New Year's Eve Guide!

Your Guide To Year-End Bliss.

By Lisa Weeks

WELCOME TO THE Weekly's New Year's Eve Guide, our well-intentioned attempt to provide our readers with a diverse list of as many of the parties and celebrations around the Old Pueblo as we could come by. Whether you're headed out to your favorite regular watering hole to hold down your stool next to Cliff and Norm, dead set to rock into 1998 with to a live band, or even if you have something more refined in mind, our guide should meet your requirements. Check out our First Four--this short list details an eclectic smattering of celebration options we thought worthy of note.

LAFF'S COMEDY CAFFÉ. 2900 E. Broadway. 323-8669. Laughter and good cheer seem to be the two basic requirements for fun at a New Year's Eve celebration, and that means Laff's is just the ticket for a sensational New Year's among friends. Laff's is offering two New Year's Eve options: the Early Champagne Dinner Show and the Midnight Breakfast Bash. If you want to make an early evening of it, or have other plans later in the evening, then your best bet would be the Early Champagne Dinner Show. Sit back and comfortably enjoy your meal with free champagne while Jaz Kaner (of Comedy Central fame) tickles your ribs. Laff's, famed for New Year's give-aways, will again be offering various prizes, including plane tickets to Las Vegas. Seating for dinner begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. Tickets are $62.95 per couple.

At 10:30 p.m., the doors reopen for the Midnight Buffet Bash, a second set by Jaz Kaner, party favors, more give-aways, and a champagne toast. Following the midnight balloon drop, an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet is served with all-you-can-drink champagne. Tickets for the Midnight Breakfast Bash are $72.95 per couple. Advance tickets are available, but they're going fast.

Feature TUCSON CONVENTION CENTER. 260 S. Church Ave. 791-4266. The Convention Center is holding two events on New Year's Eve, and as parties go they couldn't be more different. Swinging into the TCC Grand Ballroom are annual favorites Big Band Express playing big band standards from the '40s, '50s and '60s. Tickets to the big dance are $18 per person in advance, $20 on the day of the show. Meanwhile, over in the North Exhibition Hall it's mega-metal with Megadeth. The new year marks 15 years for Megadeth, who are touring their new release Cryptic Writings. Megadeth will be joined by Machine Head and Life of Agony. One can only imagine the surprises they have in store for this special New Year's show.

Tickets for Megadeth are $21.50 in advance, $22.50 on the day of show. Both events start at 9 p.m., which should make for an interesting mix of folks in the parking lot just prior.

So as not to stir sweet and impressionable young minds into the fray, the city and county officials have scheduled the annual teen event, Midnight Jam, to be held from 8:30 p.m. until midnight on Tuesday, December 30, in Exhibition Hall A. Cover is $2.

TFTM CONTRA DANCE. The Tucson Friends of Traditional Music are throwing a New Year's Eve Contra and Square Dance from 8:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. at the Temple of Music and Art's Cabaret Theater, 330 S. Scott Ave. The TFTM String Band will play behind a series of local callers, while everyone from greenest beginner to the most nimble oldtimer is welcome to step in, learn and enjoy. The dance is a dry event--refreshments and soft drinks are pot luck, meaning bring some to share, and a non-alcoholic sparkling cider midnight toast will be provided. Admission is $6, $5 for TFTM members. Call 327-1779 for more information.

CURVES CABARET. For dances of a slightly different virtue, head for the burlesque of Hot Body Wrestling on New Year's Day at Curves Cabaret, 2130 N. Oracle Road. It's kind of like a Jim Belushi dream come true: Football all evening, cheap drink specials, and a roomful of nearly naked women dancing for your pleasure. On any given day, Curves provides equal opportunity employment to almost 100 women.

Nurse your New Year's Eve hangover at Curves' New Year's Day Party. Doors open at 5 p.m. with loads of good, clean fun in store: prizes, feature acts, cabaret contests, and drink specials. Group ventures can be fun, so head down with some friends. Owner and manager Mike Povan assures us that Curves is comfortable for women and couples, too. In fact, women always get into Curves for free, as do gents with a military ID or anyone bearing a copy of this week's Tucson Weekly Curves ad. Cover for the New Year's Day party is $3 at the door. Curves will be open for New Year's Eve as well, but with no more hoopla than any other night of the week--just business as usual.

AIRPORT LOUNGE. 20 E. Pennington St. 882-0400. Ring in the New Year with a downtown legend and one helluva nice guy, punk rocker turned Tucson country legend, Al Perry. If you're lucky, he might even treat the audience to a Sex Pistols or ABBA cover...who knows? Openers Nervous Duane Norman and Le Duo get the ball rolling around 9:30 p.m. In addition to the fabulous live entertainment, the Lounge provides party favors and a balloon-covered ceiling. Cover is $4 at the door.

ALLEYCATS. 20 W. Ft. Lowell Road. 888-8649. For no cover, Alleycats puts it on--with live music from ATM, plus party favors and free champagne at midnight.

THE BARON'S. 2401 S. Wilmot Road. 745-9250. New Year's at the Baron's is presented with style: dinner and a show. Tickets, which cost $40 singly or $75 per couple, get you a five-course meal, complimentary champagne at midnight and live entertainment by Diva Deluxe, featuring Lori Davidson, direct from the Hollywood Bowl. And hold onto your tickets, because one lucky guest will win a 19-inch color TV.

BERKY'S BAR. 5769 E. Speedway. 296-1981. Berky's always draws a large crowd, so if this is your ticket, get it early. More than 225 celebrants are expected to ring in the New Year, from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. with the final farewell performance of The Blue Lizards, their 13th-annual New Year's gig at Berky's. Tickets are $8 and include party favors and champagne at midnight.

BRANDO'S. 1310 S. Alvernon Way. 325-4401. These guys continue their annual tradition of a free buffet, served with party favors and champagne. DJ Von, spinning a mix of tunes, will break for the countdown at midnight. A crowd of around 75 folks is expected for the party, which begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person at the door.

BRECKENRIDGE BREWERY & PUB. 1980 E. River Road. 577-0800. Offering an early dinner followed by New Year's revelry with the legendary Sam Taylor Blues Band, the brewery boasts a Christmas Ale in addition to the six fine brews regularly available. Party favors and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight are included. Dinner will be served early, with Sam Taylor playing from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m.

BUSHWACKER SALOON & DANCE HALL. 3102 N. Flowing Wells Road. 887-9027. Party hats, champagne at midnight and a whole lot of hoopla accompany the country pleasures of the Coyote Band. Break out the cowboy boots and get ready to dance all night, or at least until 1 a.m., with an anticipated crowd of 250 people. Tickets are $5 at the door and usually sell out early in the evening.

CAFÉ SWEETWATER. 340 E. Sixth St. 622-6464. New Year's at the Café centers around the jazz of Susan Artemus and Richard Sullivan, who'll be playing your favorite standards from 9 p.m. until the New Year.

CHICAGO BAR. 5954 E. Speedway. 748-8169. The joint is a perennial favorite, and once again this New Year's Eve it's a reggae dance party with Neon Prophet. A packed house with a capacity crowd of around 200 is expected beginning at 9 p.m.

COTTONWOOD CAFE. 60 N. Alvernon Way. 326-6000. Dancing in the Great Room to the jazz stylings of Tony Frank and the Stop Time Five, drink specials, party favors, and a champagne toast at midnight are some of the attractions here. Dinner reservations aren't required, but highly recommended--the Cottonwood anticipates a capacity crowd of 110. Cover is $3 at the door.

THE DOUBLETREE HOTEL AT REID PARK. 445 S. Alvernon Road. 745-2173. This midtown landmark is hosting a New Year's dinner and dance sponsored by the European Multi-Ethnic alliance of Tucson and KSAZ AM 580. Dinner is served at 7:30 p.m. and consists of a choice of entrees, salad, veggies and the like with coffee and desert. The dancing begins at 8:30 p.m. with live music provided by Catarina with the Mickey Greco Quartet. Of course, party favors and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight are part of the package. Tickets are $40 per person, and reservations are recommended.

EL MARIACHI. 106 W. Drachman St. 791-7793. About 200 partygoers are expected at El Mariachi: advance tickets of $30 each include dinner, tequila shrimp and steak or tequila shrimp and fried shrimp, with party favors, and champagne at midnight; or you can spend $25 per person for all of the above sans meal. Two early mariachi shows are scheduled during dinner, with one at 5:45 p.m. and another at 7 p.m. Dancing to the festive and entertaining Mariachi America Cumbuchero begins at 8:30 p.m. and continues through the midnight toast.

FAMOUS SAM'S. 7129 E. Golf Links Road. 296-1245. Pick out your favorite Sinatra song and prepare to karaoke into the New Year. Famous Sams' fete includes a lingerie show earlier in the day, from noon to 1 p.m., with the actual party getting started at 9 p.m. Indulge in party favors and champagne at midnight, with no cover at the door.

FINELINE. 101 W. Drachman St. 882-4953. The Fineline is one of the few places in town that offers music and dancing into the wee hours, with tunes spinnin' until 4 a.m. Whether you're over 21 (in which case a valid ID will get you served) or under, the Fineline is the ticket for party favors and free champagne (for those over 21) at midnight. The cover is $5 for any age.

GRUB STEAK RESTAURANT & BAR. 2851 W. Valencia Road. 578-9009. The Saddle Tramps deliver live country & western in the bar at the Grub Steak beginning at 8:30 p.m., and the staff will be handing out party favors and complimentary champagne. To hang out in the bar, cover is $7 a person or $10 per couple. If a big steak is what you're after, then the Grub Steak is for you: From 5 to 11 p.m. this year, the restaurant offers a special holiday meal featuring bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp served with an eight-ounce top steak, and the trimmings, for only $15.95.

HIDEOUT SALOON. 1110 S. Sherwood Village Drive. 885-6443. Lookin' for a place to hideout and cool your heels? Seek shelter with the 100 people expected to turn out here for hats and party favors, the customary buffet, champagne at midnight and Steve Deacon and the Boys playing a variety of country and rock. And if that's not enough? No cover!

HABAÑEROS, 3800 E. Sunrise Dr. 529-9292. Dinner for two: The New Year's celebration at Habañeros, on the grounds of the Westin La Paloma, is co-hosted by KLPX and features an elegant evening of dinner, prizes, party favors, champagne at midnight and music by The George Howard Trio. There are two seatings for dinner: tickets for the early seating, from 5:50 to 8 p.m., are $55 per couple; for the later seating, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., tickets are $85. Reservations are strongly recommended.

HOTEL CONGRESS. 311 E. Congress St. 622-8848. The Club Congress has a reputation for rockin' New Year's eve bashes, and for the onset of 1998 the Congress and KFMA are swinging into the New Year with Hipster Daddy-O and the Hand Grenades. The lobby fanfare, which usually verges on the bizarre, features a kissing booth, a midnight balloon drop, 92 prizes, day-glo mobiles and a variety of party favors--among them the ravishing and glamorous Chick Cashman, who promises a night of wild surprises. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 on the Eve. This party sells out every year, so get your tickets early!

JAIME'S. 536 N. Fourth Ave. 624-0233. Expect a festive evening with balloons, party hats and favors, champagne at midnight, and salsa, salsa, salsa with seven-piece, south-of-the-border explosion Tipica Adelante. The festivity gets underway as early as 2 p.m., with the band starting later in the evening. Food will be available form 8 to 10 p.m. A capacity crowd of 300 is anticipated. Tickets are $10 and available in advance.

JAMAICA BAY. 6350 E. Speedway. 296-6111. Dinner (game hen or prime rib, your choice) is served from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. for couples with reservations. A crowd of 250 is expected; advance dinner tickets are $60 per couple and include the cover to the party in the lounge. A DJ will be spinning the '70s, '80s and '90s in the lounge; tickets for the lounge are $10 at the door.

THE KEYS. 5900 N. Oracle Road. 888-8084. The Keys offers two options for your New Year's fun: $10 pays your cover and provides you with party favors and a champagne toast; and for $17.50 you get all of the above, plus you can help yourself to the midnight buffet. A DJ will be spinnin' tunes until 2:30 a.m. for your dancing pleasure. There will also be drink specials throughout the evening, door prizes and other give-aways.

LA FUENTE. 1749 N. Oracle Road. 623-8659. When you've got a good thing going, stick with it. La Fuente offers just what you'd get on any other Wednesday of the year--great food and a fun, festive atmosphere, sensational service and live mariachi tunes. The house band will be keeping spirits high throughout diner, which will be served until the free champagne toast at midnight. There's no cover. La Fuente is always busy, so plan ahead and make reservations.

LITTLE ANTHONY'S DINER. 7010 E. Broadway. 296-0456. Fabulous Fifties rockabilly with the Billy Shears Band, dancing, party favors and champagne at midnight await the first 100 or so through the door. The ball gets rolling at 9 p.m., admission is $8.

THE MAVERICK, KING OF CLUBS. 4702 E. 22nd St. 748-0456. The evening gets started at 6 p.m. and customarily sells out early to a capacity crowd of 320. Live music with Troy Olsen Overdrive, party favors and a champagne toast are the main attractions. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.

NEON MOON. 5150 E. Speedway. 881-7500. This fine joint lights up New Year's with dirty dancing, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. No cover charge!

THE NEW WEST/GOTHAM/ SCREWY LOUIE'S. 4305 W. Ina Road. 744-7744. Everyone claims to have the best party in town, but with a capacity of around 3,000, the New West may just be able to lay claim to sponsoring the biggest party. Music and dancing will be happening concurrently in all three clubs, with live music in Screwy Louie's provided by Mark Mulligan. There will, of course, be party favors and champagne at midnight, and you can document your dementia with portraits available onsite for $10. Cover is $10 and the doors open at 6 p.m.

THE NIMBUS BREWING COMPANY. 3850 E. 44th St. 745-9175. Three bucks, baby--that's all you've got to shell out to get into the warehouse brewery for a New Year's blast of skronkin' jazz with Cortex Bomb and punk a là F.U.C.T. (Feast Upon Cactus Thorns). Pints of brew are the usual $2, and the selection includes two new fab flavors: oatmeal stout and Belgian strong ale. Sandwiches and munchies will also be available. The bands start around 8:30 p.m.

THE OUTBACK LOUNGE. 296 N. Stone Ave. 622-4700. Doors open at 8 p.m. for a swanky fete featuring dinner in the form of a special buffet, free-flowing champagne fountains (no skinny-dipping, please), the usual noisemakers and party favors, and dancing for the fleet of foot. Black tie is optional. Tickets are $19.98 and available in advance.

POST TIME PUB. 2545 S. Craycroft Road. 748-7253. If you rang in the New Year at the Post Time Pub last year, then you know what to expect this year: Doors open at 7 p.m., with Super Lobo pumping the grooves, complimentary champagne toast at midnight and party favors awaiting an anticipated crowd of 250. Tickets are $25 per couple and $15 per person.

PRESIDIO GRILL. 3352 E. Speedway. 327-4667. Get some help with those tricky New Year's resolutions. A crowd of 200 is expected for this magical evening with astrologers, palmists and readers of the ancient Tarot, as well as the usual party favors, horns, hats and balloon drops. Included in the price of each $69 ticket is a special four-course dinner, complimentary champagne at midnight, and a 20-minute consultation with one of the circulating psychics. If you want the meal minus the hocus pocus, then plan on spending $49. Dinner is served beginning at 5 p.m. with the party continuing through until 1 am.

THE REX RANCH RESORT & HEALTH SPA. 131 Amado Montosa Road. 398-2914. One of last year's favorite picks, the Rex Ranch this year offers the same refined, gentle option to celebrate the New Year. For $30 per person you can enjoy fireside cocktails on the Grande Patio, be treated to a gourmet meal and then dance, if you wish, or just sit back and enjoy The Hot Desert Love Toads.

RIALTO THEATER. 318 E. Congress St. 740-0126. PARTY! PARTY! PARTY! The Rialto Theater has assembled a New Year's Concert of epic proportions, and it's going to be a blast. Doors open at 8 p.m., and first up at 8:30 p.m. are roots rockers the Mojo Monkeys, followed by Mark Insley and his band (which includes Albert Lee, an ex-Clapton sideman, and Tony Guilkyson, formerly of X). Headlining on the wide Rialto stage is an all-time favorite American roots rock band, The Blasters. These dudes play to live up to their name, and should put on one of the best shows to be found in the Old Pueblo this New Year's Eve. In addition to fabulous showcase of live music, the Rialto has other surprises in store. Tickets for the Blasters and guests are $15, available in advance.

SAKURA SPORTS BAR. 6534 E. Tanque Verde Road. 298-7777. Sakura is handing out a New Year's Eve party pack with the cost of its $20 cover. In addition to whatever's inside the party pack, you also receive a champagne toast and a complimentary breakfast, and are eligible for prizes and giveaways.

SAN FRAN GRILL. 6549 E. Tanque Verde Road. 886-8391. New Year's at the San Fran Grill is free of cover charge! Music is provided by DJ Nightrider and the Grill provides party favors and champagne at midnight.

SHEDMEN'S NIGHT CLUB. 6211 E. 22nd St. 747-8488. For no cover, Shedmen's provides party favors, champagne at midnight and live music from Robbie Lochner and Tone.

THE SHELTER. 4155 E. Grant Road. 326-1345. What could be more kitsch than New Year's Eve at The Shelter? Dom Santiago spreads the hospitality wide with a night of no cover, a "cham-ripple" toast, party favors and Sinatra at midnight. It's a super place to take a date, too-- just think how great you'll look in that sexy red lighting, framed against the leopard print walls. And while you're there, keep in mind The Shelter's motto for guests: "Drink now, before those New Year's resolutions take effect!"

SHERATON EL CONQUISTADOR. 10000 N. Oracle Road. 544-5000. The Sheraton always offers a range of stylish and swank New Year's options. First off, in the Lobby Lounge the Mary Baker Band will be performing from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. For $75 per person, the Last Territory offers a dinner and dancing package that includes a four-course meal, with The Mirage playing until shortly before midnight, and making way for a can-can show to high-kick in the new year. What fun! White Dove opens at 6 p.m. and serves a scrumptious five-course meal. Tickets are $85 per person. Last seating is at 8:30 p.m., and guests will ring in the New Year in the Lobby Lounge. La Vista offers a Mardi Gras Buffet beginning at 7:30 p.m., with dancing to big band music by Matt Mitchell, and a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are $110 per couple. Reservations are strongly recommend.

THE THIRD STONE BAR & GRILL. 500 N. Fourth Ave. 628-8844. The theme of this Wednesday eve is "lounge," and the Third Stone will whoop it up with an eye toward style, providing party favors, hats and horns. The get-down funky grooves are provided by Oslo B., with dancing until a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are $10 per person for an evening that begins at 8 p.m. and lasts until 1 a.m. TW

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