Party Like a Rock Star in the New Year at Musician-Owned Restaurants

Jogging, shmogging. Make it your resolution to party like a rock star in the new year. At least once, get ushered around town in a stretch Hummer, knock back magnums of Dom Pérignon with your friends, and wear enough bling so that your selfies are just a blizzard of glittering lights reflecting off your jewels. Such a baller evening wouldn’t be complete without dining at a restaurant that epitomizes the high life. We recommend reserving a table at one owned by a chart topper. Here are five musician-owned restaurants where you can party like a rock star and live like a celebrity any day of the week.

Jay Z’s 40/40 Club, New York, New York
Hova has 99 problems, but running a super swanky sports-themed nightclub isn’t one of them. The luxe lounge takes its name for a record only four MLB players – Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Alfonso Soriano – have ever achieved: hitting 40 home runs and stealing 40 bases in a single season. As you would expect, the space is decorated with sports memorabilia galore, including signed jerseys you might be tempted to rip off the wall so you can hang them in your man cave at home. Don’t. Jigga would definitely not approve. The menu features bar food done right – from king crab sliders and spicy, skin-on fries to Southern fried shrimp and four cheese mac ‘n cheese. If you happen to be there at the same time as Jay and Bey, don’t interrupt them while they’re eating to ask for a picture with them to post on your Instagram. Wait until they’re enjoying a digestif, then bum rush them.

Musician-owned restaurants

Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina, Las Vegas, Nevada
You’ve probably sung one of Hagar’s songs at the top your lungs with the windows cranked down and the accelerator kissing the floorboards. Maybe his signature solo hit, “I Can’t Drive 55” or one of his many smashes with Van Halen, such as “Why Can’t This Be Love,” “Poundcake,” and “Right Now.” His Mexi-minded cantina – which takes its moniker from a track on VH’s 1988 album OU812 – specializes in South of the Border favorites. Think queso fundido with chorizo, short rib burritos, carne asada tacos, and chipotle-spiced chicken fajitas. Oh, yeah, and there’s a lot of tequila to be had, including Sammy’s own brand. Have a few glasses of Cabo Wabo tequila and you may be, um, inspired to belt out a tune in between courses. Just don’t make the amateur mistake of singing a Van Halen song David Lee Roth originally sang. So. Not. Cool.

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Eat Global, Dine Local: Enjoy an International Christmas in New York

International Christmas in New YorkYears past, if you found yourself stuck in the city, dinner out on Christmas typically used to be the province of sad hotel buffets, the odd greasy diner, and, of course, the traditional holiday destination for Jewish New Yorkers: the local Chinese restaurant.

Times have changed and the city is never a ghost town, not even on Christmas. Some of the city’s finest restaurants have seized the challenge of making holiday meals worthy of their stellar reputations. So whether you’re avoiding your extended family, keeping it local with a staycation, or your dreams to make it to St. Bart’s this year didn’t quite pan out, you can still travel virtually and enjoy a great meal while you’re at it. Bonus points for not having to hear about politics while your Uncle Lou talks with his mouth full.

Here where to enjoy an international Christmas in New York City:

Kurt Gutenbrunner’s flagship temple to the art of Austrian cuisine serves an elegant, visually vibrant $145 Christmas day tasting menu that’s true to its roots featuring Goose and Venison loin as the evening’s headliners. After sampling his dessert of Gingerbread Soufflé crowned in Egg Nog, good luck finding room for the Christmas cookies that follow. Somehow, you’ll manage.

International Christmas in New York

Skip the long flight to Stockholm and dive into Aquavit’s annual Julboard smorgasbord table. This over the top $95 Christmas Even menu includes three types of cured Salmon, nine types of herring (pictured below) and, yes, plenty of Swedish meatballs. If, for some reason, that’s that’s not your cup of tea, you can just gorge on the assortment of 16 desserts including Kladdkaka, a rich, gooey traditional chocolate cake. [Photo courtesy of @AquavitNYC]

International Christmas in New York

Mario Batali’s packed to the, ahem, gills West Village pizzeria, Otto, serves up an bargain-priced Feast of the Seven Fishes through Christmas Eve for a mere $45 per person for the whole shebang or $9 for individual samplings. The menu ranges from creamy Baccala (Cod) to a feisty Shrimp & Ceci spiked with ginger and chiles, pictured. You can wash all the deliciousness down with a quartino from Otto’s massive wine list.

International Christmas in New York

Russian Tea Room
Equal parts kitsch and opulence collide here at to celebrate decadence with the Russian Tea Room’s $125 three-course holiday menu ($50 version for kids). On Christmas Day, kick off with Borscht or Blinchicki (mushroom and goat cheese stuffed crepes) followed by a classic selection of artery-clogging entrées including Beef à la Stroganoff and melted butter-spewing Chicken Kiev. You can finish with a relatively restrained Chocolate Mousse cake or just go for broke by requesting a Czarist-inspired Nougat cream parfait topped with, what else, edible gold. A caviar course is extra; fur is optional.

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Gingerbread Dishes and Drinks: Sip + Savor the Spiced Seasonal Treat

Molasses and spice put the merry in this classic treat that’s had a starring role at Christmas as an all-too-often inedible house with shredded wheat-thatched roofs and gumdrop shrubs. It’s a holiday favorite, for sure, especially in New England. In recent years, gingerbread has gained respect all over the country — not just in desserts but martinis and ‘nogs, too. Check out these restaurants serving gingerbread cocktails and desserts that even the most traditional of gingerbread gentlemen and ladies would approve with frosted icing smiles.

Gracie’s, Providence, Rhode Island
Baby, it’s cold outside. High fives for the Hand Warmer, a hot gingerbread-inspired cocktail that’s made with Frangelico Art of the Age ‘Snap’, steamed cinnamon-honey milk, and chai bitters. [Photo by  JWessel Photography]

Gingerbread dishes and drinks

3800 Ocean, Palm Beach, Florida
Fudge and gingerbread go together like Rudolph and Santa — sweet shout-outs to Christmas. The Gingerbread Fudge dessert from pastry chef Brittani Szczecin is a fantasy of white chocolate chips, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pecans.

Gingerbread dishes and drinks

Bar 54, New York, New York
During the holidays, the highest rooftop bar in Manhattan serves a non-alcoholic Spiced Spritzer, a gingerbread mocktail combo of ginger, cinnabark syrup, lemon juice, cranberry relish, and old-fashioned bitters (glycerin-based and non-alcoholic). The icing on the cocktail: It’s garnished with candied ginger and a cinnamon stick.

Gingerbread dishes and drinks

Sbraga, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Gingerbread Macaron is pastry chef Marquessa Gesualdi’s answer to “when a gingerbread house doesn’t want to sit at the kids table anymore.” It’s made with white chocolate, amaretto cream, lemon gum drops, nutmeg dulce de leche, and blood orange curd — and it behaves quite nicely if you’re seated at the chef’s counter, too.

Gingerbread dishes and drinks

Level 25 at Atrio, Miami, Florida
Sip a Gingerbread Martini (Boodles Gin, simple syrup, Chambord and Canton Ginger Liqueur) in the hotel’s signature bar—views of Miami and Biscayne Bay sweeten the deal. You can also order the festive martini in the Atrio restaurant here.

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Start Your #PlantForward Year on NYE at Matthew Kenney’s Plant Food + Wine

Plant Food + Wine

Los Angelenos! The new year is almost here, and as we get through the anything-goes eating of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it’s time to get back to eating clean. But why wait until January 1? Get a jump start on your resolution to embrace a plant-based, sustainable diet on New Year’s Eve at Matthew Kenney’s Plant Food + Wine.

The elegant Los Angeles hot spot that pleases omnivores and vegans alike, Plant Food + Wine has a sublime and satisfyingly delicious evening planned. A decadent, refreshing tasting menu highlights fresh, seasonal vegetables alongside soulful ingredients such as kabocha squash and wild mushrooms and features six courses and, of course, bubbles for just $55 per person.

Plant Food + Wine

Dishes include Buckwheat Blini with Almond Cream and Hijiki “Caviar”; Spaghetti Squash with Beech Mushroom and Apple-Black Pepper Brodo; Winter Citrus with Baby Beets, Herb Stems, and Santa Barbara Pistachio Butter; Kabocha Squash; Pear; Candied Pumpkin + Mustard Seed; Wild Mushroom “Lasagna” with Smoked Almond Ricotta, and Sunchoke Puree; Cava-Poached Asian Pear, with Wheatgrass Granita and Sorrel Gelato, and Chocolate Bon Bons + Truffles. There is an optional Braised Celery Root with Black Truffle and Pumpernickel for $35 to raise the luxe-meter, and a $20 cheese plate (and, cheese lovers, if you’ve not had their housemade nut cheese, you are missing out — yes, even you dairy eaters). Accompany it all with modestly priced organic and biodynamic wine pairings for just $24.

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