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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

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In Bars & Clubs Commentary

Kil@wat and Zen Den offered a combo dinner and drinks package for New Year's Eve.

New Year's Eve nightlife: friend or foe?


In terms of nightlife, the last two weeks packed it in pretty tight.

Between friends in town, vacation days from work and holiday parties, I'm pretty sure I spent more time out and about in the last two weeks at restaurants, bars and friends' places than I have in the last two months.

I'm not complaining by any means. Being able to catch up with old friends, enjoy homemade meals and celebrate the holiday several times over, is exactly why I love this time of the year.

And then of course, there was also New Year's Eve.

I've kind of always been on the fence about New Year's Eve. There have been years when I've planned and prepped for a great night and others when I've headed to a friend's at the last minute to hang out.

Growing up, we used to watch the ball drop in Times Square and then run around the house banging pots and pans together. I'm pretty sure I had to be woken up for this celebration.

Undeniably, I spent my favorite New Year's Eve in Big Sky, Montana. Visiting friends, we climbed to the top of Andesite Mountain for fireworks followed by a long sled ride down the side of the ski hill.

But I was in town this year and if you were here, you are probably well aware that almost every bar in the city planned some sort of celebration welcoming you to welcome your New Year under its roof. Whether offering bottle service, a champagne toast or a live band, Milwaukee's bar scene pulled out the specialty treatment this New Year's Eve.

There was plenty to choose from. Concerts, dance parties and set menu dinners all offered something special for the holiday.

Entrance to Suite, the new luxury lounge on Old World 3rd Street, was $1,500 for eight people. Kil@wat at the Intercontinental Hotel served dinner and drinks for $125 per person. Karma urged you to drink all you could for $50 and Mo's Irish Pub rolled it all into one with all you can eat, drink and dance for $80.

But for every bar and club offering an expensive New Year's celebration, there were plenty of places like Maxie's, Kenadees and Rascal's that stuck to more economic offerings.

Personally, I opted out of any of it by working the dinner hour, toasting midnight and then heading to The Irish Pub after work and well after midnight. Regardless, the differences ideas and plans for New Year's Eve was an ongoing conversation in the weeks and days before the Dec. 31.

And so now, after the holiday, are you happy with where you were? Were those pricey parties worth the cash? Or do you wish you would've splurged a touch more?

Use the talkback feature to let us know about your New Year's Eve out on the town.

Talkbacks

college_dave | Jan. 5, 2009 at 3:36 p.m. (report)

Like you, I opted out too.

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preppiecurler | Jan. 4, 2009 at 4:24 p.m. (report)

Thanks for using my photo! It was a great night!

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mkefashionista | Jan. 3, 2009 at 4:23 p.m. (report)

I've always wished that MKE would offer some kind of black tie NYE ball or gala that would consist of a several course dinner and great dance music both new stuff and frank sinatra type music where the late 20's/30ish crowd could have a great time without either having endure a) half naked college girls and their "collar popped" male counterparts drinking beer till they pass out b) push your way through a smoke filled rap video or c) go to a lame house party. If anyone is listening and has the means, it would be a goldmine! I'd pay $300-$500 per person hands down for something like that!

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geesquared | Jan. 2, 2009 at 5:10 p.m. (report)

I used to enjoy ringing in the New Year when I was younger, but lately, I have been happier just celebrating in a low key fashion doing nothing and calling friends and family to wish them a Happy New Year.

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