Due to that imminent Christmas twaddle, our ‘Things To Do This Week’ has been put on ice until Friday 3 January. We all know what we’re doing for the Christmas period – getting fat, washing up and talking to people we don’t really like all that much. So here is a ‘Things To Do New Years Eve’. Auld Lang Syne ‘n’ all that.
NEW YEARS EVE. The light at the end of the tunnel.
The cut-off point at which we’ll cease to be a lay-about booze-guzzling carb-loading chain-smoking money-haemorrhaging smart-phone dependent illiterate heathen and instead become a hugely successful and overly popular sartorial champagne socialite with a body like an Abercrombie model, an innate knowledge of Romanticism’s tragic boy-poet Thomas Chatterton and a garden that would make Titchmarsh trowel out his eyes in jealousy.
Of course, barely anything changes. We take on more vices if anything. I’ve taken to kicking Canada Geese up the arse this year. Narky little buggers they are. I’d suggest everyone takes this up. Hugely satisfying.
Still, what to do with New Years Eve remains a quandary. We’re looking for somewhere between spending a solitary night nursing an eggnog and swearing at Jools Holland or chewing on the hair from the back of a stranger’s neck stood at a bar, which is, of course, 42 people deep.
Go out and you’ll wish you’d stayed in. Stay in and you’ll wish you’d gone out. As is life. Granted, most of you have, for better or worse, already taken the plunge and made plans. But for those that haven’t, or wish to change, here’s a pick of what’s going on in Manchester over NYE:
The Dirty One @ Almost Famous, Great Northern
The only place where you can spend NYE with a 9ft gorilla. Well, except round at King Kong’s but apparently he’s a right crank around this time. So I wouldn’t bother. Almost Famous will probably be glad to see the back of 2013 (what with the fire ‘n’ that) and stride on in to 2014 with a new stronghold and a gaff in Liverpool. The Famous lot are going for a ‘dress it up and mess it up’ event, black tie multi-course event with a whole range of pimped out food. Caramel bacon popcorn anyone? Score your last and 420th burger of the year. Tickets £30 a head. Tables available.
The Outdoor One @ The Oast House, Spinningfields
Judging by recent conditions the appeal of standing outside for New Year’s Eve is similar to that of spending the night in a wardrobe with Eric Pickles, one packet of Monster Munch and a bottle of Lambrella (faux-Lambrini - imagine that). Thankfully this bash at Spinningfields favourite and only pub isn’t entirely outside, guests are allowed inside too. Nice of them. Take a stool in the Oast House or thaw out by the fire in the snug festive TeePee. There’ll be live music outside on the Courtyard stage from 8pm with the Universal Exports – James Bond’s band. £15 tickets include a free drink.
The New & Free One @ Elixir, Deansgate
If you look straight across from the majestic John Ryland you will see a plush new bar, oddly positioned by a fried chicken takeaway and a bookies (both pillars of swankiness) with such a gratuitously heavy door that when we first walked past we automatically laid siege to the place. Took us three weeks and some C4. Still, if you can get inside this brand spanker is tempting in the punters this NYE by offering rare FREE entry on the big night. From 7pm there’ll be DJs, canapés, treats and even a chip butty at midnight to soak it all up. For diddly squat too. Apart from the drinks, you’ve got to pay for those you miser. Just pop your name down for guestlist. FREE. Guestlist here
The Foodie One @ Blackhouse Grill on the Alley
Not one to mix with the serfs? Don’t fancy the argie bargie of the NYE surge? Then take a seat. This civilised three-courser has champagne on arrival and live music throughout. With a menu consisting of grouse, ham hock, salmon, fowl cow and cheese, so you can finish the year as we fully intend to spend the next. Swollen with animal and wine. Unless of course you’re of a green persuasion, then ignore that last bit. Plants and wine is fine just fine £60 tickets here.
The Stay Over One @ Malmaison, Piccadilly
Sometimes you’ve just got to get away from it all. No more is this true than during the hectic festive period, which ironically is the time at which we least get away from it. We all go to and through it. Unless you’re one of those smug types that leaves for the Caribbean or the Alps - in which case you can sod off. The Malmaison are offering you the chance to get away and get served upon in sumptuous surroundings. And with someone you actually like, probably. New Year Stopover with room, breakfast and New Year menu from £199 per person. New Year menu and live band £99 per person. See here.
The Bowling One @ Dogbowl and All Star Lanes
Long has the sport of bowling been associated with New Year’s Eve. Ever since 1930 when British anthropologist Sir Flinders Petrie and his team first found traces of primitive bowling balls and pins in the grave of an Egyptian boy dating back to 3,200BC alongside a party blower and Poundworld Chinese lantern. Good then that both of the city centre’s new hip sexy cool bowling venues are having a bash and bringing back the long-forgotten New Year's Bowl. DogBowl have DJ Woody in for the duration with tickets including a glass of prosecco, canapés and a game of bowling. Whilst entry at All Star Lanes is free, with an eat, drink and bowl option for £35pp which includes a two course meal, cocktail, game of bowling and glass of prosecco. Dogbowl £8 here. For All Star Lanes £35 tickets call 0161 871 3600.
The Didsbury One @ The Violet Hour, West Didsbury
Didsbury’s favourite tidgy cocktail bar is throwing a fair old New Year’s Eve bash all of its own on West Didsbury’s aorta, Burton Road. Look at it all grown up. For £25pp you’ll receive a cocktail on arrival (and they’re pretty handy at cocktails), canapés, a pulled pork sandwich and live music having its way with your ears all night long. Located on the site of the old Hibbert’s butcher <insert your own joke about getting slaughtered>. £25pp email email@example.com or call 0161 434 9521.
The Casino One @ Manchester235, Great Northern
The Manchester235 ‘One Night In Vegas’ NYE celebration is the closest you’ll get to a Vegas NYE without actually going… unless you managed to get the Blue Man Group to perform in your house. But you wouldn’t want that anyway. Paint everywhere and they WILL NOT stop drumming. Manchester235 has a range of options for the evening, from the full Vegas experience with bubbly, Blackjack and Roulette lessons, a 4 courser in the James Martin Manchester restaurant, Rat Pack singers and showgirls (£85pp) to live music in the Vega Lounge (£15). Booths can be reserved for eight people (£500). See here for all price options.
The Choppy One @ The Albert Square Chop House and Sam’s Chop House
Three courses at Albert’s for £25… on NYE? Why that’s such a good deal it makes me want to gouge my eyes out for lying. Not only that, but sister gaff Sam’s Chop House is offering exactly the same deal. Now that’s just unfair on all the other restaurants. Albert’s menu here and Sam’s here. As you can imagine for a £25 NYE three course dinner, you need to be sharp as the places fill up faster than an empty pint glass at the Moon Under Water. £25. Book Albert’s Chop House here and Sam’s Chop House here.
The Nostalgic One @ The Hacienda, Albert Hall
There are but three topics that account for nearly 90% of all the guff spoken in Manchester. 1. United. 2. City 3. How good the Hacienda was and how nothing could ever compare to it ever because it was the best thing ever to happen to Manchester ever and everything else before and after is utter, utter shit. For better or worse, the Hacienda will not die. So it’s seems particularly appropriate that the ubiquitous club night should be born again in a landmark Manchester venue, The Albert Hall on Peter Street, that buzzed, died and now rumbles once more. This night promises to be a blinder, with heavyweight US DJs flown in especially and Hacienda mainstay Graeme Park playing through the night to 2,000 party goers – It’ll be like Warehouse Project used to be when it was good. Tickets £25 avaliable here.
The 24 Hour One @ The Liquor Store
A whole lot can happen in 24 hours. Just ask Bauer. However sketchy a 24 hour party may be from a ‘drink responsibly’ perspective, you’ve certainly got to admire their commitment to the NYE spectacle, opening at midday on the eve and closing at midday on New Year’s Day, not that anyone will still be left standing but stay open they shall. The theme, much like every fancy dress party since Baz Luhrmann’s film came out, is The Great Gatsby. Dappers, flappers and flagrant disregard for Prohibition. 24 hour party people. £10 tickets here.
The Cocktail One @ The Alchemist, Spinningfields
Before The Alchemist bar arrived Spinningfields was but a windy office quarter with an Avenue that nobody shopped on. Thirsty suits used to mope around aimlessly with nowhere to drink, nowhere for posturing, nowhere that took three Oxbridge chemists and a guy thrown out of NASA for being too kooky to simply make you a drink. A drink smoked using a wand over a green flamed Bunsen burner sprinkled with golden fibres from the mythical golden fleece of Jason. People had to go to pubs. Unthinkable. So the Alchemist is doing what it does best this NYE: £10 in, free signature cocktail, fire, smoke, glitter, balloons, bangs and more handsome people than an M&S Christmas ad. For £10 tickets call 0161 817 2950.
The Musical One @ The Bridgewater Hall
It doesn’t have to be about dancing on tables, upskirts and bubbles. You can always bring see in the New Year with a touch more decorum, a touch of class, a touch of orchestral music with the Manchester Camerata. And yeah some bubbles. Bringing an evening of songs from the musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, George Gershwin, Lerner & Loewe and more, conductor Robert Ziegler will be joined by West End stars Hannah Waddingham and Graham Bickley to perform songs from Les Mis, Cats and the Phantom. £32-£52 tickets here.
Thing Not To Do This New Year's Eve: Go to see the fireworks at Albert's Square. There isn’t any. There will, however, be a ten minute display at Piccadilly Gardens. The Big Wheel is back too.
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