NYE celebrations will be shaken, not stirred

Cocktails will be the drink of choice at Wollongong's Rocksalt Bar and Grill this New Year's Eve as guests ring in 2013 with martinis, margaritas and mojitos.

The oceanfront restaurant has packed away its tables and chairs for the evening to make way for a giant dancefloor, canapes and live music as patrons prepare to party their way into the new year.

Floor manager Gordon Thomson said the sold-out event reflected Wollongong's growing love affair with quality food and drink.

"We always wanted to do a cocktail party, we wanted something that was a bit out of the norm and different to just a sit-down dinner," he said.

"Wollongong has this market now for more social-oriented events where people have the chance to talk and mingle so we really felt that was something that we wanted to join."

Hundreds are set to flock to the region's restaurants, pubs and clubs this year for a quiet dinner or a pre-paid event, putting the organisation of food, drinks and entertainment into someone else's hands.

"I think people are seeking out events like ours because it's very stress-free," Mr Thomson said.

"It takes the hassle out of hosting an event and all the cleaning, cooking and organising that comes with it.

"With something like [our cocktail party], people know they have a place to go where food and alcohol is going to be served and they can organise all their friends to come as well - it's a real social affair."

Not only will the Rocksalt guests be treated to canapes and cocktails, they will also have a prime view of the spectacular fireworks that are set to dazzle crowds over Belmore Basin.

"I might be biased but I really believe we are in the best location here," Mr Thomson said.

"We're second to none for views of the harbour; we have 180 degrees of glass that will be covered by fireworks . . . it's going to be a great night."

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