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New Year’s Happenings: Local Spots to Celebrate the New Year

After surviving a long year fraught with economic and environmental struggle, Santa Monicans are sure to do more than walk quietly into the new year. There are a variety of events within the city to celebrate the new year, and even more for those who dare to venture out. Whether you want to welcome 2011 or forget 2010, this year packs a punch for wallets big and small, and will be a night not easily forgot.

December 31

Kristin Chenoweth at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

Celebrate without classic voice in a petite package, the Emmy and Tony award-winner Kristin Chenoweth will be at 111 S. Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. The actress, singer, and stage performer is sure to deliver on Dec. 31 with shows at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Her talent boasts a Best Supporting Actress Emmy for the short-lived “Pushing Daisies” and founding the role of Glenda in Broadway’s “Wicked.” She will be supported for the midnight celebration with back-up singers, a band, and dancers as she performs music from “Glee,” “Wicked,” and her personal collection.

Tickets run from $74 to $191 and can be preordered at laphil.com or through Ticketmaster.

Red Carpet Glitz at the Glow Lounge

Not to be confused with the hallucinatory Santa Monica beachside spectacle, this event with mimic the feel of New York City’s Town Square celebration (hopefully without the pick pockets and claustrophobic crowds) at Glow Ultra Lounge in the Marriott at 4100 Admiralty in Marina del Rey. Special New York-style food choices will also be available. Not to ignore its roots, the Lounge offers a walk on the red carpet and pictures “celebrity-style” on the step.

Watch the ball drop with a complementary champagne toast at $30 for general admission or $50 to skip the line entry, nothing like throwing a little extra cash to make the New Year a little brighter. For reservations or information visit www.glow-bar.com or call 310.578.4152.

Bottomless Bubbly at Portugal Wine Bar

For those not looking to break the bank, Portugal Wine Bar, located at 104 Santa Monica Boulevard in Santa Monica, has an offer where $20.11 affords a bottomless glass of all sparkling offerings. From 9 p.m. to midnight guests choices include Bubblys, Blanc de Blanc Brut, and Rosé Brut. A two drink minimum purchase will be required for all guests arriving before 9 p.m.

Black and White Masquerade Ball at Wokcano

Wokcano Santa Monica will ring in the New Year with a Black and White Masquerade Ball. The evening’s festivities will feature music by DJ Frankie and live entertainment by Brazilian Samba Dancers and Fire Dancers throughout the night.

Admission is $40 in advance and $50 day of and includes passed hors d’oevres and an open vodka bar from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. Black and White cocktail attire and masks are required. Admission includes party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are available at www.wokcanonewyears.eventbrite.com.

Cabaret at the Edison

Ring in the New Year with THE Yard Dogs Road Show, one of the Nation’s most unforgettable entertainment spectacles, at the Edison located at 108 West Second Street in downtown L.A. The group follows the tradition of traveling saloon troupes that toured the West in the 1800s with vaudeville rock and roll and even “hobo cabaret.” There will be sword swallowing, eating fire, and song and dance numbers.

Presale tickets have run out, but there is a possibility for tickets at the door for $75 per person. There is no guarantee for entry without a ticket.

Dinner and Drinks at The Yard

The Yard is having their ninth annual NYE party with Chef Chris Jacobson, known as “CJ” from Bravo’s “Top Chef” fame, making a three-course set menu for those wanting to come out early and dine. After 10 p.m., the real party will start with an open bar, appetizers, and party favors. DJ Diem will entertain the crowd well after midnight during the all-inclusive event.

Seating for the three-course meal will start at 7 p.m., 8 p.m., and 9 p.m. with an offered special appetizer, crab bisque, beef wellington, meringue, custard, and of course, Champagne. Dinner is $50 per person, and after 10 p.m. the entry free is $60 for women and $75 for men.

Playboy Party at Shangri- La

Playboy’s official 2011 New Year’s Eve celebration will take place at Hotel Shangri-La, located at 1301 Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica. The event is hosted by Playboy Playmate and covergirl Nikki Ziering along with Playmates Tiffany Selby, Patrice Hollis, Heather Smith, and Pilar Lastra. Music will be provided by DJ Rhiannon, DJ Heather Van Viper, and DJ Allie Layus, as well as a special guest performance by Listen Deep DJ Mikie Smithers. The event will also feature a performance by Playboy Playmate Monica Squillante. Guests will ring in the New Year with a balloon drop and champagne toast at midnight.

General admission tickets are available for $75 and include party favors and a champagne toast. VIP tickets are available for $150 and include all-access admission with open bar all night, party favors and a champagne toast. Dinner reservations run from $1,250 to $2,750. For more information on Playboy’s official 2011 New Year’s Eve party please visit www.listendeepmusic.com/playboy or call 310.821.537.

Open Bar at Eight Downtown Bars

There is nothing more sought after than the words “open bar” during the eve of the New Year, but promoters 213 Inc. know how to deliver with eight downtown bars open and ready to go for a $119 ticket price. That buys entry to some of the most happening downtown venues: Casey’s Irish Pub, Golden Gopher, Las Perlas, Seven Grand, Broadway Bar, Tony’s Saloon, Cole’s French Dip, and Caña Rum Bar.

Word to the wise: open bar does not mean premium rounds at each venue, most likely the exact opposite with “special drinks” concocted in Dixie cups, and entry is not guaranteed if the venue is at capacity. To enjoy this great deal choose venues wisely, be prepared to wait in line, and be ready for a New Year’s day hangover. For more information and tickets visit www.nyedowntownla.com.

Together As One at the Los Angeles Sports Arena

One of the more renowned events of the evening is for an expected 50,000 people who do not fear controversy or a dance groove. Not for the faint of heart and in its 13th year (lucky them) in a partnership between promoters Insomniac and Go Ventures, Together As One will ring in the new year with choice DJs at three stages: among them prominent artists such as DJ Wolfgang Gartner, Laidback Luke, and Richard Vission, at the Los Angeles Arena.

Insomniac is behind the fated Electric Daisy Carnival, where a 15-year-old girl died of a reported drug overdose, although the “all ages” event limited attendees to 16 years old and up, causing outrage and conflict with county officials. Despite a moratorium on “raves” passed at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and legislation introduced last week by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) for a statewide ban on event featuring prerecorded music and lasts more than 3.5 hours, the dance still goes on for events that booked before the axe on raves.

TOA will welcome the New Year with open arms and killer beats from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. at 3939 S. Figueroa Street. Tickets run from $60 to $150, the latter price for VIP status and open bar. The event is for 18-year-olds and up. Tickets and information can be found at newyearsevela.com.

KCRW DJs at The Viceroy

The eclectic and swanky Cameo Bar at the Viceroy Hotel, located at 1819 Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, will host renowned DJs poolside in the closest venue to feeling of Hollywood glamour this side of the 405. Delivering a real groove on the patio, the night will showcase music by Mayer Hawthorne and Classixx. Other anticipated guest DJ’s include Jason Bentley of Morning Becomes Eclectic and Raul Campos, both of KCRW and well known for keeping a party moving.

The night starts at 9 p.m. and continues well after the midnight toast. Tickets start at $200 presale ($250 at the door) and offer a premium open bar. To avoid the line at the door, pick up wristbands at the hotel between normal business hours December 27-30 and until noon on December 31. For additional information, call 310.260.7507 or email events@viceroysantamonica.com.

New Year’s Eve with My Baby, a special evening with Luca Ellis and the 12-piece Paul Litteral Orchestra performing standards, followed by champagne break, followed by “that crooner from Hoboken,” 9:30 p.m., $135, Edgemar Center for the Arts, 2437 Main Street, 310.392.7327.

New Year’s Eve at Ye Olde King’s Head, ring it in twice, at 4 p.m. for British time, and at midnight American time, with DJ, party hats, and British rock tunes, 4 p.m. and 12 a.m., Ye Olde King’s Head, 116 Santa Monica Boulevard, 310.451.1402.

New Year’s Eve Speakeasy at the Victorian, three floors have been opened up to recreate the atmosphere of 1920s speakeasies, with reggae by Urban Dread in the Basement Tavern, and live DJ Kamayo in the main room, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., $40 advance, $50 at door, The Victorian, 2640 Main Street, 310.392.4956.

Thrifty New Year’s Eve Party, 8 p.m., $5, Central Social Aid and Pleasure Club, 1348 14th Street, 310.451.5040.

January 1

New Year’s Day 2011

Gladstone’s New Year’s Day Brunch, watch football bowl games while dining, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., $30 per person, $50 for bottomless Bloody Marys and Mimosas, Gladstone’s Malibu, 17300 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, 310.454.3474.


ICE at Santa Monica, ice skating through Feb. 15, 12 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 12 to midnight Fridays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays, $10 (includes skates), ICE at Santa Monica Outdoor Ice Rink, 1324 Fifth Street, 310.393.8355.

*Lynne Bronstein contributed to this listing.

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