Where will you be when the ball drops?

New Years Eve, 2002 has finally come to a close and the excitement of the crowd around you is escalating. After hours of partying, dancing and drinking with friends you’re exhausted, but prepared to bring in 2003 with a bang.

The mass of people throb with anticipation as they groove to the rhythm of the music that envelopes everyone in a thick blanket of bass and treble. Dick Clark, his voice booming over the thriving mob, dramatically recounts the events of the past year and everyone watches as the giant ball drops in Time Square via satellite on a giant screen.

A hush falls over the crowd for a split second and then, as if it had been practiced for months, you all begin the countdown together, perfectly in sync – the suspense rising. Champagne in hand, lover in arms, friends nearby, and smiles all around, the crowd around you is anxious to begin a new year. The atmosphere overflows with joy as the final countdown begins – three, two, one – but, where will you be?

“New Year’s is the perfect time to sit at home with friends and have a blast watching Dick Clark,” says Gen Waller, a first year journalism student. Other Concordia partygoers out there like first year political science student Martin Conly are preparing to hit the town hard on New Year’s Eve. “I want to go to as many places as possible, see as many people as possible and drink as much champagne as I can take!” he exclaims.

Montreal offers a wide range of reasonably priced, well located and event-filled celebrations on New Year’s Eve. Diversity is definitely Montreal’s claim to fame, and there is something for everyone out there – you just have to know where to look.

For those who crave a night of dancing to relentless R&B, hip hop and 80’s music, Club Montreal Dome is an excellent choice. Although known as the biggest club in the city, it often attracts crowds that make it seem closet-sized and the New Year’s Eve celebration will, no doubt, draw in quite a crowd of party-goers.

With an awesome sound system and a light and laser show that is one of a kind in Canada no less, the Dome brags that its New Year’s bash will be like no other.

Outfitted with a brand new look, the club sports huge big screens that will display the countdown live from Times Square complimented by a balloon drop at midnight. Complete with champagne, party favours, 25 bartenders, open bar from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and two floors of non-stop festivities, this night will cost you $69.99 in advance.

Opened under the same people who brought the city Club Montreal Dome is another club that suits the needs of raging dance-aholics. Club Vatican boasts that it will be the best party of the night. Housing a somewhat older crowd, Club Vatican offers an evening of party favours, open bar from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., gifts, live feed from Times Square and a champagne toast at midnight. This considerably smaller club holds about 850 people and tends to fill up quickly on New Year’s Eve. It is recommended to buy your tickets in advance, which will also cost you $69.99.

Along with sister clubs Dome and Vatican lays another well-known and extremely popular club – Club 737. Renowned for its amazing 360 degree view of the entire city of Montreal, for New Year’s it will host an amazing party complete with hors d’oevres and bubbly.

For the first 300 people who call for tickets the price is $50, anyone after will have to pay $70. Tickets are currently on sale, and buying them as soon as possible is recommended – the price can sky-rocket to $80 at the door if tickets have not been pre-purchased.

Of course, there are those who prefer a more relaxed atmosphere like that of a pub or bar. Individuals who enjoy an evening spent sitting with friends around multiple pitchers will deem McKibbinn’s Irish Pub as the best alternative.

Three distinct floors, an old-fashioned atmosphere and a hip crowd are just a few reasons why McKibbinn’s is a great place to please an indecisive group of partygoers. A ticket for only $25 will get you champagne, chances to win prizes, a buffet open all evening and party favors. The festivities begin at 8 p.m. Instead of open bar, there will be various drink specials throughout the night.

On the top floor, known as Toucan, there will be a DJ spinning the latest in dance, hip-hop, R&B and techno. On the second floor, the band Sona will be playing and of course the first floor houses the traditional pub-goers complete with dartboard, television and good ‘ole Guinness on tap. McKibbinn’s Irish Pub brags that this will be a phenomenal party and recommends buying tickets early – they go on sale this week.

Of course, the club and bar scene is not for everyone. But don’t confirm plans with Dick Clark and the cat just yet. The downtown hotel scene is worth checking-out. They offer an evening of good food, good people, good music and good deals on rooms.

Out of all the hotels, The Marriott stands out as unique and is magnificent inside and out. If your plan for New Year’s Eve is to spend it wrapped in your lovers’ arms, The Marriott should accommodate those plans quite nicely. They offer a two day package from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1 – priced at 349$ for two people – which includes in-room breakfast, supper in the main hall on Dec. 31 and a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine in the room. This is the perfect plan for a quiet, romantic evening which comes highly recommended by the staff.

The Holiday Inn has the perfect median between intimate and drunken madness. Geared towards a slightly older crowd, 24 to 36 years, for $120 per person you can enjoy en evening of food, friends and music. The hotel offers a seven course sit-down meal, wine and open bar all night from 7 p.m. until 3 a.m.

Purchasing a room is not necessary to attend the party, although with the purchase of a New Year’s Eve celebration ticket, there is a discount on the rooms regularly priced at $220. Recommended attire is suit and tie for the men, evening dress for the ladies.

This will be the fifth year the Holiday Inn hosts such a party and they boast that it has always been a success.

If nothing mentioned above has tickled your fancy, and you are still set on staying in, at least treat yourself to a nice bottle of champagne. To ring in the New Year with style, any SAQ Selection store in Montreal has an amazing selection of champagnes.

There is no “bad” champagne and so it all comes down to how much you are willing to spend. The well-known Cristal, famous for it’s crystal and lead bottles made for the Tzars of Russia, will cost approximately $200, but will be enjoyed until the very last drop as it has a very distinct flavour. For the starving student, Cristal might not be the best choice so an alternative recommended by the Selection staff is the Moet & Chandon Champagne which is easier on the wallet at $56.

So, where will you be when the ball drops, when the clock strikes midnight, when your loved one holds you near, when the year 2003 begins? Regardless of what you plan to do, remember to do it safely. Enjoy yourself and surround yourself with the people you love, be it family or friends.

New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to enjoy the company of others and engage in a party like no other. Remember, there is something out there for everyone – make it your New Year’s Eve.


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