We've given you a hefty list of places to ring in the new year this Saturday night--from the less gouge-y to Balinese-themed to where to find something a little spicy--but that covers the main event. You need a pre-game plan. Sure, there are early seatings at restaurants, or you can crack a bottle of bubbly at home, but here are a couple other options to get an early start.
Stop by the wine shop at Palate Food + Wine from 2 to 5 P.M. for the third annual New Year's Eve day afternoon raw bar. The a la carte menu features oysters on the half shell, sardines with shaved fennel and wild herbs, amberjack crudo, dungeness crab or shrimp cocktail, and special wine and sparkler flights.
If you prefer to get wasted before you get wasted (you're already not driving, right?), hit the top-shelf private tasting at Seven Grand. Sip eight to 10 special whiskies from around the world, including a Thomas H. Handy Sazerac limited edition unfiltered straight rye, Hakushu 12-year-old Japanese whisky, and Talisker's 11-year-old double barrel-aged scotch. A punch reception begins at 5:30 P.M., the world whiskey flight starts at 6 P.M., and the bar opens to the public at 8 P.M., at which point you will want to slip out before the craziness begins (you'll also have to start another tab). $120 covers the special tasting, which is pricey, but there are also passed appetizers, and chances that you'll be tasting these whiskies again in one fell swoop are slim to none. Purchase tickets here.