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Ring It In, Chicago!

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Here is a no-fail New Year’s resolutions secret: you cannot break your New Year’s resolution by January 2nd if you haven’t made it yet. At least that’s my excuse for still being in the throes of indecision. You can’t fail to achieve a goal you haven’t even set – unless your New Year’s resolution ends up being not to procrastinate, in which case by taking so long to decide you kind of failed before you began. (Which is a depressing sort of chicken-and-egg thought that we won’t dwell on.)
So: while you’re still trying to decide whether it’s a nobler goal to become a karaoke master or stop biting your toenails (decisions, decisions), try celebrating the new year with just something…new. Whether these places are new to Chicago this year, or whether they’re just great novel experience to add to your year, here are some experiences worthy of ringing in 2014.

Pearl Tavern, opening January 21st, 180 N. Wacker Drive
It’s hard not to be enticed by a restaurant that invites you to “dive into a new experience.” However, if that’s not enough, take a trip to their website and imagine yourself underneath the art nouveau lights, dining on one of the most famous epicurean aphrodisiacs, surrounded by vintage glamour. In fact, the setting is awfully reminiscent of the Overlook Hotel flashbacks in The Shining, minus the ghosts. (On second thought, maybe that’s not a good selling point.) But it certainly will make you feel like you’re in an old Hollywood film, and with a menu promising Swordfish Au Poivre, mussels with pomme frites, and Crab Churros, this just might be the most fabulous start your year has ever had. And who knows? Maybe Charlize Theron and Leo DiCaprio will stroll through, in pin curls and wingtips, with a camera crew and flashbulbs in tow.

Chef’s Burger Bistro, opening early January, 164 E. Grand
Chicago provides so many reasons to nosh on a good burger: you’re in your favorite sports pub watching the Hawks kick ass during the Stanley Cup; you were at Castle until 4 am last night and you’ve arisen, groggy and hungover, just in time for lunch; you finally decided to give up on that stupid New Year’s resolution to go vegetarian (or, heaven forbid, vegan). How about because that burger has more credentials behind it than a Supreme Court justice? Enter Chef’s Burger Bistro, where eponymous founder Edward Leonard has enough accolades to make the last dozen Nobel Prize winners look like underachievers. (Don’t believe me? Check it out.) And with a menu that delves beyond the burger – into Chocolate Malted Waffles, a Brie and Pancetta Omelet, Lobster Tacos, and Short Rib Sliders with Tomato Jam – it’s pretty safe to say that the number of reasons to visit this place is pretty well endless.

Gingarte Capoeira Chicago and Formanda Colibri, various locations
Change is inevitable, they say – no more so than in increasingly nutty workout trends. In fact, 2014 will probably see the rise of some new fitness fad that involves spinning, upside down (it promotes oxygen circulation!) while doing some sort of weird kettle-ball-resistance-band combo with your arms. But no matter what comes around, it will never get any cooler than the Brazilian martial art-cum-dance sport of capoeira, which mixes amazing acrobatics and great music to bring you closer to Cirque DuSoleil than you ever thought possible. Just don’t go around thinking you can go around supporting a trio of acrobats with one hand. Check it out here and here.

Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, Stage 773 (1225 W. Belmont Ave.)
New Year’s resolutions usually involve some form of trying to be a better person. There is no way to instantly be awesomer, happier, and more fun to be around than to laugh. A lot. So check out Chicago’s Sketch Comedy Festival, which, according to the website, the Chicago Reader has called “Chicago’s Best Performing Arts Festival.” Whether it inspires you to break out of your comfort zone and take some improv classes, or whether you just go to work on Monday with a smile on your face (for once), self-improvement is guaranteed.

It’s the easiest resolution you’ve ever kept.

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