Nightlife: New Year's Eve in Elay
Some thoughts on what to do about New Year's Eve:
My personal favorite...Stay Home. Rent La Salamandre and Jonah Who'll Be 21 in the Year 2000 from Vidiots. Get a nice bottle -- Au Bon Climat, Qupé, or Foxen and Sanford; a great cheese or two -- from Gelson's not Trader Joe; and Newman's Own Popcorn. Make a safe night of it.
If you have to go out, the best bet is the block party at Giant Village NYE 2006, with acts like Black Eyed Peas, Death Cab for Cutie and The Crystal Method. 6th & Hope, downtown.
Note: On New Year’s Eve, Metro rail lines will run all night, with free rides from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. Bus rides will be free from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m, so you can go to the block party or anywhere else in town with no worries about parking or about getting safely home.If you want to risk a little driving, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, the Violent Femmes, the Psychedelic Furs and Reel Big Fish are at the O.C. Fairgrounds. Depart for home before midnight, and you enjoy the double benefit of missing both the traffic and the featherweight headliners, Sugar Ray. $60 in advance and $160 at the door. 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa; 714-708-3247.
No need to trek all the way to Vegas: What happens at The Renaissance Hotel stays there. Or something like that: A Las Vegas-style casino, burlesque shows, fire dancers, aerialists, body painters, portrait painters, fortune tellers, food by Wolgang Puck, 30 bars (anyone for a round of "Stump the Bartender"?), and it's a benefit for the P.S. I Love You Foundation. 1755 Highland; 323-874-0716; $125.
The Highlands will host its annual NY's Eve Bash by transforming itself into Times Square (w/o the freezing temperatures). DJs will be spinning on five dancefloors, and there'll be live performances by Carey Ysais and the Rockette Dancers. General Admission is $50 and VIP a cheap $75. 6801 Hollywood.
At the Key Club: in the main room, burlesque dancers, go-go girls, and trapeze artists will do their respective things to hip-hop, house and Top 40; in the VIP lounge, 80s oldies, rock and old-school, including the 80s cover band Video Star live. Goes 'til 3 a.m.; $30 general admission, $50 VIP. 9039 Sunset, West Hollywood; 310-786-1705.
Do you wanna dance?: Mountain Bar, open until 6 a.m. and free if you rsvp early and avoid the the $10 door charge. 473 Gin Ling Way, b/t Hill St. and N. Broadway, Chinatown; 213-625-7500.
If you're more into people watching than partying, it might be worth the $150 to get in to Element: premium open bar, hors d’oeuvres and at least B-list gawking. 1642 Las Palmas Ave., b/t Hollywood Blvd. & Selma; 323-460-4632. Or check out The Vanguard, where a "secret celeb" -- what's the point of that? -- introduces djs A-One and Spindarella from 100.3 The Beat who'll lay down a Top 40-Rock-80s Hits groove while the near-famous pretend not to notice you pretending not to notice them. Premium booze free at the bar, so the buzz should be ubiquitous. 6021 Hollywood, 323-463-3331; $100.
For drinkin' and dinin', there's
The 3 Clubs: martinis, mistletoe, and Dick Clark from Times Square. 1123 Vine St. at Santa Monica Blvd; 323-462-6441.
Campanile: prix fixe pumpkin ravioli, oysters poached in Sancerre, roasted lamb. 624 S. La Brea ; 323-938-1447.
Violet: four-course tasting menu with champagne for $65. 3221 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica; 310-453-9113.
Whatever you feel about the room, The Jazz Bakery will have some of the best music of the night from the great pop-jazz pianist George Duke: two shows, with drinks (including champagne) and snacks included in the cost of the ticket (either show $75 or all night $100), most of it tax deductable because it's a benefit the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra. 3233 Helms Ave., b/t Venice and Washington, Culver City; 310-271-9039.
If I were to venture out, I might be tempted to take the Metro to the Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower Hotel for the caviar, foie gras, and lobster prix fixe. 8358 W. Sunset Blvd., b/t Sweetzer and Kings Rd.; 323-654-7100.
And, if you're too hip to be allowed to live, get a club membership asap to Xenii for a great open bar, crudités, and Coolio performing hits at a fab and totally top-secret venue.
Totally.Happy New Year!