Obviously, things have changed a bit since we posted this round-up. Make sure to follow all health recommendations from the county, and check in with venues to get up-to-date information.
DJ RIZ ROLLINS AT LIFE ON MARS
I honestly cannot think of a better way to end the second year of the pandemic than listening to the soul of Seattle, DJ Riz Rollins, spinning records. And this is exactly what's happening at the Capitol Hill joint Life on Mars on New Year's Eve. Rollins can be trusted to select the records that will make the right mood for an exit from 2021, which opened with a violent coup attempt and concluded with a new strain of the virus. If I'm going to be any kind of religious, KEXP's Rollins must be the minister of a church that can only be called, to use the old school rapper G.L.O.B.E., "play that beat." CHARLES MUDEDE
DJ Riz Rollins is playing at Life On Mars at 9 pm. This is a popular event, so grab a bar seat if you want to attend (there are very few left!). They're $50, and you can get them here. Masks and proof of vaccination are required for entry.
BUBBS, NUGGS, AND CAVIAR AT TAKU
If you walk around Pike on Capitol Hill, you'll eventually bump into Taku's bright neon Daruma, a Japanese doll and symbol for perseverance and good luck. On its forehead is 串, the kanji for kushi, or skewers, which was the original intention behind Taku Chef Shota Nakajima's new and popular Osaka-style dive bar. Nakajima, previously the chef behind Adana, wanted to create a kushikatsu focused bar, but the pandemic had other plans. Right after opening in March of 2020, they had to shut down, because you know why. Then Nakajima got into a bad car accident.
But Taku's Daruma logo proved perseverent and lucky—Shota was soon cast on Top Chef, becoming a fan favorite, and Taku reopened with a karaage chicken menu. The bar itself is small and lively: Nakajima's floor-to-ceiling stickering and graffiti feel at home on Pike/Pine, the anime playing on loop in the back corner is a fun touch (last time I was there, it was playing Detective Conan), and the bathrooms are worth the trip. The bar recently dropped a new late-night menu (w/ chanterelle miso rice balls! curry fry poutine!), and for New Year's Eve, they'll serve caviar, karaage, and champagne. Cheers to a wild year, Taku! CHASE BURNS
Pick up tickets for Taku's NYE celebration here. They'll likely sell out soon. Masks and proof of vax required. And if you missed Nakajima's Top Chef journey earlier this year, here's where you can stream it.
FREAKOUT NEW YEAR'S EVE AT THE CROCODILE
Did you miss this year's best music festival, Freakout Fest? Never fear—you have another chance to right that wrong before 2021 goes up in smoke. Freakout Records is taking over the new and improved Crocodile for New Year's Eve and has curated a massive set of nine bands. At the top of the bill is Austin, Texas's Christian Bland & The Revelators. Bland's psych solo project who will lead audience members into the unknown waters of 2022.
Also playing are Acid Tongue and Wild Powwers, two local acts who put out two of the best records this year. Quinn DeVeaux, Steal Shit Do Drugs, Help, Spoon Benders, General Mojo's, and TV Star round out the rest of the bill, which also features a DJ set from the Emerald City Soul Club. And and and THEEEEE hotties Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show will be doing the visuals, projecting their trippy, analog, and ever-shifting creations onto the night's proceedings. This will be Crocodile's first full venue takeover, with bands playing on both the Crocodile main stage and Madame Lou's downstairs. Shake your body, gulp champagne, mind the stairs, and try not to, uh, freak out that yet another year is upon us! JAS KEIMIG
Doors to Freakout New Year's Eve are at 7 pm, and tickets start at $30. Masks and proof of vaccination are required for entry. Grab your tickets here.
NEW YEAR’S EVE AT SUPERNOVA!
The most important part of any New Year’s party is entirely out of the host’s hands, which is: Time. No matter what sort of event — or non-event — you attend, it’s the stroke of midnight that defines the experience. Fortunately, time’s inexorable march grasps us all in horrible bony fingers the same way, no matter where any of us find ourselves when the clock chimes. Well, except for astronauts, I suppose. I wonder how astronauts decide when to celebrate the turn of the year. Where was I? Oh yes, Supernova is throwing a New Year’s party from Friday 2021 into Saturday 2022, promising glitter and confetti and a free coat check. And what more appropriate venue could you ask for, as recently-opened Supernova is like the New Year baby of Seattle nightlife, all fresh-faced and cooing? (But not such a baby that they won’t have a glass of champagne for all attendees.) “Supernova is where you want to be when the disco ball drops,” they say. What a way to go! MATT BAUME
This kicks off at 8 pm on Friday and dances nonstop until 4 am in the wee hours of Saturday. Masks and proof of vax are required.
NEW YEAR'S EVE WITH BOSCO AT QUEER/BAR
With R Place's closure, Julia's drama, and Neighbours needing extensive clean-up, Queer/Bar was in a position this summer to take the lead among Capitol Hill's queer bars. The bar, located just off Capitol Hill's most famous corner, has transformed into a near-nightly drag space. It hosts its cornerstone drag show Mx. on Fridays and Saturdays, along with rotating nights like Werk Wednesday, What's the T, Burlesque Karaoke, and Mothership, a weekly drag night hosted by Capitol Hill's superhost Irene Dubois and a wee little diva named Bosco. Dubois previously held cast spots all over the Hill—R Place, Julia's, Neighbours, others I'm probably forgetting—and Bosco is about to be on a wee little TV show called RuPaul's Drag Race. She'll headline the bar's New Year's Eve bash, which features the cast of Mx., a champagne toast, and, as its name suggests, a queer-ass time. Maybe even some queer ass time if you're lucky.
RuPaul's Drag Race restarts on Friday January 7, so get your Bosco time in while you can. To congratulate her on being adopted by RuPaul, Queer/Bar has painted Bosco's face on an entire wall. It's very sweet. CHASE BURNS
SUPERNOVA'S ROLLER DISCO AT SOUTHGATE ROLLER RINK
My recommendation of New Year's Eve at the roller disco will come in the form of a story. It goes like this. On some Friday in the year 1980, my parents informed my sister and I that they could not take us to the roller skating rink. We were bored kids living in Sharptown, Maryland. And our only time of fun was skating on Friday night at a rink in Salisbury, Maryland, which is not far from Ocean City. My sister and I were pissed. What were we going to do all weekend? Let's go back to D.C. now. Enough of Maryland. Our parents made an offer. They would take us to the roller skating rink on Saturday, the following day. But we always did Friday. Who goes to the rink on Saturday? We had to make a choice. It was either that or no roller skating. We grudgingly accepted the offer. But when we attended the Saturday event, we were surprised. It was BLACK night. Black people did the rink on Saturday. White people on Friday. My sister and I had no idea of this split. And the DJ played funk, soul, and disco on Saturday, not all of that rock and pop. It was Yarbrough & Peoples, not The Police. It was suits and dresses, not jeans and tees. It was bopping on the skates, not racing on them. It was a nightclub on wheels. "And roller skate, and roller skate." My sister and I (black Africans) realized we skated like white people and had to learn how to disco bop as we went around and around. We switched from Friday to Saturday. CHARLES MUDEDE
Supernova's New Year's Eve at the Roller Disco at Southgate Roller Rink starts at 8 pm and runs until 1 am. Supernova DJs will spin disco and nudisco classics. Tickets include skate rental, with an option to choose a "combo ticket" that will also get you into Supernova until 4 am. They start at $40. Masks and proof of vaccination (or a recent negative COVID test) are required for entry. Find more NYE picks from Charles here.
MOULIN ROUGE! NEW YEAR’S EVE SING-ALONG
What more is there to say about this event that the title does not communicate? Based on that alone, you have already decided whether you wish to attend or stay far, far away. When I was in college, I went to see Moulin Rouge with my boyfriend right before I left town for a several-months-long job at a summer camp. Months later, when I returned, he asked me if I’d had a chance to see the film, apparently forgetting that I’d seen it sitting next to him, holding his hand the entire time. We’re celebrating our twenty-year anniversary next year, so that’s love for you! In his defense, Moulin Rouge does have a way of scrambling one’s brain with its nonstop assault of startling art direction, pop music, and Ewan McGregor in a sweaty tank top. We recently re-watched it, and when I wasn’t needling my partner about a slip of the mind from two decades ago, we kept marveling at how well it holds up. A good time had by all. MATT BAUME
MOULIN ROUGE! NEW YEAR’S EVE SING-ALONG starts at 6:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown and ends with plenty of time for you to make it to whatever midnight party you have planned. Or just go to bed early. I don’t care! Find more of Matt's NYE picks here.
CHONG THE NOMAD AT TRACTOR TAVERN
In many ways, Chong the Nomad has already rung in the New Year. The DJ was the first headliner to play Barboza back in July when pandemic restrictions eased to allow concerts for the first time in more than a year. Her energetic set creamed the audience with its quirky, clangy, and downright dance-y remixes and original productions. It was the perfect way to welcome the city back to live performances, and I don't doubt that Chong will serve as the excellent conduit for 2022. For New Year's Eve, KEXP has curated an evening of some Seattle music goodness at Ballard's Tractor Tavern. LIVT and DJ Calico will join Chong onstage, respectively bringing smooth, soulful musings on the Black experience and funky beats to the evening. If you act fast, you can also buy a signed commemorative poster by Shogo Ota along with your ticket. JAS KEIMIG
Find more things to do this New Year's Eve over on EverOut.