With the imminent arrival of 2020, New Year’s Eve parties practically plan themselves: There are more Roaring ’20s bashes set for December 31 than there were bathtub gin recipes floating around during the Jazz Age. We’ve picked out five of the best in town, plus five more fun choices if a ’20s theme doesn’t strike you as the bee’s knees.
Bunk With the Beasts: Zoo Year’s Eve
The Denver Zoo isn’t catering to the 21-and-over set this New Year’s Eve, which means this event isn’t on the child-free radar. But parents should pay attention, because they won’t find a better place to park their kids while they go out and party ’til the wee hours (or stay home and go to bed early — we don’t judge). Drop off the kids (ages five to thirteen) at the zoo at 6 p.m. to let them Bunk With the Beasts; the little party animals will spend the night exploring Zoo Lights and having a pizza party, then get breakfast the morning after their sleepover before you collect them at 10 a.m. The cost? Just $75 on denverzoo.org, which works out to under $5 per hour — a wild deal, indeed.
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Mr. Gatsby’s New Year’s Eve
Death & Co./The Ramble Hotel
Anyone who’s read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous novel knows that Death & Co. is the perfect place to host a Gatsby-themed bash. And even if you relied on Wikipedia to pass high school English, if you’ve visited the stunning hotel lobby-cum-cocktail bar, you recognize that the lavish decor would be right at home in West Egg, so this party is sure to be as stylish as any Jay himself would throw. Come dressed to the nines and from 8:20 p.m. to 2 a.m., you’ll get your fill of the bar’s elevated bites and excellent cocktails. Tickets, $179, are on sale on eventbrite.com.
New Year’s Eve at the Cottonwood Club
Exdo Event Center
The Cottonwood Club, a pop-up speakeasy, has been producing Roaring ’20s-themed events at various locations around town since this past summer, and it’s upping the ante on New Year’s Eve with an extravagant night of drinks, dancing, fashion and entertainment. The soirée starts early and goes late (8 p.m. to 2 a.m.), with performances by Circus Foundry and dance troupe the Honey Taps, music by Black Iris Collection, and, of course, best-dressed prizes for the swankiest guys and dolls. Snag tickets (GA for $100 includes three drinks; VIP for $250 entitles you to five top-shelf beverages) on cottonwoodclubdenver.com.
New Year’s Eve Dance Bash
For a unique New Year’s Eve, take to the dance floor at this social club that specializes in ballroom and other styles of dance. If you’re not as fleet on your feet as you could be, show up at 8 p.m. for an hour-long waltz class, then practice your moves with ballroom dancing on two different levels until a free champagne toast at midnight. Looking to imbibe a little more holiday cheer? You’ll be able to quench your thirst at the dance hall’s cash bar. Tickets are $60 on denverturnverein.com until December 29; after that, they’ll cost $75.
Nocturne New Year’s Eve
What better place to ring in the (20)20s than Nocturne, the swanky supper and jazz club? From the art-deco design to the great musicians taking the stage, the joint has always evoked the Jazz Age. Its fifth annual NYE event includes two options: Early birds can party from 6 to 9 p.m.; night owls show up from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Beyond that, party-goers have the choice of bar seating (includes a welcome cocktail and à la carte food and drink options) or a reserved table (includes a cocktail and four-course meal); no matter where you sit, you’ll hear tunes from the Peter Olstad Quintet. Visit nocturnejazz.com for pricing — bar spots start at $59, with a two-top going for $270 — and to reserve your seat.
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Punch Bowl Social
In a bold move, both Punch Bowl Social locations are eschewing Gatsby, flappers, Prohibition, jazz and roaring anything for their New Year’s Eve parties. Instead, they’re looking to the future for inspiration and throwing futuristic, outer-spaced-themed blowouts starting at 9 p.m. There’s no cover charge, and with private karaoke, virtual reality and games both old and new on site, you’ll stay occupied until 2020 arrives — five years after we were supposed to have hoverboards, damn it!
Roaring ’20s New Year’s Eve Party
The Five Points winery has always billed itself as a “Roaring ’20s-inspired craft winery,” and its tasting room manages to combine comfy modernity with vintage charm through a decor mix of exposed brick and velvet chaise longues. So Bigsby’s NYE party is right on trend, with cocktail attire or 1920s garb encouraged. For $125, revelers get three drink tickets that can be redeemed for beer, wine, bubbly or spirits (upgrade to reserve selections for an additional $20), a festive buffet, dancing and champagne toast at midnight. The party runs from 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; tickets are available on bigsbysfolly.com.
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If you want to be the star of all your social gatherings in 2020, learn how to put a sword to its best use at Noble Riot’s December 31 class on sabering, or using a sword to open a bottle of champagne. For $99, you’ll get mini-history and physics lessons and — most important — hands-on practice in decapitating the green glass bottles. Of course, no one wants to waste what’s inside the bottles, so you’ll also consume the contents. The $99 class runs from 5 to 6:30 p.m.; secure your spot at nobleriot.com.
Various Denver locations
Perhaps the most unusual of New Year’s Eve events are the ones without booze — not even a midnight champagne toast. If you want to go out and celebrate without alcohol — and without the risk of hangover, DUI, bad decision-making and other attendant dangers of drinking — Bar Zero’s Sober Eve is the event for you. Start the evening with a dinner party and live music from 7 to 10 p.m. at Tradecraft Industries, 6145 Broadway, before relocating to the Phoenix, 2233 Champa Street, for a lively dance party with non-alcoholic refreshments that will run until 12:30 a.m. Tickets, $35 per person or $60 per couple, are on sale now on barzerodenver.org.
Union Station New Year’s Eve
Based on its age, Union Station could have housed an illicit bar in the 1920s; the structure was built in 1881 and rebuilt in 1914. But in 2019, it’s definitely channeling the spirits of rum runners and bootleggers at its VIP speakeasy. The exclusive bar, housed in the station’s lower level, will be serving unlimited drinks and hors d’oeuvres to guests from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.; tickets, $200 on eventbrite.com, also include access to the much more modern silent disco and light show in the Great Hall.