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Weekend Preview: What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

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It's never too early to start making plans for New Year's Eve ... and there are plenty of parties and events to choose from throughout San Diego.

Gillian Flynn, editor-in-chief of Riviera San Diego, and Alex Zaragoza, calendar editor and columnist at San Diego CityBeat, share with KPBS Midday Edition their top event picks for ringing in 2013. (Champagne toast at midnight more than likely included.)

One of San Diego’s oldest hotels is launching a new annual New Year’s Eve soiree. “The Bivouac” at downtown's historic US Grant offers an upscale and more intimate party alternative to the nightclub scene. Arrive on the red carpet and then step inside to enjoy a range of different beverage stations, including spiked punch bowls, live music by local blues/soul-rockers Lady Dottie & the Diamonds, and dance the night away to DJ Brett Bodley.

For vintage Hollywood glamor and glitz, head to the "Alice in Wonderland"-inspired Vin de Syrah Spirit and Wine Parlor in the Gaslamp. The bar is paying tribute to the early days of Hollywood with its “We’ll Always Have Paris” theme party. A range of entertainment will unfold throughout the evening, including live burlesque performances, music by DJ Huy Believe and photo ops with the "stars" themselves (Marilyn, Audrey Hepburn, Frank Sinatra and more celebrity impersonators will be mixing and mingling). Prior to the party, the bar will be hosting a champagne tasting from 8-9 p.m. (reservations required; each reservation includes one complimentary ticket to the Hollywood party).

For those looking to indulge (and spend) a bit more than usual on New Year’s Eve, visit the recently remodeled Rancho Valencia in Rancho Santa Fe for “A Sparkling Soiree.” The party will be spread throughout the resort's clubhouse, with a variety of music, entertainment and libations in each room, plus tray-passed bites and food stations created by Executive Chef Eric Bauer.

Music lovers will want to spend the night at The Lafayette Hotel in North Park. The Casbah presents its annual rock-and-roll-fueled New Year’s Eve party, featuring a slew of local bands playing in different rooms throughout the hotel. Former San Diego-based blues-rock duo Little Hurricane headlines, along with Get Back Loretta, The Creepy Creeps, Blackout Party, The Amandas, Shake Before Us and Creepxotica.

If you're looking for a mellower affair, but still want to go out, treat yourself with dinner and drinks at some of San Diego's home-grown restaurants.

Flynn suggests a late-night Italian dinner at Monello or Bencotto (both in Little Italy). Make your reservation for 9:30 and stay though midnight when the restaurants will be offering complimentary champagne.

Zaragoza recommends Starlite, which is offering two ways to celebrate: a three-course, prix fixe dinner and/or a late-night party with cocktails and a live DJ.


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