Long lines, three clubs, and a car wreck: NYE in Minneapolis
The hype surrounding New Year's Eve almost never comes close to what actually happens that night. Sure, sometimes there's a cinematic moment with confetti and a kiss that ranks on your top 10 list, but more often than not someone spills a drink on you and you're left waiting for a cab in the cold. That's the beauty of the night: There's no rhyme or reason to what's going to happen.
The Twin Cities hosted a slew of parties and events around town, from slick club parties to bar get-togethers. While there's a lot to be said for hanging out at home with family or friends and watching the ball drop, getting out into the city means that anything can happen. Despite best efforts to plot out the evening between friends and numerous parties, sometimes you just can't plan for what actually happens.
Epic Event Center
My night started at Epic's Midnight in Morocco party. Promoted as one of the biggest New Year's Eve celebrations in Minneapolis, my hopes for the event were pretty high. I wasn't disappointed.
The club was decked out in lavish, harem-chic décor with flowing fabric hung swag-style around the VIP area, and sparkling star lanterns suspended from the ceiling. The night's entertainment, hosted by the peppy, sequin-clad Carly Aplin, kept with the Moroccan theme and featured incredible fire performances and sensual belly dancing. The fashion show stood out as a highlight, with a sexy I Dream of Jeannie vibe.
Last time I was at Epic was for an event in college, and the dance floor was pretty much the same as it was that night: fun and full with lots of bumping and grinding to Top 40 hits and electronic music.
The Crowd: Lots of sequins. So many sequins. Most ladies chose black, neutral, or metallic color palates. The guys stuck to the usual jeans and button-downs, with the occasional blazer or suit thrown in. There was an alarming amount of enthusiasm from the crowd for "Party Rock Anthem" immediately following the belly-dancing.
Overheard in the Crowd: "We met when we were getting ready to take the MCAT." "We just took it like, two weeks ago." "And then we went out drinking right after it that day from like, 11 a.m. until 11 p.m." "You mean 2 a.m."
Random Notebook Dump: Everything went quite smoothly, from coat check to grabbing a drink at the bar. Little did I know that this was about as smooth as the evening was going to get.
Seven Sushi Ultralounge and Skybar
I met up with a handful of friends at Seven with the intention of staying for a little while before heading to our final destination at the Kitty Cat Klub to meet up with more friends when the clock struck midnight.
Getting into the Seven was easy enough, though the line was out the door and filled with women in the most miniature of mini skirts shivering in the bitter cold air. We easily made our way through the street-level bar area and upstairs where the action was. The space was darkly lit with Seven's signature warm orange glow (and a ton of black and gold balloons). The vibe was fun, packed with lots large groups of friends guzzling drinks and chatting.
There wasn't nearly as much space to dance, though revelers made their own little dance circles around the second floor. DJs played Top 40 tunes and brought out a few older hits, too. I especially appreciate any DJ who whips out Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl." (Can you believe that song is nine years old now? What?)
Originally, we decided to run off to the Kitty Cat Klub via bus so before midnight. However, we eventually realized traffic would be too congested to get us over to Dinkytown in time. Since we were staying, I decided to check my coat, and ended up standing in line for more than 20 minutes. After finally ridding myself of
the bane of any winter-time partygoer my jacket, I tried to get back upstairs. Unfortunately, there was now a bouncer at the foot of the stairs refusing to let anyone through. Some lucky souls were able to talk him into letting them upstairs, but I stood with an ever-growing and frustrated crowd on the main level watching snippets of Jay Leno on the bar TV. After spending 45 minutes on the ground floor going nowhere, we decided to try out what First Avenue had to offer with precious few minutes until midnight.
Personal Bias: I really wanted to like what Seven had to offer. (Hello, no cover charge for a great party? Sign me up!) I met up with friends and was able to get to the bar pretty quickly despite the huge crowd. It was disappointing that I wasn't able to get back upstairs again after checking my coat.
The Crowd: Very, very similar to the crowd at Epic.
Overheard in the Crowd: "I think I almost knocked over a congressman!"
Random Notebook Dump: There were a lot of people standing in line outside Seven when we left that were going to continue to spend a ridiculously long time waiting to get in to the full club at midnight.
7th Street Entry
We were standing in line outside of First Avenue for its New Year's Eve Danceteria when we heard the sound of revving and tires screeching behind us. We turned around in time to see a gray SUV careen down 7th Street without any inclination of slowing down for the line of cars waiting at the light on First Avenue. The SUV hit a sports car and a pole before pausing just a moment. We thought the driver might get out and assess the damage. Instead, he reversed and hit the gas, coming straight at people standing on the sidewalk, before turning sharply and speeding off down the road. We phoned in the driver's plates to 911. The staff at First Avenue was also on top of the situation, immediately checking on the car's passengers and calling for help as well.
Shaken by what had just happened, we turned around and noticed a poster for Mark Mallman's New Year's Eve celebration at the Entry.
My group walked in with 90 seconds until the stroke of midnight to see Mallman behind his piano onstage, riling up the crowd for the night's big moment. Mallman played on after midnight with ecstatic energy, his sweat flying into the rapt crowd as he ran around stage throughout his set. Personal Bias: I've never seen Mark Mallman before, but boy does he put on a good show.
The Crowd: Hip twenty- and thirty-somethings bopping along to the music.
Overheard in the Crowd: It was a pretty quiet bunch, except for the New Year's countdown. People were obviously there for the music and a fun, relatively low-key concert.
Random Notebook Dump: Mark Mallman said this out loud: "I need you to welcome the powers of the sensei and the jazz flute."
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