Oh, those doomsayer Mayans — they made us sweat a little on Dec. 21, the day the world was supposed to end. What an epic fail that was! Not that we're pointing fingers; after all, interpreters clearly missed the mark on the prophecy, and besides, when was the last time you built a pyramid?
In any case, we're still here. So what if the economy remains in a slump and Elmo isn't quite the puppet we thought he was? We've got a lot to be thankful for in 2012, with the help of blue states, K-pop and horsey dancing (thanks PSY!), not to mention smart phones that have become so smart they'll soon be able predict the end of the world. Then we'll really have something to sweat about.
In the mean time, just being alive is cause for celebration. The year 2013 is upon us and the Queen City will be overflowing with New Year's Eve events, so we think you should par-TAY! Feel free to start the celebrating by hugging your friends and family or buying a puppy. And be safe as you bring in 2013 with a blast.
To help you decide what to do, we have compiled our top picks for NYE parties, concerts, shows and dinners. You can go to QC After Dark for our gargantuan full list of events.
Happy New Year, folks!
ROXBURY NIGHTCLUB: When Breakfast Club — the Q.C.'s '80s dance club for more than a decade — closed its doors in September, we started wigging out. Where would we go to boogie to the sounds of Bowie, Bananarama and other '80s idols? Luckily, we soon learned Breakfast Club owner Jody Sullivan was unveiling a new Uptown venue, Roxbury. The now-open '80s- and '90s-spirited spot celebrates New Year's Eve with what was once an annual BC party, dubbed the Back To the Future Bash. The shenanigans include retro dance mixes by DJ Jody, a guest MC hosting the countdown, a confetti blast and a champagne toast at midnight. Table reservations and bottle service available. Score! $15-$30. 115 W. 5th St. 704-375-8090. www.roxburynightclub.com.
LABEL: Forget sleep (we can do that when we're dead, which doesn't appear to be anytime soon — or so we hope). Label, the latest snazzy addition to N.C. Music Factory, is offering a late-night New Year's Eve party that starts at 10 p.m. and ends at 4 a.m. The shindig features a midnight ball drop, a 2 a.m. breakfast buffet and performances by Florida's Miami bass pro, DJ Magic Mike and Wiggz N' Wonz. Don't forget to bring your toothbrush. $150. 900 NC Music Factory Blvd. 704-910-0526. www.labelcharlotte.com.
THE WESTIN: Not only is The Westin one of Charlotte's glitzier lodgings, but it's also the home to two ballrooms that are turning into party zones for a luxurious New Year's Eve Celebration. The "Venetian" ballroom features a DJ blasting Top 40 and pop hits, while the "La Rumba" ballroom features the best of Salsa and Merengue. VIPs can enjoy an exclusive lounge, hors d'oeuvres, and a champagne fountain (we love us some bubbles!) too. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.nyecharlottenc.com. 601 S. College St. 704-375-2600. www.westincharlottehotel.com.
VOLUME LOUNGE: Kudos to Rob Nixon for being daring enough to open a club in the hipster nest of Plaza Midwood. An entrepreneur and owner of other establishments (Jackalope Jacks and Peculiar Rabbit) on the block, Nixon launched Volume Lounge so that patrons in the area would have a place to dance without having to venture Uptown. The outcome is a club that feels clubby, with less exclusivity. But do come dressed to impress — especially for New Year's Eve, when there will be a Hollywood Look-Alike contest with a $50 cash prize up for grabs. The festivities also include hors d'oeuvres, party favors, a drink ticket, a champagne toast, free membership, a cash/prize balloon drop at 1 a.m. and a breakfast sandwich served at 2 a.m. $25-$35. 1801 Commonwealth Ave. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.ticketssoeasy.com/volumenyebash.
WORLD OF BEER: WOB was among our top picks for places to go for NYE before we even knew what the hell they had planned for the evening. Why, you ask? Because the beer list is so extensive and global that it calls for a celebration in itself. Beer aficionados and casual drinkers alike can find their true brew here. Actually, WOB won't be doing anything particularly special for the evening, but there will be a guest DJ and no cover (*gasp*) — cheers to that! Free admission. 222 E. Bland St. 704-333-2080. www.wobusa.com.
PHOENIX: Anything hosted by Rich & Bennett will be extreme. The longtime party promoters like to do it big — and by that we mean lots of booze, DJs, dancing and hard-core partygoers in attendance. For the New Year's Eve party at Phoenix there will be hand-passed appetizers, a balloon drop and party favors, so that you can ring in 2013 with a sense of familiarity among the merry mayhem. General admission, VIP, private room and table services available. For more information, visit www.rockhouseevents.com. $55-$100. 300 N. College St. 704-375-8765. www.phoenixcharlotte.com.
ANDREW BLAIR'S AMERICAN BISTRO: And they were all ... neon? Seriously, how cool is a party with black lights and glowing party favors (neon glasses, bracelets, face painting and other black-light surprises)? Andrew Blair's Neon New Year's Eve Bash is a psychedelic alternative complete with the usual NYE suspects: bars (five of them) stocked with booze, a midnight champagne toast, hand-passed appetizers, a midnight breakfast, DJs, a balloon drop and more. Don't wear clothes with any stains, because that'll just look gross. To purchase tickets, visit www.ticketssoeasy.com/nye2013. $55-$75. Andrew Blair's American Bistro & Wine Bar, 1600 Montford Drive. 704-525-8282. www.andrewblairs.com.
WHISKY RIVER: NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s EpiCentre nightclub is celebrating Times Square-style, whatever that means. You can still giddyap on a mechanical bull and rest your back on fuzzy cowhide seating while watching the Big Apple festivities (no racing tonight!) on multiple TV screens. In addition to the expected — party favors and a champagne toast — you can also chow down on appetizers and buffet-served barbecue. Here's to tasting how deep in the South you really are — and still being tied to NYC! $35 and up. 210 E. Trade St. 704-749-1097. www.thewhiskyriver.com.
CHOP SHOP: What's the point of talking anyway? We only ask because we doubt you'll be doing much of it during Taste of Bass Vol. 8 "Bass Taster's Ball Drop." Chop Shop's NYE show features hip-hop, electro and breakbeat performers. Bass Records — an independent label formed in 2004 — has carefully selected the thudding lineup that consists of Phat Rabbit, Ridgid1, Sylum, Deejay Linoge, Prueph & NazT N8, Slurp, Dez One & Danny Who and more. $10. Chop Shop, 399 E. 35th St. 704-765-2466. www.chopshopnoda.com.
CATHODE AZURE: South End's newest LGBT bar and lounge will be fancying things up for its Hollywood Nights party. Details are pretty simple: The folks at Cathode Azure want patrons to come dressed in their glammy best. A red carpet will be provided upon entrance (because, let's face it, they're supposed to make us feel special) and DJ Billy Waters will be spinning the music. Other details have yet to surface, but if nothing else, this venue's intoxicating Blue LED lighting and techy iPad station will mesmerize you into 2013. 1820 South Blvd., Suite 106. 704-823-6066. www.cathodeazure.com.
AVETT BROTHERS AT GREENSBORO COLISEUM: Remember when the Avett Brothers used to celebrate every New Year's Eve at the modest Neighborhood Theatre? I'm not sure they do, either. Thankfully, Greensboro's just a short drive away. The Concord-based band is currently riding high on a Best Americana Album Grammy nomination for its latest release, The Carpenter. The album's dark undertones center on love and loss, but it doesn't overwhelm the band's energetic, back-porch spirit, which has remained tried and true after all these years. And with experience comes experimentation — expect to see a few more electric guitars on stage these days (and a few more members, as the band has added a touring drummer and keyboardist). And expect a rollicking NYE — these guys have that down to a science at this point. With Amos Lee. $39.50-$54.50. 8 p.m. 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. 336-373-7474. www.greensborocoliseum.com. (Jeff Hahne)
SKREAM AT THE FILLMORE: A veteran of the dubstep scene before it even had a name, Ollie Jones (aka Skream) brought grime's far more engaging and intricate sibling out of the shadows in 2005 with "Midnight Request Line." An unlikely club and blogger sensation, Skream's calling card married minimalist Space Invaders blips and beeps to experimental garage production that recalls the hypnogogic unease of avant-garde pranksters The Residents. Seven years on, Skream is busy deconstructing the very stylistic devices he helped create. Still remaining true to dubstep's clammy, juddering roots, he now grafts the formerly underground style to shiny, sparkly pop. True, this marriage of light and dark can produce a mongrel like the plastic trance of current buzz cut "Anticipate," but dubstep unvarnished is by nature self-limiting, and as one of its key creators, Skream had to take the sound somewhere. Why not the dance-pop mainstream? With Joker and Mindelixir. $46.50-$74. 10 p.m. 1000 N.C. Music Factory Blvd. 704-916-8970. www.fillmorecharlottenc.com. (Pat Moran)
WIDESPREAD PANIC AT TIME WARNER CABLE ARENA: The jam-band road warriors of Widespread Panic often fall prey to expectations raised by their own 19-year legacy. At its best, WP merges The Band's sepia-toned authenticity with the Allmans' bluesy swing and those rare, through-the-looking-glass moments when the Grateful Dead pulled the rug out from under you. At its worst, the long-running Athens, Ga., crew approximates the Dead's more frequent gassy bloat with meandering jams that vanish up the band's collective ass. Despite losing founder Michael Houser to cancer in 2002, Widespread Panic has soldiered on, recruiting N.C. native Jimmy Herring for the lead guitar spot in 2004. After playing Charlotte for a NYE party last year, these seasoned jam-vets flipped the script, going acoustic for a short winter tour before taking a long-overdue hiatus. Breaking their 10-month silence, the revered (and sometimes reviled) stalwarts play two gigs. On December 30, there's a sold-out fund-raiser for Tunes for Tots at the Fillmore. The next night, they'll ring in 2013 at Time Warner Cable Arena. $81.55. 9 p.m. 333 E. Trade St. 704-688-9000. www.timewarnercablearena.com. (Moran)
KING BRITT AT DHARMA LOUNGE: With a bewildering array of interests and a fistful of pseudonyms, it's surprising that producer/composer/performer/curator King Britt does not suffer from multiple personality disorder. As E-Culture, Britt dropped the ground-breaking house classic "Tribal Confusion." In 1992, he became Silkworm, the touring DJ with Grammy-winning Digable Planets. Under the nom de plume Sylk130, he released affectionate '70s soul pastiche When the Funk Hits the Fan. As The Nova Dream Sequence, Britt indulged his love of techno. Saturn Never Sleeps, Britt's "Massive Attack with Balls" project, explored the intersection of Sun Ra, eccentric soundtrack-monger Raymond Scott and Doctor Who composer Delia Derbyshire. Despite all this — plus remixing and producing everyone from Miles Davis to Radiohead — Britt may best be known under his own name. As plain old King Britt, he remixed street-corner preaching savant Sister Gertrude Morgan. Britt is still a moving target, currently augmenting historic Bush of Ghosts-style recordings from Zimbabwe. Catch him on NYE — before he changes again. $15. 9 p.m. 1400 S. Tryon St. 704-334-8336. www.dharmacharlotte.com. (Moran)
5CHURCH: Ever since the restaurant's opening earlier this year, we've been baffled by the flavorful concoctions that Chef Jamie Lynch almost magically maneuvers into every dish. For the restaurant's Grand New Year's Eve, he's prepared a lavish four-course menu, featuring frog legs, tenderloin, lamb shank, and duck fat poached halibut, among other selections. Two seatings will be offered: The first ($85) is at 5:30 p.m. and includes a four-course menu — with choices for each course — and a glass of champagne; The second ($150) is at 9 p.m. and includes the four-course menu, a premium beverage package, post-dinner dancing with DJ Edward Shouse, a live countdown of the ball drop, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Now, back to that menu: Dessert consists of a choice between Chocolate truffle, lemon madeleines, and chocolate-dipped strawberries. A portion of proceeds from the event will benefit Levine Children's Hospital. $85-$150 per person. 5Church, 127 N. Tryon St. 704-919-1322. www.5church.com.
GLOBAL RESTAURANT: France native Bernard Brunet, chef/owner of Global Restaurant, has whipped up a special five-course prix-fixe menu for New Year's Eve. The restaurant, hailed for its international cuisine (which includes classic French dishes, of course) will be offering amuse-bouche, Hudson Valley duck foie gras, Maine lobster, veal breast, and chocolate hazelnut decadence. For a little more cash, you can have each course paired with wine. Bon Appétit! $69 per person for menu-only; $99 per person with wine pairing. 3520 Toringdon Way. 704-248-0866. www.global-restaurant.com.
CHIMA BRAZILIAN STEAKHOUSE: Carnivores rejoice (and vegetarians cry)! New Year's Eve at Chima is going to be one big meaty party. For $59, those dining at the Brazilian hot spot can have a feeding frenzy complete with an extensive salad bar, all-you-can-eat rodizio (with 16 different meats to choose from) and a glass of champagne or dessert. Come hungry and prepared to consume the large quantities of game piled high and carried by gaúchos eager to slice it up (a show in itself) for a position on your plate. $59 per person. 139 S. Tryon St. 704-601-4141. www.chima.cc.
GEORGES BRASSERIE: The elegant restaurant is a blend of French-styled and modern cuisine that would make Julia Child proud. For New Year's Eve, Chef Andrew Dodd has prepared a three-course menu with an array of choices for appetizers, entrees and desserts. Pan-seared filet mignon, hazelnut crusted pork loin, pasta forestiere and Mediterranean sea bass are among the entrees you can choose to feast on. Diners can also take in the sights and sounds of Times Square broadcasts and live music from Sounds of Sai — a four-piece jazz band performing in the lounge, from 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Party favors, including hats and noise makers, will also be distributed and there will be a cash bar with champagne and drink specials. $65 per person. 4620 Piedmont Row Drive. 980-219-7409. www.georgesbrasserie.com.
MCLEOD CENTER: It may seem tough to find things to do on New Year's Eve if you're in recovery from alcoholism or other addictions, but the party doesn't have to stop just because you've put the substances down. Whether you're newly clean or sober, or in recovery for decades, you can find plenty of fun and fellowship around the clock at several area recovery parties, meeting marathons and alco-thons, including this one at the McLeod Center's new location on Clanton Road. Bring food and non-alcoholic drinks to share. Free. 6 p.m.; continues through 6 p.m. on Jan. 1. 515 Clanton Rd. AA 24-hour hotlines: 704-332-4387 and 1-877-233-6853 (toll free); NA 24-hour hotline: 980-200-9349. www.charlotteaa.org, www.charlotte-na.org.
FIRST NIGHT: Activities for kids dominate the day portion of this alcohol-free festival, but as night falls, entertainment will be for both children and adults. Musicians and others will perform along the streets surrounding Wells Fargo Atrium, Levine Avenue of Arts and The Green. $10 for adults; $5 for children 5-12; Free for children under 4. 12 p.m.-11:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.charlottecentercity.org.
8TH STREET STUDIO: THE YOGA CENTER: Yoga fanatics and those aspiring to earn the title of yogi in 2013 can put their mantra in motion during The Yoga Center's New Year's Eve Yoga. It's the eighth year that the studio is offering the popular NYE alternative. Yvonne Brown will guide the class in asanas, meditation, chanting and reflections. Namaste. $20. 10 p.m.-12 a.m. 1940 E. Eighth St. 704-372-4289. www.8thstreetstudio.com.
MCGLOHON THEATER: John Tosco, founder of Tosco Music Parties, has a way of bringing a smorgasbord of musical talent together in one room. But for his 3rd Annual New Year's Eve Variety Show, he's going beyond the musical realm by incorporating dance, comedy, spoken word and more. This year's family-friendly showcase at McGlohon features a balancing act from Circus Stella, comedy and juggling from Steve Langley, ventriloquism from Steve Brogan, music from Joshua King, slam poetry from Carlos Robson, dancing from Rodrigo and Wendy Jimenez of World Dance Center and other performers that have not yet been announced. The whole shebang is done in the spirit of The Ed Sullivan Show, so you can expect to be entertained. (FYI: This event is not totally sober, as alcohol can be purchased at concession stands.) $20.12. 8 p.m.-10 p.m. 345 N. College St. 704-372-1000. www.blumenthalarts.org.