The Times Square Olive Garden is offering New Year’s Eve revelers in town to see the famous ball drop the chance to experience the magic inside a warm restaurant, instead of outside in the freezing cold. And it will only cost you $400.
As CNN reports, the chain restaurant is offering diners a special-ticket New Year’s Eve party that begins at 8:00 p.m. and lasts until 1:00 a.m. For $400, you get a full buffet, DJ’s, dancing, “multiple” open bars, and a special champagne toast at midnight. What you do not get, however, is a guaranteed view of the famous ball drop.
— AccorHotels (@Accorhotels) December 29, 2015
Oddly enough, absent from the New Year’s Eve menu is Olive Garden’s famed “unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks” promotion.
Because the Times Square Olive Garden location is in Times Square, but will be surrounded by thick crowds, the company is quick to point out that the $400 admission price means you might get to see the ball drop, but it’s not a “or your money back” situation.
“A view of the ball drop is limited… With the cooperation of the NYPD and security, we are hoping to get to see the ball drop from just outside our front doors. But due to security issues, we can’t sell the tickets on the premise that outside view of the ball drop is guaranteed.”
There’s no smoking, either, inside or out. So if you intend to ring in the New Year with a smoke, Olive Garden isn’t your best choice.
And since it’s New Year’s Eve, Olive Garden expects a little bit better from you as far as dressing: no t-shirts or sneakers, please.
Tickets are first-come, first-serve, so get there early.
If you don’t have $400 to spend on an Olive Garden New Year’s Eve party, its competitor in the casual dining market, Applebee’s, has you covered: wouldn’t you know it, they, too, have a location in Times Square, and they, too, are offering a New Year’s Eve party. And the Applebee’s party only costs $375 ($250 for children).
— Applebee’s New York (@ApplebeesNY) December 29, 2015
Not unlike the Olive Garden New Year’s Eve Party, Applebee’s’ bash includes a buffet, DJs, and an open bar. You also get a “commanding” view of, ah, the crowds. But at least you’ll be able to take comfort in the fact that you’re warm and they’re freezing (Thursday’s overnight low in the Big Apple is expected to be around 37 degrees).
Unlike the Olive Garden party, Applebee’s is selling tickets in advance — but hurry, they’re going fast, according to a spokesperson.
“Most of our sales happen in the last two days before New Year’s when all the tourists are coming to New York.”
If you’re in Times Square and you absolutely must see the famed ball drop from the warm comfort of a chain restaurant, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is the way to go. For a mere $799, you are guaranteed a view of the ball drop — in fact, the view is part of the reason for the high sticker price, according to spokesperson Jim Dufault.
“[Bubba Gump’s is] one of the only restaurants in Times Square where guests can view the ball drop.”
In addition to the guaranteed view, you also get a raw bar with caviar and lobster, unlimited blackened salmon, BBQ short ribs and BBQ spiced shrimp and grits, and an open bar with spiked lemonade and alcoholic Sno-Cones.
Unfortunately, the tickets are already sold out, so it looks like Olive Garden or Applebee’s may be your best bet for a warm New Year’s Eve in Times Square.
[Image via Shutterstock/ljh images]