Picture this: it's New Year's Eve and of course you want to go out and partake in all the food-and-booze-filled gluttony that comes with sending off the prior 364 days, but you'd prefer not to spend hundreds of dollars to dine on haute cuisine and ring in 2015 clinking your glasses while wearing a black tie. What do you do?
In L.A. – where most of the city's fine dining establishments are hosting pricey prix fixe meals and nightclubs are overcharging for the opportunity to grind around in a sweaty, drunken haze – New Year's Eve deals that won't break the bank are a rarity. That's why we've scoured the streets to find you a list of restaurants and bars that believe a good time can be had, sometimes even before the ball drops, for under $60.
Here are your affordable spots to drink and dine this New Year's Eve, in order of lowest priced to highest:
Solita Tacos and Margaritas
So what if Valencia is a hustle up the 5 freeway from mainland Los Angeles, it's home to the cheapest filling food deals this New Year's Eve. For only $14.75, you'll get the El Primo Taco Taster Plate, which lets you mix and match four of their tacos, from oak-roasted chipotle chicken to wood-grilled fish Mazatlan, plus a complimentary glass of champagne to toast with at midnight. In between, feel free to purchase margaritas made with Solita's collection of more than 40 unique versions of the spirit, and enjoy the party hats and noisemakers that will be making their way around the bar all night. 24201 Valencia Boulevard, Suite 3470, Valencia; (661) 291-1399; solitatacos.com
L’Assiette Steak Frites
At L'Assiette, it'll set you back $75 to actually ring in the new year with a surf-and-turf dinner, a DJ, party favors and free-flowing champagne (reserve before Monday, December 22 and the price is reduced to $60). However, the Melrose Ave. steak frites specialists are having a budget-friendly early seating (though 9 p.m.) for their New Year's Eve prix fixe dinner, featuring the restaurant's namesake dish, sorrel soup or house salad and a glass of champagne for a cool $25. 7166 Melrose Ave., 323-274-2319; lassiettesteakfrites.com
Bar Pintxo has several ways to ring in the new year cheaply. The early bird special, at $25, gets you tapas and paella from 1-3 p.m. ending with a cava toast when midnight hits Madrid, the inspiration city for this Santa Monica tapas bar. Two more evening seatings let you hang out all night for only $35, which again includes food and a cava toast. Additional wine and cocktails are extra, but with a starting price this low, it's easy to stay under $60. 109 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica; 310-458-2012. Buy your tickets online here.
Golden Road Brewery
They say how you ring in the new year is how you'll spend the rest of the year, so why not start off drinking locally made craft beer? The Pub at Golden Road is hosting a three-course dinner (with vegan options) that comes with a special pour of a barrel-aged beer, plus a midnight beer toast for only $40. A DJ (whose performance includes a stand-up cellist) will be spinning tunes and if you need more food, the regular pub menu will be available all night as well. Reservations required, email firstname.lastname@example.org. 5410 W. San Fernando Road, Los Angeles.
Federal Bar Long Beach
Last New Year's, the new Federal Bar was a fresh-faced baby on Pine Ave., but after 12 months of hosting concerts and serving downtown Long Beach's locals, they're ready for its first major (and affordable!) New Year's Eve bash. Channel your inner flapper in the Fed's classy 20s-inspired dining room, where you can feast on a three-course prix fixe menu in the spacious former bank building for $50. Champagne is included for a midnight toast and walk-ins will also be taken at the bar all night. Doors open at 6 p.m. Call (562) 435-2000 for reservations. 102 Pine Ave., Long Beach; thefederalbar.com.
Travel to South Asia this New Year's Eve at Cardamom, which will have an elaborate four-course menu available for $50. Start with a glass of champagne as soon as you walk in and be whisked through traditional Indian bites, tandoori platters and lots of expertly spiced meat dishes. The restaurant has two seatings (5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.), but will close before midnight, so plan to get full here before heading to the next spot. 7233 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles; 323.936.1000; CardamomLA.com
If you'd like your final meal of the year to include affordable versions of delicacies as black truffle salad, dungeness crab, duo of duck and pretzel beignets, then head to Neal Fraser's BLD, which starting at 5 p.m. will be serving a three-course prix fixe menu for $55. An optional wine pairing is available for $23 or you can add glasses to individual courses for even less. Reservations are recommended. 7450 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; (323)930-9744; bldrestaurant.com
Dia de Campo
Chef Tin Vuong's Mexican-inspired Hermosa Beach digs are going all out for New Year's Eve with a $55, four-course prix fixe dinner which will be accompanied by a bustling event featuring live music, a digital photobooth, street magicians and a DJ who will spin as you watch the ball drop on TV. Food includes a salmon tostada, scallops, pork chili verde and potted tres leches. Add the optional open bar to your meal for another $60. 1238 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach; (310) 379-1829; diadecampohb.com
Ring in the new year with an ocean view and a little but of punk history at Hermosa Beach staple Abigaile, a gastropub residing on the former site of The Church, where South Bay's most famous hardcore punk bands once practiced and lived. For $60, enjoy all you can eat from their New Year's Eve buffet, which will have decidedly un-punk food like charcuterie, artisanal cheeses, raw seafood, a carving station and assorted desserts. Access to the open bar will run you another $60, but if you just want to ring in 2015 with a food coma, Abigaile is your spot. 1301 Manhattan Ave., Hermosa Beach; (310) 798-8227; abigailerestaurant.com
Downtown Tex-Mex restaurant Bar Ama is celebrating New Year’s Eve with family-style dinner for $60 per person. Chef Jose Centeno's restaurant is known for both its salty, fatty Mexican food and its next-generation interpretations of Mexican classics. For this dinner, think: suckling pig, whole-roasted fish with tortillas, queso, salsa, rice and beans, plus cauliflower with cilantro cashew pesto. Pitchers of margaritas and tequila, mescal and beer flights will also be available. Call (213) 687-7000 for reservations.118 W. 4th St., Los Angeles.