NYE in the 613; Ways to ring in 2011

New Year’s Eve and all its glitz, glam and hype is upon us.

(If you thought jostling the pre-Christmas crowds was tough, the combination of fighting boxing-week shoppers while seeking party favours and the perfect pair of pumps should be terrifying!)

But no matter what 2010 has brought to you and yours, NYE is a chance to celebrate the past and toast the future. Take a chance to do something special as the clock strikes midnight this Friday.

Here are some of LTOttawa‘s favourite ideas:

The traditional night out

Any of Ottawa’s many bars and pubs are sure to able to help you ring in 2011 along with hundreds of your closest friends. From a Mardi-Gras theme at Fat Tuesday’s to a Masquerade at Mercury Lounge in the Market, to pints with friends in the cozy booths of the Manx or Lieutenant’s Pump on Elgin, the city will be teeming with fun.

Meanwhile, our friends at STARFISH events have planned a Carnival-themed party at the Crowne Plaza — complete with “express” makeovers from 6-9 pm to be followed by two DJs, food, prizes and “surprises.”

Live Theatre

If you’d rather watch the (oh-so-ditzy) drama from a distance, the National Arts Centre is hosting a NYE showing of Legally Blonde, The Musical. You can add pre-performance gourmet dinner and/or a post-party to make for a complete night out. Ring in 2011 with the bubbly lawyer-in-training Elle as she takes school by storm — in pink — under the bright NAC lights while sitting in plush seats.

Meanwhile, over in Gatineau, the Casino du Lac Leamy is offering the Esquire Show Bar, advertised as “recreating the unique atmosphere of Montreal’s legendary R’nB mecca of the 50s, 60s, and 70s.”

A Comedy Club

Both of Ottawa’s comedy venues — YukYuk’s and Absolute Comedy are offering evening performances to allow you to laugh in 2011. Absolute has a 7:45 p.m. showing with buffet dinner and a 10:15 p.m. showing with midnight champagne toast. Comics are Nile Seguin and Joey Elias. Meanwhile, New Yuk’s Eve over on Elgin has a 9:00 p.m. showing followed by pizza buffet, party favours and six comedians, including headliner Simon Cotter, along with Jen Grant, John Hastings and others.

Special dinner OUT

Lots of restaurants will be offering special menus for you to sit, sip and savour your best memories from 2010. Some of my reliably amazing faves are Play Food & Wine, Murray Street, Town and Fraser Cafe. (Reservations STRONGLY required; I may be a little late on the suggestions!)

Special dinner IN

You don’t need to slave all day in the kitchen to still have a memorable meal at home with some good friends, food and conversation. Potlucks are always an interesting and easy option, as is a finger-food-only meal. Other options are picking up gourmet catering from such places as Red Apron, Epicuria or Thyme and Again.

Two years back, our friends (and guest bloggers!) Josh and Margaux hosted a dinner where everyone was asked to bring a fruit. Dessert was a “grassroots” fruit salad to which everyone had contributed! A fun way to do something a little different. I’ve also had friends organize a four-course meal by designating each course — salad, soup, main and dessert — along with a wine pairing, to a group of two for an easy way to break down an elaborate meal.

And then there’s the house parties, romantic B&Bs with a special someone and family-themed fun, like sparklers on the lawn of Parliament Hill.

As long as you surround yourself with good people and good memories, 2011 will be here — and you’ll be missing 2010 — before you know it!