Montrealers always and inevitably bring their A-game to a broad spectrum of New Year’s Eve events and activities that are tailored to all tastes and levels of expenditure. Let the following guide lead the way to your memorable Montreal New Year’s Eve experience…
If family-friendly and free are the only “f” words in your party vocabulary, the super-popular annual outdoor gathering in Old Montreal’s historic and picturesque Place Jacques-Cartier is without a doubt the answer to your New Year’s prayers. Starting at 7 pm, DJs and other entertainment will get the party started, and then at 10 pm it will be live music as party band The Lost Fingers sing in the New Year. At five minutes before midnight The Grand Countdown will begin, and then at the stroke of midnight fireworks will commence on the quays of the adjacent Old Port. From there it will be DJs and dancing in the Old Port’s improvised “megadiscotheque” until 2 am.
Now for the grown-ups only, Montreal’s beautifully restored Rialto Theatre rings in the New Year in classic fashion with what they describe as “a dazzling red-carpet cocktail and an elegant evening of dinner and dancing” featuring live music courtesy of Paul Chacra’s 1945, a veteran New Year’s Eve, nine-piece dance band. The $175 ticket promises cocktails and canapés, a four-course meal, champagne at midnight (with live video of the Times Square countdown), open bar until 12:30 am, noisemakers and hats, and valet parking.
Along similar architectural lines, the refurbished and re-purposed Olympia Theatre enjoys its new lease on life as one of east downtown’s principle large-capacity performance spaces. It will put its elegant acreage to good use for Celebration 2014 featuring five DJs, 10 bars, 25 bartenders and single general admission passes that start at $59 through several tiers of tix topping out at the $3,900 VIP Platinum Package for you and 19 of your closest party pals. Perenially popular nightclub Stereo continues to boast the best sound system in town, and that will be in full effect when second wave Detroit techno DJ and producer Stacey Pullen joins Stereo residents Monitor, Ostrich, Jimmy Be and Paolo & Nino for a solid 12 hours – 10 pm to 10 am – of New Year’s Eve (and Day) progressive house and electro sleep deprivation ($60 advance, $80 at the door).
If you’ve got even more party within your power, Circus Afterhours is promising a 14-hour dance marathon (from 10 pm until noon the next day) as part of Circus Maximus MMXIV which will feature no less than 23 dance and electronic DJs in five rooms done up in “grandiose décor” befitting the occasion. General admission is $75 with a VIP upgrade (VIP entrance, coat check, hostess, chill room, bar and fruits and snacks) available for an additional $25. And on the topic of big and bouncy, the 10,000 square foot Arena nightclub, situated at the western end of downtown, is a favourite for younger clubgoers. Featuring R&B, hip-hop, house and Top 40 by DJ Blaze, DJ Engen and DJ Groove, party favours and a live countdown from Times Square, tickets range from $59 for basic open bar through several levels of service right up to their all-inclusive 15-person VIP “Hollywood Package.”
Innovative concert promoters/event producers Neon are pulling out some big guns for their NYE 2014 party at the downtown Telus Theatre. Internationally renowned disco-pop pairing Chromeo will do a DJ set, expect soulful electronic dance from Breakbot, hip-hop and R&B from producer Ryan Hemsworth, plus sets spread across two rooms from DJs Tommy Kruise, High Klassified, Irfane and many more. Open bar, bottle service and VIP reservations will all be available at varying rates.
The Sir Winston Churchill Pub Complex on Crescent Street is a one-stop New Year’s shop for Montrealers and visitors alike. DJ Sandy Duperval holds down the dance floor at Winnie’s Bar (your $20 ticket includes a bottle of bubbly), the adjacent Karina’s Club Lounge/Piano Bar offers a five-course meal with live ivory tickling for $79.95 followed by music and dancing with DJ Tag, and the Sir Winston Churchill Pub proper has a DJ spinning Top 40 club hits, old school R&B and house for $35. Great food and music to match is the promise made and kept every year at the intimate, warmly appointed Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill downtown. Take in sets by multi-award winning jazz and blues vocalist Dawn Tyler Watson while savouring a gourmet six-course meal (lamb loin, lobster tail or duck breast strike your fancy?) and Prosecco at midnight. Tickets are $134.95.
Why ring in the New Year when you can laugh it in? The Comedy Nest, located in the old Forum, has secured something of a comedic coup in having American stand-up Ryan Hamilton (one of Rolling Stone’s 5 Comics to Watch) headline alongside special guest host Ali Hassan. Party favours, a glass of liquid fuzzy stuff at midnight and a cold buffet following the show are all included in the $49.50 ticket. The rib tickling continues deeper downtown at cozy Bishop Street comedy club Comedy Works, where three hometown favourites in the form of irrepressible Italian-Canadian “Mama’s boy” Massimo, rising Arab-Canadian star Eman and host Mike Paterson, known as much for his over-the-top mullet as his similarly defined comedy. Tickets are a pocket pleasing $25.
After exploding onto the club scene a short two and a half years ago, the wholly unique and innovative New City Gas venue – constructed out of the historic, industrial-age New City Gas complex which helped light Montreal’s streets starting in the mid-1800s – has quickly become a mainstay of Montreal’s dance scene. Tickets to their second annual Dom Perignon Luminous New Year’s Eve party (DJs to be announced) run from $35 for general admission to $100 for VIP tickets (which guarantees VIP lounge access, line bypass and coat check).
For going on 15 years, the organizers of Montreal’s annual FLUID dance party have prided themselves on offering patrons a complete, worry-free New Year’s experience that permits partygoers to go with the, er, flow. Hosted by concert venue Club Soda in the Quartier des Spectacles, FLUID offers three categories of all-inclusive tickets: $79.99 general admission (open bar until 3 am with all tips included, plus coat check), $99.99 VIP tickets (the aforementioned plus access to VIP balcony and VIP entrance) and $199.99 Platinum VIP (which includes access to a private lounge, bottle service and champagne all night).
If your idea of a deeply satisfying New Year’s Eve experience is less about cutting the rug and more about cutting into something delectable, Old Montreal offers no shortage of gastronomic options. L’Autre Version, for example, is offering two different seatings with live music accompaniment: an early, three-service meal at 5:30 pm ($55 per person), and an all-out, eight-service sitting at 8:45 pm with flutes of sparkly stuff at midnight. And the classy, old-world charm of L’Auberge Saint-Gabriel will provide the setting for their “The Second Before Midnight” event featuring their annual five-service Saint-Sylvestre gourmet feast and dance party for $165. And, thoughtfully, diners will be given two ambiance options: the Dom Perignon Black Space (featuring very popular bossa nova jazz performers Bet. E & Stef) or the Belevedere Vodka White Space (with DJ Pat Boogie spinning). Following dinner, guests are invited step up the soirée in the hotel’s Velvet Speakeasy with well-known DJ Christian Pronovost manning the decks. Those wishing to partake in the party only can do so for $40.
When it comes to puttin’ on the ritz, if you have the means, why not go the distance and usher in the New Year black-tie style at Montreal’s storied Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The $1,000 ticket gets you appetizers and champagne in the ornate Cour des Palmiers room (so named for the palm trees depicted on the ceiling), a four-course meal with wine pairings and open bar in the elegant Oval Room, and all to the soothing strains of the Montreal Rhapsody four-piece orchestra. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any classier, all profits from the evening will be donated to the Montreal Ste-Justine Children’s Hospital. High rollers might also want to check out the recently revamped Casino and their massive New Year’s Event which purports to have 35,000 revelers showing up.
And now for something, as they say, completely different… Billing themselves as Montreal’s sexiest New Year’s Eve party, which would be hard to argue, Cirque de Boudoir is presenting the fifth edition of their vibrant and vivacious Carnavalesque event at Montreal’s one-of-a-kind, 1930’s-era Cabaret Lion D’Or. A whirlwind of colourful and complementary circus, fetish and burlesque elements, this year’s event celebrates Asian carnival. Hosted by inimitable and engaging drag queen/performer Plastik Patrik, Carnavalesque has three ticket options on the table: general admission with drinks for purchase ($50 advance), general admission with open bar from 9 pm until midnight ($70 advance), and VIP admission with open bar from 9 pm until 3 am (including priority admission and access to the VIP lounge and BDSM rooms for $100 advance).
In a more traditional kind of rocking and rolling, raucous live music venue Cabaret Underworld will celebrate both the New Year and the club’s second anniversary with some of “the most rock’n’roll” bands in Montreal. The Robert Lavoie Trio (rockabilly), The Men in the Gray Suits (surf) and the Mighty Swells (surf, rock) will take partygoers to another (warmer) place and time; DJs Lucky Luc (rockabilly, surf, rock) and Mathieu Beausejour (garage, soul, punk) will keep the waves of music coming; and projected surfing videos will help keep the illusion alive. Drink specials will be in effect all night and tix are only $10.
Montreal scene notables DJ Slutsky and DJ Raf K bring their popular NYE dance party back to one of the pillars of independent music in Montreal, Saint-Laurent boulevard’s Casa del Popolo. “We basically play dance music, but have a pretty big tent view of what that means,” explains Slutsky. “Everything from hip-hop to funk, disco, electro, techno, etc. It’s always a really exuberant and super good-natured party.” Tix are $10 before midnight, $15 after. And across the street at sister venue La Sala Rossa, The Goods – DJs Scott C and Andy Williams – will once again shine a multi-hued beacon of light on the night with their guest-filled, dance-mandated open format approach. Expect a broad, sweaty sampling of funk, soul, jazz, hip-hop, afro, Latin and boogie for your $20 ticket, and a guaranteed Happy New Year.
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