It’s less than a week before Christmas and the last night of Hanukkah! That means if you’re like me, you’re scouring Amazon Prime’s “best gifts with two-day shipping” lists.
But that also means it’s less than two weeks away from New Year’s Eve! And although NYE gets a lot of (sometimes undeserved) hype, I enjoy marking the occasion of a passing year with something special. New Year’s Eve in Sonoma County doesn’t need to be the huge hotel parties of my past; I deign to even bring that up because I have more than one embarrassing, foggy memory. Ringing in the year with a small group of loved ones or a huge throng of strangers is important. Don’t be a spoil sport, just do it.
Here are a few of my Sonoma County recommendations for the biggest midnight of the year.
For very grown-up and fancy dinners:
Give Madrona Manor in Healdsburg a call and make a reservation for their New Year’s Eve tasting menu. It’ll be a 4-course affair with optional wine pairing and a complimentary midnight champagne toast. They’re featuring a three-piece band from 8 – 12. Pricing is $110pp + optional $55 wine pairing. Their food is out of this world – Michelin thinks so, and I agree! They decorate their already gorgeous space with tons of balloons, streamers as well as hats, blowers, bubbles and crowns!
Also in Healdsburg, Valette and Barn Diva are offering tasting menus with wine pairings. I’ve raved about Barn Diva before, so we know my stance on that. Their six-course meal featuring quail and prime sirloin is priced at $125 per person with $85 optional wine pairing and it will definitely sell out. Dustin Valette is offering six-course tasting menu and optional wine pairing for $125 and $25 respectively, per person. Dustin is also Sonoma County treasure, both for his inspired menus and his commitment to the community.
If you want to escape to the coast (believe me, you do), head to Coast Kitchen at Timber Cove Resort. I just stopped there on my way back from Sea Ranch and loved the space. The sunset alone is worth the stop, but solid cocktails and food also await. Their event is $170 per person and includes a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. They also have a children’s menu.
If live music is more your style, check out:
At Toad in the Hole in Santa Rosa, you can get your Happy New Year Blues fix at the Blues Year Eve party featuring a ton of great, local artists. Redwood Café is featuring Onye & the Messengers as well as DJ Loisaida. HopMonk in both Sebastopol and Sonoma are holding parties. Hot Buttered Rum will be playing at the Sebastopol location (tickets are $50) while Jesse Brewster and Allyson Page are playing for free in Sonoma.
Do you have kiddos and want something family friendly?
Charles M. Schulz Museum is holding a NYE event from 10 to 4pm with crafts, a balloon drop at noon and root beer toasts at 12pm and 3pm.
Chandi Hospitality Group is hosting a family-friendly and free (!) New Year’s Eve on the Square in Santa Rosa’s brand new Courthouse Square. There will be live music to include McKenna Faith, Pat Jordan Band and Kingsborough. Fun fact, I went to school with two of the three bands performing. Mmhm, Sonoma County name dropper over here. The event will include a magic show, face painting and a bounce house for children. At 8pm, the night continues with drinks and dancing. There will be a midnight countdown and ball drop along with everyone stumbling over to the rest of the downtown bars. VIP tickets available for purchase. The best part of it? Proceeds benefit the Redwood Credit Union Fire Relief Fund.