Host a guerilla New Year's Eve party
Do NYE your way by peacefully hijacking a corner bar for your own private bash.
Drink packages for a cool hundy and cheesy clubs filled with shiny shirt–wearing drunks are for plebes. There’s a way to surround yourself with cheap drinks and people you like on New Year’s Eve—just overtake a watering hole that has nothing going on that night and throw your own party. Here’s how.
1. Conduct recon. Most bars without New Year’s Eve shindigs are smaller taverns and dives (they’re smart enough not to gouge their loyal, PBR-drinking customers with a hefty cover charge). So be cool and give them a head’s up on your party plan, along with a head count. If its typical NYE crowd is a chain-drinking loner in sweatpants, they’ll need to staff up. And if you’re not a regular, money talks. Pay a visit or two pre-event to meet the bartenders, and tip well—it’ll help with better service on the big night.
2. Plan your offensive. Do you need a party theme for your gathering? (Does Hilary Duff need a tooth file?) Think of it as a battle cry that can help wrangle would-be deserters whose poor judgment and insecurities lead them into enemy territory (read: hotel parties and Weed Street). Announce you’re hosting a Hollywood-style “red carpet 2011 world premiere” and interest will be piqued. Promise a Vajazzling Station and you’ll have to turn people away.
3. Outfit your troops. Hand out VIP credentials to differentiate your gang from other patrons. Purchase plastic sleeves and lanyards online and create personalized party badges to slip inside. And bring extras for fetching strangers—since the bar is still open to the public, you never know whom you’ll be sucking face with at midnight.
4. Secure provisions. Bub must be sipped. Try working out a deal in advance with your new pal the bartender to see if she can make a big batch of something fizzy, delicious and ready to serve. In Hollywood, most things glamorous are really smoke and mirrors. Since you can’t afford to sponsor a decent Champagne toast, tell all your friends you’re springing for Veuve. By midnight, they’ll be too drunk to know that you really spell it “Voove,” and that it’s actually ginger ale fortified with well liquor.
5. Encourage revelry. How are you going to embolden guests to back that thing up if the music’s bunk? You could ask the staff to hook up your iPod, but be strategic with the playlist—unless you’re renting out the joint, most bar staff won’t want Usher and Ke$ha replacing their favorite Harry Chapin and Gordon Lightfoot songs on the jukebox. A better idea: Make your party favor a dollar bill for each of your guests to play their favorite songs, so everyone has a hand in the tunes.
Three bars you can crash on New Year’s Eve (there’s neither a cover charge, nor an obligatory drink package) and theme suggestions to match.
BAR The Beachwood Inn (1415 N Wood St, 773-486-9806)
THEME While the winter temps may not comply, the bar name begs for rum drinks, cruise wear and spray tans.
BAR Edgewater Lounge (5600 N Ashland Ave, 773-878-3343)
THEME The beer selection at this small neighborhood joint rocks. Get your brewmaster on with fake mustaches and mutton chops, official-looking lab coats or beer T-shirts, and drink your way to greater knowledge.
BAR Simone’s (960 W 18th St, 312-666-8601)
THEME Take a cue from the fabulously recycled decor with a recycled-wardrobe theme (think Z. Cavaricci jeans mingling with Zubaz). Best outfit wins a six-pack of Seagrams wine coolers.