What a year, eh? Though 2021 was slightly better than the year that preceded it, it was still worse than, well, every other year of our existence except 2020. To be honest, we don’t have very high hopes for next year either, but here’s to the trend of oh-so gradual improvement maybe continuing in 2022. We’ll see.
In the meantime, we’re sure some of you want to try to end this rough year on a fun note. Or maybe you want to start next year in a positive way. Or maybe you want to cram in one more weekend of in-person and out-of-the-house enjoyment because, due entirely to the selfishness of so many in our irreparably fractured country, the status of everything appears to be up in the air again. No matter your motivation for wanting to go out this New Year’s Eve, you’ll be glad to find a wide range of events happenings in and around Milwaukee this weekend.
Starting Friday afternoon and going into the wee hours of Saturday, the city will have live music, dance parties aplenty, drag shows, comedians and improvisers, professional sports events, and even some fun the whole family can enjoy. As we say goodbye to a terrible year and brace for what’s likely to be another bad one, here’s Milwaukee Record‘s New Year’s Eve guide. (All events subject to change and/or cancellation. Check businesses vaccination/testing policy before buying tickets. Get tested before going to large group gatherings, get vaccinated if you’re able to, don’t be an asshole to bar/venue staff, don’t drive drunk, etc.)
Nate Craig @ The Laughing Tap
Nate Craig has come quite a way since leaving the Badger State. Since moving to L.A., the Wisconsin-born comedian has become one of Bill Burr’s go-to openers, he’s amassed a wealth of TV credits, he’s written for Ridiculousness and A Prairie Home Companion, and acted opposite Emma Stone and Jonah Hill on the Netflix’s Maniac. Though his acting and writing résumés have grown a great deal through the years, Craig is still a stand-up comedian first and foremost. The comic will return to his native state for a total of three performances, including a New Year’s Eve show that includes the comedy show, a champagne toast, and a countdown to 2022.
New Year’s Eve Bash @ Mad Planet
Mad Planet is already among the best places in Milwaukee to work up a sweat on the dance floor, but New Year’s Eve brings the Riverwest club to another level. Experience a James Freshluggage- and Milkman-curated blend of hits from the ’90s and this no-longer-so-young century from 9 p.m. until 4 a.m. The $20 cover includes a free champagne toast at midnight and late night pizza.
Laganja Estranja NYE Party @ This Is It
Former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Laganja Estranja has top billing at This Is It’s New Year Eve Party. The year-end appearance by the Season 6 standout will also feature a drag show by Estranja herself, as well as hosts Lola Diamond and Karma Zavich. After midnight, stay at This Is It to dance a new year in with DJ Travvy and Beth Anne Bodyworks until 6 a.m.
New Year’s Eve Bond Ball @ SafeHouse
Dress like James Bond or don other spy attire at SafeHouse’s NYE Bond Ball. The unique event will be accented by a DJ and a complementary champagne toast every hour to mark midnight striking in other time zones. Prior to the Bond Ball, you can take part in Cheers Heard Around The World, a family-friendly event in which guests ring in the New Year on the hour every hour starting at 2 p.m. until 9 p.m.
New Yams Eve with DJ Bizzon @ Company Brewing
Prolific Milwaukee musical mainstay DJ Bizzon will help bring the year to an end (and start another) in grand fashion with six hours of music that will span the decades during Company Brewing’s “New Yams Eve.” Company will also have beer and cocktail specials, late night food service, a heated patio, and more.
Harlem Globetrotters @ Fiserv Forum
The Harlem Globetrotters have been a New Year’s Eve tradition in Milwaukee for years and years. After a year away from the arena, that tradition will continue this year at the Fiserv Forum. Will this be the Washington Generals’ year?
Milwaukee Wave vs. Kansas City Comets @ UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena
In other sports-related New Year’s news, the Milwaukee Wave will kick off the holiday with a 3:05 p.m. home game against the Kansas City Comets. If you want to make good on this year’s resolution to watch more indoor soccer, or if you’re in search of some family-oriented fun in the afternoon, Milwaukee Wave has you covered. The game will be followed by a 22-minute dance party.
New Year’s Eve With No Seatbelts @ The Jazz Estate
Milwaukee’s own No Seatbelts will head up a great live music lineup at The Jazz Estate. Joining them in this holiday show is a trio composed of Jeremy Kuzniar, Mark Davis, and Clay Schaub that will start things off with a pre-midnight performance before No Seatbelts plays a New Year in at the East Side club.
An Intergalactic NYE Dance Party @ X-Ray Arcade
Subspace and Goth Barge have teamed up to bring what’s being called “an epic intergalactic NYE dance party” to X-Ray Arcade. The Cudahy venue have have “out of this world” visuals and a playlist overflowing in new wave, EBM, industrial, synth, darkwave, and goth music. This 21+ event goes from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. and there’s no cover charge.
Noir at Nō NYE Party @ Nō Studios
Nō Studios and Nic Stokes will co-present a Noir at Nō NYE Party. Starting at 10 p.m., the place will be abuzz with music curated by Stokes and DJ Gemini Gilly. There will also be a champagne toast at midnight.
Radio Radio + DJ Synthia @ Club Garibaldi
Bid the year farewell at Club Garibaldi, where Radio Radio and DJ Synthia will be teaming up for “New Wave Eve.” The new wave dance party will feature retro tunes and a champagne toast at midnight.
Stellar Spark New Year’s Eve @ The Rave/Eagles Club
Stellar Spark returns to The Rave for another New Year’s Eve affair. The 19th annual event will be headed up by Krewella, who will be joined by the likes of Athenis, Nate Deris, DJ Reims, 0pticBox, Finchie and more to be announced.
Family Friendly New Year’s Eve @ Bounce Milwaukee
The fine folks at Bounce Milwaukee have a New Year’s celebration that’s fit for the whole family…and one that will allow you to be home by 9. Enjoy games and attractions, a buffet, and a champagne (and sparkling juice) toast at “midnight” (8 p.m.).
New Year’s Eve Comedy Shows @ ComedySportz
Dick Chudnow berthed the flagship ComedySportz location in 1984. Since then, the Milwaukee sketch and improv hub has become a full-blown franchise, now boasting 25 locations in three countries and a list of now-famous players that’s too long and impressive to even attempt writing here. Say goodbye to another year at CSz with two shows (8 p.m. “early bird” and a 10:30 match), all you can drink soda and champagne, free pre-show appetizers, and a bag of party favors for just $45. “Yes-and” your way into 2022.
NYE: Of The Trees @ Miramar Theatre
From 9 p.m. to 3:30 a.m., Miramar Theatre will be alive with the sounds provided by Of The Trees, Freddy Todd, Spunback, Mumbee, and WxstedFxntxsy. This is already sold out, so we hope you got your ticket in time.