Gin Blossoms
Gin Blossoms

New Year's Eve 2011: What to Do and Where to Go on the Last Night of the Year

As far as year's go, 2011 wasn't one of the best. Sure, getting our mitts on Tom Waits' latest album was pretty sweet, but we coulda lived without the major tragedies and the never-ending financial nightmare. We're eager for this year to end, but not before we send it out on a positive note with a memorable New Year's Eve. If you're also hoping for high jinks and high adventure as you toast Auld Lang Syne, check out the list of potent parties taking place around the Valley on Saturday, December 31.


Celebrity Theatre
440 N. 32nd St.
Fans of Mötley Crüe and Van Halen won't wanna miss KUPD's New Year's Eve affair starring tribute acts Motley, Inc. and The Atomic Punks. Doors are at 8 p.m.; $5 general admission, $10 reserved seating. Call 602-267-1600.


New Year's Eve Guide

The Compound
Farmer Avenue & University Drive, Tempe
More than 60 artists (including The Molten Brothers, Lalo Cota, Colton Brock, and Jenny Ignaszewski) will participate in the art and culture extravaganza "Maybe 2012 Will Be Better." Local bands like Biologia, Playboy Man Baby, North Dakota, and others will perform throughout the evening. 8 p.m., $10.

Fiesta Bowl Block Party
Mill Avenue, Downtown Tempe

There really are only two types of people in Phoenix on New Year’s Eve: Those who will spend the evening at the and everyone else. An estimated 20,000 folks will descend upon Mill Ave to while away the waning hours of 2011. Highlights include a mini-museum of rock ’n’ roll history, magic shows, BMX demonstrations, carnival rides, and EDM dance club, drink vendors, and a food court. The live music lineup includses Gin Blossoms as the block party’s featured band, as well as Sawyer Brown, Kelley James, and The Jeff Clay Band. Gates open at 5 p.m. Admission is $20 (with $16 discount tickets available at Safeway stores). See

Fort McDowell Casino
10424 N. Fort McDowell Rd., Fort Mcdowell
Enjoy free appetizers, party favors, a free champagne toast at midnight, and music from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the Lucky 7 Saloon from The Whip-its. Call 602-843-3678.

Goblin King New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball
815 North Second Street

The 1980s were an awesome time to be an aficionado of fantasy films. Besides epic adventures like Dragonslayer, The Beastmaster, or Clash of the Titans, the era of parachute pants and President Reagan produced such memorable cinematic escapes as Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, and Legend. The latter three films (as well as Willow and The Princess Bride) will be celebrated during the Goblin King New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball on Saturday, December 31. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed as creatures and characters from the flicks. Meanwhile, upbeat ’80s alternative and pop tunes will be played in a “decked-out ballroom,” Djentrification will offer beats in the lounge area, and Futurekind and dancers from the Scottsdale AZ Jazz Ensemble will perform. The 21-and-over (sorry, cosplay kiddies) event starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $15. Call 602-595-9187.

Hotel Valley Ho
6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale
The iconic hotel will host a "Shake & Twist Like '56" Bash featuring a four-course repast with Grey Goose and Henriot Champagnes pairings, '50s and current hits from DJ P-Body, and a midnight champagne toast on the rooftop. Seatings are at 6:30 p.m. ($95 per person) and 9:30 p.m. ($125 per person). Reservations reccomended. Call 480-248-2000.

Montelucia Resort & Spa
4949 E. Lincoln Dr., Scottsdale
Radio Junket and DJ XXXclusive will be the featured entertainment at the resort's New Year's Eve gala, which also promises dancing, champagne, and more. 7 p.m.; $45-$75 for general admission, $1,500 for VIP entry. Call 480-627-3200.

Orpheum Theatre
203 W. Adams St.
It wouldn't be Auld Lang Syne without a concert by perennial New Year's Eve favorite Jerry Riopelle, who will present an evening of his blues-rock hits with support from Garland Jeffreys. 9 p.m. $45-$100. Call 480-784-4444 or visit

Stand Up Live
50 W. Jefferson St.
Comedian and actor Christopher Titus performs two sets. 7 and 10 p.m., $30-$65. Call 480-719-6100.

The Marquee Theatre
730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe
Jason DeVore and the boys from Mesa's Authority Zero will be celebrating New Year's Eve in front of a hometown crowd with an evening of ska-punk along with the Voodoo Glow Skulls. Valley bands Lookoutlook, Inept Hero, and Riot Act are also scheduled to appear. 6 p.m., $22. Call 480-829-0707.

Scottsdale's Ultimate Block Party
Craftsman Court, Scottsdale
The Old Town fete mixes champagne, cocktails, and bands aplenty, as well as the usual staples, like a fireworks show at midnight. Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers headline the main stage, which also includes performances by Veragroove and The Black Moods. Various food, beverage, and street vendors also will be on hand. 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door. See

Symphony Hall
225 E. Adams St.
The Phoenix Symphony presents its annual New Year's Eve concert, offering its rendition of Broadway hits, as well as a selection of Strauss waltzes. 7:30 p.m., $37 and up. Call 602-495-1999.

Talking Stick Resort
9800 E. Indian Bend Rd., Scottsdale
The resort's posh showroom will host Raven's Annual New Year's Eve Gala, which will offer decadence in abundance. Platinum Hi-Fi and DJ Kilo will provide live entertainment, a complimentary appetizer buffet will be served starting at 9:30 p.m., two bars will dispense $6 well cocktails and select wines, and champagne will be poured for the midnight toast. Semi-formal to black tie attire required. 8 p.m.; $50 per person, $90 per couple. Call 866-877-9897.

Tempe Improv
930 E. University Dr., Tempe
Saturday Night Live alum (and Mr. Subliminal himself) Kevin Nealon will unleash plenty of laughs during two performances. 7 and 10 p.m., $35. Call 480-921-9877.

US Airways Center
201 E. Jefferson St.
The King of Pop will be feted in grand fashion when Cirque du Soleil stages Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour to downtown Phoenix. 8 p.m., $50-$175. Call 480-784-4444 or visit

Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino
5040 Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler
The Ovations Live! Showroom hosts an evening of rock 'n' roll action from Powerdrive. 8 p.m., $25-$250. Call 800-946-4452.

W Scottsdale Hotel
7277 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale
Patrons at the W's "New Year's Eve Cirque Nouveau" will be transported back to the era of vintage circuses as they witness sideshow performers in action, stroll through a hall of mirrors, try their hand at carnival games, or listen to music laid down by DJ Soulman. Registered guests can get in on such perks as a hosted bar until 9:30 p.m. and will receive either top hats or a feathered headpiece. 8 p.m.; $75 for gals, $100 for guys. Call 480-970-2100.


Bonfire Grill & Bar
7210 E. 2nd St., Scottsdale
The cats from Relentless Beats will fly in renowned house music superstars Sydney Blu and Scooter & Lavelle for their "Once In a Blu Moon" party, which also features spin sessions by Thomas Turner, Timothy Heit, Sean Essex, and DJ Lujan. Prizes, giveaways, and a midnight champagne toast are also planned. 6 p.m.-4 a.m.; $35-$50 general admission, $70 per person for dinner service (which is available until 9 p.m.); and $400-$500 for VIP table/bottle service. Call 480-772-7613.

The Compound Grill
7000 E. Mayo Blvd.
Texas roots rockers Uncle Lucius will serve up an enticing sonic stew combining country twang with R&B grooves for the Compound's patrons during its New Year's Eve celebration. The Sugar Thieves will open the show. 8:30 p.m., $20-$25. Call 480-585-5483.

El Hefe Super Macho Taqueria
4425 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale
DJ Diesel will be in the mix all evening at what's sure to be a packed party, which will feature penny drinks all night. A wealth of table service and seating options are available, ranging from $800 for the personal tap booths to $1,000 for the stage above the bar. 8 p.m., $50 and up. El Hefe will also reopen at 6 a.m. on January 1 for the "New Year's Day Wake & Bake," which offers a complimentary buffet, bottomless mimosas, a Bloody Mary bar, and house music from DJ Thomas James. Call 480-241-2682.

JJ Madisons
430 N. Power Rd., Mesa
This East Valley eatery will offer a special $24.99 dinner for two featuring a shared appetizer and dessert, champagne toast at midnight, two entrees, and more. Live music will also be offered throughout the night. 5 p.m. Call 480-924-8778.

Mastro's City Hall Steakhouse
6991 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale
Dine on selections from the à la carte menu and enjoy live entertainment by The Nate Willams Band before partaking in the midnight champagne toast. Private dining rooms are also available for parties. 5 p.m. Call 602-264-2655.

Mastro's Ocean Club
15045 N. Kierland Blvd., Scottsdale
Mastro's private dining rooms will be available on New Year's Eve, an à la carte menu will be served, The Joey and Link Band offers live entertainment, and a champagne toast takes place at midnight. 5 p.m., $50-$100. Call 602-264-2655.

9425 W. Coyotes Blvd., Glendale
Think that whole Mayan calendar thing about the world ending next year is legit? The folks at McFadden's do, which is why their party's been dubbed the "Last New Year's Eve Ever." Gift bags will be given to the first 200 through the door and $1,000 in cash and prizes will also be handed out. Various admission packages are available ranging from the silver level (which includes a buffet dinner and champagne toast) to the platinum level (which features the buffet, champagne toast, five free drinks, $1 top-shelf cocktails, and more). 8 p.m., $15-$80. Call 623-872-0022.

The Mint
7373 E. Camelback Rd.
Chef Johnny Chu will provide a five-course repast featuring orange chicken puffs, wasabi shu mai, asian mint shrimp, black dragon fish, and sweet wontons during The Mint's "Vintage" celebration. 7 p.m.; $50 for guys, $20 for gals, $35 for dinner. Call 602-264-2655.

Renegade Canteen
9343 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale
Partake in a three-course dinner during two seatings (from 5:30 to 6 p.m. and 7:45 to 8:15 p.m.), each of which includes music by singer-songwriter Alan Dequina and a glass of champagne for each adult. $65 per person. Call 480-614-9400.

Roka Akor Steak & Sushi
7299 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
A special Omisoka menu will be prepared by executive chef Jason Alford. Seatings are at 6 and 8:30 p.m., $98 per person. Call 480-306-8800.

4232 E. Chandler Blvd., Phoenix
New Year's Eve dinner with two seatings available. Reservations requested. 5:30-11 p.m. Call 480-706-2200.

The Vig Uptown
6015 N. 16th St.
Jonny Rogers will drop funky house, indie dance tracks, and hip-hop during New Year's Eve. The joint's Vig Rig will also offer complimentary transportation all night. 9 p.m. Call 602-633-1187.

Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill
2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe
A special dinner menu featuring rock salt prime rib, crab-stuffed Atlantic salmon, grilled sirloin and scampi prawns and other delights will be served. A video DJ kicks off the New Year's countdown starting at 9:30 p.m., leading up to the midnight champagne toast. 5 p.m. Call 480-968-2920.


910 Live
910 N. McClintock Dr., Tempe
Power 98.3 will broadcast live from this New Year's Eve affair, which will also offer hip-hop performances, a fashion show by New World Culture, $2 drinks until 10 p.m., champagne toast at midnight, and more. 7 p.m., $15. Call 480-966-0707.

5040 Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler
The bubbly starts pouring just before midnight while DJ Decipha from 101.5 Jamz will dropping Top 40, house music, and hip-hop all evening. VIP and table service will be available via reservation only. 9 p.m., $30. Call 800-946-4452.

7340 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale
If the recent Guns N' Roses concert didn't whet your appetite for destruction, head to Axis/Radius for its epic "Welcome To The Jungle" New Year's Eve party. Sport your trashiest rock star attire and hang out with Steven Adler, the band's original drummer, who is scheduled to appear. 9 p.m.; $25 per person, $45 per couple. Call 480-970-1112 or see

Barney's Boathouse
7341 E. 6th Ave., Scottsdale
Celebrate on all three floors of this towering tavern, which will feature dinner and DJs, and plenty of libations. Call 480-949-6535.

The Blooze Bar
12014 N. 32nd St.
The hair rockers of Lit-Up are the featured performers at this New Year's Eve hootenanny, which also will offer party favors and a midnight champagne toast. 8:30 p.m., $5. Call 602-788-4574.

Cactus Moon
1017 N. Dobson Rd., Mesa
New Year's Eve party with DJs and dancing, $2 Coors and Miller pints, and a midnight champagne toast. 8 p.m.; free for ladies, $3 for guys. Call 480-833-2226.

Cadillac Ranch
2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe
Live music from local bands, DJ J. Paul in the mix, bottle service, dancing, and more. 8 p.m., $5 (or free for those who RSVP on Facebook). Call 480-894-1111.

CK's Tavern and Grill
4142 E. Chandler Blvd., Phoenix
Music by Angry Inch and drink specials. 9:30 p.m. Call 480-706-5564.

Club Red
2155 E. University Dr., Tempe
The buxom beauties of Romantasy Cabaret will provide thrills aplenty during their New Year's Eve Masquerade Gala, which will include a spectacular Vaudeville-style variety show full of skits, dancing, comedy, magic, and live music by Tucson's "flamenco fusion" act Tesoro. 9:30 p.m., $25-$50. See

Clubhouse Music Venue
1320 East Broadway Road, Tempe

It seems as though a slew of hometown heroes will stage some big gigs on New Year’s Eve, whether it’s the Gin Blossoms, Authority Zero, or Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. You can also add brothers Cris and Curt Kirkwood to that list, as their seminal local band Meat Puppets — which got its start amid the chaos of Phoenix’s punk scene in the ’80s before riding a rocky road to success — will visit Clubhouse Music Venue for a special Auld Lang Syne engagement on Saturday, December 31. Flamingo and Peachcake will open the show. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $25-$35. Visit

Cocomo Joe's
28244 N. Tatum Blvd., Cave Creek
New Year's Eve party with food and drink specials, party favors, live music from The Crown Kings, shuttle service, and complimentary champagne toast at midnight. 6 p.m. Call 480-538-8008.

Copper Blues
50 W. Jefferson St.
Live music by EastonAshe, midnight champagne toast, and more. Discounted table and dinner packages are also available. 6 p.m., $20 pre-sale. Call 480-719-5005.

Crescent Ballroom
308 N. 2nd Ave.
(and departure point for Quincy Ross' afterparty)
DJ Sean Watson will provide cheap thrills aplenty at his "Amateur Night" New Year's Eve Party inside the Crescent's lounge as he spins indie rock and obscura along with cohorts BC/AD, Benni Beatnik, The Ariel, Aaron Hempsey, Riot Earp, HartBreaks, and others. $3 drink specials available until midnight. 9 p.m., free. Call 602-716-2222.

And keep your eyes open, because after-hours party provocateur and artist Quincy Ross is planning one of his infamous underground affairs for New Year’s Eve, one that, oddly enough, will take place high above ground. Very high, in fact, as Ross and his cohorts will take over the top floor of an unspecified downtown Phoenix hotel for a soiree that will last into the next day. Four suites boasting hot tubs and other posh amenities will host DJs and other distractions, and the ballroom will screen movies. Shuttles will transport revelers from Sean Watson’s party at Crescent Ballroom. The event starts at 11 p.m. Admission is $20 pre-sale, $25-$30 at the door. See for more details.

The Firehouse
4312 N. Brown Ave., Scottsdale
New Year's Eve extravaganza with a complimentary hosted Ciroc bar from 8-10 p.m., beats by DJ Death to the Throne, VIP packages, a midnight champagne toast, and more. 8 p.m. Call 480-747-1633.

Flanny's Bar & Grill
1805 E. Elliot Rd., Tempe
The Drive will perform, drink deals and a special menu will be offered with a champagne toast at midnight. 8 p.m. Call 480-659-0870.

4251 N. Winfield Scott Plaza, Scottsdale
The street will be fenced off on both Friday and Saturday for a two-night "Block, Beer, Booze and Booty Party." Games like giant Jenga and Connect Four will be played, the Michael Nitro Band will perform, and free champagne toasts take place as midnight strikes across different time zones. Open until 2 a.m. each night. Call 480-874-2264.

Goat Head Saloon
1423 S. Country Club Dr., Mesa
Joan Jett tribute Bad Reputation and local cover band Rock City Rebels will lay down some licks. 8 p.m., $12-$13. Call 480-464-8030.

Iguana Mack's
1371 N. Alma School Rd., Chandler
Drink and dance at this East Valley establishment's "Playboy Mansion Party." Go-go dancers will strut their stuff, spirits will flow down an ice luge, complimentary champagne will be served, and both Bootleg Frantic and DJs will perform. A four-course steak and shrimp dinner will be also available for $18.95 per person. 5 p.m. Call 480-899-6735.

Jackrabbit Lounge
4280 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale
Hip-hop beats and Top 40 tracks will be spun by DJ Dario during Surge Entertainment's New Year's Eve soiree. VIP packages offering Magnum Moet White Star, Ciroc, and Patron are available for $750. 10 p.m.; $20 presale, $25 at the door. Call 480-429-4494 or see

Joe's Grotto
13825 N. 32nd St.
New Year's Eve bash featuring R&B music. 8 p.m.; $8-$10. Call 602-992-1007.

Marc's Sports Grill and Nightlife
4494 W. Peoria Ave, Glendale
DJs and dancing in the main bar, karaoke in the MarcTini Lounge, party favors, a free champagne toast, and four balloon drops. Free before 9 p.m., $4 thereafter. Call 623-842-1053.

Monkey Pants Bar & Grill
3223 S. Mill Ave., Tempe
The pranksters at this goofy Tempe bar will hold the "New Years Shirtless Rocking Eve and White Sale," which may or may not include hourly champagne toasts for all the European time zones, as well as "hug tag and deep tissue massages from our security guy Elliot." 8 p.m. Call 480-377-8100.

2120 W. Guadalupe Rd., Mesa
Music by Rock Addix, drink specials, party favors, midnight champagne toast, and a free shuttle service (within a five-mile radius). 8 p.m., $10. Call 480-756-6069.

Padre Murphy's
4338 W. Bell Rd., Glendale
J. David Sloan and Western Bred will provide a country-filled countdown to 2012 at this party, which also features a midnight champagne toast. 7:30 p.m., $10. Reservations are $25, which can also be applied toward food and drink purchases. Call 602-547-9406.

Red Revolver Lounge
7316 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale
Dr. Fever will be in the DJ booth and there's a free champagne toast at midnight. 8 p.m., $20. Call 480-946-2005.

Rhythm Room
1019 E. Indian School Rd.
New Year's Eve party with Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns and a champagne toast. 8 p.m., $15. Call 602-265-4842.

Rips Ales & Cocktails
3045 N. 16th St.
The dance floor is likely to be packed when Roya and Adrian Flanagan spin indie, '80s, and Britpop songs during Obscura's Final Countdown. As always, cheap drinks will be served and giveaways of CDs and concerts tickets will be doled out. 8 p.m.; $5 before 10 p.m., $10 thereafter. Call 602-266-0015.

The Sail Inn
26 S. Farmer Ave., Tempe
Musical hybrids and hyphenates will be in excess during this New Year's Eve event, whether it's the breathy ska-folk of Sara McAllister, the blues-laced Americana of The Sugar Thieves, the jazzy funk of Four Year Plan, or even the "psychiatry-couch rock" of Strange Young Things. Free food, party favors, and primo views of the Tempe fireworks at midnight are also promised. 7 p.m., $10 (which includes top-shelf liquor the entire night). Call 480-966-9565.

4343 N. 7th Ave.
The Baroque digs of this cathedral-like dance club will be transformed into a Batcave of sorts for the "dark and gloomy" Necropolis party. Post-punk, death rock, gothic, early EBM, and darkwave will be spun by DJs Noiz.Fkr, AKA, Benom, and Aeternum. 9 p.m.; $5 after 10 p.m.

9868 W. Northern Ave., Peoria
"GLOW! 2012" black tie affair with illuminated commemorative cups for the first 100 people, glowing party favors, body painters, hosted Skyy bar until 9 p.m. and music from DJ Bazar. 8 p.m., $5. Call 623-877-6444.

1001 N. Tatum Blvd.
7200 W. Ray Rd., Chandler
All you'll need during the "Fast Times at Sandbar High" parties taking place at either location are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and you'll be fine. If you require something more, bartenders will pour Harvey Wallbangers, Tequila Sunrises, and Slow Comfortable Screws. Free Coronitas will be available at midnight and rad BMX bikes will be given away during the event. 8 p.m., free. Call 480-961-1700 or 480-585-5900.

The Shout! House
6770 N. Sunrise Blvd., Glendale
Burlesque-themed dueling piano show and New Year's Eve celebration featuring a prime rib buffet dinner, souvenir glassware, champagne toast at midnight, party favors, and more. 6 p.m., $20-$85. Call 623-772-1500.

7333 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale
The promoters of this New Year's Eve extravaganza are promising that "only the Valley's most influential" will be poppin' bottles inside Suede while listening to DJs and toasting 2012 with champagne. VIP packages are available. 9 p.m. Call 480-406-0838.

Steel Horse Saloon
1818 W. Bell Rd.
Toast the new year with rock from High & Tight, drink special, and a free champagne toast followed by a breakfast buffet. 8 p.m. Call 602-942-8778.

Teakwood's Tavern
2808 E. Indian School Rd.
Music by Headroom, drink specials, and more. 9:30 p.m. Call 602-840-0991.

Tempe Tavern
1810 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe
Dead Hot Workshop offer a special New Year's Ever show with The Persuaders, and Ghetto Cowgirl. 9 p.m. Call 480-794-1706.

Tim Finnegan's
9201 N. 29th Ave.
An open bar featuring import drafts and premium spirits will be available from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at this North Valley pub. A champagne toast, giveaways, and rock music from Jim Gregory are also planned. 7 p.m.; $25 for ladies, $30 for men. Call 602-997-2323.

Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill
1065 N Dobson Rd., Mesa
White Trash New Year's Bash with tunes from Marshal Reign and a champagne toast and balloon drop. 6 p.m.; $20 for singles, $35 for couples, $50 for VIP. Call 480-844-8629.

TT Roadhouse
2915 N. 68th St., Scottsdale
Booze-a-palooza party with drink specials, and free champagne at midnight. Open until midnight. Call 480-947-8723.

Vintage Bar & Grill
414 S. Mill Ave., Tempe
"Winter Wonderland" Party with DJs NYC and Mastamonk, a champagne toast, and pre-sale packages that include two drinks and other perks. 4 p.m. Call 602-410-2230.

What the Hell Bar & Grill
10262 E. Apache Trail, Apache Junction
Music by Hardride, party favors, champagne at midnight, and a breakfast buffet. 9 p.m., $5. Call 480-986-8974.

Wild Knight
4405 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale
A hosted Belvedere bar from 8 to 10 p.m., complimentary hors d'oeuvres, a champagne toast, and soundtrack by DJ Noah Wylie. 8 p.m.; $30 per person, $50 per couple. Call 480-213-9500.

Yucca Tap Room
29 W. Southern Ave., Tempe
Nintendo nerds will mix with punks and garage rock fans as 8-bit cover band Minibosses and retro foursome The Love Me Nots team up for a memorable show. San Francisco indie pop act The Bruises and locals High Horse and Scorpion vs. Tarantula are also scheduled to perform. 9 p.m. Free. Call 480-967-4777.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >