Hammering Your Hangover

Whether you go out or stay in, if you're drinking, the carefree bliss of New Year's Eve can quickly give way to the head-hammering cranial misery of New Year's Day. By taking the proper steps, you can avoid starting 2006 with a twisted gut, bum belly, and hurtin' head. For some advice on avoiding -- and if not avoiding, then beating -- a hangover, we sought the hard-won wisdom of the most dedicated party professionals we know: The staff of Peabody's Entertainment Complex, a hardboiled downtown rock club.

"In order to avoid a hangover, hook up as soon in the evening as possible," advises bellboy Josh, offering exactly the kind of practical advice we were hoping for. "You'll spend less time at the bar."

"Drink water while you're sober enough to remember to drink water," adds owner Chris Z.

It doesn't matter whether you're a 105-pound junior coed or a 300-pound biker. If you plan on tying one on, one of the best things you can do to avoid the new year's worst day after is to eat pre-emptively.

Have a big, overloaded sandwich (if you're in the Warehouse District, the West Side, or Gateway, try Panini's: 1290 West Sixth Street, 16719 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood, and 840 Huron Road East, respectively). Or a gooey slice of doughy pizza -- don't enter or leave Peabody's without visiting the neighboring Rascal House. If you're on the East Side, start the evening at the vegetarian-friendly Aladdin's Eatery (12447 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights).

If you ate too early or didn't eat at all -- or if your stomach mysteriously emptied at some point during the evening -- aspirin might help your head feel better. But your stomach is the key to how your whole body will feel. Even if you can't imagine holding down a meal, give it a try. The right kind of food will help you revive.

"I believe in the healing power of the burrito," says Chris Z. "Chipotle is always a wonderful cure. Lots of grease the morning after." Talent buyer Jim also firmly believes in grease as a miracle cure, but prefers to wash down a sack of White Castle's best with Gatorade. If the thought of grease makes your gut start churning anew, try street-team captain Gregg's recommendation: Wash down a hearty dish of corned-beef hash and eggs with Revive vitamin water.

If you have a more delicate constitution, soup is usually a good place to start. Owner Dan has been revived many a time by his mother's pho soup, a popular Cambodian dish of clear broth with rice noodles and thin beef slices, which you can find at many Asian restaurants. If you prefer a heartier dish, and you think you can survive the trip to Ohio City, booker J.C. recommends the Tomato-Ginger soup from the Souper Market (2528 Lorain Avenue)

"Some of the guys say you should wake up and crack a beer first thing in the morning," adds Z. "And then you'll forget you're hung over."

Sounds good, but we'll start with the soup. Peabody's, the Pirate's Cove, and Rockstar Cleveland (2083 East 21st Street) will host a New Year's Eve Blowout.