We've never really been fans of spending a ton of money to get into a club that you can go to on most nights for $10 or less, especially when that cover charge includes a lame open bar and maybe a champagne toast at midnight. If you're not taking chances on random house parties, check out our picks for the cheapest and best beats for NYE.
Class of ’08
Wednesday, December 31 at Motel Bar, 9 p.m.; free
Brock and Tobias (the Beta Theta DJs) host a free high school-themed party at Motel Bar. There's no cover, no reservations accepted (which means you should get there early) and no fancy bar packages. Just show up ready to drink, smile pretty for the yearbook photo booth and pray that there will be a bit of room for dancing. As an added bonus, Motel Bar has food and those fancy Dyson hand blowers that dry your hands in less than 10 seconds.
Super Soul Party
Wednesday, December 31 at Town Hall Pub, 9 p.m.; free
Town Hall Pub could possibly be the best bar in the city at which to celebrate New Year's Eve. First of all, it's a slashie, so whether you're taking it to go or sitting at the bar, you can always have a drink there. Second, it's a bit of a dump, so there's no need to get all fancy and wear some expensive dress or sneakers, because trust us, they will get ruined! Town Hall was the place where Flosstradamus came to fame, throwing their crazy dance parties and honing their floor-packing skills. Tonight, DJRC helps ring in the New Year with throwback soul, disco, Motown and Stax classics and Town Hall provides the super cheap drinks, giveaways, a champagne toast and free jello shots. As an added bonus, Town Hall is in the middle of Boystown (it's not a gay bar) and you can just imagine how insane that neighborhood's going to be once everyone starts stumbling out of the bars.
Walk this Way vs. Gutter Butter
Wednesday, December 31 at Hideout, 9 p.m.; $20
If you're looking for a no-holds barred, silly, fun NYE party, the Walk this Way vs. Gutter Butter event at the Hideout is a sure bet. DJs Logan Bay, Ben Fasman and Friar Tuck play whatever they please, but don't expect typical mashups or dance-party anthems. This is ironic, debaucherous DJing done smart. Seriously, one look at the flyer and you'll want to pop open a bottle of cheap champagne and start getting low on the dance floor (or your bedroom). Be sure to stay sober enough for the giveaways from Incase and the toast at Midnight.
Wednesday, December 31 at Abbey Pub, 8 p.m.; $25 in advance/$30 at door/$75 all-inclusive package
The Abbey hosts a party with three eclectic electronic music acts, giving you some serious bang for your buck. Future Rock, an electro-rock trio headlines with glitchy sample master Daedelus and hip-hop act Dark Party (beatmaster Eliot Lipp and Leo 123) rounding out the roster. All three acts have gained a following of Sound Tribe Sector 9 fans, but Daedelus and Dark Party are much closer to hip-hop and beat machines than three-hour electronic jam sets. Regardless, if you like dance music, you'll probably find something you like here, even if it is just the open bar and appetizer that the $75 tickets get you.
Leslie and the Lys
Wednesday, December 31 at Berlin, 9 p.m.; $25 in advance/$25 at door
Leslie and the Lys make the kind of fun, silly dance music that will have you saying things like "you're hotter than a stick of glue and I'm gonna scrapbook everything with you" to your secret crush (in your mind, of course). Expect this party to have the same youthful energy of the Outdanced events you know and love, but with an increased frenzy to help bring in 2009.
Wednesday, December 31 at Smartbar, 9 p.m; $30 in advance / $30 at door
If you live in Chicago, like house music and/or techno, consider yourself a seasoned clubber but have never seen Green Velvet, you need to ring in the New Year with a lesson on how Chicago really parties. The legendary Green Velvet doesn't play out very often, but when he does, he kills it at Smartbar. A great option for those who like to go out where people dance, GV always brings a crazy dance-floor energy.
Yo! New Years Eve II
Wednesday, December 31 at Subterranean, 9 p.m.; $50 (includes open bar 'til midnight)
Last year, Yo! New Years Eve turned out to be a surprise hit and this year should be no different. The cover may seem steep, especially because DJ Trew, Kool Hersh, Maker and Jose Garibaldi are regular acts on the Sub-T weekend dance party/hip hop circuit, but partygoers raved about this event last year. Besides, the cover includes a 3-hour open bar and champagne toast, so get there early, drink your fill and by the time it's 2009 you'll be having too much fun to think about the cover charge.
Revolution NYE 2009
Wednesday, December 31 at Congress Theater, 7 p.m.; $60
No, this ticket price doesn't include an open bar, champagne toast, nasty, lukewarm hors d'oeuvres or anything else that clubs use to try to validate their New Year's Eve cover charge. Tonight, you're paying for an incredible lineup and the ticket price is worth every penny. French electronic duo Justice, who are almost solely responsible for making dance music, hip, popular and cool again, headline. Stones Throw's Peanut Butter Wolf, France's SoMe and locals Hey Champ, Willy Joy and Zebo are just some of the acts making this event amazing. The old Congress Theater may literally come crashing down. And if you really need to be pampered, spring for the $200 VIP package and you'll get a cocktail reception from 8 p.m.-midnight, backstage views, a private bar and bartender and express entry.