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Looking for Last Minute New Years Plans? *

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Monday, December 29, 2008, at 06:40PM
Downtown at Night Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Those having second thoughts about staying at home on New Year's Eve to watch the ball drop have a plethora of options for activities that don't involve leaving the neighborhood. Whether it's multi-course dining or a bass-thumping rave, Downtown's got you covered.

And how do you get to all those options? Why via the Late Night Holiday DASH, of course. The pilot service takes its last runs on Wednesday, and offers you a free ride that hits plenty of Downtown hotspots.

GETTING THERE: As mentioned, New Years Eve (and the first three hours of 2009) is the last service for the Late Night DASH Holiday Pilot. Riding is free, and buses run from 6:30pm to 3am. Also remember that Metro is free from 9pm to 2am on New Years, and that Metro Rail lines will run all night (you'll have to pay a fare after 2am, though).

HEADLINERS: Comedian George Lopez takes the New Years Eve stage at L.A. Live's Nokia Theatre for an 8pm show. Tickets are available from $55.50 to $89.50.

For those into slightly higher culture, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall is Pink Martini, a modern cosmopolitan big-band/lounge act. They are led by China Forbes and joined by jazz kingpin Jimmy Scott for two shows, with one at 7pm and another at 10:30. It's $65 to $195, but Ticketmaster only shows availability at the highest prices.

The other big name in town is Moby, who headlines Giant Maximus. Out of town DJ’s Mark Farina (S.F.), Paul Oakenfold (UK), Benny Benassi (Italy), and Dirty South (Australia) join locals Mickey Avalon and Marques Wyatt under three climate controlled tents constructed on a large parking lot next to the 110 freeway in South Park (no tents three years ago, when rain canceled the show and led to massive headaches regarding refunds). General admission is $75.

SPEAKING OF LOCALS: Bank Run is the name of the New Year’s Eve party at the historic Farmer's and Merchants Bank. With Little Radio running the show, you know there will solid indie bands with sharp crisp sets. Appearing is Beachwood Sparks, Crystal Antler, DJ Kutmah, Port O’ Brien, Restavrant, J-Logic and The Natives. Dance from 9pm to 2am. General admission is $20, and the VIP $40 ticket will get you champagne for two, a poster, and a t-shirt.

The Redwood Bar & Grill is a watering hole for pirates and journalists. It will be a honky-tonk bar for the the last evening of 2008, hosting a "night of Americana" with Mike Stinson, Dave Gleason and West of Texas. Cover charge is $10. Doors open at 8. Bands stand at 9:30. "Country Champagne Toast" of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer served in champagne glasses at Midnight. * Add: 'We added Wayne "The Train" Hancock to the line-up!"

  • Add: Jake writes in to let you know Casey's Irish Bar and Grill will have live Irish Music by Paddy's Pig at 9:30. The kitchen is open until midnight, and the bar keeps flowing until 2 am. At midnight, there is a complimentary Guinness toast. No cover change. You must be 21.

Farther south on the Late Night DASH route, Broadway Bar keeps New Year's Eve a no-cover night and will host local DJ crew Audiocide.

BACK AT L.A. LIVE: The Conga Room offers the Gipsy Kings, the powerful rumba/folk group that brings a world blend of music influences together. VIP is sold out, and only general admission is available at $150. That price doesn't include an open bar.

Next door, Club Nokia brings the reunited Stone Temple Pilots to Downtown. Doors open for the GRAMMY-winning grunge-era band at 8:30pm. Tickets are $75-$125.

HEY MR DJ!: South of Downtown, the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena will again hold "Together As One". The 11th version of the all night rave includes DJ's Holland's Armin Van Buuren, Deadmau5, Junior Sanchez, Pendulum and others. Prices range from $70 to $150.

At the Mayan Theater, Masterbeat New Years 2009 will have DJs Brett Henrichsen and Ralphi Rosario give you a way to "dance your 2008 demons away." The exorcism will set you back up to $120 at the door.

You can also dance the night away at J Lounge's New Year’s “Gold Rush! Business Casual” from 8pm to 3am; Lucky Strikes Lounge, offering bowling with your Hip-Hop (prices vary); Elevate Lounge shows off Downtown from the twenty-first floor for $60; and Club Seven Forty makes the old Globe Theater a masquerade ball. Tickets are $25, but Downtown dwellers get in for $20. Call ahead to get your discount.

CLIPPER'S KIND OF 2008 LUCK: The Los Angeles Clippers may not be your idea of a New Year’s Eve Bash, but the NBA did try to make it something worth remembering. They scheduled Philadelphia and the return of Elton Brand. Alas, Brand is out with a shoulder injury. Game time is 6:30 pm.

PARTY LIKE IT'S 1929: One venue that has seen its share of New Year’s Eve celebrations is the Biltmore's Crystal Ballroom. In 2008, it's a night of 70-80s dance music in the ballroom, or Latin jazz artist Bob Desena in the Gallery Bar & Cognac Room. The hotel is touting it as an old Hollywood Style night, and since it's the ballroom where the "Oscar" statuette was conceived, they can use that oft-made claim. It runs from 9pm to 2am at $50 per person. For $99, you can have a four-course dinner being served between 6pm to 10pm in the hotel's original 1923 lobby, the Rendezvous Court. That ticket will include the New Year’s Eve celebration.

At the Edison, the inaugural Nautilist Ball will have live performances by Seattle-based steam punkers Abney Park, acrobatics by vaudeville cirque Lucent Dossier, and tunes by DJ Imagika. $175 will get you an open bar, dessert buffet, party favors, champagne, and visits by the Edison's resident nymph, the absinthe fairy.

On a smaller scale, Edgar Varela Fine Arts (542 S. Alameda) is opening the doors from 9pm to 2am and holding a 1920’s themed night as a thank-you to the Downtown Art Community. Dressing in 1920’s wear is encouraged. The event is free.

DINE: If you have the budget, you can't go wrong with the long time Downtown standby: Food. Noe Restaurant & Bar in the Omni Hotel or Ciudad's multi-course menus with mojitos are both worth a look.

A look at the Patina Group's offerings sees Patina serving their NYE menu in three seatings. The first is from 4:30 to 6:30pm, $75; gala seating at 7:30 to 10pm, $155; Third seating is an a-la-carte 10 to 11pm. Nick & Stef's offers a three-course dinner for $59, and a six-course dinner for $85. Reservations are being taken for 5 to 10pm seating. Kendall's Brasserie, under the the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, ends 2008 with a $55 four-course menu--including filet mignon and baby turnips--from 5pm to midnight. Cafe Pinot offers two seatings; a three-course from 4:30 to 6:30pm for $65, and a five-course from 7:30 to 10pm for $95.

There's a lot going on, so if we missed your event (whether the one you're putting on or the one you're attending), feel free to add it in the comments.

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