Did you wait until the last minute, torn between expensive New Year’s Eve events and the new Dave Chapelle special on Netflix? Don’t worry, we have selected some of the best celebrations for you. Most of them are free or reasonably priced, but we have included some of the pricey ones that we think are worth it.
8:30 P.M. / $22 – $25
The Flamin’ Groovies may have a fiftieth anniversary coming up soon, but their house-rocking abilities are not in doubt. Expect to hear some songs from their brand new album along with old favorites like “Slow Death” and “Teenage Head” and some ass-shaking cover tunes. This is pretty much the perfect New Year’s Eve party band for garage enthusiasts, with a reasonable cover charge in a setting that feels like a proper house party. 18+
8:00 P.M. to 1 A.M. / FREE
The City of Los Angeles’ event meant to rival New York’s Times Square will be once again projecting 3D lights on city hall, as well as projecting the audience’s dance moves onto the County Hall of Records building. LA goes big with music performances on two stages, a digital dance zone, a pyrotechnic show, and food vendors. The free event will cover 90 acres from The Music Center Plaza to City Hall (Hope Street to Spring Street) and from Temple Street to 2nd Street. This event is no alcohol allowed, but dive bar The Redwood and classy Kendall’s Brasserie are right there. Check out the website for event schedules and their extremely detailed rules (No vaping, no selfie sticks, no costumes, no coolers).
8pm – 1am / GA $119 – VIP tickets $199
Toast to the new year in style throughout the ship’s decks, ballrooms, and salons for one night of multiple celebrations, including a live performance by well-known 90’s artist, Sir Mix-A-Lot. One of the things the Queen Mary does better than anyone is lavish buffets. Enjoy a regional Mexican buffet in the Windsor Salon (seating starts at 8), A Selena Tribute Band in The Grand Salon, country line dancing in the Royal Salon (if you must), and play casino games on the Promenade Deck. Get iree on the Sports Deck with reggae from 96.3’s top DJ HIFE, enjoy live a jazz band in the Tea Room, as well as an EDM dance party, a Top 40 dance party, a speakeasy-themed cocktail party, and a piano lounge. Popular 90’s artist Sir mix-a-lot will be performing live at 11 p.m. at the Verandah Grill, because he likes big boats (and he cannot lie). If you really want to drop some ducats, upgrade to Champagne Suites on the Captain’s Deck for all kinds of VIP extras, like early entry and special seating for the concert and fireworks. Close out the night and ring in 2017 with the Queen Mary’s dazzling 15-minute fireworks show. 21+
9 P.M. – 1:30 A.M. / $12
Cafe NELA’s spacious outdoor patio is a swell place to unwind and take in the LA night air in between sets from some of LA’s most true-blue punk rock hearts. The Gears have been a party favorite since 1977, and former Adolescents/Christian Death guitarist’s project, The Rikk Agnew Band will be co-headlining. Rounding out the set are Lipstick Stainz and Comprehend. Bands start at 9:20, Rikk Agnew at 10:50 and The Gears at 11:50 to start your new year out right. This is the gig that will most resemble an old punker’s house party, if that’s what you’re looking for. Bring hats and noisemakers. 21+
7:30 P.M. / $125
El Cid, the first name in flamenco in Los Angeles, will be hosting a special New Year’s Eve Flamenco Dinner Show. Seating is from 7:00 pm until 7:45 pm, and the show begins at 8:00 pm. Included is a 5-course meal with extra tapas and a champagne toast. Course options include a pan-seared filet mignon with chimichurri, and snapper Veracruz. Gratuity not included. For more information and booking please call (323) 668-0318 or visit our website.
Are you hankering for a real Mai Tai, or how about my favorite — a giant scorpion bowl? Throw in some lava rocks, thatched huts, puffer fish, and drinks on fire and you are in tiki heaven. Sunday, Dec. 31st, the North Hollywood tiki bar reprises their traditional Sunday karaoke night with a New Year’s Eve theme. The winner of the karaoke contest will be awarded a $50 bar tab prize at 11:45 PM. Tiki No will provide party favors and a champagne toast at midnight.
9 P.M. / $169 – $275
While everyone else is watching Dave Chapelle on Netflix, you could be seeing him LIVE. We are not exactly fans of John Mayer, but we know lots of you probably are. And we love Dave Chapelle. These longtime friends are bringing in the new year at The Forum in Inglewood. Prepare yourself for a solo musical set from John Mayer and a solo comedy set from Dave Chapelle. Then things get weird. For the second half of the show the two will improv, sing songs, dance, and generally entertain. There will be party favors and a balloon drop at midnight. No cell phones — period. They will lock your cell phones up so that you retain possession of them but can’t access them. Tricky.
9 P.M. / $49.50-$225
Dita Von Teese and friends will welcome the new year with a two-hour long glittering New Year’s Eve Gala show. In addition to Von Teese’s new acts, this variety show will feature a” stellar cast including host Jonny McGovern, Violet Chachki, Dirty Martini, Gia Genevieve, Marawa the Amazing, Jett Adore, Ginger Valentine, and Dita’s high-stepping Vontourage Alek Palinski and Elio Martinez.” Haute couture costumes from Dita Von Teese’s personal collection will be on display in the lobby. Dress code: High Glamour/Black Tie
3 P.M. until 2 A.M. / FREE
Have you ever wanted to travel the world, celebrating the new year in all of the time zones? This is the next best thing. “Countdown across the timezones starting at 3 PM and marching across the globe, every hour, celebrating the New Year! This year, we invite you to hop aboard the Big Boat as we lift anchors in Paris and travel westward ~ city to city, countdown to countdown, making port just in time to celebrate NYE with our friends across the globe. There will be a dedicated cocktail and playlist to go with each timezone until this “ship” lands in Los Angeles at midnight.” Dinner specials include Dungeness Crab Toast and Braised Short Ribs. There is no ticket needed, no reservations necessary. This event is the party pick of two of the best cocktail writers in LA, so you know it has to be good. 21+
8 P.M. / $40
Clifton’s Cafeteria in downtown LA has been taking advantage of its stunning makeover by hosting huge, themed bashes. And NYE is the bashiest of them all. Each floor will have its own “fantastic adventure.” Hopefully, the tiki bar will be open, even though that’s not very Parisian. Admission doesn’t include food or beverages, with the exception of a midnight champagne toast. The Marketplace Cafeteria will be open from 8pm-midnight for food and beverage purchase. So ring in the new year and go wild with various colors of Jell-o! The bars will be offering cocktails and absinthe. If you are determined to drop a wad of cash, you can purchase table packages, time travel (?) and other elevated experiences starting at $500 per person. To buy your way into fancyland, email Entertainment@CliftonsLA.com. 21+ Formal, vintage or themed dress encouraged. Not to be confused with The Roxy’s Midnight in Paris Benefit to Cure Parkinsons.
6:30 P.M. and 8:30 P.M. / $8
This is not exactly a New Year’s Eve event, but if you are like some of my artier friends, this may be right up your alley. Enjoy a double bill of movies that are kind of like mid-80s German after-school specials, with added horror, nihilism, and controversy. Der Fan, a German horror film, screens in L.A. for the first time in 35mm. It follows a teenager obsessed with the lead singer of her favorite band, and things get dark when he rebuffs her. Unrequited love or stalking, it’s an old story with a shocking ending. Christiane F. tells the true story of a young West German teen in the 70s whose life revolves around drugs and prostitution. Maybe it would be different for me as an adult, but when we saw Christian F. as teenagers in the 80s, we thought she was super cool with her dyed red hair and quiet intensity. Fantastic soundtrack from a Berlin-era David Bowie. See one or both films for $8.
For all of you foodies and people looking for something a little more mellow, check out these NYE specials at some of our favorite restaurants: