Best Local: Celebrating NYE 2011 in Chicago and the Burbs

Celebrate NYE with a champagne toast to the city with the most

2011 has come and gone, and you’re still in Chicago. No matter how fond you may be of this unseasonably warm Windy city, it’s still hard not being home for the holidays. We’re here to make sure you have a great New Year’s Eve regardless. And in this city, it’s not hard to do.

There will be glasses clinking from the middle of Chicago’s Loop to the outskirts of every suburb, and we’ve got the insider scoop to the. With this local’s guide to the city’s most interesting New Year’s Eve celebrations, you’ll skip the tourist traps and rip offs and celebrate like a local. Whether you prefer a small dive bar or a glitzy three story club, you’ve got some choices to make.

Kick off 2012 on a high note at Blue Frogs Local 22 (22 E. Hubbard St.). Literally. The $25 Blue Tie New Year’s Eve bash at this River North spot is a no-shame, loud-n-proud karaoke party. Beyond the mic, enjoy light bites, party favors and the champagne toast when the clock strikes ’12. Wear your most creative blue suit or dress, and leave the stage fright in your suite.

Get there from Columbus Plaza: Head east on E. Wacker Dr. towards Stetson Ave. Turn right onto Michigan Ave. and then take a left on Hubbard. Walk four minutes to 22 East Hubbard. Travel Time: 10 minutes.

Attention cluburbanites: you don’t need to make the trek downtown for your nightlife needs this NYE. Rizzos (6 W. Jefferson Ave.) in Naperville is calling. This two-story club has live music and DJs, super slick, modern décor and the guarantee for a swanky goodbye to 2011. Take up residence on the dance floor behind the club’s glass façade, or head upstairs for a darker, loungey vibe. Can you taste the chocolate martinis yet?

Get there from Lincoln at the Parks: Drive or take a cab south on N. Washington Ave. Turn right onto Jefferson and you’ll be there. Travel Time: 10 minutes

The West Loop’s contemporary Latin cuisine castle, Carnivale (702 W. Fulton Market), is prepped to spice up your plans. The upscale eats, salsa-friendly dance floor and museum-worthy décor and artwork could make any evening an event. But for the big ball drop, the restaurant is getting some help from a DJ, drag queen, stilt walker, contortionist, pack of burlesque performers and more, just to be safe.

Get there from Cityfront Place: Grab a cab heading west towards N. State St. Have your driver take the first left onto State and then the first right onto W. Kinzie. Turn left on Desplaines and then a right on W. Fulton Market. You’ll be right there. Travel Time: 5 minutes.

Maybe you don’t want to put up with all the fluffy stuff. We hear you. Try this on: good drinks, five bands on multiple stages, appetizer and breakfast buffets, a later-night DJ and never-ending domestic brews, all for $65. You just found your NYE package at 115 Bourbon Street  (3359 W. 115th St.) in Merrionette Park. Pretentiousness? You won’t get that on the South Side of Chicago.

Get there from Ascot Glen Willowbrook: Head south on Laurel Ln. toward Knoll Rd. Turn right on IL-83 and take the I-55 North ramp towards Chicago. Take exit 277B to merge onto I-294 towards Indiana. Take the IL-50/Cicero Ave. exit and keep right toward 127th St. Turn left onto 127th and then the first left onto S. Cicero. Turn right onto West 115th and you’re there. Travel Time: 30 minutes.

Whatever your style, some tiny dive bar or glitzy night club is knocking on the door of your Habitat Corporate Suite this NYE. Get out there and ring in 2012 like a local: surrounded by contortionists and stilt walkers, cheap beer and cover bands, or maybe even a weird combination of all of the above. This is Chicago we’re talking about; you’ll find it out there somewhere.