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A Chain-Restaurant New Year's in Times Square for Big Spenders


New York's Times Square after the clock strikes midnight in New York on Jan. 1

Photograph by Mary Altaffer/AP Photo

New York's Times Square after the clock strikes midnight in New York on Jan. 1

Ruby Tuesday (RT) might not be the most glamorous spot to ring in 2014, but that doesn’t stop the restaurant from charging nearly $700 per person for the chance to give your honey a smooch next to a platter of mini burgers. The chain’s Times Square restaurant is selling tickets for as much as $1,395 per couple to party a few steps from the famous ball drop. And it’s just one of the tourism epicenter’s casual chain restaurants hosting pricey New Year’s Eve parties. Applebee’s (DIN) wants $375 per person.

For parties in Times Square, event producer Ball Drop books a restaurant for a fee and either pockets the proceeds from ticket sales or splits ticket sales with the restaurant, according to Ball Drop founder Paul Warshaw.

How much will other Times Square revelers be forking out? Partying at TGI Fridays will set a couple back as much as $1,095, a price that includes a table, an open bar, a bottle of champagne, and such snacks as beef empanadas and chicken fingers. Planet Hollywood is charging $395 per person. Dave & Buster’s Times Square is asking $125 per drinking-age adult (sorry, arcade games not included).

Even Madame Tussauds, a wax museum that’s normally not a restaurant, will serve food and drinks on New Year’s Eve and charge some of the most expensive rates in Ball Drop’s roster: A view of the live ball drop alongside wax celebrities costs as much as $1,500 per person. How does the view from your sofa look now?

Venessa-wong-190x190
Wong is an associate editor for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow her on Twitter @venessawwong.

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