Madd Anthony Bar and Grill

12 Grapes At Midnight: Spain’s Great New Year’s Eve Tradition, And Superstition

Discovering who is más macho at midnight

Join us as we bring in the New Year, with 12 Grapes / 12 Wishes.

  • DJ Ivan Galarza performing live all night/morning long.
  • $4 Patron Silver Shots the first 10 minutes after 2018
  • FREE Party Favors
  • No cover before 12am (After midnight $5 Ladies / $10 Gentlemen)LaCoco’s Pizza / Maddanthony’s Bar

3350 West 47th Street Chicago, IL 60632
For reservations: (773) 523-2205

Eating 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve is both a tradition and a superstition in Spain. Rare is the Spaniard who will risk poisoning their fate for the coming year by skipping the grapes, one for each stroke of midnight.

Americans may giddily greet the New Year downing a glass of champagne and grabbing a kiss at the drop of the ball. But the first 12 seconds of the Spaniards’ New Year are somewhat quieter and more intense, as everyone focuses on eating all 12 of the “miraculous grapes” that symbolize 12 lucky months ahead.

Eating the grapes pretty much guarantees starting off the year with a little adrenaline rush, and most likely some laughs. While the goal of getting the 12 grapes down in time can spark a contest of who is más macho around the table, the biggest challenge is more likely to be not gagging as you cram them in your mouth and try to swallow while laughing hysterically.

As Spanish cuisine has achieved a higher international profile in recent years, and tapas bars and Spanish restaurants have flourished, it’s probable that more non-Hispanics will be eating 12 grapes this New Year’s.

To add a continental flair to your New Year’s celebration, come by LaCoco’s/Maddanthony’s Bar, where we will provide (12) seedless green grapes for each party guest. We are gonna call out the last 12 seconds starting with midnight.

Through years of observation, we have discovered six common profiles of those who’ve been (mostly) successful achieving this feat, which we offer as a guide for your New Year’s grape eating:

  1. Zen Master – Neatly lines up the grapes and methodically eats them one by one, while meditating on the sound of the 12 chimes. Starts the New Year fully in the moment.
  2. Full Frontal – Embraces the New Year with gusto by shoving all of the grapes in their mouth at once. Worries about swallowing them later.
  3. False Starter – Anxious about getting all 12 grapes down, starts eating the first one before midnight strikes, which doesn’t count and is said to bring bad luck.
  4. Reina Isabel – Prepares grapes in advance by cutting them in half. Eats them with a fork from a plate. Eating the grapes by halves may be less authentic, but it is the best method for small children, and for anyone worried about looking like a slob.
  5. Exhibitionist – Also known as “el chulo.” Sees grape eating as another extreme sport, or just a chance to show off. Starts the New Year with an ego boost, by throwing the grapes in the air and catching them in their mouth. Requires secret pre-New Years’ Eve practice.
  6. Drunken Style – Makes an effort to eat the grapes but cracks up, starts talking, drinking, hugging or otherwise gets distracted midway through the 12 grapes. This is, needless to say, what happens most often. Happy New Year!

Originally reported by