I was a teenager in the late 1980s when Jax Brewery ceased to produce beer and the property was rethought as a collection retail shops, residences, and restaurants. With the change, the riverfront locale became the place to be on midnight on New Year’s Eve when the baby (not the ball) dropped signaling the arrival of a new year. Different iterations of the baby appeared over the years, the last of which made its final appearance at the onset of 2015. A baby only its float-maker/creator could love, with Pepto Bismol-colored skin and a swoosh of big blond hair resembling a certain bloviating politician the poor thing was retired to the Southern Food & Beverage Museum where it was ultimately painted gold and reborn as the king of all king cake babies.

The Best New Year's Eve Vibes for All
Credit: Randy Schmidt

For me the need to be out at midnight on NYE passed long ago. This year we will head to Gris Gris for a very unfashionably early dinner that will have us home in plenty of time to comfort our dogs when people start setting off fireworks. New Years Day will be devoted to reengaging the wellness plan I abandoned for the holidays rather than nursing a hangover.

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For those seeking more spirited outings, there are plenty of festive options.

The Best New Year's Eve Vibes for All

Overlooking the river at the edge of the French Quarter with unadulterated views of the fireworks and the action, The Westin Hotel will host a party, Roaring Into 2023, with an open bar, a buffet, live music from The Great Gatsby Gang and DJ Raj Smoove, dancing, and burlesque performances throughout the night by Trixie Minx

Required attire for the evening is full twenties garb — think flapper dresses, feathers, tuxedos and more for a full twenties theme. Those who arrive out of theme will be denied entry. Tickets are available for purchase here. The Roaring Twenties New Year’s Eve Celebration will begin at 8 p.m. end at 1a.m.

The Best New Year's Eve Vibes for All
Photo Credit Paprika Studios

Prefer to celebrate with a more local vibe? Head to Mister Mao.Chef/Owner Sophina Uong and partner William “Wildcat” Greenwell are hosting for New Year’s Eve 2022: A Tribute to House of Prime Rib with four-course prix fixe featuring inventive, bold, and flavorful “inauthentic” cuisine. Priced at $85 per person (excluding tax + gratuity).

To Start:

Lump Crab Egg Drop Soup

and

Little Gem Salad, tossed tableside with pickled beets, egg mimosa, sourdough croutons, chive, and pink dressing.

Main course, served family – style:

Roast Prime Rib of Beef served with turmeric creamed greens, mashed Yukon gold potatoes, chile crisp Dutch baby, cream of horseradish and beef tallow brown gravy

Vegetarian-Pescatarian-Gluten Free options (please pre-order):

Red Snapper Bullinada- Catalan fish stew, saffron, sunchoke, fingerling, Marash pepper aioli

or

Risotto of 7th Ward Greens – kale ink, pickled fennel, king trumpet, satsuma, tarragon.

Happy Endings:

Windowsill Pies’ Dark Chocolate Peppermint Tart

or

a Bananas Foster Cream Pie

NYE seatings at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.  RESERVATIONS HERE

The Best New Year's Eve Vibes for All
Chuck Wagon, Shrimp Dumplings, Table-side Egg Service | Photo Credit Paprika Studios

On New Year’s Day Mister Mao will be at it again to kick-off 2023 with an a la carte Walk of Shame Brunch featuring the return of Here Comes the Chuck Wagon – Mister Mao’s famed dim sum pushcart.

“You win some, you dim sum!” says Chef/Owner Sophina Uong.

With three seatings at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. the restaurant will offer an array of Chinese Dim Sum, available off the menu, as well as rotating on the pushcart including Chinese Sausage + Crab Fried Rice with schmaltz; Sheng Jian Bao – pan fried pork dumplings; Char Siu Chicken Baked Buns with Dutch Crunch; Singapore Curry Fried Tofu; Star Anise Pork Belly + Braised Soybeans; Boiled Shrimp Dumplings with black vinegar sauce; and more.

Specialty brunch dishes will also be on offer including Gulf Shrimp Toast Benedict. Featured cocktails will include Maochelada – Tecate, Chamoy, tajin rim; Walk of Shame – vodka, passionfruit, Noilly Prat vermouth; Gochujang Bloody Kim – Tamari, red miso, vodka; and Blocked Caller – Rosewater + Satsuma Agua Fresca (Nonalcoholic). Reservations suggested.

Happy New Year’s, everyone. May 2023 bring peace, health, and prosperity to us all.