Love it or hate it, New Year’s Eve is just around the corner.
Whether you’ve been dragged to the suburbs and found yourself stuck at an empty “club” with a horrid DJ, or missed the memo on the Great Gatsby theme, we’re here to help you avoid the easily-made blunders of the last night of the year.
Step one: reserving your spot at one of these events.
If you ask us, the team at National has done their homework when it comes to planning a NYE party that their locals (and friends) will love. If you’re downtown, start with the four-course, beer-paired dinner on 8th, then use the same ticket to get into the House Party on 10th. Or, if you want to keep it lower key, check out their no-cover (but we’re guessing no-less lined-up) Bring Your Own Vinyl party on 17th. And for those of you living it up on the outskirts of town, they’re bringing you a Party in the ‘Burbs at their Westhills location, which also boasts free entry. See, what did we tell you? They’ve got you covered.
Oak Tree Tavern
Apparently Calgarians like to laugh on NYE, because there are a serious smattering of comedy shows happening that night. Most of them are outside of the inner-city at less than desirable hotels and venues, so if you want to be cracked up centrally, check out the bill at Oak Tree Tavern in Kensington. If you haven’t been, you’ll be pleased to find a chilled-out vibe with fantastic nachos (and an impressive variety of other menu items). And in a pub where champagne isn’t normally on the menu, your $10 ticket will force them to make the exception at midnight.
Bow Valley Ranche
If you fancy yourself a real grown-up and romance is on your menu, the old Bow Valley Ranche in Fish Creek Park is hosting an evening that will impress that special someone. Not to be confused with former tenants, The Ranche (of CRMR fame, which moved and is now the equally spectacular Bonavista spot, The Lake House), the carefully renovated new restaurant offers an elegant, historic setting to show your mature side. The black-tie/formal meal promises to be pretty spectacular as well, so choose from their early seating at 5pm or stick around for some entertainment in their 8pm time slot.
The Standard Modern Speakeasy
While we’re not fooled by the name-tweak for this event (the location is still The Standard Social Club), we think this should be one of the classier young professional (YP) events happening on the last night of the year. With a Hollywood Glam theme (hence the Speakeasy switch), this will be the place to get excessively dressed up, as well as see and be seen. And if your crew is the all-out baller type, check out their “Frank Sinatra Package” that will run you a pretty penny, but ensure a VIP night from start to finish.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, give the finger to dress shoes and stilettos and embrace your indie side at Broken City. On the bill are some edgy, local-ish musicians who promise to earn a spot on your regular rotation while keeping the vibe at a NYE level. For proof, listen to the heavier Black Mastiff, and the sincere and soulful JJ Shiplett, then book your tickets now.
Kid Koala and Transit
Notice how we didn’t highlight the venue? We know Republik can leave something to be desired in its…design, but we think the line-up on NYE will draw a more age-appropriate crowd than it normally does. These hip-hop/club legends of the more independent variety are about as professional as it gets when it comes to poetic lyrics and hype beats, so take this rare opportunity to see them together while ringing in 2015.
Lake Louise Torchlight Dinner
Since skiing and boarding over the holidays is pretty much a given for this town’s YPs, why not make a night of it? This rare opportunity to ski fresh runs in the dark (well, as the name suggests, with a torch) is followed by some legit après-ski in the form of drinks and appies at the mid-mountain Whitehorn Lodge. When the sun goes down, you’ll parade down the hill to the Sitzmark Lounge, where you’ll enjoy a generous buffet dinner and a generously-stocked cash bar to keep you warm on the dance floor for the rest of the night before taking an optional shuttle back to your hotel in Banff or Lake Louise. Who said only Europeans know how to après? No one now.
As much as we love to promote what’s hot and happening in the city, we just can’t deny that some of the best NYE memories have been from intimate gatherings in familiar places. So pack out your living space with as many enjoyable acquaintances that will fit, let them bring something yummy to share, maybe throw in a theme and/or some games, and you’re set.
Because let’s be honest, if you’re single, were you really going to meet (and remember) your dream-human at midnight after nine glasses of champagne? Didn’t think so. Might as well guarantee you’ll be toasty warm and in good company, with a few bills left in your pocket for something more memorable.