Mérida, Yucatán — New Year’s Eve in Yucatán is celebrated with a dinner, drinks and dancing, mostly among family and friends, into the wee hours. Celebrations take place either at home or in restaurants. If you choose the latter, time is running out fast to make reservations.
Before you head out, though, it’s good to remember some local traditions:
For good luck, wear red underwear on New Year’s Eve for luck in love in the coming year. Or wear yellow for luck with money. No word on whether red-and-yellow stripes brings both love and money, but we do know that they have to be a fresh pair, never worn before, for the magic to hold.
At midnight you are expected to eat 12 grapes, each one for good luck for each month in the new year. With each grape, make a wish. And make it out loud. Sharing it doesn’t spoil the wish in Mexico.
But mainly, be prepared for fireworks until sunrise. Not a big public festival, but rather in the streets. There, if you see a man in effigy, its old clothes stuffed with firecrackers ablaze, you’re witnessing the traditional farewell to the año viejo, the old year. Normally they are homemade, but this year vendors have been selling dummies embellished with a sash and pompadour — meant to resemble the Mexican president — for $250 pesos.
But what is the best venue to welcome 2015? Here are our top six picks in and near the Centro.
La68 Cultural Center
One of our favorite, slightly bohemian spots in the Centro will offer music, snacks, dancing, and a toast with the traditional grapes.
The reception starts at 9 p.m.
Price: $200 pesos per person including a drink. Dinner available for additional cost.
Reservations: 999 924 9540, or administración@la68.com
Location: Calle 68 and 55. See website.
Dwarfed by their larger neighbors, the Holiday Inn has an elaborate buffet to keep the bigger hotels on their collective toes. Tis year, they have chosen an American Old West theme, and the buffet is all you can eat and drink (domestic liquors). Toast at midnight, with the traditional grapes and if you stay awake until 3 a.m., you are rewarded with cochinita. Live music.
The buffet menu includes turkey with stuffing and roast rack of pork, with snacks such as cocktail sausages, Buffalo wings, cheeses and meats, salads and soups. Desserts include cheesecake and a Yule log with macadamia nut and hazelnut cream.
Price: $1,350 per adult, less for children
Reservations: 999 942 8800 ext. 609
Location: Avenida Colon, Hotel Zone. Facebook.
Hennessy’s Irish Pub
Host Sean Hennessy has built a popular Irish pub in Santa Ana that lends itself naturally to a New Year’s Eve bash. Party includes a glass of champagne and a four-course meal of prime rib, lamb curry or poached salmon.
Price: $795 pesos; Reserved seating for performance by CopyPaste, $100 pesos
Reservations: 999 923 8993
Location: Paseo de Montejo between Calle 41 and Calle 43. Website.
Rosas & Xocolate Boutique Hotel+Spa
The most romantic spot we can think of, and a and sophisticated choice for New Year’s.
Five-course dinner: First course: Sea scallop ceviche; Second course: mixed greens, baby spinach, Fourme cheese, pistachio, apple and coffee vinaigrette; Third course: beet soup, radish, baby carrots, avocado, oregano and Brie cheese; Fourth course: short rib veal, cauliflower puree, asparagus, mushrooms or Duck breast, foie gras, cauliflower and mushrooms; Fifth course: beet ice cream, cranberries and milk chocolate.
Includes: One holiday cocktail per person, bottle of sparkling wine per couple served at midnight. Live music: Jazz Orchestra with Mauricio Bonfiglio from 11 p.m.-3 a.m. Fireworks and a Times Square countdown.
Price: $1,550 pesos per person; less for children
Reservations: 999 924 2992
Location: Paseo de Montejo and Calle 41. Website
This Mexican restaurant gets a bad rap for being a little touristy, but the food and service are reliable and the atmosphere is perfect for a festive New Year’s celebration. The manager warned us they are nearly booked up. Fixed price meal with choice of seafood or beef entrees. Full menu here.
Price: $545 pesos per person, not including drinks or service
Reservations: 999 923 0942
Location: Calle 59 between Calles 60 and 62. Website.
La Tratto Santa Lucía
Pancho’s newer cousin a couple blocks north is also ready for New Year’s. Fixed price meal with choice of seafood or beef entrees. Full menu here.
Price: $545 per person, not including drinks or service
Reservations: 999 923 3787
Location: Santa Lucia Park, Calles 55 and 60. Website.