Simply put: 2016 can eat a turd.
I'll spare you the details, much like how one avoids pouring sea salt on road rash, and instead focus on the future: New Year's Eve.
You're probably not in the mood for celebrating. But forget that: Show 2016 the door with style with one these sixteen NYE parties, dinners, yoga sessions and more:
Binge on Bubbly
If Bay Grape isn't the most down-to-earth "fancy" wine shop in the East Bay, I don't know what is. One of the best ways to treat yourself is to wander into the Adams Point storefront on a random Tuesday night, give one of the friendly staff members your parameters (e.g., coworker's going-away party, Dungeness crab to eat, and a $20 budget), and let those folks work their magic. They've never let me down. What better occasion than New Year's Eve — especially after this motherfucker of a year — to exercise this indulgent form of self-care?
Bay Grape carries dozens of bubbly wines, but if you want to splurge on a classic champagne, co-owner Josiah Baldivino recommends the non-vintage Pascal Doquet "Diapason" Le Mesnil-Sur-Oger ($70), which he describes as being "slightly toasty and spicy with an amazing mineral tapered finish." It's a champagne that gives New Year's Eve toasters a taste of that grand cru pedigree without having to drop the $100-plus that level of champagne usually costs, Baldivino says. And for those on a tighter budget who are willing to try something a little funky, Baldivino recommends the M. Bonnamy Cremant De Loire Brut Rosé ($15): "You get that classic stemmy, green spice mixed with a little dried strawberry and moss." Never fear if those tasting notes sound a little too much like the Swamp Thing, Baldivino says. You'd be hard-pressed to find a doper bottle of sparkling wine for that price. 376 Grand Ave., Oakland, 510-686-3615, BayGrapeWine.com. (LT)
Stomp 2016 to Death (on the Dance Floor)
We're not even gonna list the horrors of 2016: year straight fucking sucked — and then was capped with an orange, Nazi toupee. Forget about it with reckless abandon by joining your scummy buddies and a hundred hipster-punk-normcore-loser-biker-jerkoffs at Eli's Mile High Club. Drink a sixer of PBR tallboys and try not to slip on other people's vomit until the clock strikes "fuck you." Eli's NYE Even show (that's right, you can still party the next day, a two-for-one deal here) features Baus, Unity, Tough Customer, and Preening. That's punk rock, asshole. There's no more appropriate way to usher in the coming shit-show of 2017 (which will be worse than 2016). But at least for the first couple hours of the new year, you can chill on Eli's back patio stoned out of your gourd, maybe sipping an Olympia. Or, think about all the crappy memories of the past year you can stomp to death on the dance floor while shaking your ass and swinging elbows to Lacker's morose, blown-out bass dregs. And you can wake up on the 31st and go at it one more time. Welcome in 2017 with a skull-cracking hangover. 3629 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland. ElisMileHigh.com. (DB)
A Mindful NYE
One of the most common New Year's resolutions is to be healthier. Whether that means eat more whole grains or actually utilize that gym membership, take a step in the right direction on New Year's Eve by not pummeling your kidneys with booze. Instead, listen to your breathing in a room full of silence. The Taoist Center in Oakland will hold a free meditation session starting at 11 p.m., putting you in a deep state of Zen by the time midnight hits. Dr. Alex Feng will guide peace-seekers with traditional, crystal singing bowls, which emit soothing tones and vibrations thought to rebalance the body. Regardless of whether you believe that, the bowls sure do feel nice. You'll open your eyes in 2017 feeling refreshed, empowered, and positively holistic. And you'll deserve the tea and cookies that follow. 3824 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland. TheTaoistCenter.com. (JB)
Dive into a Pile of Cheese
Look, 2016 has been no joke. This is not a time to fondly wave farewell to an old year with a huge goodbye party. This is a time to hunker down with your loved ones at home and show your appreciation for them with an enormous cheese plate.
We all know that The Cheeseboard is the place to go in the East Bay (or, dare we say it, the entire Bay Area) for a huge selection of cheese from all over the world, accompanied by well-informed staff and great bread to go along with the cheese. But did you know that The Cheeseboard makes Cheese Wheel Cakes? (Yes, "cakes" made out of wheels of cheese, it is exactly what you were envisioning.) They'll also make you a cheese platter with all the jams and nuts and crackers that your heart desires. Order ASAP through their website (they need your info two weeks in advance) and at least this way, you'll have something good to remember 2016 by. 1512 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. CheeseboardCollective.coop. (JG)
Dive into a Pile of Charcuterie
If you're hosting people for New Year's Eve this year, either for the first time or the twentieth time, do yourself a favor and plop a big tray of charcuterie on the table. You need to provide people with hearty snacks to soak up all of that alcohol, and if there's a time to splurge on the really good prosciutto, it's definitely New Year's Eve. Market Hall (both the Oakland and Berkeley locations) has four different kinds of prosciutto, minimum, along with dozens of other kinds of salumi, pâtés, and other delicious meaty products (there are even some mushroom and vegetable pâtés for your vegetarian friends). Buy what you think is too much, put it all on a big platter with a basket of crackers nearby, and let people thank you later. 5655 College Ave., Oakland, and 1786 Fourth St., Berkeley. MarketHallFoods.com. (JG)