How to have a low-key New Year’s Eve in Houston

December 19, 2017 / Houston

Houston is happenin’ on December 31, but if you’re wary of the crazy shenanigans on the last day of the year, you can usher in 2018 on a gentler note. Here are 10 destinations with varying degrees of chill so that you can dial it in just right this New Year’s Eve.

1. Axelrad

Axelrad positively specializes in laid-back New Year’s Eve bashes. And why wouldn’t they, considering their back patio is populated with comfy, colorful hammocks? Rest your 2017-weary bones and renew your spirit for 2018 with good friends, delicious food, specialty cocktails, and live music on two stages. And hammocks—never forget the hammocks. A disco-ball countdown and complimentary champagne toast at midnight do the new year up right.

When: Dec 31, 6pm – 2am

Where: 1517 Alabama St

2. Howl at the Moon

If you’re still on the fence about what kind of New Year’s Eve you want—thrill? Or chill?—reserve a table at Howl at the Moon. Enjoy a gourmet dinner buffet, then sit back and revel in the high-energy vibe while you relax with good friends and enjoy the music and drinks. It’s the best of both worlds. Each table receives complimentary party favors and a bottle of champagne to toast the new year.

When: Dec 31, 7pm – 2am

Where: 612 Hadley St

3. Cecil’s Pub

Forget the sequins and glitter. Toss on some comfy jeans, and make your way over to Cecil’s Pub, a neighborhood bar with a huge selection of beers, wines, and cocktails. Order up a handmade DeAngelo’s pizza, shoot some pool, throw a few darts, and tap your toes to tunes from Houston’s best jukebox. Now that’s laid-back.

When: Dec 31, 1pm – 2am

Where: 600 W Gray St

4. Grand Prize Bar

The coolest vibe in Houston is at Grand Prize Bar, located in a 2-story house lit with crystal chandeliers that cast a gentle, captivating glow over every room. Come early with your besties, and snag a table. Put a dime in the jukebox, play your favorite tunes, and maybe shoot a little pool while you enjoy delectable handmade cocktails, hand-picked wines, and a wide selection of beers. Welcome in 2018 with a gentle, rosy glow and a toast to the people you love best.

When: Dec 31, 4pm – 2am

Where: 1010 Banks St

5. Houston Rockets at Toyota Center

Forget the club scene, and spend New Year’s Eve with fellow Rockets fans at the Toyota Center. The Rockets take on the Lakers on December 31, so get the crew together, score some sweet seats, and make an evening of it. Reserve a ledge table at the Red & White Bistro, and nosh on gourmet foods from 5 culinary stations while you enjoy spectacular views of the arena and the game below.

When: Dec 31, 6pm

Where: 1510 Polk St

6. The Patio on Richmond

Nothin’ like a mess of good old Texas BBQ to set the mood for a relaxing, easy-going New Year’s Eve. The Patio is a super-casual pub offering a decent selection of beers, wines, and cocktails. Located in an old gas station, the Patio features an expansive covered outdoor area and a huge wooden deck where you can look up at the stars and make your wishes for 2018.

When: Dec 31, 11am – 1am

Where: 1205 Richmond

7. House of Blues

If “laid-back” to you means shredding guitar licks and a double bass drum, A Very Metal New Year’s Eve is probably right up your alley, and you’ll find it all going down at the House of Blues. Live bands, including Ozz, Kiss Alike, Judas X, and No Remorse, play your all-time favorite metal anthems and ballads. A VIP table offers a home base where you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the music, and it comes with your own personal cocktail server and a dedicated VIP host.

When: Dec 31, 8pm

Where: 1204 Caroline St

8. Boheme

Boheme transports you to Brazil this New Year’s Eve as it transforms into a Carnival with samba dancers, live music, and plenty of sangria to go around. Get a reserved patio table for you and your compadres, where you can relax and watch colorful scenes unfold throughout the evening. At midnight, a champagne toast ushers in the new year.

When: Dec 31, 9pm

Where: 307 Fairview St

9. West Alabama Ice House

Chill is the name of the game at West Alabama Ice House, featuring casual Texas tavern-style interiors and a spacious outdoor spot for reveling under the stars. Shoot some pool, challenge your pals to Ping-ong, play cornhole, or just hang out with good friends for some stimulating conversation. When you get peckish, order up a pile of Tacos Tierra Caliente, or get some grub from the food trucks stationed out front.

When: Dec 31, 12pm – 1am

Where: 1919 W Alabama St

10. 13 Celsius

13 Celsius’ 1920s Parisian Night Out is an annual New Year’s Eve tradition that makes a point to establish a relaxed, laid-back European vibe. Dress in your best 1920s Parisian attire (or don’t; nobody’s judging) and enjoy fine wines from an impressive collection of reds, whites, and everything in between. Reserve a table or bar seating, both of which include a double champagne toast, or opt for reserved couch seating, which includes a double champagne toast, a bottle of champagne, and a cheese plate.

When: Dec 31, 10pm – 2am

Where: 3000 Caroline St

There are plenty of chill destinations in Houston on New Year’s Eve that’ll bring you into the new year relaxed and ready to tackle whatever 2018 brings your way. Count your heads, make your reservations early, and start looking forward to an enjoyable evening with the people you love best.