Look, we know New Year’s can be one of the most over-wrought party nights on any calendar. Still, it’s one of the biggest party nights of the year, period. In a city with a nightlife the size of Toronto, there’s something for every scene and every budget — if you fail to find something that speaks to you, you simply didn’t put in the effort. From couple-of-bills formal dinners to smaller-scale shindigs, here are five picks to help you make the right decision late in the game.
The Sadies at The Horseshoe Tavern
Most people start every year planning for change (usually for the better), but when it comes to New Year’s Eve in Toronto there’s always one constant: The Sadies at The Horseshoe. The tradition continues into its 11th year, as the city’s hardest-working and spiffiest-dressing country-surf outfit rings in 2012 with two sets of party-starting twang, plus a guest performance from once-rocking now plaintive-folking Daniel Romano (formerly of Attack In Black). Other clubs promise glitz, glamour and champagne; this is a $25 beer-swilling, whiskey-spilling night, through and through. 368 Queen St. W. 416-598-4753
Tranzac New Year’s Eve
The Tranzac has its own little New Year’s Eve tradition going, dedicating all of its stages to local indie rock faves. It’s lower key than usual, with no marquee names really standing out, but it makes up for it in consistency and volume. Out of the more than ten acts playing, look out for the charismatic odd-funk stylings of Maylee Todd, one of the unsung heroes of Toronto’s music scene, the bouncy indie pop of the Elwins and the insta-party Rouge. At $15 ($13 advance), it’s one of the cheaper, better-valued eves of live entertainment on a night that tends to charge big bucks just for breathing. 292 Brunswick Ave. 416-923-8137
Grand 2012 at Liberty Grand
For those that do prefer tuxedoed, bottle-serviced, tableclothed grandeur, try this one. After all, both the party and the venue have “grand” right in their name. This late in the game, tickets for the whole night will run you at least $100, but that’ll get you a full night of dancing at a giant, opulently-decorated venue, a champagne toast, and a buffet. And honestly, what’s classier than a buffet? 25 British Columbia Rd., Exhibition Place 416-542-3789
Paradise Ball at Great Hall
2011 was the year the Great Hall changed hands, and the new owners (the folks behind Wrongbar and the current incarnation of the Lakeview Diner) have spent the year attempting to restore the splendor of the venue’s glory days. New Year’s will probably be a bit of a test for them, but it looks like it should be a good one, or at least a big one, with DJs 4KORNERS and Joe Ghost, cirque performers, plus “digital laser lights,” “midnight explosions” and “stadium sound.” Unfortunately, you’ve missed out on the $950 “Ultra VIP Bottle Service Package” but there are still some $25 tickets on the table. You know, if you don’t mind settling. 1087 Queen St. West 416-262-0897
Chronologic at The Garrison
The concept is relatively simple: The Chronologic DJs start at the turn of the decade (the last decade) and progress sequentially through dance hits until the present day. If you stick it out to the very end, you can expect to hear all the tracks that have been popping up on your friends’ Best of 2011 playlists, but if you’re cognizant enough to recognize them then you’re probably not doing it right. Bonus: A concurrent DJ party in the Garrison’s front room. Two events, 25 bucks. 1197 Dundas St. W. 416-519-9439
Image courtesy of wv.