By Amanda Halm
For a such a quaint city, Quebec sure knows how to party. And unlike in bigger cities on New Year’s, the party comes sans traffic snarls and expensive entrance fees. Here you’ll find outdoor ice bars, a huge street celebration and a variety of fine dining options.
1. Get Fancy at the Château Frontenac
New Year’s calls for fancy and it doesn’t get much fancier than the Château Frontenac (1 rue des Carrières). Slip into that little black dress or black tie and do the Time Warp (again) with ’80s hits from a retro-inspired cover band. Sip specialty cocktails and nosh on pastries at the dessert bar. The next morning, regale friends with tales of the previous night’s activities over brunch in the ballroom.
2. Revolve & Resolve at L’Astral
Say “avoir” to 2011 and get a bird’s eye view of all the Grand Allée action at L’Astral, Quebec’s revolving restaurant, perched atop the Loews Hotel (1225 cours du Général-De Montcalm). After going back for seconds at L’Astral’s sumptuous buffet, fox-trot the night away to live music at the hotel’s ballroom soirée.
3. Club-Hop the Grand Allée
Rue Grand Allée is where all the action happens on December 31: there’s a $2 Ferris wheel, quintessential midnight fireworks show, and a strip of clubs housed in Victorian mansions. Catering to twenty- and thirtysomethings, Maurice nightclub (575 Grand Allée Est) is a popular New Year’s party spot with dance music bumping on three floors. Just across the street, Dagobert (600 Grand Allée Est) bubbles with even more energy for the tireless 25-and-under crowd.
4. Ski in the New Year’s at Mont-Sainte-Anne
A “white” New Year’s is practically guaranteed in Quebec and the Ski Bus shuttles from various hotels to the slopes. With the High Park Ski club adventure, active families can sluice down Mont-Sainte-Anne and then catch a bus back into the city to enjoy a dinner, dancing and a musical performance at Cabaret le Capitole.
5. Indulge at Le Patriarche
New Year’s Eve is the last night for guilt-free dining for those chronic resolution makers. When it comes to “last meals,” trust Le Patriarche (17 rue Saint-Stanislas) to serve it in style. Stéphane Roth, the executive chef at this extraordinary Old Town restaurant takes one ingredient and serves it three different ways. Everything is better in threes, such as lamb served in a zucchini roll with goat cheese and red pepper jelly.