Build an evening around the fireworks in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Here are several itineraries in Prospect Heights and, mainly, Park Slope. One itinerary is for families. Others are for dates or groups of friends. The good news is, once in the area, you can walk from one place to another, or take a quick bus or one stop subway ride, so you won't have transportation headaches.
1. Fine Dining and Classy Bar (& Fireworks)Have a special New Year's Eve dinner at one of the great restaurants in the Park Slope-Prospect Heights area.
For instance, try The Vanderbilt (570 Vanderbilt Ave.,) for $60 per person and $80 with wine pairing. First course options include house cured salmon and pork pate with pear mostarda. Second course, choose steak tartare, pumpkin salad, or cauliflower soup. The main course could be fried skate or Long Island duck breast, gnocchi or a vegetarian concoction called Cotechino. For desert, have goat cheesecake or chocolate pudding pop. Happy New Year!
Or, head to equally cozy Thistle Hill Tavern at 441 Seventh Avenue for dinner; their bartender has been winning awards of late. After dinner, walk up to Grand Army Plaza for the fireworks, and pre-midnight festivities, then head to either Union Hall or a local bar, such as classy Bar Reis (375 5th Avenue) to bring in the New Year.
2. Live Music at Barbes, Bar Hop in Park Slope (& Fireworks)Here's a great evening with friends. Kick off New Year's Eve with live music at tiny, funky, music haven Barbes where "Boogaloo, Latin Swing and Shingaling" starts at 10 P.M. (376 9th Street).
After, walk a few blocks to Beer Table (427B Seventh Ave.) for an excellent selection of specialty draft beers (assuming you can actually get in the bar; it's tiny). They are offering Happy Hour from 5 to 6:30 P.M., dinner from 7 P.M. to 9: 30P.M., and cheese and bubbles from 10 P.M. to 12.30 A.M.
If you're starving, pick up something at the Fifth Avenue Diner on Fifth Avenue off Ninth Street or grab a slice of pizza at Joes Pizza( 483 7th Ave.).
Around 11:45 P.M, join the throngs walking one block further uphill to Prospect Park, and find a comfortable place to stand or sit. If you want to join in, fireworks-related festivities (live music, some hot drinks, and Borough President Marty Markowitz) at Grand Army Plaza start at 11 P.M.; it's a 15-minute walk.
3. Visit Farrell's & Freddy's, 2 Legendary Brooklyn Bars (& Fireworks)A third, and wonderful, way to do New Year's Eve in this part of Brooklyn is simply to hit two classic Brooklyn Bars, and see Prospect Park's fireworks display.
Freddy's is a classic Brooklyn dive-cultural hub that gets rave reviews. It's been relocated from its home in Prospect Heights to a new location in Park Slope (627 5th Ave. between 17th and 18th Streets), near the "Prospect Ave stop" R train.
Freddy's It's intimate, seating only about 75, and there'll be live music on New Year's Eve. So, it might be hard to leave for any reason whatsoever.
But one can start at Freddy's, then head up 15th Street from 5th Avenue uphill to Prospect Park, where you can see the fireworks.
After midnight, take a two-block walk up to another historic bar, the classic Farrell's Bar & Grill, (they don't serve food, the "grill" is long gone) where you'll likely meet locals, regulars and firemen. Cap the night off with a beer at Double Windsor, a cozy beer joint (210 Prospect Park West) where you can really be best friends for the night with like-minded revelers.
Better, head back to Freddy's, where, as they say, they'll have a "NEW YEARS EVE PARTY ALL FRIGGIN NIGHT!"
4. Movies in Park Slope, Pizza at Two Boots, Bar in Windsor Terrace (& Fireworks)For a low-key New Year's Eve, have dinner at home and then head to the movies at the not-at-all-gentrified Pavilion movie theater in Park Slope (15th Street and Prospect Park West). It's a good idea to get your tickets on line and in advance. If kids are involved, have pizza at family-friendly Two Bootson Second Street off Seventh Avenue beforehand (about a 15 minute walk). After the movie, drop them back home and head back to Two Boots for a crazy boozy neighborhood dancing New Year's Eve party.
Or, the adults can simply head up to Farrell's historic bar on 18th Street, where you cannot help but feel like you're actually in a movie about Brooklyn. While away some time, head back out to Prospect Park for the fireworks, which end a little after midnight. Head downhill a few blocks to any number of bars, cafes and restaurants on Park Slope's Fifth Avenue, which rolls up the rug somewhat later than more staid Seventh Avenue.