25 Ways to Ring in 2018

Your New Year's Eve Party Planner

click to enlarge Champagne Toast - mstevencox, via pixabay
mstevencox, via pixabay
Champagne Toast

New Year's Eve is upon us, and the parties are multiplying. Most of the area's events are centered around midnight fireworks displays in Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Pete, so you've got a lot of options no matter where you live and no matter what your budget. Whether you want to cheap out or make it rain, we got you. It's New Year's Eve we're talking about, so let's make it a countdown.

25. Burst into the New Year with fireworks on Clearwater Beach.

click to enlarge Fireworks on Patong beach - Rene Ehrhardt, via Wikimedia Commons/CC
Rene Ehrhardt, via Wikimedia Commons/CC
Fireworks on Patong beach

Who doesn't love a free New Year's Eve fireworks display? Clearwater Beach is hosting midnight fireworks under the moniker Light It Up Clearwater, and there are about a zillion places you can see them from. But if you want to see them for free, you should just drive out to the beach and park your chair in the sand. If, on the other hand, you want some champagne, food and party favors with your fireworks, you should check out the list of hotels and restaurants offering a view of the fireworks here. 7 Causeway Blvd., Clearwater Beach. Midnight.

24. Party in your pajamas at Brew Bus Brewing.

click to enlarge Adult pajamas - Axelle B., via PublicDomainPictures
Axelle B., via PublicDomainPictures
Adult pajamas

Want to just sit in your pajamas and watch the ball drop? Then head on over to Brew Bus Brewing and watch the ball drop on their big screen. They’ll bring the champagne. As always, there will be plenty of food and freshly-brewed beer for sale. We recommend the Last Stop IPA, but they’ve got a lot of holiday brews on tap now too. The Brew Bus Terminal & Tasting Room, 4101 N. Florida Ave., Tampa. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. 813-990-7310.

23. Parade and party in Ybor.

click to enlarge 2016 Outback Bowl parade - Jennifer Ring
Jennifer Ring
2016 Outback Bowl parade

One of the joys of having your city host a bowl game is the pre-game parade. In Tampa, the Michigan Wolverines and The South Carolina Gamecocks will be parading through Ybor City on New Year’s Eve, and you can watch it for free. After the parade, head over to The Brass Tap, Gaspar’s Grotto, Bradley’s on 7th, Ybor City Wine Bar, The Bricks, or The Honey Pot for the post-parade party. 7th Ave., Tampa. Starts at 5:30 p.m. 

22. Celebrate the 1st night of 2018 in St. Pete.

click to enlarge First Night St. Pete - Courtesy of First Night St. Petersburg
Courtesy of First Night St. Petersburg
First Night St. Pete

It’s one of the largest NYE parties in the state of Florida, so chances are you already know about it, but in case you don’t...First Night St. Petersburg is bringing music, improv, fireworks and more to downtown St. Pete New Year’s Eve. See the complete schedule of events here. 2nd Ave N., downtown St. Petersburg. 4 p.m.-12:15 a.m. $5-15 a button.

Want to get the party started early? Join in Yard of Ale’s New Year’s Eve Pregame Pub Crawl. The crawl starts at Yard of Ale, and takes you to Caddy’s, YOA, Pelican Pub, and Thirsty First, before winding up at ONS. Yard of Ale St. Pete, 260 1st Ave. N., St. Petersburg. 2-7 p.m.

21. Champagne flights at Hawthorne Bottle Shop.

click to enlarge Champagne flight - John, via Wikimedia Commons
John, via Wikimedia Commons
Champagne flight

New Year’s Eve is all about the champagne at Hawthorne Bottle Shoppe. Join this black-tie party for a chance to sample multiple varieties of champagne via their champagne flights. Hawthorne Bottle Shoppe, 2927 Central Ave., St. Pete. 7 p.m.- 1 a.m. 727-800-2810.

20. Party at your favorite beach bar on the Courtney Campbell Causeway.

click to enlarge Beach bar - Mariamichelle, via pixabay
Mariamichelle, via pixabay
Beach bar

Both Whiskey Joes and Beach Bar are throwing New Year's Eve parties, and both will have a view of the fireworks at midnight. Whiskey Joe's beach bash features live music on two stages, a ball drop, and a champagne toast. Whiskey Joe's, 7720 W. Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa. 7 p.m.-1 a.m. $11.42. 813-281-0770.

Beach Bar’s party has a Bond theme, and it’s all-inclusive. What does it include? A live DJ, a casino game room, NYE party favors, a Bond-style photo op, a champagne toast, and three hours of free drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Beach Bar, 7700 W. Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa. 8 p.m. – 3 a.m. $81.24. 813-281-0770.

19. Celebrate the New Year aboard the Yacht Starship.

click to enlarge Yacht - ArtisticOperations, via pixabay
ArtisticOperations, via pixabay

The Yacht Starship is hosting New Year’s Eve fireworks cruises out of Tampa and Clearwater. The price is steep, but, you know, it’s a yacht — the epitome of luxury. What do you get for your $150? A lot, actually. You get access to an open bar, DJ entertainment, party favors, a souvenir photo, hors d’oeuvres, gourmet food stations, carving stations, desserts and a champagne toast. Yacht Starship Tampa, 603 Channelside Dr., Tampa. Yacht Starship Clearwater, 25 Causeway Blvd., Slip #55, Clearwater. 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m; party continues dockside until 1 a.m. $149.95 plus $2 marine fee and tax. 813-223-7999.

18. Celebrate New Year's Eve with The Black Honkeys at Blur Nightclub in Dunedin.

click to enlarge DJ - Sharadbob, via Wikipedia
Sharadbob, via Wikipedia

Is it just me, or is the party always at Blur/Kelly's/Chic-a-Boom Room in Dunedin? So it should come as no surprise that Blur is hosting a New Year’s Eve party. Your favorite cover band, The Black Honkeys, is playing, along with Julie Black and DJ Gus. Blur Nightclub, 325 Main St., Dunedin. 7 p.m.-3 a.m. $20. 727-736-2587.

17. Get disco fever at The Green Iguana in Tampa.

click to enlarge disco ball - via pxhere
via pxhere
disco ball

The Green Iguana is bringing back Studio 54 — the world-famous nightclub in New York City during the disco era — so you can expect to hear a lot of dance music from the 1970’s and early 1980’s at this party. The Green Iguana Bar & Grill, 4029 S. Westshore Blvd., Tampa. 10 p.m.-close. 813-837-1234.

16. Solve a murder mystery at Maggiano’s Tampa.

click to enlarge Murder mystery - Airman 1st Class Preston Webb [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Airman 1st Class Preston Webb [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Murder mystery

Maggiano’s Tampa is putting on a show this New Year’s Eve. The name of the improv comedy show? Murder by Resolution. "It’s about “a New Year's resolution that becomes fatal.....for someone.” Solve the mystery while noshing on a family-style Italian meal. Maggiano’s Little Italy, 203 Westshore Plaza, Tampa. 6-9 p.m. $60. 813-288-9000.

15. Listen to music & eat breakfast at midnight @Skipper’s Smokehouse 

Skipper’s Smokehouse is another great dinner and a show option. Or should I say show and a breakfast? Donna The Buffalo is playing at 8 p.m., and at midnight there’ll be a champagne toast and a breakfast buffet. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Rd., Tampa. 8 p.m.-close. $35-40. 813-971-0666.

14. Relive your shitty prom memories at Mastry’s Brewing Co.

click to enlarge Prom - Joe Shlabotnik, via flickr
Joe Shlabotnik, via flickr

Here’s an option for those of you who want to skip the craziness that is downtown St. Petersburg on New Year’s Eve. First you dress up like you’re going to a high school prom, but then you go to a brewery on St. Pete Beach instead. That’s because Mastry’s Brewing Company is hosting a Bad Prom-themed New Year’s Eve party with DJ Fisher the Man, PB & Jelly Deli, and new beers on tap. Mastry's Brewing Co., 701 Blind Pass Rd., St. Pete Beach. 5 p.m.-1 a.m. 727-202-8045.

13. Hey McFly! There’s a NYE wrap party at The Tampa Theatre

click to enlarge DeLorean - Frank Schwichtenberg, via Wikimedia Commons
Frank Schwichtenberg, via Wikimedia Commons

Guess who’s opening back up again, and just in time for the New Year? The Tampa Theatre has completed their renovations, and they’re ready for you to join them for a classic movie-themed New Year’s Eve Party. So ditch the little black dress and wear a Back to the Future-themed costume instead, 'cause we’re traveling to 2018. Tampa Theatre, 711 N. Franklin St., Tampa. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $99; $89, members. 813-274-8286.

12. See Tampa’s free fireworks display.

click to enlarge New Year's Eve fireworks at the Copacabana. - Leandro Neumann Ciuffo, via Wikimedia Commons
Leandro Neumann Ciuffo, via Wikimedia Commons
New Year's Eve fireworks at the Copacabana.

Tampa’s fireworks display is in Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park this year.  Bring your own chair or blanket, but leave the champagne at home (it’s an alcohol-free event). Note: It’s just fireworks in the park — no other music, entertainment, drinks or food. Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, 601 Old Water St., Tampa. 10 p.m.-12:30 p.m.

11. See the fireworks Aloft Tampa.

Aloft Tampa - Courtesy of Aloft Tampa
Courtesy of Aloft Tampa
Aloft Tampa

If you'd prefer a swanky hotel party, then you might want to check out what Aloft Tampa has to offer. You'll get a great view of the fireworks, and they're 3D mapping the Times Square ball drop over their swimming pool. General admission also includes a performance from Firefly Flow. Go VIP for unlimited drinks and hor d’oeurves. Aloft Tampa, 100 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. $25-150. 813-898-8000.

10. The Rooftop Eve atop Ft. Brooke parking garage.

This year, The Rooftop Eve will be on the 10th floor of the Fort Brooke Parking Garage, overlooking the fireworks in the park. I'm really curious how they're going to transform a parking garage into party central with an open bar, entertainment, champagne, and desserts, but they do it every year. Ft. Brooke Parking Garage,10th floor, 107 N. Franklin St., Tampa. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. $175-225. 

9. Party at Anise Global Gastrobar like it's your house

click to enlarge House party - David Shankbone, via Wikimedia Commons
David Shankbone, via Wikimedia Commons
House party

Anise Global Gastrobar is hosting a low-key New Year's eve party, with punch, music, karaoke, patio games, a buffet, and a champagne toast. Wear whatever you want — this one's casual. You could even wear your pajamas. Anise Global Gastrobar, 777 N. Ashley Dr., Tampa. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. $40. 813-225-4272.

8. Celebrate NYE @ The Hall.

click to enlarge The Hall on Franklin - Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
The Hall on Franklin

Head over to The Hall on Franklin for loads of entertainment with no cover. Right now the only details are as follow: DJ Blenda, live entertainment and a midnight champagne toast. Did we mention there's no cover? It's so nice, I had to say it twice. Haven't been to The Hall on Franklin yet? Go see what all the fuss is about. The Hall on Franklin, 1701 N. Franklin St., Tampa. 11 a.m.-2 a.m. 813-405-4008.

7. See the fireworks from Tampa's Harbour Island.

click to enlarge Harbour Island - Brian Delaney, via flickr
Brian Delaney, via flickr
Harbour Island

Another way to catch Tampa's midnight fireworks display is to party on Harbour Island. Both Jackson’s Bistro Bar & Sushi and American Social are throwing New Year's Eve parties with a view of the fireworks. Jackson's Bistro's party includes DJ entertainment, waterfront party areas, party favors and a complimentary midnight champagne toast and balloon drop. VIP Plus admission gets you access to an open bar and complimentary hors d’oeuvres. Jackson's Bistro Bar & Sushi, 601 S. Harbour Island Blvd., Tampa. 9 p.m.-3 a.m. $55-150. 813-277-0112.

American Social's party is a tribute to Truman Capote's Black & White Ball. General admission includes an open bar & appetizers from 9-11 p.m. and a champagne toast at midnight. American Social, 601 S. Harbour Island Blvd., Tampa. 9 p.m.-3 a.m. $150. 813-605-3333.

6. A Cantina New Year's.

click to enlarge Red Mesa Cantina - Jennifer Ring
Jennifer Ring
Red Mesa Cantina

Get excited, because we just found another no cover party you. Red Mesa Cantina is throwing a New Year's Eve bash with four bars on three floors. Each bar has special cocktails, so you should probably Uber/Lyft to this event. Red Mesa Cantina, 128 3rd St. S., St. Pete. 9 p.m.-3 a.m. 727-896-8226.

5. New Year's Aqua Eve at The Florida Aquarium.

click to enlarge Florida Aquarium - Walter, via flickr
Walter, via flickr
Florida Aquarium

The Florida Aquarium is hosting an undersea-themed New Year's Eve party where you can celebrate the new year and enjoy the aquarium's exhibits at the same time. Admission includes live entertainment, food and drinks, a champagne toast, a souvenir photo, and a view of the fireworks. For an additional charge, you can take a ride on the Aquarium's 72-foot Bay Spirit II catamaran and see the fireworks on the water.The Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Dr., Tampa. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $130-220. 813-273-4000.

4. Busch Gardens New Year's Eve Celebration.

click to enlarge Roller Coaster - rmacwheeler, via pixabay
rmacwheeler, via pixabay
Roller Coaster

December 31 is a great day to visit Busch Gardens for two reasons: one, it's the last day the park is lit up for Christmas Town, and two, the New Year's Eve celebration. Busch Gardens Tampa is open for thrill rides, music, fireworks, and a countdown to the new year. Busch Gardens Tampa, 10165 N. McKinley Dr., Tampa. 9 a.m-1 a.m. Included with admission. 813-884-4386.

3. Celebrate 2018 with District Tavern.

click to enlarge mimosas - Joe Shlabotnik, via flickr
Joe Shlabotnik, via flickr

District Tavern is celebrating the new year with some interesting drink specials. From 11 a.m.-3 p.m. you can get unlimited mimosas for $20. Later that night, you can enjoy an open bar from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. for $100. If you choose to eat there, you should have a burger (editor's note: we heartily agree). District Tavern, 116 N. 12th St., Tampa. 11 a.m.-3 a.m. $20-120. 813-252-3444.

2. New Year's Eve party at the Don CeSar's Rowe Bar.

click to enlarge Don Cesar - porkfork6, via Wikimedia Commons
porkfork6, via Wikimedia Commons
Don Cesar

This all-inclusive event includes cocktails, beer, and wine; hors d’oeuvres; a buffet; DJ entertainment; oceanfront fire tables; a champagne toast and balloon drop. The Don CeSar, 3400 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $99-125. 727-360-1881.

1. Fire & Ice at Bizou Brasserie.

click to enlarge fire and ice - 6034649, via pixabay
6034649, via pixabay
fire and ice

This hip downtown eatery is celebrating the New Year with a fire and ice party. The fire comes in the form of smoky cocktails and fire entertainment, and the ice comes with the champagne bar. I love the theme, and I love even more that admission is free. If you want to start your evening with a nice dinner, then you can do that here also. Head over to our New Year's Dining Guide for a taste of what's on the menu. Bizou Brasserie, 601 N. Florida Avenue, Tampa. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. 813-227-9555.

Happy New Year!

About The Author

Jennifer Ring

Jen began her storytelling journey in 2017, writing and taking photographs for Creative Loafing Tampa. Since then, she’s told the story of art in Tampa Bay through more than 200 art reviews, artist profiles, and art features. She believes that everyone can and should make art, whether they’re good at it or not...
Scroll to read more Events & Film articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.