In London, there’s no excuse for slumping on the sofa in front of Jools Holland’s ‘Hootenanny’ on NYE. Oliver Keens shares his alternative timeline of the best things to do in the city this New Year’s Eve. Get planning now…
A tip: prepare a nip
Party hopping at this time of the year can be a chilly business, so make for Urban Outfitters and pick up something from its cool and affordable range of hip flasks. Just remember, drinking booze on the Underground is not allowed, so wet your whistle appropriately.
Prepare to get blitzed
Vintage is massive this year. Held in a mock WWII air raid shelter, Blitz Party in Shoreditch is a jiving alternative to most NYE rave-ups. It kicks off at 9pm and dressing-up is a must. Guys should head to Crazy Man Crazy in Upper Norwood, while Blackout II in Covent Garden is the perfect shop for women seeking some wartime glamour. Don’t forget eyeliner for those drawn-on stocking seams.
Rock and load
Get into the party mood and preload your iPod. We love old acquaintances, but that melody’s so drab, Scotland’s welcome to it if and when our nations’ divorce comes through. If you have to hear it, make sure it’s performed by a virtuoso. The Beach Boys’ acapella cover from 1964 or Jimi Hendrix’s wailing guitar treatment are ace: persuade a DJ to play either later in the evening.
Eats and beats
Time to take your seats for a five-course feast at the Disappearing Dinner Club’s NYE bash. A great choice for groups looking for a semi-civilised night, the two-floored Red Gallery in Shoreditch turns into a club after dinner at 11pm with DJs taking you through until 5am. Diners pay £95, but it’s just £15 to dance the night away.
Live in denial
Not everyone wants to wake up face-down in a packet of Monster Munch tomorrow. Abstainers should head to fantastic Persian restaurant Alounak in Bayswater. Iranian New Year isn’t until March, and alcohol isn’t served.
See the best fireworks in town
Head to the river early for the best views of the official midnight firework display. Space around Victoria Embankment fills up quickly, as do spots on Victoria and Westminster bridges. While you wait, why not recreate the end of ‘When Harry Met Sally’ when Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal finally get together on NYE? If you’ve polished off the hip flask, you can always do the orgasmic diner scene too.
Chuckle in Soho
Brilliant five-piece sketch comedians Late Night Gimp Fight round off the year with a special Soho Theatre show that runs until the stroke of midnight, with the chance to party on at the venue into the small hours. Warning: will contain novelty hip hop songs.
Do the time warp
More vintage! If you want to look to the past instead of the future come December 31, try the Royal Festival Hall’s Vintage New Year’s Eve. The line-up includes ’20s ragtime players, a ’40s swing orchestra and rock ’n’ roll bands, as well as DJs spinning ’60s funk through to ’90s pop.
The big cheese
Two massive London clubs become one as Guilty Pleasures and Ultimate Power (the musical equivalent of a Cathedral City and Babybel sandwich) go head-to-head in a pop anthem/power ballad face-off tonight at The Forum. Expect plenty of irony-free fun as soaring power ballads compete with retro pop classics in a battle to the death (well, 4am to be specific).
Link arms, hug your friends… You know what to do.
…And more love
Move on to hugging complete strangers.
The Joy of sets
Possibly one of the most tasteful ways to see in the new year will be grooving to Joy Orbison and his midnight set at the Coronet for Eastern Electrics NYE. A DJ and producer who’s earned his enigmatic status with tunes like ‘Ellipsis’ and ‘Swims’, he aims straight at the floor on big nights like this. The rest of the line-up is equally outstanding too, with Eats Everything, Miguel Campbell and Huxley all in attendance.
Too many world-class DJs
We can’t recall a night when London hogged so many of the world’s best DJs all to itself. Blawan, Jackmaster, Julio Bashmore, Simian Mobile Disco and Andrew Weatherall (left) are just some of the stars playing, so you’re truly spoiled for choice. You can search for everything London has to offer at timeout.com/nye.
Go out in a blaze of glory
Smokers, your nicotine patches are bought and your New Year’s resolution is set. But the cosy outdoor space at The Shacklewell Arms is perfect if you’re after one last night of smoking joy. The lineup’s pretty damn great too, with one of our best discoveries of 2012, psychedelic indie boys Toy, curating a night of off-the-wall DJs until 4am.
Things should be hotting up nicely right now at Dalston Superstore, where Sink the Pink’s Tranimals will be out in force all evening. The fleet of trashbag trannies welcome all-comers and will be strutting their stuff to a disco/techno soundtrack and treating the bar like a catwalk.
All change for your final Destination
Free transport on the Underground, buses and DLR ends NOW. Dirty stopouts should download the excellent Hailo app. It makes finding black cabs in your area a doddle and cabbies are increasingly loving it as well. And as we all know, a happy cabbie makes for a happy ride.
Drum and bacon for breakfast
Vauxhall megaclub Fire is the place for the weirdest New Year’s Day breakfast. Having been on the go for more than ten hours (thanks to bad-bwoy D&B legends like Grooverider, below, and Nicky Blackmarket), punters at United as One will be served a meal between 6am and 9am as they step up a gear for an afterparty at neighbouring Lightbox. Bangers with bangers, if you will.
Globalise your comedown
Stagger to Piccadilly, where 10,000 people from 20 countries will be setting off for the annual New Year’s Day Parade down Regent Street and Pall Mall, ending at Whitehall at 3pm. Marvel at the costumes, admire the twirling batons and use every last drop of energy to sway to the marching bands. Now go to bed! You’re scaring the kids.
Find out more at timeout.com/NYE.