Here it goes again: New Year's Eve. Last year, you swore you wouldn't go to another party filled with strangers. You decided then, as you locked yourself in the bathroom to avoid the touchy-feely toll of the new year, that next time you'll be in Hawaii or New York or Paris or Cancun or Miami or the Bahamas. And here it goes again. But you don't have to have a repeat of last year. There is plenty to do. Plenty.
At ALFRED'S (197 Beale, 525-3711), Nation will get you going with party tunes at 10:30 p.m., and afterward you can enjoy Steve Reid, Dave Smith, and Steve Wenger ($20-$25 cover). Just a few doors down, at BLUES HALL COFFEE HOUSE (182 Beale, 527-4392), Blind Mississippi Morris will do his "thang" from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., and Faultline will step in at 10 p.m. For a New Year's Eve workout -- dance, dance, dance! -- move your feet over to CLUB 152 (152 Beale, 544-7011) and DJs Tony and Worm at 10 p.m. If this doesn't suit you, swing over to the NEW DAISY (330 Beale, 525-8979) and party with Another Society, Rail, Ashley Red, Crippled Nation, and Sheltered Life. Doors open at 7 p.m. ($10 cover). Get down, boogie, woogie, woogie at the RUM BOOGIE CAFE (182 Beale, 528-0150) with the Kirk Smithhart Band (5:30 to 9:30 p.m.) and James Govan & the Boogie Blues Band (10 p.m. to midnight) ($15 cover). If you always thought that you could do a better job than Gloria Gaynor, PAT O'BRIEN'S (310 Beale, 529-0900) may be your choice for the night. There, you can enjoy sing-along entertainment at the piano bar and a champagne toast and party favors at midnight (cover: $25 in advance, $30 at the door).
For a laid-back New Year's Eve, visit EQUESTRIA Restaurant & Lounge (3165 Forest Hill-Irene Rd., 869-2663), which offers a five-course menu including a variety of appetizers and salads as well as a choice of grilled ahi tuna, beef tenderloin, veal Milanese, sun-dried apricot-encrusted grouper, or a filet with rosemary shrimp and scallops, and a choice of desserts for $80/ person, gratuity not included. You can't do without your HUEY'S burger on New Year's Eve (1771 S. Germantown Rd., 754-3885)? You don't have to. You can get as many burgers as you can eat (and afford) and enjoy The Lakesiders at 9 p.m. ($5 cover).
Celebrate New Year's Eve at AUTOMATIC SLIM'S Tonga Club (83 S. Second, 525-7948) and a four-course menu for $65 that offers a choice of four appetizers, entrées, and desserts, plus live entertainment by Los Cantadores. DAN MCGUINNESS PUB (Peabody Place, 527-8500) joins other mall businesses for a big party with various bands and DJs (no cover). Stop for a soul burger at EARNESTINE & HAZEL'S (84 G.E. Patterson, 523-9754), work its jukebox downstairs, or listen to Mr. Todd on the piano upstairs (no cover). And you'd better not miss Aquanet playing from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the FLYING SAUCER (130 Peabody Pl., 523-8536) -- $10 cover. To experience the not-so-ordinary party, throw on your cocktail dress and have your chauffeur take you to the MADISON HOTEL (79 Madison, 333-1215) for a five-course dinner with wine, champagne toast, and party favors for $150/person. Seating starts at 8 p.m. Cash bar and live band Di Anne Price and Her Boyfriends. If you like it, you can stay: dinner and overnight stay in a deluxe room: $596 to $671/couple.
The COCKEYED CAMEL (5871 Poplar, 683-4056) will host a New Year's Eve party with Backstage Pass and recommends reservations. ERLING JENSEN: The Restaurant (1044 S. Yates, 763-3700) offers a four-course New Year's Eve dinner for $75/ person, including entrée choices such as buffalo tenderloin, Arctic char, and pheasant breast -- but you better make those reservations. FOLK'S FOLLY (551 S. Mendenhall, 762-8200) really cuts down on the fuss, simply offering regular dinner available from 5 p.m. to midnight and Larry Cunningham on the piano in the front lounge all night long. You'll get in for free at PATRICK'S (4698 Spottswood, 682-2853) and be entertained by The Marie Spence Band, or drive down to THE BOTTOM LINE (1817 Kirby Pkwy., 755-2481) for an evening with The Plaintiffs. If you want to pretend you are in New York while you're actually at a restaurant in Memphis, WALLY JOE (5040 Sanderlin, 818-0821) should be your choice. There you can indulge in a New Year's Eve menu with either four courses for $75/person or a seven course and glass of champagne for $125/person.
You may have to BYOB at CLUB 51 (872-0151), but its New Year's Eve party with Eden's Alley is said to be worth the trip ($10/person, $15/couple; doors open at 8 p.m.).
T.J. MULLIGAN'S (6635 Quince Rd., 753-8056)? Yes! Because if you don't know where to go, you can be sure to always find T.J.'s and have a great New Year's Eve party with The Snozberrys, champagne toast at midnight, and party favors ($5 cover).
BOSCOS SQUARED (2120 Madison, 432-2222) offers a five-course menu with a choice of appetizers, entrées such as grilled crab-stuffed filet mignon, herb-crusted wild salmon, or pan-roasted turbot, and desserts for $100/person. Joyce Cobb and her dance band Cool Heat will provide the groove from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. THE BLUE MONKEY (2012 Madison, 272-BLUE) begins its party with The Sallymacs at 9:30 p.m. and provides champagne for everyone at midnight ($10 cover). BARI, formerly KOTO (22 S. Cooper, 722-2244) offers a four-course menu including dishes such as antipasti or salumi and grilled swordfish with balsamic vinegar and mint for $50/person with a glass of Asti. Just next door at THE FRENCH QUARTER SUITES (2144 Madison, 728-4000) you can celebrate the new year with Todd Hale & Company from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. At THE HI-TONE (1913 Poplar, 278-TONE), The Reigning Sound, The Cool Jerks, and The Preacher's Kids will make your night. MELANGE (948 S. Cooper, 276-0002) makes it mellow this year with a four-course New Year's Eve dinner for $44 per person, which includes a choice of appetizers such as seared sea scallops, portobello leek tart, or roasted quail, entrée choices of beef, salmon, venison, or risotto, and a quartet of desserts. Later in the evening, local DJs will provide the right groove in the bar. THE P&H CAFE (1532 Madison, 726-0906) goes deep in the Delta on New Year's Eve with the bluegrass band Two Mule Plow playing at 10 p.m. Champagne toast at midnight ($10 cover). At THE YOUNG AVENUE DELI (2119 Young, 278-0034), The Cotton Tone play at 10:30 p.m., with a champagne toast at midnight (no cover).
Hats, horns, and lots of noise is your thing? Get to The STAGE SHOP (2951 Cela Rd., 382-1577) for its New Year's Eve party, with live music from The Clergy, Nina Makris Band, and Vintage Rust starting at 9:30 p.m. ($8 cover).
University of Memphis
If you happen to end up on the Highland strip, then happen by NEWBY'S (539 S. Highland, 452-8408) and party with The Gamble Brothers and their opening act Stout at 10 p.m. Stay for party favors and the breakfast buffet at 1 a.m. ($15 cover).
You've got that poker face, and here's what Tunica has to offer: GRAND CASINO RESORT (1-800-WIN-4-WIN) has entertainment with Carrie Folks and The Dempseys and Dr. Zarr in the Replays sports bar. Lou Rawls will perfom at GOLD STRIKE CASINO (1-888-24K-PLAY), and at HOLLYWOOD CASINO (1-800-871-0711), Sonny Burgess and the Pacers play at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. If you are looking for Big Fun, try FITZGERALDS CASINO (1-800-766-LUCK) at 11:30 p.m.
AXA LIBERTY BOWL FOOTBALL CLASSIC. The Conference USA champion and the Mountain West champion square off at 2:30 p.m., complete with a week of events. Liberty Bowl (525-1515). Tickets, $25-$50. MEMPHIS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA. Broadway New Year's Eve: vocalist Kim Crosby will join vocalist Cris Groenendaal and Craig Schulman in an array of Broadway classics at the Germantown Performing Arts Centre (1801 Exeter Rd., 525-1515) at 8 p.m. ($60/ticket). THE MILITARY RETIREES NEW YEAR'S EVE CELEBRATION at 280 Cynthia Place (527-0238) begins at 10 p.m. ($15/person, $25/couple). If you want to ring in 2003 by listening and dancing to some smooth neo-soul, jazz, and funk sounds, MPACT MEMPHIS, THA MOVEMENT, AND GAMUT magazine's New Year's Eve Event at 11 W. Butler -- off South Front across from the Lofts apartments is the event for you. Host DJs on two stages and in the Jazz Lounge are Afrodesia, Native Son, Soulsville Prophets, The Memphix DJs Chase One and Red Eye Jedi, Jet set DJs Carlos Moore and Dave Agape, and Soul Shower DJs Brad Johnson and Witnesse. Event starts at 8 p.m., tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at Java Cabana (2170 Young Avenue), Java Juice and Jazz (1423 Elvis Presley Boulevard), and Patrick Henry, Tailor (115 G.E. Patterson Street). THE CHILDREN'S MUSEUM (2525 Central, 458-2678) will celebrate New Year's at Noon with crafts, a walk through the Time Tunnel, face-painting, and a parade to the Time Square exhibit for a countdown to the new year. 10 a.m.-1 p.m.