If ever there was an appropriate time to celebrate, it's New Year's Eve. We know you want to party like a rock star as you kiss 2011 goodbye, so here's our list of the ten best nightlife options for ringing in the new year.
10. The Tavern Downtown: New Year's Eve Olive Drop & Fireworks Display We've lauded the Tavern Downtown several times before for its amazing rooftop patio; on New Year's Eve, that patio will be have a front-row view of the spectacular downtown fireworks at midnight (as well as the tavern's own fireworks on the rooftop!). And don't miss the two-foot illuminated olive that will drop into a fifteen-foot-tall martini glass on the rooftop, as well -- which wins over Time Square's glittering ball, if you ask us. The admission fee ($35 in advance, $40 at the door) gets you two DJs all night, party favors and a complimentary champagne toast; if you purchase tickets in advance, you also get VIP entrance to this 21-and-up party. Call 303-299-0100 or visit www.tavernhg.com/downtown.
9. Jet Hotel: Frost-Bitten Kiss If you've been inside the Jet Hotel & Lounge, you know that this party will be a swanky way to bid farewell to 2011. And the plans for Frost-Bitten Kiss are upping the ante quite a bit; the party space will be transformed into an arctic paradise, with ice sculptures, shot and martini stations, music by DJ Ty Tek and hotel-room options -- so you don't have to worry about the late-night drive home. Tickets are $30 and up, and this is a 21-and-older event; call 303-572-3300 or visit www.thejethotel.com.
8. White Rose Gala and Champagne Hotel Kevin Larson's White Rose Gala has long been known as one of the best New Year's Eve bashes for seeing and being seen; it's lavish and lovely, and now, the companion Champagne Hotel event combines a touch of decadence for the younger crowd. The White Rose Gala is taking place at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center and features an Asian theme, live music and performances; in the Hotel Denver Tech Center, the Champagne Hotel offers dance music, laser lights and more. General-admission tickets run $49 to $59 -- but for $99, you can have access to both events via limo-bus transportation, plus VIP expedited check-in, lounge areas and bars. And if you're truly loaded, there's a $500 cabana option, too. For information and to purchase tickets, visit www.whiterosegala.com.
7. Passport: Moscow, Monaco, Cairo Lotus has been bringing international flavor to its New Year's Eve parties for some time, and this year there are Passport options to transport you to Moscow (Suite Two Hundred), Monaco (Chloe) and Cairo (24K Lounge) -- or all three. Along the way, there will be DJs, stilt walkers, ice sculptures, go-go dancers in custom-designed outfits, local celebrities, champagne toasts at midnight and much more; prices range from $12 all the way up to $100 (but that Franklin will get you VIP access to all three Passports and an open bar). Visit http://http://lotusnye2012-westword.eventbrite.com to check out your options and purchase tickets.
6. BMoCA: Black +/-White Looking for a fun, laidback way to spend New Year's Eve? Try the Black+/-White party at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. There will be sets by DJs Alala.One and Stephen Ganser, dancing, drinks, a lounge, a midnight champagne toast and Tarot readings for those interested in learning what 2012 might bring. Wear black and/or white attire (of course); admission is $20 to $30. Call 303-443-2122 or visit www.bmoca.org.
5. Diamond Cabaret & Steakhouse: Big Top New Year's Eve The Diamond Cabaret & Steakhouse has snagged Freakshow Deluxe for its New Year's Eve entertainment, the outfit voted the 2010 Hollywood Fringe Festival's best cabaret and circus, so that alone is well worth the $15 price of admission. Throw in DJs, dancing, carnival rides, games and more, plus access to three different parties (including a raging after-hours bash), and you've got a great deal for the 21-and-up crowd. Call 303-571-4242 or visit www.vcgh.com/diamond.aspx.
4. 2200: The Emerald City You don't have to be caught in a tornado to visit the Emerald City; instead, you can find it at 2200 on New Year's Eve. Lea Luna and Forest Green will headline; there will be several more DJs in two rooms of tunes with more than thirty performers (fire dance, contortion, hoopers, burlesque, pole dance, a go-go galaxy and more), plus free champagne and party favors. Evening attire is required and costumes are encouraged, so dress up to go out. Admission is $25 (pre-sale), and there's free parking, too! Visit http://fla.vor.us/1112467-The-Emerald-City-tickets/The-Emerald-City-Denver-2200-Nightclub-December-31-2011.html for tickets.
3. Renaissance Denver Hotel: Nan Desu Kan Costume Ball Cosplay and anime fans of all ages will be ringing in 2012 at this party. Along with the DJ and dancing, there will be games, food, a cash bar and costumes galore. (Make sure you check out the dress-code guidelines; you won't be let in if your outfit doesn't comply.) Admission is only $15 to $20, and room rates for up to four people are available for a mere $79, so you don't have to worry about that drive home. Visit ndkdenver.org/nye.
2. Cluster Studios: Howl The third annual Howl features a Wild West theme, which means there will be appropriate environmental design, live music and themed burlesque from Tatianna Ta-Ta and Miss Orchid Mei, plus themed drinks, Tarot readings and more. Forge a new frontier while ringing in the new year! Tickets are $40; visit www.howlnewyearseve.com.
1. Mercury Cafe: Erotic Poetry Festival, Masquerade Cirque de Voltaire, Brazilian New Year, New Year's Eve Dinner How do we even begin to describe the Merc's annual New Year's Eve celebration? Perhaps with the annual Erotic Poetry Festival, which will be accompanied by steampunk belly dancers and only costs $6. At 10 p.m., you've got your choice between the Brazilian New Year with Boulder's Ginga band, dance performances (samba, anyone?) and a flower offering to the gods for $25 -- or the Masquerade Cirque de Voltaire, with magicians, dancers burlesque, the Tanukis and the Gora Gora Orkestar for just $15. Or if you just want to enjoy yourself in the dining room, reservations are open from 5:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. -- and there will be musical accompaniment with your meal. Leave it to the trend-setting Merc to host this blowout. Call 303-294-9281 or visit www.mercurycafe.com.
More New Year's Eve lists
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.