Half the crowd, twice the price, but the New Year's Day party must go on
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Half the crowd, twice the price, but the New Year's Day party must go on

For most of us, New Year's Eve is for watching fireworks, having a few drinks and perhaps sharing a midnight party-pash. But for the social set, it's New Year's Day when the party really gets started.

Sydney venues traditionally host glamorous A-listers happy to splash hundreds of dollars for a luxurious day of free-flowing beverages and roving canapes alongside celebrities, socialites and sportsmen.

Catalina will pull out all the stops for their revamped NYD party.

Catalina will pull out all the stops for their revamped NYD party.Credit:Kate Geraghty

Two of the hottest tickets in town are always Rose Bay's Catalina restaurant and Bondi's Icebergs Dining Room, with the rival parties charging $500 entry for endless alcohol, entertainment and a pumping dancefloor.

That won't be possible under current COVID-19 restrictions, but both venues are pulling out all the stops to give their guests the "ultimate experience" to bid farewell to a horror year. And while the venues' capacities might be smaller, the prices aren't - in fact, they're doubling.

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Kate and James McMahon, who run their family's iconic harbourside restaurant Catalina, say no trimmings or expenses will be spared at their revamped $1000-a-head New Year's Day soiree.

"We are absolutely pursuing value, the menu is going to be out of this world, we're going to make sure it feels extremely luxe and the entertainment is going to be amazing with plenty of surprises," James told The Sun-Herald.

"Think Mediterranean beach club, think Scorpios and Namos in Mykonos. We will be serving rock lobsters, Russian caviar and aged T-bone steaks."

Kate said COVID guidelines would allow a maximum of 90 people. "We want a seated party-vibe," she said.

Last year's New Year's Day bash at Icebergs.

Last year's New Year's Day bash at Icebergs.Credit:Ari Pashali

Bondi Icebergs founder Maurice Terzini has pioneered the New Year’s Day party for 18 years.

Bondi Icebergs founder Maurice Terzini has pioneered the New Year’s Day party for 18 years.Credit:Janie Barrett

The pair remained tight-lipped about some elements of the party but alluded to harbour access or a custom pool. "There could be some Catalina monogrammed beach towels around for whatever reason," Kate said.

In Bondi, Icebergs restaurateur Maurice Terzini, the organiser of Sydney's original New Year's Day event, will also charge $1000 entry to the exclusive party he has hosted for the past 18 years.

"It will be Iceberg's Dining Room and Bar on steroids," he said. "We are preparing a really special cabaret menu, a little decadent but I want people to feel really happy after this disaster year."

Offering two-hatted food, drink and wine, the oceanside restaurant will be transformed into a party palace by creative director George Barnes.

Icebergs is known for drawing a celebrity crowd, with regular guests at the famed New Year's Day bash including Pip Edwards, former cricketer Michael Clarke, actress Nat Kelly and even Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and his wife Annie.

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But some of the city's rich and famous prefer to spend New Year's cruising the harbour aboard a luxury yacht.

Garbage king Ian Malouf, who founded the Dial-A-Dump empire before starting a new venture leasing superyachts, has several vessels available for hire through his Ahoy Club.

His daughter Ellie Malouf, the club's head of charter, says there's "no better way" to ring in New Year's than on the water, especially for those looking to escape crowds elsewhere.

"It's the COVID-compliant way to bring in the New Year with all your friends," she says.

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