The stress of planning the perfect New Year's Eve can often result in the throwing up your hands and phoning it in with a night on the couch and some champy in a coffee mug. Not cute. This year, if you've slacked off or simply forgotten to get it together for NYE, we have your back (and your dress, and your shoes). Our last-minute guide to a mega-fun New Year's Eve in Chicago could be the only thing that stands between you and an uneventful moment at midnight. Our events fit into any budget, and they're not sold out – yet. So, get moving and you might actually have the NYE everybody dreams of (and most people never have). Go ahead. Pop some bottles, don some glitter, and greet 2012 in fine style.
Photo: Via High Sight, Beauty Bar, Palmer House, and The Hard Rock Hotel
1. Beauty Bar: It doesn't get much better than a $20 cover charge for dance floor madness and a champagne toast at midnight. Get these tix before they're gone! Beauty Bar, 1444 West Chicago Avenue (near North Noble Street); 312-226-8828.
2. Chicago Scene: Chicago Scene's NYE party offers revelers a ton of different package options, if they move fast. This one is epic, and definitely worth a look. The Drake Hotel, 140 East Walton Street (near Michigan Avenue); 312-787-2200.
3. FKA NYE: For the dance hall queens, Bottom Lounge is throwing a huge party with a teeny price tag. Six bucks gets you in, and just for fun, they're doing a countdown every hour. Bottom Lounge, 1375 West Lake Street (near Ada Street); 312-666-6775.
4. High Sight: If you're into being ahead of the curve, this one goes down the night before NYE, and it's got a purpose. All proceeds benefit the High Sight scholarship program. That's right, you can feel good about all that drinking you're about to do. High Sight, 500 West Jackson Boulevard (near South Canal Street); 312-787-9824.
5. Small Bar: Get to Small Bar early, because this is one of the rare Chi-town NYE parties with no – literally, none at all – cover charge. DJs, booze, and a no-fuss good time. Small Bar, 2049 West Division Street (near North Hoyne Avenue); 773-772-2727.
Photo: Via Studio Paris, Small Bar, Bottom Lounge, and Kimpton
6. Studio Paris: On the more luxe (really luxe) side of things, Studio Paris offers a chic, open-bar extravaganza, if you're willing to pay for it. Studio Paris, 59 West Hubbard Street (near West Kinzie Street); 312-595-0800.
7. Sable: It's business as usual at Sable, nothin' NYE-fancy, but that can be a good thing! Get there early and score a table, and you and yours will drink and dine your way into 2012, loving every drama-free minute. Sable, 505 North State Street (near East Illinois Street); 312-755-9704.
8. Hard Rock Hotel: The $150 open-bar cover charge is pretty darn reasonable, if we do say so ourselves, and The Hard Rock is known for throwing epic parties on any night of the year, really. So this is a safe bet. Hard Rock Hotel, 230 North Michigan Avenue (near East Lake Street); 312-345-1000.
9. Henri: The chef's got some surprises waiting for those dining at Henri on NYE. Make your reservations ASAP and look forward to special bites and pours throughout the evening. Henri, 18 South Michigan Avenue (near East Monroe Street); 312-578-0763.
10. The Gage: The Gage will also sport some NYE-ready specials, including wine pairings for all of Chef's celebratory creations. Bid farewell to 2011 by eating something scrumptious. Yeah, we thought you'd like that. The Gage, 24 South Michigan Avenue (near East Monroe Street; 312-372-4243.
11. Palmer House: If you're looking for a big, fancy, high-rollin' NYE, plan to have it at the Palmer House Hilton. No joke. Tickets are limited and they're moving fast, so make sure you and yours have your plans figured out, ASAP. Palmer House Hilton, 17 E Monroe Street; 312-726-7500.