The Man knows you’re going to drink yourself into a stupor on New Year’s Eve.
Why wouldn’t you?
December 31 is the year's biggest get out of jail free card. The one day of the year when you can drink yourself numb and you won't have to answer for your actions the next day. And why? Because by the time you regain consciousness, it’ll all be in the past.
By Jan. 1, it’ll be a new you, the 2011 you: more responsible, more in shape, optimistic, armed with resolutions to face a new year that, as always, you’re certain will be better than the last. Last night's debauchery? That was the old you.
And because local government knows all this, it has taken a few steps to make sure you party as safely as possible. Just consider the Maryland Transit Administration partnership with MillerCoors to offer free bus, metro, subway and light rail services from 8 p.m. Friday until 2 a.m. Saturday.
In addition, the MTA also partnered with Yellow Cab and AAA Mid-Atlantic to comp cab rides under $50 from any city bar to residents’ homes, a service that may not work perfectly, or even very well, but that's just another alternative to the surplus of transportation options available to residents Friday.
Even state legislators want you to have a good time. About 70 years ago, they approved Article 2B of the Annotated Code of Maryland, a law allows only cbars in the city to keep their doors open until 2 a.m. Jan. 2, said Stephan Fogleman, chairman of the city’s Board of Liquor License Commissioners.
And still, all these things have had the desired effect of tempering celebrations, so that residents have fun, but don't go overboard. Fogleman says New Year’s Eve is one of the quietest times of the year in terms of complaints. Maybe this is why Baltimore is 37th among the country's drunkest cities.
With so many bars staying open past 2 a.m., there will be no shortage of options to properly say good riddance to 2010. Here are just 11 of them:
11. The 13th Floor at the Belvedere, 1 E. Chase St.: The annual Top of the World party at the World Trade Center is 100 bucks. For half that, and almost as good a view, there’s this. Admission also buys you a dinner buffet and a champagne toast. Maryland-based band Slagz will perform. Doors open at 9 p.m. and close at 2 a.m. For tickets, call 410-332-1000.
10. Bourbon Street, 316 Guilford Ave.: Organizers are calling this party a carnival; that's because in addition to performances by bands Ballyhoo! and Bandfish, it will feature “stilt walkers, fire breathers, jugglers, go-go dancers and a ringmaster.” And, they boast, it will also have Baltimore’s biggest balloon drop. $20 admission.
9. Washington: In D.C., bars are allowed to stay open only one flimsy extra hour past last call. Pity. Still, if you’re going in that direction, check out the Walkmen at the Westin Hotel, 1400 M. St N.W. Tickets start at $99. Cheaper is U Street Music Hall’s party, where kings of moombahton Nadastrom will spin. Tickets are $10. Doors open at 9 p.m.; the club is at 1115 U Street N.W.
8. Howard County: At Second Chance Saloon, 5888 Robert Oliver Place in Columbia, the Maryland-based, six-member, all-female group Wicked Jezabel, will perform. Tickets are $30, and include a champagne toast. Nottingham’s Tavern, at 8850 Stanford Blvd, and Sonoma’s Bar & Grille, at 7284 Cradlerock Way, will also have parties with live music.
7. Sheraton Baltimore City Center: Thrown inside the Sheraton’s ballroom complex at 101 W. Fayette St., this party features eight themed rooms and music by bands the Reagan Years, the Betty Ford Dropouts, Hyjinx and a finalist from TV show “America’s Got Talent.” Doors open at 9 p.m, close at 3 a.m. Tickets, which start at $99 and include drinks, are sold at bignightbaltimore.com
6. Golden West Cafe, 1105 W. 36th St.: The Hampden cafe describes its party this way: “Chicks, dudes, dancing, tequila, pinball, beach balls, late night, no rules.” This no-rules bit should be the whole night’s motto, in fact. In addition to the beach balls, The Matrimonials, the Baltimore four-piece rock band, will perform. Doors open at 10 p.m. There is no cover.
5. Gay-friendly parties: At the Hippo, 1 W. Eager St., vocalist Zna. Queen will perform and DJ Aisle K of the Get Down’s gay party Peer Pressure, will spin. Cover is $10 all night long. At Grand Central, 1001 N. Charles St. it’s $15. Both should close about 4 a.m. South Baltimore’s gay-friendly Rowan Tree, 1633 S. Charles St., is open all night long.
4. The Paradox, 1310 Russell St.: While city bars are rejoicing over being able to stay open past 2 a.m., that’s already commonplace at the Dox, which stays open until dawn most weekends. On New Year’s, one promoter said, "We going till the sun comes up." Doors open at 9 p.m. Cover is $15 before midnight.
3. Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place: All Power Plant Live venues will be open past 2 a.m. But only at Rams Head will Baltimore rock ‘n’ rollers J. Roddy Walston and the Business and goofy rapper Mickey Free perform. Tickets are $20.
2. The Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St.: The Charles Village bar has a little bit for everyone: Upstairs, DJ James Nasty of the Moustache party will be spinning until at least 2 a.m. And it’s free. Downstairs, the bar’s owner Craig Boarman plans on playing his signature Lady Gaga-Madonna-Prince mash-ups until Simon Phoenix and Cullen Stalin of the TaxLo party take over at midnight. Admission is free after 1 a.m.
1. New Year’s Eve Spectacular: At the Inner Harbor, the annual party kicks off at 9 p.m. with the Motorettes performing at the amphitheater. Expects mobs; admissions is free. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will be on hand for what the city is calling the largest fireworks display in the region, which starts at the stroke of midnight. More information at : 1-877-BALTIMORE or www.performingarts.com.
The list of bars that are open past 2 a.m. is here, and is still growing (More names to be added today and tomorrow throughout the day).
Other New Year's Eve events are on FindLocal's guide.
Photo: Fireworks at the Inner Harbor, 2009 (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun)