Our Resident Dancing Diva Makes NYE Suggestions for Grownups

New Years Eve - Grain H2O

Grain H2O recently enclosed its patio, just in time for a New Year’s Eve debut

It’s a typical story: you spent your twenties on the dance floor all the time, but in your thirties and forties, you found yourself only dancing at weddings. Since your kids have become independent, or other life changes have come your way, you’ve been trying to ramp up your fun again. But at the places you used to frequent, if they’re even still around, the other patrons call you ma’am, if they aren’t dropping cougar pickup lines.

What is an energetic, fashionable, mature diva to do when it’s New Year’s Eve and you don’t want the night to end with dinner?

TSD thought we’d do a roundup of some dignified party options for folks with good taste, night owl tendencies and boogie shoes.

New Years Eve - Merchant Bar

Merchant Bar is a lively spot in downtown Wilmington

Merchant Bar– 426 N. Market Street – continues its no-cover trend, for folks who want the option to bar hop. But you may not want to drink and run when you learn there’s a $25 blanc de blanc bottle of sparkling wine on the menu, along with a tasty three-course prix fixe option.

Opt into the prix fixe before 12/31 for a discounted price (and we suggest you don’t wait to book your table, as this is an intimate venue.) DJ Zip is Merchant Bar’s resident DJ. There’s light bites for everyone at midnight, and they offer the standard midnight toast. Street parking is typically plentiful, and there’s an attached garage, as well.

Sample menu items: Tuna Poke; Steak Frites; Crab Pad Thai.

Tonic Bar and Grille– 111 W. 11thStreet – offers an all-inclusive ticket price of $60 ($65 at the door, but a discount of $15 per person if you can collect five friends). In addition to DJ Byawnic, Tonic will have a photo booth and offer a $10 dinner voucher for that night. This is a premium open bar package, with beverages served from 9 pm to 12:30 am, and includes hors d’oeuvre and a midnight toast.

I’ve attended a Tonic NYE before and it’s a fun crowd who likes to dance. There is typically plentiful street parking within a block or two, but the hotel garage nearby is always a great overnight-friendly parking alternative.

Sample hors d’oeuvre: French Dip Sliders; Blue Cheese-Stuffed Dates; Lobster Arancini

Piccolina Toscana– 1412 N. DuPont Street – has always called itself “Trolley Square for Grownups,” and that extends to New Year’s Eve. They have an acoustic group called Still Moon, and they promise dancing, fancy hors d’oeuvres, favors and both midnight brunch and toast. This $80 package offers an extra hour of open bar: from 8:30-1am. Park in Toscana’s lot.

Sample hors d’oeuvre: Mini Crab Cakes; Goat Cheese and Onion Phyllo

Stitch House Brewery– 829 N. Market Street – is the new kid on the block, so it’s hard to predict the demographics of their New Year’s crowd, but they are also not charging a cover. DJ Bis is a longtime Delaware party favorite. Free champagne or beer toast when the ball drops and a mystery New Year’s Brew will be tapped right at midnight. They’ve got a special a la carte menu for the night.

Parking on the street may or may not be easy, but there’s a brand new parking garage on Shipley Street with quick access through the fancy, lit alley a few doors down.

Sample menu items: Clam Chowder; Short Rib Risotto; Pork Shank with Mustard Spaetzle

Grain H20– 3006 Summit Harbour Lane, Bear – is offering $75 top-shelf open bar and apps starting at 8 pm, with a 9 pm buffet and a champagne toast at midnight. Bucket of Hot is the cover band, with a DJ between sets.

Full disclosure: I’m related to two of the DJs on this list and will likely be found at multiple spots.

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About the Contributor

JulieAnne Cross

JulieAnne Cross

JulieAnne Cross has built a career around making her home state a fun place to live, working with restaurateurs, festivals, artists and arts organizations to bring people together for good times.