Columbia Free Times

Drinking in the New Year

By Tug Baker
Tuesday, December 24, 2013 |
Now the presents have been unwrapped, the nog has been nogged, and you’ve sent the extended family packing back to wherever they came from. It’s time to kick the 2013 dust off your boots and saunter purposefully into 2014 like John Wayne into a saloon. But there’s one last thing to do first. You have to answer the question posed in the new-classic 2011 song by Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt — what are you doing New Year’s Eve?

(Seriously, that YouTube video is the first thing that pops up when you type the song’s name into Google.)

The easiest answer would be to join a sizeable chunk of Columbia’s population and jump on the Famously Hot New Year downtown on Main Street. It’s free, and Kool & the Gang will most likely play “Celebration” at midnight, which while a bit on the nose will still be fun. There are going to be food vendors, plus, of course, beer, wine and bubbly being sold. Perhaps most importantly, they will be giving everyone $10 vouchers for cab rides. I for one really appreciate this nod to making it a little easier to stay a lot safer. If you want to blow your New Year’s Eve out big time, you can upgrade your Famously Hot experience with tickets to the VIP Absolut Crescent Lounge. This grants you access to the Absolut Crescent Lounge in the lobby of the Capitol Center so you can take off your coat and stay warm. Other perks include access to indoor bathrooms (very important), dedicated garage parking, free hors d’oeuvres, and the best two words in the best order: open bar. I’m assuming there will be some Absolut vodka there since the company name is on the place, but there will be other beer, wine, champagne and liquor options as well. These VIP tickets are $125 per person and available at

Beyond that, pretty much every bar in town will be having some kind of celebration for New Year’s Eve. There will be champagne toasts at midnight at most places, I’m sure. And of course, you can always take the party-at-a-friend’s house option. Or even the quiet night at home with the family. No matter what road you take, as long as you’re with friends and family, you’re bound to have a good time. Cheers!

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