New Year’s Eve can be an amateur fest of long lines and high prices. But with some planning, you can have an enjoyable and/or affordable night out.


The easiest way to save a few dollars is to go out early and hit the parties later. Mercato (1216 Spruce St.) offers multiple seatings on a sliding scale. The Spruce Street mainstay starts with a reasonable three-course dinner seating at $45 per person; at 7 p.m., a four-course dinner is $75; and at 9 p.m., a five-course spread rings in the New Year at $95. Even better, it’s BYOB, so you control your liquor costs.


Ready to splurge? For something truly special, the recently opened Fish (1708 Lombard St.) is offering a unique truffle-themed dinner with each of the six courses featuring either black or white truffles. The luxury meal will set you back $110 per person or $150 with wine pairings.

Just looking for drinks? No one does it better than the triumvirate of Royal Tavern (937 E. Passyunk Ave.), Cantina Los Caballitos (1651 E. Passyunk Ave.) and Dos Segundos (931 N. Second St.). Each is offering a $20 inclusive open bar for two hours — and you pick the hours.


– Arthur Etchells is a local food blogger. Read more at


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