballroom, G.I. Joe Mama in the Continental Ballroom, and Blind Mississippi Morris at the Corner Bar. The $30 cover gets you into all three shows. Special menus are offered at Capriccio Grill for $95 per person and Chez Philippe for $125 per person. It's a flashback to the days of spandex and hairspray at SWIG (100 Peabody Place, 522-8515) as they ring in the new year '80s-style. DJs Graflin Booth and Shoke will be spinning house and techno while mixing in your '80s favorites from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. The best part? There's no cover.
THE COCKEYED CAMEL (6080 Primacy Parkway, 683-4056) may have moved to a new location, but they still know how to throw one hell of a party. Backstage Pass will play from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., and they'll be offering some special New Year's menu selections. Reservations are required ($25 cover). If you're planning to spend the evening with your sweetie, go out for a romantic dinner at ERLING JENSEN (1044 South Yates, 763-3700) where the four-course dinner features shrimp bisque and fillet of buffalo ($80 per person). There's free grub at THE PARAGON LOUNGE (2865 Walnut Grove, 320-0026) at 10:30 p.m. and a free soul food buffet and champagne toast at midnight. WALLY JOE (5040 Sanderlin, 818-0821) will feature their annual New Year's Eve tasting menu for $90 per person. You can try foie gras, truffles, and caviar. Or check out a band named after our beloved freeway, 240 Loop at WILLIE MOFFATT'S (2779 Whitten Road, 386-2710) for $10.
HICKORY HILL/ SOUTHEAST
Spend the last night of the year throwing toothpicks at the ceiling and writing on the walls (and tables and booths) at HUEY'S SOUTHWIND (7825 Winchester, 624-8911), where you can chow down to the sounds of Blue Gauge ($5 cover).
Put on your dancin' shoes and rhinestone polyester jumpsuits and head over to BACKSTREET (2018 Court Avenue, 276-5522), where they'll be partying like it's 1979 rather than 2005. At "A Flashback to Studio 54," Backstreet promises "unexpected entertainment," a balloon drop at midnight, $5,000 in prizes, party favors, and a champagne toast. At the BLUE MONKEY (2012 Madison Avenue, 272-BLUE), you can hear bluesman Carlos Ecos for $10. Follow Kenny Brown around Midtown for some hill-country blues. First, he'll be at THE BUCCANEER (1368 Monroe, 278-0909) from 9 to 10:30 p.m. where revelers can enjoy a gourmet buffet ($10 cover). Then he's moving on to THE GLASS ONION (903 South Cooper, 274-5151) along with The Tearjerkers and Troelz Jensen ($15 cover). The Onion will also have door prizes, drink specials, and a champagne toast. At the HI-TONE CAFE (1913 Poplar, 278-TONE), it's the 3rd Annual "World's Greatest Rock '•' Roll New Year's Eve Party" with The Reigning Sound and Mr. Quintron for $10. If one of your resolutions this year involves more travel, you should head to SENSES (2866 Poplar, 454-4081), where attendees of their "Times Square New York New Year's Extravaganza" are eligible to win trips to Las Vegas and Acapulco as well as cash prizes. Multiple DJs will be spinning dance music, and the Times Square countdown will be broadcast on giant screens. Cover is $25 per person or $40 per couple. You could see The Ruffin Brown Band at XY&Z (394 N. Watkins, 722-8225) or check out the Southern soul sounds of The Gamble Brothers Band at the YOUNG AVENUE DELI (2119 Young Avenue, 278-0034). There's a $15 cover.
Spending New Year's Eve in rockin' Raleigh? Head to the BEL AIR CLUB (6195 Macon Rd., 388-1474) for Just In Time. It's $25 for couples, $15 for singles. At FLASHBACKS (5709 Raleigh-LaGrange, 383-7330), party with Twin Soul. But if it's '80s hair metal you're looking for, you can't go wrong with THE STAGE STOP (2951 Cela, 382-1577) where Lord Tracy will be playing a reunion show at 9 p.m.
UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS
Swelter is playing the HIGHLAND CUE (525 S. Highland, 327-9630). Just down the road at MO's MEMPHIS ORIGINALS (3521 Walker Ave., 413-1315), DJ Walt Bazner will be spinning American favorites. The $10 advance ticket price or the $12 charge at the door also includes any sandwich on the menu, hot wings, and pizza. And of course, there's always a big celebration to ring in the new year at NEWBY'S (539 S. Highland, 452-8408). This 28th annual event features music from Delta Grass, DayBreakDown, and Minivan Blues Band for a $7 cover. Parties of four or more can reserve tables for $10 per person, and there will be a balloon drop and champagne toast at midnight.
Wouldn't it be grand to start off 2005 with lots of cash? Start working those slot machines and you just might get lucky. But don't gamble too hard. Take a break and check out local rockabilly kings The Dempseys at GRAND CASINO (1-800-WIN-4-WIN). Or if party bands are more your style, Venus Mission is playing at the HORSESHOE CASINO (1-800-303-SHOE).
Don't miss the AXA LIBERTY BOWL CLASSIC at LIBERTY BOWL STADIUM (795-9095) as Boise State battles Louisville. Kick-off starts at 2:30 p.m. Not a sports fan? The South Main Art Trolley Tour will have a special New Year's "Champagne on South Main" tour from 6 to 9 p.m. (578-7262). Ask the trolley driver to let you out at THE TENNESSEE BREWERY (477 Tennessee Street) for the Memphis Heritage Benefit party from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Elmo & The Shades are playing. Cover is $25. Mystery fans should check out the Death Du Jour Mystery Dinner Theater at the SPAGHETTI WAREHOUSE (40 West Huling, 521-0907) at 7 p.m. You can volunteer to be a suspect or a detective. Tickets are $35 per person, and the price includes dinner. •