Pop the Cork

By John Chandler May 19, 2009 Published in the December 2008 issue of Portland Monthly

Toast the New Year with champagne at Tony Starlight’s.

ARE YOU IN OR ARE YOU OUT? That’s the crucial question whenever New Year’s Eve rolls around. Some folks opt for an intimate evening at home, preferably behind closed doors with Sinatra on the iPod. But for more gregarious types, it’s a marquee night to get dolled up and head out. For these intrepid revelers, we’ve prepared a roster of roisterous possibilities.

For a big-ticket bash, it’s hard to beat the Champagne Ball (champagneball.com), a full-deal fest held each year at the Hilton Downtown. The event has three bands, two DJs, four dance floors, and 22 bars spread out over 32,000 square feet of tastefully decorated real estate. “Most guests have no idea something on this scale happens in Portland,” says Mathew Weber, the event’s organizer. For $100, you can mingle with the other 1,700 or so guests, but if it’s personal attention you require, a paltry $1,500 gets you and 10 friends a VIP table, plus a dedicated waitstaff to tyrannize until 2 a.m.

If that sounds like too much stimulation, both Wilf’s (800 NW Sixth Ave), the dark, wood-burnished bar at Union Station, and the Rat Pack refuge Tony Starlight’s Supperclub (3728 NE Sandy Blvd) will host smaller crowds, champagne, and cool tunes on tap. At Wilf’s you can dust off a few dance moves to tunes by the Kate Davis Trio. Tony Starlight’s features the madcap antics of the club’s titular proprietor and his jazz revue.

Screw sophistication, you just wanna rock! For the jeans-and-T-shirt set, perennial Northwest guitar shredders the Supersuckers will tear it up at Dante’s (1 SW Third Ave). Your $10 admission entitles you to a glass of champagne along with the opportunity to join in the New Year’s countdown with a roaring and rowdy congregation.

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