Don’t feel like sparring with the rest of the city at some bar this New Year’s? (They don’t call it amateur night for nothing.) We feel you. Shelling out 50 bucks to stand around clutching a sweating plastic cup at some “all-you-can-drink” (read: you’ll get about three drinks since you’ll spend the entire evening struggling to fight your way up to the bar) thing at some terrible club, only to swap spit with a drunk stranger at midnight doesn’t sound like a great way to ring in 2014 to us either. That’s why we’ve rounded up 10 alternative options to celebrate New Year’s Eve this year. (Don’t worry, you can still find a drunk stranger to make out with at midnight, if y0u want it badly enough.)
The Wilbur Theater
246 Tremont St., Boston
Tom Cotter’s stand-up act is pure old school — a rapid series of charmingly stupid one-liners relying on wordplay and misdirection. We find ourselves laughing as much at his gall in telling such silly sucker-punch jokes as at the jokes themselves. Wherever your New Year’s Eve takes you later, this show ought to put you in an appropriately giddy mood.
New Year’s Eve Concert with Boston Pops Swing Orchestra
301 Mass. Ave., Boston
Spend New Year’s the classy way with the Boston Pops Swing Orchestra, conducted by Bo Winiker. It’ll be an eclectic evening of music, with the expected Big Band material by Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller and so forth, but also interpretations of such non-jazz artists as Elvis Presley and ABBA. Dinner and drinks will also be available.
Boston Baroque: New Year’s Celebration
45 Quincy St., Cambridge
$50-$85, 617-987-8600 ext. 413
Or perhaps you’d like an old school New Year’s? How’s the 18th century sound? Boston Baroque will perform Bach’s famed Brandenburg Concertos, Nos. 3 and 4, his Wedding Cantata and his satirical Coffee Cantata, a mini opera detailing one man’s mad spiral into caffeine addiction. Champagne and chocolates will be offered during the intermission.
The Legends of New Year’s Eve
Middle East Downstairs
480 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
$25, 18+, 866-777-8932
This show features perfectly-named Justin Timberlake tribute act the Timberfakes, as well as the Jay-Z covers of Hard Knock Live, plus the totally original music of Empire Street, a band fusing heavy rock guitars with pulse-moving dance beats — they’re kind of like a fusion of the video games “Guitar Hero” and “Dance Dance Revolution,” except they’re the ones who play you.
Heroes New Year’s Eve
T.T. the Bear’s Place
10 Brookline St., Cambridge
This special New Year’s edition of T.T. the Bear’s “Heroes” DJ night, starring Chris Ewen, who spins the best in ’80s new wave, electro and punk, adds the kitschy fun of party hats and noisemakers into the mix, as well as a “white trash buffet” — not sure what that entails, but it’s probably delicious and bad for you.
New Year’s Eve with KON
1222 Comm. Ave., Allston
Bowery Boston describes the headlining DJ for this NYE party, whose name is an acronym for “King of Nothing,” as “Dorchester’s golden child.” The crate-digging local legend is definitely a big get, and with the help of fellow bill-sharers Bosq, Heartstrings, Charles Mazzola and Will Martin and John Barera, he ought to keep this party bouncing right into 2014.
50 Shades New Year’s Eve
The Greatest Bar
262 Friend St., Boston
$60-$75, 21+, 866-760-8324
The promoters promise there will be “nothing vanilla” about this “Fifty Shades of Grey”-themed NYE party, and that you’ll get to “dominate your fantasies.” They’ve left out further details, presumably for the sake of decency. The prices listed above are for normal admission, but those with an income more like Christian Grey’s can spring for a deluxe private package.
New Year’s Eve ’80s Time Warp
13 Brattle St., Cambridge
$75-$115, 21+, 617-499-0001
If you’re wishing it was turning into 1984 into of 2014, this party will be right up your alley. It stars the 80’s cover band SAFETY, who cover a wide variety of tunes, from the Smiths to Devo to Madonna to Culture Club. Also performing are drag queen Madge of Honor and the Solid Gold Circus Performers.
Discotheque Burlesque New Year’s Eve
541 Tremont St., Boston
$85-$125, 21+, 617-423-0069
If you’re looking for a NYE party that’s both classy and slinky, this one should do you fine. It features live music from the AB’s and a Parisian-style burlesque show featuring burlesque dancers Calamity Chang, Lil’ Steph and Stormy Leather. If their moves are half as good as their names, it should be a fun time.
1353 Cambridge St., Cambridge
$5, 21+, 617-395-1393
Celebrate the turn of the calendar with Boston alt-rap genius MC/DJ Edan, who’ll be blowing minds with a full audio/video DJ set. Also performing are local indie darlings the Fat Creeps and Electric Zeus. The poster promises live music til 4 a.m., so either there are some more unmentioned bands or everyone’s gonna have a wicked long set.