SOTC Nightlife Awards: The Best Parties of 2010, Featuring Q-Tip, Let's Play House, Jelly NYC, and More

The crowd at Let's Play House, our favorite wandering house party. Photo by John Barclay.
The crowd at Let's Play House, our favorite wandering house party. Photo by John Barclay.

Before we sink into holiday hibernation, we thought we'd take a moment to reflect on our exploits, and present to you our very own 2010 SOTC Nightlife Awards. Below, our fourth installment examines the year's best parties.

Best Gateway Party For Your Non-Scene Friends: Q-Tip at the Ace Hotel This is the party to recommend to your friends that say they're interested in joining you for a hip downtown dance parties but don't really mean it. You know the ones, the grown-up college friends that work at a firm of some sort and/or anyone you may know that wears a striped button-down and sweater vest at the same time. To be fair, the hip, laid back crowd is part of the charm at Q-Tip's weekly Friday night party in Liberty Hall, the basement lounge of the Ace Hotel. Patrons are chic, well-dressed, and willing to spend money at a hotel bar, but that doesn't mean that they don't party to the legendary DJ's blend of r&b, soul, funk, and hip-hop (nothing too hard though). His friends stop in frequently as well. Nas did a surprise performance back in September, while Armand Van Helden, Questlove, and Mark Ronson stopped in to party with their friend just the other week. Celeb spotting and the retro styling of the hotel's lounge make this a great place to convince your buttoned-up friends that hip DJ parties aren't all that bad.

Best Wandering House Party: Let's Play House and Mister Saturday Night

Let's Play House photo by John Barclay.
Let's Play House photo by John Barclay.

The city hasn't been very kind to dance venues this year. Luckily, some of our favorite dance parties are vagrants themselves. Monthly Let's Play House parties started popping up about a year ago, right around the closing of APT. We didn't take them very seriously at first, as their first big party featured The Rapture at Tribeca's 92Y, but once we caught Todd Edwards at a loft space in Chelsea, we were hooked. The party quickly turned into an old-school fete, and has since featured vinyl-heavy sets by Rub N Tug and UK's Horse Meat Disco in barren Bushwick warehouses and My Cousin Roy at the Ace Hotel. Open to nerdy house heads, aimless partiers, and crazy fur-clad ravers alike, there's nothing but good vibes and good music at these parties.

As for Mister Saturday Night, they're not new to the game. Between their outdoor summer soirees at Sunday Best and recurring Mister Saturday Night loft parties, resident DJs Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter have perfected their party-throwing technique. The go-to for house legends, techno innovators, and disco gurus, and maestros of funk, the party has showed a great willingness to embrace dance music's roots. This year's roster of guests included Glasgow's Optimo, German hosue producer Henrik Schwarz, Chicago's Mr. Fingers, and even Afrika Bambaataa at a slew of venues that ranged from Bushwick lofts to city-side clubs to South Brooklyn warehouse spaces. We don't really care where it's at as long as the epic lineups keep coming.

Best Free Concert Series: Jelly NYC Pool Parties

Cut Copy play a Pool Party. Pic by Sam Horine.
Cut Copy play a Pool Party. Pic by Sam Horine.

2010 was a dramatic year for Jelly NYC. Pranksters leaked a fake lineup of shows, they battled with the OSA (and even the weather), but ultimately the promoters triumphed, leaving us with some of our best memories of the summer. While the beach concert series at Governors Island was just too much of a hassle to get to, and South Street Seaport's Pier 17 was home to the biggest riot of the year, we found comfort at the sprawling grounds of East River State Park during the warmer months. If anything, the Jelly NYC Pool Parties were one of the reasons to suck up our Sunday afternoon hangover blues and venture out into the daylight.

The Top 5 Of Pool Parties: 5) Mad Decent Block Party 4) Cut Copy 3) Chromeo 2) Cap'n Jazz and Lightning Bolt 1) Gucci Mane, DMC, Doug E Fresh, and Big Freedia

Best Dance Party At A Dive: Nextah At the Cove Before the Cove became the Cove it was Hugs, the saddest wannabe club in all of Williamsburg. Not that the remodeling had much to do with the neighborhood's sudden desire to frequent the bar. Instead, it was the inauguration of the new, free dance fete Nextah that brought us to the space for the first time in two years. Turntable Lab and Ghostly International's Michna and Cubic Zirconia's Nick Hook are the residents of the second-Fridays monthly, and steer the night towards disco, house, club, bass, and affiliated electronic music (but never mind-numbing electro), often playing old dance classics alongside newer exclusives by their DJ cohorts. While the duo is essential to the core of the party, it's the headlining guests that we're most impressed with. The past few months have brought DJ Assault, LA's Them Jeans, and even a performance by Canadian buzz kid, Lunice. For free!

Best Invite-Only Party Everyone Got Into: Creator's Project Launch Party

M.I.A. at the Creator's Project party. Photo by Rebecca Smeyne.
M.I.A. at the Creator's Project party. Photo by Rebecca Smeyne.

Vice threw one of the most extravagant invite-only parties of the year, but also one of the easiest for the clever party-goer to get into. The three room warehouse party took over Milk Studios late last June in celebration of Vice's Creator's Project, an art/music/media collaboration that we still can't exactly figure out. A fully loaded six-hour open bar and crazy art and video installations were highlights, but all that took a backseat to an insane lineup of live music. M.I.A., Die Antwoord, and Rye Rye made for a frenzied moshpit, Salem, Neon Indian, Sleigh Bells, and Interpol had wasted kids clawing at the stage, and even Mark Ronson DJ'ed somewhere in the mix. David Schwimmer and Drake were in attendance, and so were about a hundred college kids. It was a spectacle of the best kind.

Best Festival To Run Into Stefon From SNL: Electric Zoo

SOTC Nightlife Awards: The Best Parties of 2010, Featuring Q-Tip, Let's Play House, Jelly NYC, and More

If you haven't met Stefon yet, please take a moment to do so. (It's well worth your while.) Furry midgets, rabbis working the pizza stand, babies dressed as clowns, trance music, Japanese fashonistas, Euro porn stars, and regular people too--Electric Zoo has got it all.

Stay tuned for the fifth and final SOTC Nightlife Awards post, coming tomorrow.

Previously: The First Annual SOTC Nightlife Awards: Best Party DJ, Best Nightlife Twitterer, Best Host, and More The First Annual SOTC Nightlife Awards: Best Hotel Spot, Most Idiotic Venue-Imposed Music Ban, and More Presenting Sound of the City's First Annual Nightlife Awards: Best New Club, Best Place to Dance, and More


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