Find your favorite club or party venue and celebrate the biggest party day of the year in or around Little Rock: Most of the clubs play host to favorite local acts. New Year’s Eve cover charges include party favors and champagne toast at midnight.
Here’s what’s cooking on Friday, Dec. 31:
• Soul, blues and R&B with Ramona Smith and Friends at the Afterthought. The $65 cover includes a dinner buffet and music by Smith starting at 8 p.m. Call 663-1196 for reservations or more information.
• Dancing and live entertainment by local cover rockers Taylor Made at Cajun’s Wharf. The $20 cost includes an appetizer buffet. Reservations are available at 375-5351.
• Lookback Marys perform their signature roots-rock style of music at Cornerstone Deli and Pub in North Little Rock (374-1782) at 9 p.m.; cover is $10. The pub will be closed New Year’s Day.
• Go bananas at Club Coconuts in the River Market district with dancing on its big dance floor and the Shannon Boshears Band playing that evening. Cover is $10.
• Gaily celebrate the New Year on Jessie Road at Discovery Night Club for a $20 cover or next door at Backstreet for $10. There are drag shows at the former and male dancers at the latter, as well as a champagne toast at midnight and balloon drop included in the price of admission. Doors open at either establishment at 10 p.m.
• Easy Street plans on a big turnout at the piano lounge, so much so that management has planned two seatings at the venue — one at 8 p.m. and again at 10:30 p.m. Admission is $25 per seating and includes hors d’oeuvres. For reservations, call 372-3530.
• The Electric Cowboy saddles up for a big party, with doors opening at 7:30 p.m. Cover is $10. “Get here early,” says management, because no reservations will be taken.
• The Flying Saucer features pop-meisters the Boswells. Tickets are $20 (includes a Cajun-style meal and the requisite toast and favors) or $10 (no meal). Call 372-7468 for more info.
• Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom blasts in 2005 with the dreadlocked free-style jam of locals FreeVerse and Weakness for Blondes. Advance tickets for the 9 p.m. show are $10, or $12 the day of (if space allows). Call 374-3271 for reservations, or drop by the club to purchase tickets.
On New Year’s Day, Texas-style guitar blues by Wes Jeans starts at 9:30 p.m. with Beau Nixon and the Big Machine opening. The cover is $6.
•?Late-night private clubs will have New Year’s Eve celebrations at midnight and the partying will last until around 5 a.m.: Midtown Billiards has rockabilly band the Poison Oakies ($15 per person, $25 per couple).
• The Long Branch Saloon (8419 Scott Hamilton Road) may not be a regular in the club music news, but the biker bar plans on kick-starting 2005 with blues band Gil Franklin and the Pike Avenue Revue, with music at 7:30 p.m. Cover is $5.
• Laughing in the New Year will be the Loony Bin Comedy Club in Breckenridge Village with hoots and hollers courtesy of a 10 p.m. show Dec. 31 by comedian Vic Dunlop. Dunlop, known as the “crazy eyes” guy, has been featured in movies such as “Meatballs 2.” A special price of $25 covers all the party favors, hats, noisemakers, etc. There is also a 7 p.m. show that evening, and price of admission is $15. Call 228-5555 for reservations.
• Rock in the New Year with Sticky Fingerz’ regional favorite Will Hoge, with local favorite Poeboy Society as the opener. Advance reservations are suggested for the 10 p.m. show, and tickets are $12; call 372-7707.
The club also will be open New Year’s Day with a theatrical music show featuring Quintron and Miss Pussycat, the electronic organ, maracas and puppetry duo from New Orleans. The cover for the 9 p.m. show is $7.
• Underground Pub goes agreeably Anglo for the New Year with Irish Redd as the evening’s entertainment. The music starts at 9 p.m. Friday, and cover is $10. Call 707-2537 for more information.
• You don’t have to be an old fogey of 21 or more to ring in the New Year: Vino’s Brewpub and the Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative will hold an all-ages bash starting at 8:30 p.m. with PM Today, Arkansassy, The Thing That Always Explodes and Turtle Gallery. The cover charge is $5.
Also, all-ages punks can celebrate at Blank Generation for $5, with Kill Crush Destroy, My Way My Love, Uncalled For, and Josh the Devil and the Sinners. Music starts at 8:30 p.m. as well.
Metal is at Downtown Music and Records, which will be playing host to an all-ages show with Rwake, Sh*tfire and Unborn for its usual $5 admission. The music starting at 9 p.m.
•?West End Smokehouse and Tavern will show bowl games on the big screen all day the 31st, and bring in Tragikly White for the New Year’s Eve live entertainment at 10 p.m. Call 224-7665 for details.
On New Year’s Day, Downslide will entertain those who haven’t had enough the night before. Again, music cranks up after the bowl games at 10 p.m.
• Willie D’s piano bar has New Year’s Eve reserved seats for $50, which includes a four-course meal. Reservations are being taken for parties of all sizes at 244-9550.
Across the street, the Ernie Biggs piano bar also plans on dueling for New Year’s patrons. Call 372-4782 for more information.
• The White Water Tavern has a double bill Dec. 31 with perhaps the most original cover local band (and a few great originals to boot): Parachute Woman and newgrass/bluegrass band Runaway Planet, for a cover of $10. Music starts around 9 p.m. Call 375-8400.
• Some area hotels give you a chance to booze it up and not have to take the wheel, with package deals that include a New Year’s Eve party and room rates.
• Bobbisox will celebrate in the club and poolside at the Holiday Inn Airport (3201 Bankhead Drive). Reservations are available at 490-0092.
• The Rockets are on the roster for New Year’s fun at the Embassy Suites, 11301 Financial Centre Parkway. Call 312-9000 for reservations.
• Superflux, with blonde beauty Cara Hays fronting the popular local cover band, will provide the entertainment at the Wyndham-Riverfront Hotel’s New Year’s Eve celebration. Call 371-9000.
• The newly renovated Little Rock Hilton at 925 S. University Ave. is planning a New Year’s bash with the Big John Miller Band. Call 664-5020 for room and party rates.
• The Holiday Inn Select (201 S. Shackleford Road) offers surf and turf, music by Tom, Dick and Harry and breakfast New Year’s Day. Call 223-3000.
• The downtown Peabody-Little Rock plans a balloon drop at midnight, a gourmet dinner with special wine selections, and classy music by Wine and Roses. Reservations are available at 399-8062.
Sheila Kennedy, a professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founder of Kennedy & Violich Architecture Ltd., will give the June Freeman lecture tonight at the Arkansas Arts Center, part of the Architecture + Design Network series at the Arkansas Arts Center.
The Senate this morning added an amendment to Rep. Charlie Collins campus carry bill that incorporates the effort denied in committee yesterday to require a 16-hour additional training period before university staff members with concealed carry permits may take the weapons on campus.
The Walton College of Business is working to expand its executive education by opening an office in downtown Little Rock that would offer non-degree programs to the health, banking and finance and retail industries in Central Arkansas, the school confirmed today.