Getting Eve in
Don't wait until the last minute to plan your New Year's Eve- these TOC-approved blowouts are selling out quickly
No plans for New Year's Eve yet? Take a less-than-aggressive approach to planning the evening, and you risk spending a depressing night of flipping through the channels, wondering, Why am I not having fun? Last-minute planners tend to lose out, as NYE events, particularly concerts, tend to sell out well in advance. Meanwhile, the indecisive may think they can hit more than one party, but often end up at a dog. To help you get a grip on this year's NYE, we've rounded up a few of the city's hottest tickets, from rock shows to more formal, champagne-fueled fetes. Unless otherwise noted, events are 21 and older. See Clubs and Music for venues and more info. See Eat Out for New Year's dining options.
For its big 1-0, the Chicago-based Pitchforkmedia.com celebrates with a two-day minifest featuring critical-nerd faves Diplo, the Books, Wolf Parade, Blood on the Wall and Jason Forrest. For details, visit www.pitchforkmedia.com. Dec 30–31, Viaduct Theater. 8pm, $20–$35. Dec 31 sold out.
Last year, Guided By Voices played their historic final show in the NYE slot at Metro, while this year's indie darlings the New Pornographers have the coveted gig. Dec 31, Metro. 9pm, $60. 18 and over.
The local Red Eyed Legends will play no-holds-barred punk and it's pretty much impossible not to dance to it. The bill also includes Perfect Panther and Mannequin Men. Dec 30, Hideout. 9:30pm, $8.
Manhattan popsters Fountains of Wayne, regional jammers the Freddy Jones Band and suburban Beatlesologists the Redwalls will rock the lakefront at the New Year's Eve Rock N' Roll Ball at Navy Pier's Grand Ballroom. Dec 31, Navy Pier. Doors open at 8pm, $67 (includes drink tickets).
DFA kooks the Juan Maclean rumble through the butt-shaking tunes and electro-disco-prog creations from the recent long-player Less than Human. With booty-bounce specialists Spank Rock and local shaker Coco Le Roc (Jessica Hopper) on those wheels of steel, this jam will sell out before you can say PBR. Dec 31, Empty Bottle. 9pm, $20.
Chicago's great hope for the revival of Level 42/Police–era progressive pop, the Changes, take the stage. Dec 31, Schubas. 10pm, $15.
The dirtbag-friendly Double Door gets taken over by hard-rocking locals Local H and sludgemeisters the Last Vegas, but it's really the Tossers, those Irish folk-punkers, we'll throw back shots and sing "Danny Boy" with at midnight. Dec 31, Double Door. Doors open 9pm, show at 10pm, $60.
Beats and bubbly
Sonotheque residents Joe Bryl and Josh Deep spin at this champagne-toast get-together. It might be a stiff ticket—$75 in advance and $90 at the door—but the cover includes a fairly extensive open bar till 1am. Dec 31, Sonotheque. 8pm; advance $75, door $90.
Excalibur's Xtreme New Year features food and drink from 7 to 11pm in the multiroomed complex for $75 ($50 general admission). Dec 31, Excalibur and Vision, 9pm.
Transit's NYE shebang starts at $35, but you'll have to pony up $69 for the open-bar ticket. Dec 31, Transit. 8pm, $35–$99.
Future Forward '06 features a who's who of local big club DJs (Jernell Geronimo, Kalendar, John Curley, Chris Tomasone and more). Go for the music, stay for the five-hour open bar, buffet and champagne. Dec 31, Michigan Ave Marriott Hotel. 9pm, advance tickets $100–$150.
Smartbar piles on the local house faves for a marathon party. Colette, Miles Maeda, Justin Long and Brad Owen spin various house flavors. Dec 31, Smartbar. 10pm, advance $25, $30 day of show.
Jesse De La Peña curates the goings-on at darkroom. Live group Trio De La Peña plays an early set; then, Jesse, Go Go and Jeremy Musaic Sole spin the rest of the night away. The event will be recorded live and the first 100 partyers get free De La Peña mix-CDs. Dec 31, darkroom. 9pm–2am, $20–$25.
The Motel Bar's $100 ticket ($125 each gets you a table for four and a bottle of champagne to share) includes the all-night open bar, food and champagne toast. DJ Allen Burris spins. Dec 31, Motel Bar. 10pm–3am, advance $100.
Sound-Bar's $75 tickets are going fast and deliver a four-hour open premium bar, elaborate dinner buffet and complimentary champagne toast. Table reservations cost $125 and include a bottle of champagne for the gang. Dec 31, Sound-Bar. 8pm.
Funky Buddha Lounge will serve sushi, Italian nibbles and Moët for the toast, while DJ 33 1/3 spins hip-hop all night. Dec 31, Funky Buddha Lounge. 8pm, $100–$250.
Smaller bars tend to provide a cheaper (and usually cozier) way to usher in the new year. Miniclub Lava turns itself over to the Sound Republic DJs, who've been favoring the house sounds of Belgium lately. Dec 31, Lava. 10pm–2am, $60 (for open-bar package).
DJ Logic and organic, live electronic outfit Future Rock headline at Subterranean, where the bar is all yours until 1:30am, but the sounds last till 2:30am. Dec 31, Subterranean. 9:30pm, $70.
Get a room
More than 2,000 black-clad ladies and dudes will put on the ritz and boogie like the boss is not around at Chicago-Scene's New Year's Eve party. With live bands, house, hip-hop and throwback '80s tunes, there's a room for everyone. Dec 31, the Drake Hotel, 140 E Walton St (www.chicago-scene.com). 9pm, $135–$215 a ticket; $555–$685 includes a room.
The NYE 2006 Under the Palms takes place in the Palm Tree Atrium and features DJ Lil Cee. Dec 31, Palm Tree Atrium at the Renaissance Hotel Chicago, 1 W Wacker Dr (312-372-7200, www.nye-chicago.com). 9:30pm, $100–$150.
The historic Palmer House Hilton features Elevation, the local U2 tribute band, in the Red Lacquer Room and DJs Flipside and Billy the Kid kicking out the party faves elsewhere. General admission is $150, but the big ticket ($425) includes grub, booze and bubbles, and accommodations for two. Dec 31, Palmer House Hilton, 17 E Monroe St (312-726-7500, www.nye06.com). 9pm, $150.
Now in its fifth year, Whiskey Sky's Kiss the Sky "creative black-tie" affair always sells out—even at $150 a head, which includes five hours of cocktails and a view of the Navy Pier fireworks while DJ Sheik spins. It's slightly cheaper at the Whiskey City Center ($135), but there's likely more room at Whiskey Sky for dancing and prancing. Dec 31. Whiskey Sky, 644 N Lake Shore Dr (312-255-4463). 9pm, $150. Whiskey City Center, 172 W Adams St (312-782-4933). 9pm, $135.
Those who hunger to be in the public eye can pose at the NYE Page Six 2K at Hard Drive ($110 with bar and buffet) while Jumpin' James plays mass-appeal hits until 5am. A recovery room at the Hyatt Regency will cost a bit extra. Dec 31, Hyatt Regency Chicago. 9pm.
Sophisticated but unstuffy grown-ups can be found at the Victor Hotel. While there's no open bar, the $50 at-the-door ticket gets you champagne and snacks before 10pm. Dec 31, Victor Hotel. 9pm, $50.
Rednofive's party features cocktails till 1am; bites by Marche, Red Light, and Opera; and a dessert table after midnight. Theater-based arts collective Collaboraction creates the mood with surprise performances. Guest DJs haven't been announced. Dec 31, rednofive. 9pm, $125.
Four caters to the luxury-minded with packages of either $90 to $125 per person, or $500 a couple, which includes a room at Hotel Indigo and limo, not to mention hors d'ouevres and party favors all around. Too much? Go after 1am for the after-party, when the cover is a standard $20. Dec 31, Four. 9pm.