New Year's Eve parties in Toronto let the city's most talented DJs, musicians, and bartenders cash in while the rest of us suckers bleed money and a year's worth of emotional residue all over our friends and the lost the out-of-towners who can't figure out where Coda is even though it's right across from the subway station that dumped their inebriated neon bodies onto the street.
Toronto gets it all on New Year's Eve - live concert fans will stay with their plaid adorned kind, blissfully unaware of the haunting bottle service tabs descending on good citizens elsewhere in the night. Remember to tip every busker you see, don't kiss strangers without chewing a Tic Tac (don't kiss a friend without chewing three), and just because the TTC is free all night doesn't mean they're supplying those handy paper bags they have on airlines, so plan ahead.
Here are my picks for New Year's Eve parties and events in Toronto.
See also: The top 25 restaurants for New Year's dinner in Toronto
NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTIES: EVENT SPACES, HOTELS, CONCERT HALLS + ALTERNATIVE VENUES
Rich Aucoin (Lee's Palace)
What's the appeal of an artist who brings a huge, colourful parachute everywhere he goes? Peter Pans and Wendys know what I'm talking about. Celebrate with Rich Aucoin, secret special guests, and late night karaoke at Lee's.
Ruins (Geary Lane)
Mansion's NYE Party should find a cozy fit away from the hubbub further downtown. At new venue Geary Lane dance in a sprawling warehouse with Bwana, ÈBONY, Eytan Tobin B2B Lum, plus the Bedroomer co. NYE's most beat-savvy partiers can also expect the usual perks like art installs.
159 Manning's 10 Year NYE Anniversary (159 Manning)
It's ten years strong for NYE parties at the little house that could on Manning Ave. Sing with a band thanks to Good Enough's live karaoke, which will definitely involve some CanCon celebs. It's BYOB, so maybe you can afford 2015 after all.
Dude's New Year's: The Big Lebowski (Bloor Cinema)
This marks the Bloor's third annual Dude's New Year's event featuring The Big Lebowski. Host and comedian Freddie Rivas and hundreds of "Little Achievers" will ring in the New Year in style, if you can call plaid and vodka a style. The cinema will have a White Russian express bar and stay open long after the ball drops.
Dwayne Gretzky (Danforth Music Hall)
Give the scary New Year a ring of comforting familiarity with Toronto cover darlings Dwayne Gretzky. The nine piece band will play from songbooks spanning the ages, with Young Offenders Collective providing the decor and Lazy Ray on the decks.
BODYINTERFACE0 (Double Double Land)
If you want to wear pink and have a weird and wonderful New Year's in a place you'll think you dreamt up, Kensington Market's oldest DIY venue is the place. Body Interface will have scroungy artists fancying up the room and a ton of DJs will keep you dancing all night. Support the arts with your sweat, and check the art in the bathrooms.
Interface (99 Sudbury)
Another party called Interface? If someone told me they were spending NYE at 99 Sudbury, whew would I ever have something to say to them. Something very simple - get there before 11. DJs include All Blak, Sam Haze, Mina, Olenonly Sybil, Night Vision, and Simon Jain.
Lemon Bucket Orkestra (Opera House)
Balkan-Klezmer-Gypsy-Party-Punk street band Lemon Bucket Orkestra are throwing an NYE party where the vibes will literally be so good, haters for miles away will wake up singing Ukrainian folk ballads. Not the best thing for a hangover.
Lower West Side NYE (Gladstone)
Wish you could have celebrated 1925 instead of 2015? Sounds like a limited cocktail menu and malnourishment to me - but I doubt either will be a problem at the Gladstone Hotel's roaring 20s party. Whiskey may or may not be served in teacups, which sounds a lot like a roaring highschool Tuesday, but hey.
F*ck NYE (Soybomb Hq)
Soybomb Hq's annual punk fest NYE anti (? or is it) party features live sets from Godstopper, Rubrics (USA), John XII, Eavesdrop, Uncle, and Mad Trapper. All these bands for $8 is a f*ck you to NYE.
Majestic NYE (Fairmont Royal York)
Want to party with a crowd? One of Toronto's most famous hotels will play host to 3,000 revelers dining and dancing to the sounds of live percussionists, an electric violinist and a line-up of DJs spinning house, hip hop, EDM and rnb. There's also a live cabaret show, a three course menu and discounted room rates if you need a place to crash. Tickets start at $50. - Staff
One Night Only (Drake Hotel)
The Drake Hotel always goes all out for its NYE parties and this year is no exception. A tiered ticket system starting ranging from $25 to $125 will get you anything from entry to the party to a four course dinner and bubbly.- Staff
New Year's Eve Comedy Extravaganza Hosted by Tom Green (Massey Hall)
Remember Tom Green? This comedy show will get you back on the street by 10pm. Canadian comedian Derek Edwards headlines.
NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTIES: BARS + RESTAURANTS
The Sadies (Horseshoe Tavern)
The Legendary Horseshoe is playing it safe and bringing back acclaimed Toronto alt-country outfit the Sadies. As the cowboy said, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The band plays at 11:15pm (2014) and 1:15am (2015).
Horsey Craze (Silver Dollar)
Hide out at Silver Dollar at midnight with elusive Horsey Craze, the Neil Young tribute band comprised of Constantines members. As usual, they'll bring a string of special guests - catch Andre Ethier's Sunset Pigs and Tropics/US Girls offshoot Darlene Shrugg as openers. SK
ITZSOWEEZEE (Drake Underground)
If you can't imagine NYE without the Drake Hotel, look back on the past ten years and smile. Or sigh, I don't know your life. There's a party upstairs in the Hotel proper, but the hip hop & electronic dance party in the basement is the place to be with Tom Wrecks, DeMiGGs & V.
Judy Virago (The Beaver)
If big rooms don't do it for you, slide your campy glitter shaker over to the Beaver for DJ sets by Boy Pussy and Peg Zilla, plus the effervescent Allysin Chaynes, Nancy Bocock, Buzz Huneedew, and Quanah Style.
Tranzac NYC (Tranzac)
At the Tranzac in the Annex find three rooms of some of the bands who ruled Toronto's underground music scene, and no bottle service. (Ask Lido Pimienta what she thinks about bottle service.) Pimienta, Tenderness, New Fries, Sexy Merlin, Mas Aya, and more are on the bill.
Essence Brown (Steady)
Don't over think NYE when all you really want to do is keep it casual, down a drink or ten, and dance. Enter Essence Brown, where you'll sweat to hip hop, dancehall, and r&b while your less fortunate friends take sad Instagrams over their sad bottle service.
Much Music VJ Legend Master T hosts New Years (The Smiling Buddha)
Do you like... nostalgia? If not, please exit blogTO, take a right at the millennium, and keep walking, while history's most sentimental generation finds a warm embrace at this 90s party with VJ Master T.
Chronologic (The Garrison)
The Goin' Steady DJs can save you from choice - just like on Halloween, the Garrison offers a sturdy salvation for those who just can't make a decision (but show up early or you'll have to make another decision). The night will have you dancing chronologically through the ages - into 2015.
NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTIES: CLUBS
Magic NYE (Guvernment)
Strange but true: this is your last chance to celebrate the new year at Guvernment - the club is slated to close in early 2014. Make memories one more time with Manzone and Strong and Mark Oliver.
Coda at Bathurst and Bloor (you can see it from the subway station, friends) has Carlo Lio, Nathan Barato, and the Junkies playing back to back all night.
FlicFlac (The Hoxton)
Austria's FlicFlac is coming all the way to Toronto to headline the Hoxton's NYE bash. Special guests are also in store, and there are so many people who want you to call them re: bottle service.
Yes Yes Y'all NYYYE (426 College)
One of Toronto's best parties, Yes Yes Y'all is a sure bet for New Year's eve. Toronto's Tasha Rozez, Tamika, Bambii and KJ will play this year's queer hiphop/dancehall jam.
NYE 2015, A Jazzy Event with Aura & Friends (Palais Royale)
Jazz. Said to be Duke Ellington's protégée, Aura Rully (Urziceanu) has performed with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Quincy Jones, and you have to dress to the nines to see her. Jazz. Isn't that a nice way to end things?
For more NYE events click on over to our Events section.
What did I miss? Let us know what hole in the ground you'll be partying in on NYE in the comments.
Contributions by Shazia Khan. Photo be Jesse Milns
by Aubrey Jax via blogTO