As decade ends, let the parties begin

It's not just the end of the year, it's the end of the decade.

Tonight, New Year's Eve revelers across Baltimore will kiss off 2009 and welcome 2010 with booming dance parties, hard-rocking live bands and the dull click of plastic champagne glasses. Though there is less than a day left in the year, it's still not too late to join the fun.

This year, it's easier than ever to save money on New Year's Eve celebrations. Sonar is hosting a free dance party with live music and DJs and an optional open bar that costs only $20. Tickets to see three solid local rock bands at the Ottobar are a mere $13 each, $20 for couples. RA Sushi in Harbor East is keeping it low-budget with a no-reservation, no-cover New Year's Eve.

There are plenty of big-ticket celebrations as well, such as the sprawling party at the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor, where several bands, DJs and comedians will keep the festivities going well into 2010. The 13th Floor, which has some of the best sightlines in the city, has a buffet, champagne toast and live music for $50. And Red Maple will keep the beats going until 6 a.m., with a lineup of international DJs.

Here are 10 New Year's Eve options for last-minute partyers:

1. All Night at Red Maple: Night owls who love to dance should check out Deeply Rooted at Red Maple, 930 N. Charles St. DJs Halo, Ivaylo, Robert Tarter, Patrick Turner and Brandon Riggs will be spinning until 6 a.m. Tickets, which include a champagne toast at midnight, cost $35 in advance and $50 at the door. Call 410-385-0520 or go to

2. Downtown Countdown: Billed as the city's biggest New Year's Eve celebration, the Downtown Countdown promises several hours of live music, comedy, dancing, and of course, booze. Mother's Federal Hill Grille, 98ROCK and Lindy Promotions teamed up to organize the event, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor, 300 Light St. The theme is Decades of Decadence, featuring music from the '70s, '80s, '90s and '00s by the Real Geniuses, Vs. the Earth, the Boogie Knights and Young MC. Ticket prices vary. Call 410-244-8686 or go to

3. The Recession Dance Party: If the recession has emptied your wallet, head to Sonar for Taxlo's Big Free New Year's Eve Dance Party. Aasha Adore, Height and Friends, the Get 'Em Mamis, Cullen Stalin and Simon Phoenix will perform. The show is free for partyers 21 and older. Open bar until midnight costs a mere $20, and Natty Bohs are $2 and rail drinks are $3 until 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for ages 18-20. Call 410-783-7888 or go to

4. Hard-Rocking Locals: Few Baltimore bands can churn out blistering rock like J-Roddy Walston and the Business. The four-piece band, which recently signed to Fairfax/Vagrant Records, will take a break from recording on the West Coast for this show at the Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St. Egg Babies Orchestra, a cover band featuring an all-star cast of local indie rockers, and scorching rockers Young Sir Jim also will perform. Tickets are $13 each, $20 for couples. Call 410-662-0069 or go to

5. Inner Harbor Spectacular: The all-around biggest New Year's celebration will be in the heart of downtown, where thousands of revelers will descend on the Inner Harbor for the annual New Year's Eve Spectacular. Live entertainment, featuring a cappella group Part Harmony and blues rockers Blues Therapy. The fireworks start at midnight. Call 1-877-BALTIMORE or go to

6. Return of the Cosmic New Year with Dark Star Orchestra: Dark Star Orchestra continues the Grateful Dead concert experience with three sets of live music, including a rare acoustic set, at Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place in Power Plant Live. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $64 in advance for this all-ages event. Admission includes a champagne toast, finger foods and party favors. Call 410-244-1131 or go to

7. New Year's Eve With a View: As of yesterday, tickets to the 13th Floor's New Year's Eve bash were still available. The historic Belvedere Hotel lounge has panoramic views of the city. Tonight, $50 gets patrons a buffet, champagne toast, party favors and loads of live music from the Rollex Band. The Belvedere is at 1 E. Chase St. Call 410-332-1000 or go to

8. Midnight Noon: Dance the day away with your kids at the Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event, which is free with museum admission (or free for members), includes face-painting, craft-making and a performance by the kids' band Milkshake. Call 410-685-5225 or go to

9. Year of the RA New Year's Eve Party: For a fuss-free New Year's Eve outing, head to RA's no-cover, no-reservations-required bash. The sushi bar (with specialty rolls like a resolution roll and a year of the RA roll) will be available until 1 a.m. Drink specials include a countdown shot and a midnight RA-tini, and there will be a free champagne toast at midnight. RA is at 1390 Lancaster St. Call 410-522-3200 or go to

10. 2nd Annual New Year's Eve Heaven & Hell Bash: Angels Rock Bar, 10 Market Place, doesn't care if you've been naughty or nice all year. All revelers 21 and over are welcome to the Power Plant Live bar to enjoy a champagne toast at midnight, a balloon drop and all-you-can-drink packages from 8 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are $40 to $60 a person or $100 a couple. Call 410-528-1999 or go to