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This Week in Buffalo: Blast off into 2020

Congratulations on making it through 2019. That kind of endurance is deserving of a pat on the back, an extra sip of champagne and a few more toots on the New Year's Eve blower.

New Year's Eve plans are often cemented several weeks in advance, which is why this heavy hitter list was published.

From those suggestions, very limited seating remains for the Ice Ball at Statler City, and even though temperatures are expected to dip below freezing Tuesday night, we're not talking single digits, which means the outdoor ball drop shouldn't be miserable.

This piece is a shout out to the smaller events for New Year's Eve, including some of the best bar parties and outside-the-box celebrations.

You are fancy, huh?

The Statler City Ice Ball is one of the city's most glamorous New Year's Eve events, with tickets exceeding $100. Look back at last year's Smiles. Here are other swanky shindigs.

Brewers' Ball, 9 p.m. on the second floor of Resurgence Brewing Co. (55 Chicago St.). Tickets are $125. Full open bar with passed food (try the pigs in a pretzel blanket!) and displayed food (chicken and waffles are offered!). (Menu).

Big Ditch Brewing, 8 p.m. at 55 E. Huron St. Tickets are $70 plus fees and gratuity. Four drink tickets, a food menu that includes lobster rolls, classy appetizers and sliders, plus party favors and a DJ. Big Ditch releases five limited-edition brews, with two sours and a banana cream porter among them.

Casa Azul, 10:30 p.m. at 128 Genesee St. Tickets are $85 apiece. Three-hour open bar, complimentary buffet, champagne toast, music from DJ Crespo.

Banchetti By Rizzo's, 7:30 p.m. at 550 N. French Road, Amherst. Tickets are $105 plus tax in advance by calling 691-4045. Live music by Nerds Gone Wild, Route 33 and Flipside amplify a night that already includes an open bar, hors d'oeuvres and dinner, and a champagne toast.

• BONUS: New Year's at Patrick's Rooftop, 9 p.m. at the top of 500 Pearl. Tickets are $175. Giant selection of drinks, plus raw bar, tenderloin sliders and desserts provided by Fairycakes. Phenomenal panoramic view of the city, plus fire pits and access to the W XYZ Bar.

Friendly for the family

First Night Buffalo takes the cake as the biggest family-friendly (and alcohol- and drug-free) event, but you're not limited to that.

Explore & More's Countdown to Noon, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 130 Main St. Cost is $15 in advance for adults and children; kids under 1 get in free. The craft session involves party hats, paper lanterns and noisemakers, with a bubble launch at noon mimicking midnight.

Noon Year's Eve at Aquarium of Niagara, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 701 Whirlpool St., Niagara Falls. Cost is $14.95 for adults, $12.95 for seniors and $10.95 for kids 3-12; full details. Sea lions get excited about the calendar changing, as the aquarium's crew dances, dives and wiggles at noon, with an accompanying ball drop and apple juice toast. Bring a canned good for a $1 discount.

Family fun on Old Falls Street, 5 to 10 p.m. at the Niagara Falls Conference and Event Center (101 Old Falls St.). Tickets are $8 for ages 4 and up; kids under 3 get in free. Inflatable, stilt walkers, hula hoopers and balloon crafters will mesmerize youngsters.

• BONUS: New Year's Eve at Bounce Magic, 6 to 9 p.m. at 4255 McKinley Parkway, Suite 20, Hamburg; and 4090 Maple Road, Amherst. Tickets are $25 in advance for Hamburg/Amherst. Buffet from 6 to 8 p.m. before the fun ramps up, with a balloon drop at 9.

Bar parties with small/no cover

Marble + Rye, 11:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. at 112 Genesee St. Free to attend. Drink specials and front-row seat for the downtown fireworks.

Community Beer Works, 7 p.m. at 520 7th St. Free to attend. Keg drop, beer toast and Totchos at midnight.

Santora's, 7 p.m. at 7800 Transit Road, East Amherst. $5 entry is donation to Kevin Guest House (or donation to wish list). Breakaway performs at 9:30.

The Draft Room, 9 p.m. at 79 Perry St. Free to attend. Complimentary snacks and champagne toast at midnight. A short walk from the Sabres game.

Quick hitters

Humble Braggers at Nietzsche's
Post-dinner bites at Hotel Henry
Lockhouse Distillery
Club Marcella
Hard Rock Cafe
The Quarter
New York Beer Project
Angelica Tea Room
The Rose
Biergarten at Orchard Park
• 42 North Brewing Keg Drop
Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar
• The new Rusty Nickel Brewing
Colter Bay

5 to look forward to this weekend

Tribute to the Strokes, Pearl Jam in Nietzsche's
Buffalo Sabres Skills Challenge in KeyBank Center
New Year Bash in Milkie's on Elmwood
Lexi's Tailgate Party at the Lexington Co-op locations
• Revolution Gallery grand re-opening.


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