New Year’s Eve is, frankly, Christmas for promoters. Every venue in the city is booked up and the nightclub industry can already smell the money. Balloon drops, canapés, and “free” champagne are all excuses to squeeze a few more hard-earned bills out of cash-strapped Vancouverites—and don’t get us started on those events with a compulsory dress code. (Let’s be honest: the last time our formal wear got an outing was at a second-cousin’s wedding, and we haven’t been to the gym since.)
If you, like us, are hoping to have some cash left over to make rent on January 1, there are a few alternatives. We’ve collected a list of the most exciting no-frills events popping up around the city, from techno marathons to gay-friendly sweatfests. Think of this as your personal guide for what are, if we might toot our own trumpet, the coolest places to forget that 2017 ever happened.
Got a bit more cash to splash? Check out our roundup of the more classy (read: expensive) NYE events taking place in Vancouver.
Sunwave NYE 2018
From 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. at the Red Gate Arts Society (855 East Hastings Street)
What’s in it for me? Frankly, great music. Four top-notch house and techno DJs are slated to keep the party going for seven hours—yes, you read that right—and you can be sure that there will be no cheesy A.F. pop tunes or trap bangers on the stereo. Sunwave is one of the summer’s hottest outdoor parties, so its winter appearance is only testament to the event’s demand.
Is there a dress code? I mean, is it really a techno party if everyone isn’t wearing black?
How much will this set me back? Tickets are available for $20 online until December 24, and for $30 after that.
Backdoor New Year’s Eve
From 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. at VAL Villa (494 Railway Street)
What’s in it for me? Decadence on a budget. Notoriously sexy, Backdoor is Vancouver Art and Leisure’s hot and sweaty LGBT party that reclaims unconventional spaces and turns them into thumping dancefloors. Situated in VAL Villa—a massive, two-level ship-building warehouse decked out with a spiral staircase and eye-catching décor—revellers can expect five DJs and a party that goes long after the Granville strip shuts its doors.
Is there a dress code? The less you wear, the better—or you can always take it off.
How much will this set me back? Tickets start at $40 online and cost more at the door.
’80s New Year’s Eve
From 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Devil’s Elbow (562 Beatty Street)
What’s in it for me? What better way to forget the dumpster fire that was 2017 than completely immersing yourself in another era? In this case, the Devil’s Elbow is taking it back to the ’80s—a simpler time when your biggest struggle was winding back the tape in your well-worn Guns N' Roses cassette once it was inevitably eaten by your stereo. Expect to hear ’80s vinyl all night.
Is there a dress code? Break out the fanny packs, ski jackets, and shoulder pads: those rocking the best ’80s ’fits will be up for some sweet prizes.
How much will this set me back? $25 online for the dance-party portion, which includes a midnight drink and door-prize entry.
NYE 2018 at Celebrities
From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Celebrities (1022 Davie Street)
What’s in it for me? Promoters seem to have a secret pact that on New Year’s Eve, every event will be at least four times as expensive as it should be. Fortunately, Celebrities missed that memo. Offering a night out at one of Vancouver’s best-respected mainstream clubs that won’t break the bank, the venue promises huge sets from resident DJs Yurie, Johnny Jover, and Seb C with bangers that will fire up your 2018.
Is there a dress code? General clubbing attire.
How much will this set me back? $30 online.
No Pressure NYE
From 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Colony Bar (3255 West Broadway)
What’s in it for me? The clue’s in the name. If getting hyped up for a 10-second countdown to celebrate the end of a really shit year isn’t your thing, there’s nothing like heading to a chill bar for a chill evening with some chill people. No cover, $5 snacks, $4.75 lagers, and $18 buckets make this a welcome alternative to blowing your entire December paycheque on an evening you’re probably not going to remember anyway.
Is there a dress code? Come as yourself.
How much will this set me back? Zero dollars.
Metropolis Noir New Year’s Eve: An Evening of Tragically Hip Songs
From 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Rickshaw Theatre (254 East Hastings Street)
What’s in it for me? Raise your glass to one of Canada’s most influential musicians, the late Gord Downie, with a feel-good evening of the Tragically Hip tunes. The tracks will be performed by members of local bands Black Mountain, Needles/Pins, Blackout Lights, and others. Proceeds from the event go toward the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, which works to improve the lives of First Nations people in Canada.
Is there a dress code? Nope, but rocking a feather-adorned hat or any Tragically Hip merch you have lying around would be a sweet gesture.
How much will this set me back? $17 in advance online and $25 at the door.
Queers & Beers x Man Up New Year’s Eve
From 6:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. at the Cobalt (917 Main Street)
What’s in it for me? A queer A.F., gender-bending good time complete with a whopping 26 beers on tap and a special NYE brew. Hosted by Queers & Beers, organizer of inclusive craft-beer-tasting parties, and Man Up, a local multi-gender drag show, the event will also feature food-truck grub, arcade games, and of course, a dance party and fabulous drag show that runs into the wee hours of the morning.
Is there a dress code? Whether it’s a tux and glittering six-inch-high stilettos or a T-shirt and jeans, come dressed as you please.
How much will this set me back? Tickets start at $8 online with a portion of proceeds going directly to the WISH Drop-In Centre Society.
NYE 2018 at Doolin’s
From 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. at Doolin’s Irish Pub (654 Nelson Street)
What’s in it for me? A high-energy night at a low-key pub that knows how to pour a real (i.e., 20-ounce) pint. For the price of a typical Friday night’s cover, you can boogie down to a bevy of live performers and local DJs and rest easy knowing you can spend your extra coins at the Pizza Garden or Donair Dude down the street once those inevitable “drunchies” kick in.
Is there a dress code? Hell no.
How much will this set me back? Tickets start at $10 online and include a glass of sparkling wine.
Body Language NYE
From 9:30 p.m. to 3:15 a.m. at Beaumont Studios (316 and 326 West 5th Avenue)
What’s in it for me? Breakin’ it down, cutting a rug, bustin’ a move—whatever you wanna call it, dancing is highly encouraged at this NYE rave at one of Vancouver’s coolest creative hubs. Featuring an eclectic lineup of Canuck DJs like Isis Graham, Ricco, and Andy Clockwork, the event also promises aerial hoop and dance performers, out-of-this-world visuals, and—wait for it—a vegetarian sushi bar.
Is there a dress code? No, though the principles PLUR and ROAR—right of admission reserved—will be in effect.
How much will this set back me back? Tickets are $40 online.
M.I.A. New Year’s Eve 2018
From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at M.I.A. (350 Water Street)
What’s in it for me? Honestly? The price. Definitely the cheapest party in an established club, M.I.A’s New Year’s jam will only set you back $20 to pull on your dancing shoes. Offering R&B classics alongside new-school jams, the club’s resident talent Kempeh, Hustle, and Yakobe will be hitting the ones and twos, spinning smooth, sultry, and soulful music that will definitely get your S.O. in the mood for some 2018 loving.
Is there a dress code? Not officially, though you’d be remiss not to at least try and be as stylish as Rihanna.
How much will this set me back? $20 for early-bird tickets online.
Fortune Sound Club New Year’s Eve 2018
From 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. at Fortune Sound Club (147 East Pender Street)
What’s in it for me? A bargain of a deal considering the club—home to one of the best sound systems in the city—will boast three separate spaces where resident DJs Sailor Gerry, Geni3, and My!Gay!Husband will be hammering out beat after beat until 4 a.m. For even more hits, find Strictly Afrobeats and GET LITT in Fortune’s experimental rooms.
Is there a dress code? Look good, feel good.
How much will this set me back? Tickets are $30 online.
Vancouver TheatreSports League’s Year in Review
Shows take place at 7:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m., and 11:15 p.m. at the Improv Centre (1502 Duranleau Street)
What’s in it for me? A chill, laugh-out-loud night in a non-bar or club environment where you can witness the VTSL’s best improvisers finding the humour in some of 2017’s most talked-about headlines. Whether it’s “fake news”, Prince Harry popping the question to Meghan Markle over roast chicken, or the finally-complete Burrard Street bike lanes, no audience suggestions are off limits as they’re mashed up and reinterpreted on the fly. Catch the 11:15 p.m. show, which includes bubbly, to ensure you enter the New Year on a funny note.
Is there a dress code? Nada.
How much will this set me back? Tickets start at $10.75 online.