In my opinion, New Year's Eve is the worst holiday of the year. I didn't always feel this way, but years of cheap champagne hangovers, overpriced jerk-filled parties, and awkward midnight kisses (or lack thereof) have left me with no choice but to come to this conclusion. Some people say the way you spend New Year's Eve is the way you'll spend the rest of your year (i.e., not having a good time), so I'm not taking any chances this time around. If you feel the same way, here are some places to hit up for a low-key NYE, where the hoards of overdressed drunks won't find you and you'll only have to pay for what you drink.
Gene's Haufbrau. When we called Gene's to see about their New Year's plans, they actually said they were hoping for a low-key evening as well. With no cover, lots of bar games, and an impressive beer collection, this West Ashley staple is the perfect neighborhood bar for avoiding the hullabaloo of downtown and hanging with like-minded haters of New Year's ostentatiousness.
Harborview Restaurant & Lounge (formerly High Spirits Lounge). This bar at the top of the round Holiday Inn will most likely be empty as many visitors head across the bridge for their celebrations. Although the drink menu may not be very impressive, the views of the Ashley certainly are, and the bar's giant windows will offer up great views of midnight fireworks.
The Royal American. This new REV Foods venture on Morrison Drive has only been open for about a week, and that's what makes it the perfect place to go for a $2 beer and a bowl of chili while quietly laughing about all your friends that shelled out $100 to go to a fancy ball. Since it's owned by the same folks behind Taco Boy and Closed for Business (both of which are also eschewing New Year's celebrations), you know that it's going to be too cool to hold off the crowds for long, so get over there for a laid-back evening before everyone else decides to do the same.
HoM. Definitely open but not necessarily celebrating the New Year, this King Street burger boutique is the place to go if you want to eat, drink, and play ping-pong. Because of the holiday, there will hopefully be lots of opportunities to play your friends without having to wait too long. And if for some reason you suddenly get the desire to suddenly transform into a New Year's jackass, there's always the option of turning your game into a beer pong match. (Just kidding. We definitely don't recommend this.)
Vickery's. If you're looking to stay in Mt. Pleasant for the night, this restaurant and bar offers up a hefty menu of reasonably priced food and drink specials. The best thing about Vickery's, of course, is its large outdoor patio overlooking Shem Creek and the harbor. If the weather lately is any indication of what it's going to be like on NYE, make sure to grab a table outside for viewing fireworks.
If you want a truly low-key holiday, you may want to ignore this list altogether. It's just as fun to grab a couple of bottles of booze and invite some friends over to watch the ball drop. However, whatever you do, please don't invite 30 of your closet friends to places mentioned above. Remember, this is all about keeping it low-key.