According to local business owner Francis Schott, New Year's Eve saw a paradigm shift a few years ago.
For many years, Schott, along with business partner Mark Pascal, have given party goers a place to go, booking a 10-piece band, installing a dance floor, and holding New Year's Eve parties. They went even farther in the mid-2000's, renting out the Crossroads Theatre and featuring performances by San Francisco-based jazz vocalist Jacqui Naylor.
Then, the economic crash of 2008 happened, Schott said. And the guest lists for those kinds of events shrank way down.
"That paradigm was over," Schott said.
At that point, Schott and Pascal, known as The Restaurant Guys, hatched a plan to begin a new type of New Year's Eve event, one that would benefit the city and its businesses.
With the cooperation of New Brunswick mayor James Cahill, they put together a fireworks display in the center of the downtown, a new tradition that has continued ever since.
At midnight, the display, facilitated by Garden State Fireworks, will shoot off from the top of the Heldrich Hotel. It is completely free and open to the public.
Schott said the display does not cost the city money, and is sponsored by Moet & Chandon Champagne. The company's champagne brands are offered in a number of restaurants in the downtown, including George Street Ale House, Clydz, Due Mari, Delta's, The Frog and the Peach and Steakhouse 85.
Additional sponsors include Magyar Bank, Boraie Development, The Fresh Grocer, DEVCO, New Brunswick City Market, State Theatre, George Street Playhouse and the New Brunswick Cultural Center.
Schott said the idea for the display is to entice party goers to New Brunswick to spend their New Year's, but it's also fully intended for the citizens of New Brunswick to have a special event to come to.
"It's a service to the bars and restaurants, but it further establishes New Brunswick as the cultural capital of central New Jersey," he said.
Festivities begin at 11:30 p.m. at Monument Square Park, at the corner of George Street and Livingston Avenue, where a DJ will be playing music. The fireworks will be shot off at midnight.
Additional events and festivities planned for New Year's Eve include concerts, restaurant promotions and special New Year's church services.
This list has been updated with additional New Year's Eve events. If your business, church, or group is holding a New Year's event and you would like it on this list, please email Jennifer.Bradshaw@Patch.com.
- Tula Restaurant and Lounge, 47 Easton Ave., will host a three-course dinner with complimentary champagne for $55 per person. A DJ will begin playing music at 10 a.m., and the bar will offer $5 vodka drink specials with a $15 purchase at the bar. The restaurant will also give away a prize of a trip to Atlantic City. Call (732) 246-0014 for more information or to make a reservation.
- Frog and the Peach, 29 Dennis St., will have a four-course prixe fixe menu from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., with a champagne toast at midnight. The cost is $85 per person. Click here to view the menu. Call (732) 846-3216 for more information or to make a reservation.
- Court Tavern, 124 Church St., is hosting a New Year's Eve party for zombies, but regular humans are allowed to go, too. Guests are encouraged to come in zombie attire to watch horror movies on the bar's televisions and listen to music provided by a roster of DJs. $5 Sailor Jerry drinks are the drink special of the night. Check the bar's Facebook page for more information.
- Mike's Courtside Bar & Grill, 1 Elm Row, will have a party going on that features a DJ, giveaways, hourly drink specials, free holiday photos at the door, and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Click here for more information.
- V Lounge, 25 Liberty St., will host an all-night party featuring three DJ's, appetizers and a champagne toast, and party favors. Tickets are available for an open bar from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., and cost $35 in advance, $40 at the door. Click here for more information, or call (848) 202-0532.
- Daryl Wine Bar, 302 George St., will have a four-course prixe fixe menu with wine and champagne pairings for $125, or, $75 for just the four courses without the alcohol. Click here to view the menu, or call (732) 253-7780 to make a reservation.
- At the Stress Factory, 90 Church St., comedian Orny Adams will perform two shows, one at 7:30 p.m. and one at 10:30 p.m. Admission to the 7:30 p.m. show costs $49 and includes a dinner buffet. Tickets to the 10:30 p.m. show are $99, and include the show, a dinner buffet, open bar, a midnight champagne toast and music and dancing. Click here for more information, or call (732) 545-4242 to make a reservation.
- Due Mari, 78 Albany St., will have a four-course prixe fixe menu available for $75 per person, including a champagne toast. Live music will be playing throughout the night, and a children's menu will also be offered for younger guests. To view the menu, visit duemari.com and click "events" or call (732) 296-1600 for more information or to make a reservation.
- Harvest Moon Brewery & Cafe, 392 George St., will offer open bar from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. for $50 per person, as well as a number of dinner specials. Click here for more information, or call (732) 249-6666.
- The Glass Woods Tavern at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick, 2 Albany St., will have a New Year's Eve prime rib and seafood buffet from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dinner is $45 per person. Call (732) 873-1234 for a reservation.
- Schott and Pascal's restaurant, Stage Left Restaurant, 5 Livingston Ave., will host a six course wine dinner at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $149 per person, plus tax and service charge. To view the menu, or to make a reservation, click here.
- George Street Ale House will offer $5 Bacardi flavors and $5 Red Bull and vodka drinks. A complimentary champagne toast will be held at midnight. There is a $5 cover charge. For more information, click here.
- Delta's Restaurant, 19 Dennis St., will offer a three course menu priced at $55 per person, or $100 per couple. Cover is $20 without a dinner reservation. Entertainment will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. A champagne toast will be held at midnight. Call (732) 249-1551 for a reservation. For more information, click here.
- Christopher's at the Heldrich will host a party beginning at 9 p.m., featuring music, a buffet, a dance floor, and a front-row view of the fireworks display. Admission is $110 per person, plus tax and gratuity. The restaurant will also offer a prixe-fix menu from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., priced at $100 per couple, plus tax and gratuity. Call (732) 214-2206 to make reservations. Click here for more information.
- State Theatre, 15 Livingston Ave., will host a concert at 6 p.m. entitled "Salute to Vienna". Tickets begin at $47. For more information, click here.
- New Brunswick City Market is hosting a contest for New Year's Eve, in which the winner will receive two tickets to a New Year's Eve party and buffet at Christopher's at the Heldrich, overnight accommodations at the Heldrich, and breakfast the next morning. Click here to enter.
- For those who wish to welcome the new year in a house of worship, Saint Alban's Episcopal Church will host "Crossover Night", a service beginning at 9 p.m. Saint Alban's is located at 148 Lee Ave.