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Out with the Old, In with the New

The top New Year’s Eve events the East Bay has to offer. Plus a few in San Francisco.



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8 p.m., 11 p.m., $69–$99.

New Year's Eve Celebration at Homestead

Homestead (4029 Piedmont Ave., Oakland), Piedmont Avenue's wood-hearth-centric temple of California cuisine, has based its entire aesthetic and culinary philosophy on the self-sustaining, DIY work ethic of those original American homesteaders of yore. The restaurant's New Year's Eve Celebration embodies that same ideal, with a five-course prix-fixe menu wherein nearly every imaginable food item will be made from scratch in-house — down to the edible party favors that will be passed out to guests who stick around until midnight. Entrée options will include turbot, ribeye steak, and crispy spaetzle, all served with truffle. A wine pairing option will be available for an extra $60, but those looking for a more affordable booze option will be happy to know that dinner comes with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine — and a second round when the clock strikes twelve. Vegetarian and gluten-free options will be available. — L.T.

5:30–11 p.m. (for the last seating), $100.


Even the website for POPNYE is an event. A central image displays glowing knobs and gleaming firework explosions, while a high-production-value trailer depicts an arena full of flashing lights and crazed fans in ridiculous costumes pogo-ing up and down to an insistent four-on-the-floor thump. A voiceover welcomes "dreamers" and promises "glimmers of bliss falling like rain" on a journey toward self-fulfillment in the new year. On YouTube, the POPNYE video has more views than some rock bands amass in a career. And apparently, the website is still under construction. It confirms the obvious: EDM is a phenomenon. The event features a Dutch dance invasion composed of producers Armin van Buuren and Bingo Players, along with the duo Firebeatz, and the San Francisco outfit The M Machine, who'll offer strains of house and trance for the eager throngs descending once again on Oracle Arena (700 Coliseum Way, Oakland) for this year's POPNYE. — S.L.

6 p.m., $50–$150.

Chabot Science Center Balloon Drop

New Year's Eve was always the most anti-climactic holiday for kids. A severe sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) compels children to attempt to stay awake, but they always inevitably fall asleep before the clock strikes twelve. Some parents might call the disappointment character-building, but those who would like to avoid a temper tantrum can take their offspring to the Chabot Science Center (10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland). The center will be counting down to New Year's in different time zones, celebrating three climactic calendar-switching moments at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. Each time, kids will count down the clock together, then be showered with hundreds of falling balloons. And in the meantime, they can participate in special (and educational!) activities set up around the center. For those hyper-conscious parents worried about the waste of all that excess latex, don't worry, the center composts the balloons when they're done with them. Way to go, science. — S.B.

$5 plus $12–$16 admission.

Hemlock Tavern New Year's Eve Bash

Thanks to the efforts of Tony Bedard, the longtime Hemlock Tavern booking maestro whose own contributions to the Bay Area outsider rock canon the Express chronicled in an Icky Boyfriends article this year ("We Still Suck," 9/17), an impeccable rock lineup graces the Polk St. haunt's backroom this year. Headliner Terry Malts' hooks are magnetic because they demand attention and because they seem to attract all of the broken glass and metal shavings in the vicinity, like pop-punk sharing the eye of a tornado with the wreckage of a steel mill. Meanwhile, no two Scraper sets are alike, with frontman Billy Schmidt's guitar riffs finding new ways to whinny and crunch between hoarse outpours of bizarre lyrical imagery. The newest act of the lot, Quaaludes, augments punk fury with inventive song structures, at once solidifying as an ensemble and finding new ways to cleverly collapse. Take a tip from Bedard: It's booking, not "curation." —S.L.

9 p.m., $12–$15.

Plank New Year's Eve "Exclusive Party"

Champagne, balloon drops, music, and food are all really fun. But, they can also start to feel pretty "last year" as you're waiting for the new one to begin. Plank's New Year's party will have all of those things, but with the bonus of a warehouse full of games. The massive restaurant and game hall that recently opened in Jack London Square (98 Broadway, Oakland) boasts bowling lanes, bocce ball, cornhole, carnival and arcade games, as well as a full restaurant and beer garden. It's pretty comprehensive, and it would be a challenge to get bored in the giant play space. For New Year's Eve, Plank will be throwing in a live band and a buffet to top it off. Tickets go for $60 per person (or $110 per couple), and include a $20 game card and two drink tickets. Although the venue is massive, Plank representatives have ventured to name their party exclusive, because they're sure it will sell out. To request a reservation, party-hopefuls should fill out an online form on Plank's website. — S. B.


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