How to do NYE for FREE

Every year that I’ve tried to go out for New Years, it has always ended up with me waking up on the 1st broke and hungover. Now we’re not saying you won’t be hungover, but how about this year we try to figure out how to do NYE without the $40 bar covers? Here are some suggestions from the BLEND staff about how to do NYE for basically FREE.

By Kaylin Balderrama


FREE Upstairs at Caroline’s Backyard Bash

If you’ve never been to Upstairs at Caroline you’re missing out on a really cool scenery. Located right on Congress the bar offers some pretty cool drinks like a cocktail that you pour pop rocks into. Starting at 8 pm on NYE the bar is hosting a FREE 21+ party. There will be drinks (champagne of course), a DJ, photo booth, games and a balloon drop. They recommend that you RSVP before you get there but it doesn’t guarantee entrance so be prepared to get there early to wait in line. Regardless, waiting in a line is better than paying $40 just to get in somewhere.

Photo from Upstairs at Caroline’s.

Photo from Upstairs at Caroline’s.

Drink from a Champagne Tower at the Pink Armadillow New Year Party

Photo from Hotel San Jose.

Photo from Hotel San Jose.

Go hang out at Hotel San Jose with some friends starting at 8 pm for dancing, drinks and NO COVER CHARGE!! There will probably be a line but the champagne tower makes it worth it right?

Save your money for a cocktail instead of paying a cover at Whisler’s

Photo from Whisler’s.

Photo from Whisler’s.

With a East Side King food truck in the back, Whisler’s is a must when looking for somewhere to hang out around Austin and they understand that a $130 cover is ridiculous so they don’t have one!! There will be a DJ spinning an all vinyl set and a champagne toast at midnight is INCLUDED. There is also Although the cocktails here can be kind of pricy, if you throw a pre-game before heading out you shouldn’t break the bank drinking here.

Dress up in some clothes you already own and go to the South Congress Hotel

Starting at 9 pm this hotel party will include both live music and a DJ spinning records. The Central Standard will stay open late to accommodate all of your needs as well. This is a good option if you’re wanting to go somewhere to grab a drink but you don’t want all of the craziness of sixth or Rainey. Dress to impress (in clothes you already own because we’re on a budget here) or go to Buffalo Exchange and pick up a dress there!

Photo from South Congress Hotel.

Photo from South Congress Hotel.

Photo from Indian Roller.

Photo from Indian Roller.

Celebrate for FREE like David Bowie would…at a masquerade ball

With a Dj, photo booth, complimentary champagne and no cover fee…I don’t see why you wouldn’t wanna check this place out. Hosted by boutique roadhouse, this party is Labyrinth-themed masquerade ball in honor of David Bowie. The event starts at 9 pm and everyone will be dressed as extra and out-there as one should be. Located at Indian Roller, you’ll be a little confused when you first show up as it doesn’t look like a typical bar, but once you drink that free champagne you won’t even care, so go hang! Get more info here.

Cough up $5 and party at Cheer Up Charlies

Although it’s not free if you can cough up $5 grab tickets here to hang out at Saved by the Ball: 2. The bar will be totally transformed into an interactive 90’s TV experience of the show we all know and love “Saved by the Bell”. Dress up in some 80’s or 90’s clothing and get ready to dance with DJs, 2 stages, 2 rooms and other Austinites who are counting down the start of 2019. It starts at 9 pm and will be $7 at the door so save those $2 to put towards a drink and buy tickets before.

Photo from Cheer Up Charlies.

Photo from Cheer Up Charlies.

Ring in the New Year with a Drag Party at Irene’s

Head over to Irene’s at 10 pm to attend the Irene’s New Years Eve Drag Party! Voted as one of the best NYE parties in Austin the event is free and will have drink specials and a toast at midnight. Hosted by Rhonda Jewels I have a feeling this party will be anything but boring…and it’s right off of West Sixth so if you end up wanting to leave you can just walk to one of the busy bars over there. Huts hamburgers is also next door which offers awesome drunk dinner or a place to eat before you head over to the party.

Photo from Irene’s.

Photo from Irene’s.

Get a free champagne toast at midnight at drink.well

Photo from drink.well

Photo from drink.well

Located over on North Loop this bar will have special holiday cocktails, no cover and free champagne at midnight for a bar-wide toast to 2019. The bar opens as early as 4 pm so you can get there early and drink away the memories from 2018. There also may not be a long line if it opens so early, but I would still plan ahead.

Drink free beer while you play video games at Pinballz

Photo from TripAdvisor

Photo from TripAdvisor

If dressing up and getting drunk with a bunch of strangers at a bar doesn’t sound very fun to you this year, dress up however you want and go hang out at Pinballz arcade. All you have to pay for is your game card and you get free beer whenever and champagne at midnight. You have to go to the original Pinballz location (on Research boulevard) but in my opinion that’s the best one. The free beer is only while supplies last so make sure not to wait until the last minute to head over there. Check out more about the event here.

Hang out at a strictly NO bottle service and NO sparklers party

Handlebar in Austin is hosting an adult only good booze, good people and good tunes party for New Years. There will be DJs on both floors and champagne is available for purchase if you are really wanting to toast that at midnight. This bar also has a rooftop so you can toast to 2019 on top of the world!! No cover of course.

Photo from the Austinot

Photo from the Austinot

Eat some donuts and drink some beer before the New Years resolutions kick in

Photo from Gourdoughs.

Photo from Gourdoughs.

Although Gourdoughs is known for it’s donuts, it actually has a super awesome bar as well. The event is listed as kid-friendly but from what I’m reading I think anyone would have fun hanging out here. They will have a balloon drop, fun activities every hour, poppers, sparkling juice for kids or adults, games, sparklers and more. It starts at 8 pm and ends right after midnight so it’s perfect if you’re wanting to just stay out long enough to see 2019 and then go to bed or go out somewhere else after. This will go down at the S. Lamar location and there is no cover, just pay for your drinks and some donuts or food if you want to.

Just stay home…there’s nothing wrong with it

If you’re worried about paying for drinks while you’re out, invite some friends over and hang at your place. You can make sure everyone still dresses up if you don’t want to miss out on pictures and make sure to provide champagne and whatever else you can afford so you can go into 2019 all drunk together! Paying an expensive cover is overrated…and nothing tastes better than $7 champagne from a gas station with your friends. You can also play some drinking games to pass the time and make a playlist of all your favorite songs that came out in 2018.

Kaylin BalderramaComment