UPDATED – Hard to believe that 2015 is nearly over. A landmark year for the community with marriage equality, it was definitely a good year for the gays and we’ve partied hard to celebrate … and we have one more chance to celebrate this week with New Year’s Eve. Luckily, there are quite a few options for those looking to celebrate — from ballroom to bar.
If you want to do the downtown thing, but don’t necessarily want the bar scene, there’s the city of Austin’s family friendly, alcohol-free Austin’s First Night, with the firework finale at 10 PM and then there is the more formal All Things Positive party at the W Austin.
AUSTIN'S NEW YEAR 2016
If you got the kids in tow or just looking for something a little low-key this year, check out Austin’s annual family friendly, alcohol-free New Year’s celebration featuring art, food trucks, live music on three stages and a fireworks finale at 10 PM. This year’s line-up includes Grupo Fantasma, Golden Dawn Arkestra, KP & the Boom Boom and Carolyn Wonderland. Auditorium Shores & Vic Mathias Shores, 920 W Riverside Dr, Austin TX 78704. Thursday, December 31, 2015. 4-10 PM. All ages. FREE, no cover.Add to calendar RSVP on Facebook Visit website
ALL THINGS POSITIVE NEW YEAR'S EVE
A celebration of love, community, camaraderie, and diversity at the first annual All Things Positive™ New Year’s Celebration featuring music from Mingo Fishtrap, Omar Phoenix, uLOVEi, DJ Kimmy K and more. Ticket price includes champagne toast, hors d’oeuvres & appetizers, and midnight breakfast taco buffet served up by the incredible W Hotel team. 50% of net proceeds will be shared among these local Austin non-profit organizations: LifeWorks Austin, Survive2Thrive Foundation, and Women’s Alliance for Leadership WAL. W Austin Hotel, 200 Lavaca St., Austin TX 78701. Thursday, December 31, 2015. 8 PM – 2 AM. 18+. $150 general admission, $250 couples admission, $265 VPP (Very Positive Person).Add to calendar RSVP on Facebook Get Tickets
BARS & CLUBS
While the nightlife scene isn’t for everyone, for some, it just wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without at trip to one (or more) of the downtown bars and clubs.
NEW YEAR'S EVE CELEBRATION
This north Austin hotspot is an alternative for those that want the bar feel, but without the downtown hassle. No cover. Plenty of free parking. Cash balloon drop at midnight. BT2, 6607 N Interstate 35, Austin TX 78752. Thursday, December 31, 2015. 9 PM. 21+. FREE, no cover.Add to calendar RSVP on Facebook
Cheer Up Charlie's
NO PLAY MUSIC PRESENTS NEW YEAR'S EVE
Cheer Up Charlie’s is close enough to the core to get the downtown Austin feel, but far enough away that you’re not drowning in the madness of Dirty 6th Street. This year, No Play Music presents Thelma and the Sleaze, SAILOR POON, Ramesh, The Sour Notes, R O S E S, Basketball Shorts, DJ GirlFriend & DJ John Laird of SIDEONETRACKONE with photos by TheBarBat and 3D visuals by Total Unicorn. Cheer Up Charlie’s, 900 Red River St., Austin TX 78701. Thursday, December 31, 2015. 7 PM. 21+. Online tickets $6.27.Add to calendar RSVP on Facebook Get Tickets
CIRQUE NOIR: 2016 NEW YEAR'S EVE MASQUERADE BALL
Austin Pride presents a masquerade ball to ring in the new year with Cirque Noir at Highland Lounge with a silent auction, photo booth, balloon drop, aerial performers and live entertainment featuring performances by Crystal Waters. Highland, 404 Colorado St, Austin TX 78701. Thursday, December 31, 2015. 9 PM. 21+. Online tickets $21.49–$36.87.Add to calendar RSVP on Facebook Get Tickets
The Iron Bear
IRON BEAR NEW YEAR'S EVE
While it’s downtown, the Iron Bear up on 8th and Colorado streets, is far enough away from the mess of 4th & 6th streets to making it almost bear-able. DJ Todd will be spinning all night, so head in and grab a complimentary party hat and get ready for that complimentary champagne toast when the ball drops. Then hang around for a lite buffet of ham, rolls and blackeyed peas right after New Year’s. The Iron Bear, 121 W 8th St, Austin TX 78701. Thursday, December 31, 2015. 9 PM. 21+. FREE, no cover.Add to calendar RSVP on Facebook
NEW YEAR'S EVE AT OCH
Ring in the new year down on 4th Street at Austin’s landmark gay bar dancing the night away to two deejays — DJ Kavika and DJ Eriq Stylez. Be sure to get your photo with OCH’s traditional ice sculpture before you celebrate the 2016 with a free champagne toast. Oilcan Harry’s, 211 W. 4th St., Austin TX 78701. Thursday, December 31, 2015. 10 PM. 21+. FREE, no cover.Add to calendar RSVP on Facebook
Rain on 4th
NEW YEAR'S EVE 2016 FT. DJ TONY CASTRO EDITION
Rain on 4th rings in the new year with DJ Tony Castro in the booth all night long along with your hostess Sabel Scities and his special “Year In Review” set. Champagne packages and cabana/booth/table rentals available. Ask you favorite bartenders for details. Rain on 4th, 217 W 4th St, Austin TX 78701. Thursday, December 31, 2015. 10 PM. 21+. FREE, no cover.Add to calendar RSVP on Facebook
BIG FREEDIA'S NYE PARTY
The Mohawk and Fun Fun Fun Fest present New Year’s Eve with the Big Diva — Big Freedia, along with BoomBaptist and Sharkweek — for an all ages show, complete with balloon drop and champagne toast at midnight.The Mohawk, 912 Red River St., Austin TX 78701. Thursday, December 31, 2015. 6 PM. All ages. SOLD OUT.Add to calendar RSVP on Facebook Get Tickets
SABRA JOHNSIN BURLESQUE PRESENTS A NEW YEAR'S EVE SPECTACULAR
The Sins will provide to you one of the best variety shows in Austin, with a true mesh of classic and neo-burlesque, high-energy group routines and electrifying soloists that are sure to leave you dazzled! The unique and multifaceted talents of our burlesque beauties, cabaret dancers, aerial artists, singers, drag talent, and fire & sideshow acts will surely provide something for everyone! Brass House (in the Ballroom), 115 San Jacinto Blvd., Austin TX 78701. Thursday, December 31, 2015. 7 PM. $35-75.Add to calendar RSVP on Facebook Get Tickets
NEW YEAR'S EVE WITH GINGER LEIGH & THE SAINTS OF SECOND CHANCES
Ring in the New Year at The Townsend, directly across from the Paramount Theatre, with Austin legend Ginger Leigh and special guests The Saints of Second Chances.The Townsend, 718 Congress Ave., Austin TX 78701. Thursday, December 31, 2015. 9 PM. 21+. $30-750.Add to calendar RSVP on Facebook
The Austin Police Department’s No Refusal Initiative is in effect through January 3, 2016 5 AM. During this time, officers can apply for a search warrant to obtain blood from those drivers that they suspect to be impaired who refuse to provide a breath or blood sample. The Holiday No Refusal initiative which started on December 18 has resulting in 127 DWI arrests as of December 28.
CapMetro will be FREE on New Year’s Eve starting at 6 PM. Special extended MetroRapid and MetroRail service runs until 2:30 AM, and Night Owls run until 3:30 AM. Details are available on the Capital Metro website at www.capmetro.org/specialevents. Please note that there is no UT Shuttle or E-bus service on New Year’s Eve.
Unfortunately, for those under 21, there aren’t many options this year, since most bars are now 21+ only, and the few that do allow minors are not allowing them on New Year’s Eve. Right now, the only items on our list that is open to those under 21 is the city’s Austin’s New Year party downtown, which ends at 10 PM and the sold out Big Freedia’s NYE Party.
gAyTX Nights is therepubliq’s monthly nightlife column that takes a look at what’s going on in Austin’s nightlife scene, with a focus on Austin’s gay bars and clubs. Bar owners/managers, email details about upcoming changes or special events to email@example.com to be considered for the next edition.