By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
An open bar and a mix of hip-hop, rock, and '80s musicthat's the plan for half the bars in the city on New Year's. If cowskin furniture, a barnyard theme, barbecue, and an atmosphere that pays tribute to Coyote Ugly and Hogs & Heifers are your idea of a big celebration, there's only Porky's. 55 West 21st Street, $85.K.H.
How does this Williamsburg watering hole stick out from its neighbors? With its sleek Scandinavian minimalism, it's better designed than most of them, and it's curiously, deliriously free of indie rock. The night's DJs weren't announced before press time, but given that Peanut Butter Wolf, Rob Swift, Waajeed, Hollertronix, Schoolly D, and Qool Marv have played here in the past, Triple Crown's record suggests that there should be some serious hip-hop stalwarts. Admission includes a five-hour open bar and catered food. At 9, 108 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-388-8883, $80. K.H.
Here is the perfect venue for those New Yorkers who like to leave the city for New Year's Eve, either in search of a better party or to avoid local madness. A curious compromise might be to spend the night in a hotel basement, and one way to avoid the crowds at the likely crowded Union Square W Hotel's subterranean bar is to nab one of Under Bar's private curtained cubicles, where you can pull a cord for drink service during the five-hour open bar. Doors open at 9, W Hotel, 201 Park Avenue, 212-358-1560, $135 and up. K.H.
The Village Pourhouse
One part New York tavern (wood-burning fireplace, gas lamps, open kitchen with American fare), one part college sports bar (21 flat-screen televisions, 50 types of bottled beer and 24 drafts). Private rooms are also available: Ask about the Dugout, the Vegas Room, and the Red Light. This spot gets festive for New Year's with an open bar and hors d'oeuvres till after midnight. V.I.P. admission includes a bottle of champagne and one bottle of call liquor. The DJ will be spinning until 4 a.m. At 9, 64 Third Avenue, 212-843-2400, $100, V.I.P. $125. A.B.
New Year's Lincoln Center
The New York Philharmonic sticks to classical favorites for New Years Eve. Versatile soprano Audra McDonald is a master of many genres: Shes appeared in musicals such as Carousel and Ragtime, fulfilled her Juilliard classical training by working with the Houston Grand Opera and several symphony orchestras, and branched out into television with a Law & Order appearance. Her musical director, Ted Sperling, has a number of big Broadway conductor and orchestration credits under his belt, most recently for his award-winning work in A Light in the Piazzaand he played the conductor who went down with the ship in Tiitanic. Tonight McDonald, Sperling, and the Philharmonic will tackle hits from films including My Fair Lady, The Wizard of Oz, Breakfast at Tiffanys, and A Star Is Born. At 8, Avery Fisher Hall, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, 212-875-5030, $82$235. K.H.
Ace of Clubs
If you're up for some country-and-western music with an urban edge, check out the local honky-tonk lineup at Ace of Clubs, a Greenwich Village venue downstairs from Acme Bar and Grill. Scotty Karate starts the night off, followed by Brooklyn's banjo-playing, Hank WilliamsandJohnny Cashinspired Alex Battles and the Whisky Rebellion, and "garage country" by Uncle Leon & the Alibis. Get riled up as UncleFuckera "psychobilly-bluegrass-metal" band who describe themselves as "country music on crystal meth"take the stage at midnight for their "last show ever." Admission includes a midnight toast and party hats. At 9, Acme Bar and Grill, 9 Great Jones Street, 212-677-6963, brooklyncountrymusic.com, $10. A.B.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
You can skip the overpriced open bars (and the inevitable hangover) and opt for some cultural enrichment instead: Get your hands on a pair of tickets to see people far more muscled than you dance and flex into the New Year. Even the modern-dance rookies will appreciate the great moves set to good music from this 48-year-old company of African American dancers. The performance starts off with The Golden Section, choreographed by Tony winner Twyla Tharp, with music by David Byrne. Gamelan Gardens by Karole Armitage "plays with notions of time and place"fitting for a night when many of us look back and recall our revelry in years and places past. Revelations is a spiritual Alvin Aileychoreographed piece inspired by the words of Langston Hughes. (Watch for Brooklyn's own Dwana Adiaha Smallwood.) At 7, 405 West 55th Street, 212-405-9020, $35 and up. A.B.
If you've had enough of DJs spinning dance music, opt for something a little more refined and check out the jazz club that was once home to Charlie Parker, Count Basie, and Sarah Vaughan. The gorgeous Hilary Kole entertains with Chico O'Farrill's Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra. At 8 and 11, 315 West 44th Street, 212-581-3080, $40 and $60, food and drink minimum at the tables. A.B.
Contemporary-jazz trumpeter Chris Botti (a Woody Shaw protégé) takes the stage for two sets at the legendary West Village jazz joint. Pianist-vocalist Jon Regen, a New Jersey native, opens up the show and Puerto RicanAfrican American singer-songwriter Kelli Sae plays the late set. At 7 and 10, 131 West 3rd Street, 212-475-8592, $60 for the bar and $95 for a table at 7; $95 for bar and $150 for a table at 10; $25 for the late show. A.B.