Get your New Year on with one of Pittsburgh's countdown parties
Ah, New Year's Eve; enforcer of steadfast resolutions and the birth of where hope springs eternal.
But before the official countdown begins to a fresh start for life, love and the pursuit of happiness, you've got to decide what to do, where to be and who to see.
Those who enjoy the excitement of an outdoor celebration of First Night can find details in Thursday's Ticket magazine.
For those looking to dress up in glitter and glam, rather than puffy down and mittens, here's our guide to some of the most intriguing ways to bid adieu to 2012. (Except where noted, these are adults-only parties.)
Auld Lang Syne IV — Pittsburgh Opera
Those looking to swank it up need look no further than the Pittsburgh Opera's Auld Lang Syne IV Gala and Concert.
“It's going to be Hollywood glamour to the nines. It's a Cinderella theme, so wear your glass slippers,” special-events manager Sam Badger says.
Hoping to appeal to a wider demographic (read: the young and the restless), the black-tie soiree needn't scare off potential guests who experience heart palpitations over the first-tier ticket, which runs $500 a pop, kicks off at 6:30 p.m. and includes a VIP cocktail hour, dinner, the concert, party and valet parking. A tiered system also offers the following options: Dinner, concert, party and valet parking (arrive at 7:15 p.m.) for $350; concert and party (arrive at 9:15 p.m.) for $125; concert only (arrive at 9:15 p.m.) for $75.
“You don't have to be an opera fan for this — yes, we do classical music, but it's songs you know, and it's only an hour long,” Badger says. “You can sit through that, then have dessert and party.”
Age suitability: 21-plus
Where: Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland
2nd Annual Midnight Masquerade New Year's Eve Party
If big reveals render you starry-eyed with anticipation, then the Midnight Masquerade just might be the ticket that leads you to a close encounter with a masked (if not potential) mate.
Open to both solos and sweethearts, the ticket includes “a decadent display of hors d' oeuvres, light fare, desserts and an open bar” beginning at 9 p.m., and a few potential surprises that management was hesitant to reveal. Eventures Live is responsible for the entertainment, and the “suggested but not required” masquerade dress code begs for creative interpretation.
Procrastinators beware: If last year's event was any indication of how the ticket sales would trend this time around, it's more than likely that you'll be left high and dry if you don't stake your claim early.
“Last year, it was really popular, and it sold out really fast. … We had a wait list,” says Jeff Wallace, operations manager.
Cost: $175; $300 per couple
Where: Oliver Twist, 140 Sixth St., Downtown
NYE — Villa Southside
Promising the opportunity to “chill in one of Villa's exclusive VIP sections or dance the night away,” NYE looks to fulfill all of your lounge-related needs, thanks to its multilevel venue with two large bars and a dance floor as DJ NYE leads the 2012 countdown beginning at 8 p.m. No worries about your new LBD standing up to bullying winter weather; the covered and heated second-story patio will keep you warm even if you don't have somebody to curl up next to.
The dress code for all is classy casual or “dress to impress,” with ticket options including: Villa Premium Admission of $80, includes a two-hour top-shelf open bar from 8 to 10 p.m. and champagne toast at midnight; pre-sale admission of $30, includes a complimentary drink with ticket stub and champagne toast at midnight; general admission at the door of $35, includes champagne toast at midnight
If you really want to up the ante, VIP table service is available by reservation for $200 to $300, plus bottle minimums. RSVPs for that can be made to Nick at 412-999-3016 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where: 1831 E. Carson St., South Side
New Year's Eve River Cruises — Gateway Clipper
The Gateway Clipper fleet is offering various options for those looking to sail off into the sunset.
Family and friends hoping to divide their attention on the last day of 2012 can opt for one of two New Year's Eve Dinner Cruises, both of which will put you back on solid ground at 8 p.m. Not for the foodie faint-of-heart, the spread includes prime rib of beef hand-carved to order, boneless chicken breast in a cherry and pineapple glaze, green beans sautéed with onions and smoked bacon, parsley red-skinned potatoes, dark chocolate molten volcano cake and lemon roulade.
“We're finding that families are coming on and sometimes taking the kids to the First Night activities later in the evening,” says media-relations coordinator Hannah Wriginis of the family friendly cruise.
Passengers board at 5, depart at 6 and return at 8 p.m. Cost: $50
Those not interested in making it an early night can opt for one of two later-departing vessels.
The New Year's Eve DJ Dance Cruise ($70) will feature hors d'oeuvres in lieu of a full dinner, spins from a DJ and a complimentary champagne toast. The New Year's Eve Dance Cruise ($50) will feature entertainment and offer a complimentary champagne toast; however, there are no hors d'oeuvres served. Hats and noisemakers come standard for both. Guests must be 21.
“Both of the dances are wonderful. There's a ton of people, and everyone is just excited about the new year and ready to party into 2013,” Wriginis added.
Dance-cruise passengers board at 8:30; depart at 9:30 p.m. and return at 12:30 a.m.
Where: Station Square Dock
New Year's Undead Eve presented by Horror Realm
Guests looking to “put a stake in 2012's heart” are sure to find themselves in good company during the Undead Eve celebration, from 10 p.m. to midnight.
“It's very hard to get away from zombies in this town. Undead are so close to our hearts,” says Horror Realm owner/promoter Sandy Stuhlfire of the debut event. “We run a semi-annual horror convention at the Crowne Plaza and the hotel approached us and said, ‘We'd like to do something different for New Years Eve.'”
No official dress code, but a Best Dressed Undead contest encourages ghoulish semi-formal attire. Think less gore and more glam — err on the side of Carnival of Souls dance or The Shining's July 4th ball — with a prize awarded to the winner.
A DJ, cash bar, door prizes and raffle to benefit Scares That Care will round out the evening. Admission also gets you snacks, a nachos bar and a champagne toast at the stroke of midnight.
Tickets: $25 or $45 per couple (tickets at the door are cash only)
Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel Pittsburgh South, 164 Fort Couch Road
New Year's Eve Party at Perle
Urbane-atmosphere seekers looking to unwind can head downtown for the debut New Year's Eve Party at Perle. The European champagne and tapas lounge will be featuring DJ Pat and his “top-shelf” sound, butler-passed hors d'oeuvres all evening and a toast of the bubbly at midnight.
Best to leave the lounge wear at home for this one. A standard of dress that calls for “Stylish – Sophisticated and Sartorially Elegant” ensembles are highly encouraged. For the ladies, smart and chic eveningwear is suggested. Gents can stick with tailored businesswear or fashionable attire. The evening begins at 8.
Where: 25 Market Square, Downtown
Kate Benz is the social columnist for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 412-380-8515.