By Lisa Simonson Special to Published Jan 02, 2013 at 2:04 PM

The older I get, the more I seem to hear people refer to New Year's Eve as "amateur night." I'm not offended by this, but I'm perplexed and concerned about the lack of a celebratory spirit.

At what age do you simply not care that another year is passing? At what point is it just better to stay home and sleep than enjoy the company of loved ones?

I'm not saying everyone needs to be out at the bar, but there's also something to be said for the camaraderie of the holiday and celebrating a common transition.

I understand that there is a plethora of young drunk kids roaming the streets, but you are not forced to be one of them. I enjoy the passing of one year to the next and the idea of a fresh start.

My New Year's Eve included bar hopping, but it felt responsible and I'm not an amateur drinker. Well, at least I don't think I am.

To quote one of my favorite YouTube videos "I'm still young, but I'm not that young." My last night of 2012 and my introduction to 2013 was filled with good people, good venues, and was by no means obscene or filled with the pukescapades so often encountered in high school and college.

I started my morning with a half day at my job. I'm pro half days or, rather, any shortened work day – and it flew by quickly. Like the leave-it-to-the-last-minute person I am, I thought it brilliant to go to the mall after work. Big mistake. Everyone was off work and everyone was making holiday returns or looking for glitter. Learn from me, DO NOT go to the mall on New Year's Eve. My shopping trip turned into an all-day adventure that finally ended around 8 p.m.

A few of my girlfriends gathered at a friend's apartment to start our night with dinner and champagne. This was the perfect start as it helped us to conserve money we would have spent on dinner and drinks at a restaurant. The meal included little Italian sausage stuffed mushrooms, which seems complicated, but really, you can buy them that way – who knew? Our goal was to be out with the rest of the celebrating population sometime around 11 p.m.

Our first stop was Moct. I was slightly confused as to what was happening when we got there – there was some sort of burlesque hula hooper dancing about on stage. It turns out there was this whole weird carnival type deal that was pretty much fantastic to watch. The bar wasn't crowded, but it was full. We enjoyed midnight shots and, like every other girl in the world, told each other how much we loved one another.

After our fill of acrobatics, we moved on to our next stop. A friend was DJing at a party with a generally open invite policy. We made our way to said party in time to see the keg beer run dry. That was definitely not how I wanted 2013 to start, but it was probably a good thing because gave me a little time to enjoy my buzz and not add alcohol on top of it.

Our next venue of choice was Bad Genie. I really love this bar, but when I arrived, I felt like we missed a step. The goal had been to hit Bad Genie after 6 a.m. Our group, which had now doubled in size, arrived closer to 3 a.m. Because the bar was getting ready to close for an hour, the upstairs was cleared of patrons and it left us no place to dance.

We migrated next door to the Duplex, which I'd not been to since the transition from Serum. I enjoyed my last shot of Jameson and figured it was time to call it a night. I was the first man down and traveled safely home to bed.

After sleeping off my hangover, I pulled myself back up to continue on to the New Year's Day celebration. After all, it's not over until Bloody Marys have been consumed and a few hours of day drinking commence.

Apparently there was a little game, known as the Rose Bowl, airing at some point during the day. This perfectly aligned with my day drinking festivities. For me, with the best hangovers also comes a huge appetite. I called a few friends to meet at Cafe Benelux to feed my famished body. First we scarfed down an appetizer of tater tots – get these, they are not Napoleon Dynamite type tots, they are mouth-watering, amazeball tots. Next I destroyed cheeseburger.

At halftime, I figured it was appropriate to change venues. Cafe Benelux has TVs and turned on the sound for the game, but it was a little dull. We moved on to O'Lydia's, which was busy, but we were still able to find seating. We watched the second half of the game here and after a few ciders, I finally felt as if I was starting to recover.

New Year's Day ended with an early bedtime while watching a documentary about this crazy man named Joe who lives off of Craigslist for a month. If 2013 stays this relaxing and intoxicated, I do believe we are off to a good start.

Lisa Simonson Special to

As a self-proclaimed aficionada of dive bars, Lisa Simonson knows a thing or two about drinking and our city’s bar scene. She now calls Milwaukee, one of America’s drunkest cities (coincidence?), home after growing up in world-famous Port Washington (“Step by Step,” anyone?) and spending time in both Minneapolis and London.

Now, back in her favorite city in the world, Simonson blogs about her adventures in Milwaukee, one bar at a time. Although her primary focus is sampling the best the city has to offer in beer, wine and whiskey, when not abusing her liver, Lisa can be found cruising on her bike, obsessing over Adobe products, jamming to her favorite bands or attempting to teach her cat to walk on a leash.