RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's been a year to remember for The Big Easy.
"This has definitely been our highest-grossing sales year ever," said owner Steve Hunt.
The Fayetteville Street bar and restaurant is selling $10 tickets for its New Year's Eve celebration, which includes a free glass of champagne. So far, they've sold about 175 tickets, planning to max out at 250 to ensure there's enough space for everybody inside. Outside the immediate boost to business, Hunt said events like First Night Raleigh, which draw large crowds to the area, can have a long-term impact.
"When we have Artsplosure or the Food Truck Rodeos or anything that we've either had in the past or still have now, a lot of those people would never come downtown unless they come for an event. But when they come in here, we show them a good time. They may have never been here before or maybe never heard of us before. So it's definitely not just for that night, but for the future," Hunt said.
Around the block on West Martin Street, Umbrella Dry Bar will open for the first time on New Year's Eve.
"It's a nonalcoholic cocktail bar, so we want people to be in a space where it feels like a cocktail bar, a traditional cocktail hour, very elevated, very beautiful, has the glass or has all these interesting bottles," said owner and co-founder Meg Paradise.
The opening represents a full circle moment for Paradise, who first visited Raleigh during its New Year's Eve celebrations more than a decade ago. Now, her new business is opening up just a couple blocks away from the site of the Acorn Drop.
"I think it's a statement to say you can do New Year's Eve without alcohol because right now it's kind of challenging too if you are on a journey moderating alcohol or living part of your life alcohol-free to find spaces where you feel really social or you feel really included versus kind of like an afterthought," said owner and co-founder Meg Paradise.
They're selling $100 tickets for Sunday, and have about half of their allotment available. Its first full day will be Friday, January 5th, with Paradise noting they already have reservations for 80 people.
"A lot of people turn to January and say, 'How can I treat my body better? What are some good things for better, restful sleep? It doesn't make me feel good.' So we want to be ready for when that person's ready to make that decision," said Paradise.
For family-friendly fare, United Skates of America on Trawick Road is hosting two separate events on New Year's Eve - one beginning at 11:30 AM for young children, and the other at night, geared more towards middle-school-aged kids and families.
"We do have a very strong skating community in Raleigh. But then it's also a place where other people that are just looking for something kind of outside the box that they haven't done before," said General Manager Stuart Yeatts.
Tickets are $20 for the earlier event and $25 for the latter event. Yeatts anticipates 200-300 people for the afternoon gathering, and 300-400 people at night, each of which will focus on a balloon drop in the middle of the rink.
"They're (amongst) our biggest events of the year," said Yeatts.
Organizers of First Night Raleigh are anticipating thousands of attendees downtown, and are hopeful businesses will capitalize off the foot traffic.
"What we found is people come to this from all over North Carolina and it's this really great moment to showcase downtown Raleigh for those folks to check out those brick-and-mortar businesses. Our biggest hope as festival planners is that this really benefits downtown in a positive way because it's such a great city to live in, and that's what we want people to take away from when they visit," said Cameron Laws, Creative Director for First Night Raleigh.