Looking for New Year’s Eve plans? We break down the city’s best parties in The Night List.
The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St. W. Tickets starting at $55. Doors at 9 p.m.
Ideal for: The 25-plus set with cash and calories to burn.
I spent NYE at the Drake once and it was so magical I forgot all about it. There’s something about the hotel-anchored to-do, with optional underground club vibe, that makes it the perfect option for a civilized celebration. For 2013, it’s all about the Drake’s “modern masquerade”: superheroes, the Carnival of Venice, even Eyes Wide Shut undertones. It’s a building-wide bash with all the fixings that will literally go all night. For $55, your night can start at 9 p.m. with a pop-up bar in the lobby featuring themed cocktails, live Motown and soul music with the Kurt Nieslen jazz trio, DJ Dougie Boom, and special snacks. Starting at $75, you can opt for the three-course dinner ($100 for four-course), or avoid sitting down with the strolling cabaret in the underground featuring an array of Drake menu favourites like a lobster nacho station, sushi, and live hip-hop/soul jams. Two more words: midnight brunch, a.k.a. foie gras donuts, pancakes and caviar, and chicken and waffles with cherry compote. Yum. Complete details, available seating times and hotel packages here.
New Year’s Eve at SPiN Toronto
461 King St. W., Lower Level. Free. Doors at 10 p.m.
Ideal for: Those within stumbling distance of King and Spadina.
I like SPiN, the 12,000-square-foot hidden ping pong social club in a basement off King West. I like it so much that I actually went to celebrate it twice in one year: both for its opening and first anniversary. The Susan Saradon co-owned sporty pub has two fully-licensed bars, 12 ping pong tables, a banging cocktail menu, full food menu service (with grilled cheese—like, woah), and a lounge. Basically, it’s the perfect less-frills way to ring in 2013. On Dec. 31, they’re sticking to their minimalist roots with a simple jam. No cover. No dress code. Walk-in ping pong table rental rates all night ($30 per hour divided by your crew is not bad), with advance table reservations available. One hour limit. One table per party. With DJ Island Riot. Oh, and champagne at midnight, of course. Find out more here.
YLMC NYE 2013: Dwayne Gretzky and Summer Fling DJs
Palais Royale, 1601 Lakeshore Blvd. W. $62 with dinner or $30 for the fun, available online. Doors at 9 p.m.
Ideal for: Young souls with stamina.
Dwayne Gretzky, Toronto’s little cover band that could, just blew the socks off supporters at a Movember gala at the Kool Haus. “Fifteen hundred-plus people lost their minds to jams like ‘Under Pressure,’ ‘Psycho Killer,’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’” relays Young Lions Music Club honcho Bobby Kimberley, who himself has had a pretty solid year of making people move and shake. And so comes his NYE jam at Palais Royale, a venue drenched in musical history, from Blur to The Rolling Stones. “It’s underused these days by the music-loving audience, but we’re here to bring that back,” he says. $62 gets you food (peep the menu here) and $30 gets you a good time. Plus, get 25 per cent off at Bicyclette Boutique with your ticket. Party like it’s 1979 (or 2009), with the Summer Fling DJs rounding out the bill. Complete details here.
Arcadian Court, 401 Bay St., 8th floor. $40, available online. Doors at 9 p.m.
Ideal for: The Entertainment District regular with grand NYE ambitions.
Originally opened in 1929, Arcadian Court was recently named one of the best new venue openings in Toronto this year, and I’d have to agree: art deco details, soaring ceilings, and a fantastic view of Old City Hall that makes you feel like an extra in a Dark Knight movie. Oxford Beach, known for throwing decent parties at places you’ve probably never been, has found a chance here to really break the mold. Your $40 ticket includes treats like poutine, sliders and a champagne toast. Plus, The Grind will play live music and DJ Rouge will hit you with Top 40. Find out more here.
Metropolis NYE 2013
Featuring Machinedrum, XI, and John Roman. Metropolis Factory, 50 Edwin Ave. Tickets starting at $54.50, available online. Doors at 10 p.m.
Ideal for: Nu-rave realness and out-of-core experiences.
Craving a real-life warehouse experience? Missed out on those Promise parties I told you about? Mansion, as always, has got your ticket to a jam that’s north of Bloor and still worth your time. Introducing Metropolis, the “official NYE warehouse event for 2013.” The crew is repurposing an old venue on Edwin Street (Junction Triangle/Bloorcourt-adjacent), and it looks legit. (Seriously, take a virtual tour.) Even better, though, is the music: Machinedrum, a master of bass and collaborations (think Theophilus London and Azealia Banks) who was also very well-received at a past Happy Endings jam. Also featuring XI and Toronto techno and tribal prodigy John Roman. Find complete details and ticketing info here.
An exclusive preview of Osteria dei Ganzi
Ganzi, 504 Jarvis St. $75 for dinner and cocktail party. $40 for cocktails only. Available online. Doors at 8 p.m.
Ideal for: The seriously adventurous. (I mean it.)
How many times have you gone to a party without knowing too much about it? I do that, like, every weekend, and they always make for the weirdest, trillest stories (see: here and here). Here’s why I’d place my bets on this (if I were a gambling man, that is). Reason one: Osteria dei Ganzi is a new Italian resto opening to the public in January, and for NYE they’re giving you a preview. I like food and adore previews. It bills itself as “a destination eating experience and a social hangout with a unique European atmosphere and authentic Italian cuisine.” Two: Ganzi is in the east end, in a historic mansion built by George Gooderham in 1889. Three: The promoter, who I also don’t know, is calling this “a discreetly debaucherous” time. Four: Venetian masquerade theme. Five: La Dolce Vita. Champagne toast included. Yup, all this from a Facebook event. Dare you.
Lee’s Palace NYE 2013
Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St. W. $22.50, available online and at Ticketmaster. Doors at 8:30 p.m.
Ideal for: The live-music lover.
With memories at Dance Cave as clear as vodka shot, grow up and get down with 102.1 The Edge and Lee’s Palace, featuring four of your favourite new bands: Young Empires, Decades, Coleco, and New Hands. I once had dinner with Young Empires, and then went to one of their shows, so I can vouch for their ability to make you not hate them. Find out more here.
Bangs & Blush NYE: Bow Ties & Party Dresses
Clinton’s, 693 Bloor St. W. $20. Doors at 9 p.m.
Ideal for: A retro trip.
The Belles of Bloor Street West have had quite a great year, yeah? Get down to the sounds of Motown as you Shake, Rattle & Roll your way into the new year. Champagne, fun and favours on the house. ’50s and ’60s classics all night long. Find out more here.
The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St. W. $20, available online, $25 at the door. Doors at 10 p.m.
Ideal for: The time-traveling partier.
Ah, those Goin’ Steady DJs. Live from their new permanent home on Dundas West, the boys will ring in 2013 at The Garrison with “epic jams for end times.” It’s all your favourite tunes from 1913 to 2013, so you can party like your great grandparents did in two rooms. Also featuring DJs Shit La Merde and Wes Allen. Find out more here.
VOYEUR NYE 2013
With various acts. The Great Hall, 1087 Queen St. W. $30, available online. Doors at 9 p.m.
Ideal for: Dancing queens and vogue kings.
Child, do you want to dance or do you want to dance? After a breakout year, a festival tour, and a grand homecoming, Alixander III & Starving Yet Full of Azari & III will helm a jam so promising you’ll feel okay about paying $30 to party on Queen West. Plus, over a dozen other music makers will help you find the groove. Goes until 4 a.m. Find out more here.
See also: New Year’s Eve Dining Guide