New Year's Eve is a paradox in San Francisco: It's simultaneously one of the best and worst nights of the year to party. The best because, with some proper planning and preparation (repeat after me: disco nap, disco nap, disco nap!), a dedicated partygoer can go for it European-style, partying well into New Year's Day and beyond with musical accompaniment provided by top-tier artists and DJs from all over the globe and the Bay Area, too. The worst because, without said proper planning and preparation, New Year's Eve becomes the worst amateur hour imaginable, as costumed crowds flood the city from the outer reaches of the Bay, cover charges skyrocket accordingly, and awful music descends like a plague on dancefloors throughout the city. This week's column foregoes the usual Top 5 and instead features a handful of events throughout New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, so that musically-discerning partygoers can pick and choose when and how they ring in the new year (and, of course, so those with enough stamina can do it all).
New Year's Eve
Gray Area presents Honey Sunset New Year's Eve featuring Lee Douglas and more at Gray Area Art + Technology Grand Theater, 9 p.m.-4 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31. $30-$40; grayarea.org
If you have to pick just one party to attend on New Year's Eve, this is your best bet. Headlining is Lee Douglas, a Berlin-by-way-of-New York producer and DJ responsible for two of the year's finest techno records, the An-i 12-inches on Cititrax. He's supported by the resident DJs from Honey Soundsystem (Jason Kendig, Jackie House, Robot Hustle, and Josh Cheon) and Sunset Soundsystem (Solar, Galen, and J-Bird), some of the finest DJs in San Francisco. Meanwhile, visual artists HEX and Corecult will feature a full-size LED installation to keep your eyes as busy as your ears. It all goes down in the Mission's historic Grand Theater, the new home of Gray Area Foundation For The Arts, whose spacious dancefloor and curved dome will make for an amazing venue to ring in the new year.
Housepitality's Interstellar Discotech feat. Derek Plaslaiko, Dave Aju, Secret Studio, and more at F8, 8 p.m.-4 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31. $30-$40; feightsf.com
Housepitality's NYE bash has an all-star lineup headed up by Derek Plaslaiko, the Detroit-born, Berlin-based DJ who has been honing his skills all around the globe for the past 20-odd years. Plaslaiko is one of the world's most versatile DJs, with an encyclopedic knowledge of dance music. His sets often feature classic disco alongside vintage Chicago house alongside cutting-edge minimal techno, a feat made possible by his knack for selection and top-tier mixing skills. Joining him is Dave Aju, a San Franciscan whose string of pristine tech-house releases has made him a favorite all over the world. Local live act Secret Studio and DJ duo Bob Campbell head up the main room support, while DJ team The Chug Dealers will keep the party going in the back.
Monarch New Year's Eve featuring Click Click and more at Monarch, 8 p.m.-4 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31. $40; monarchsf.com
Monarch plays host to Click Click, a Berliner with his own twist on a distinctly American style of dance music, blending together nu-disco, indie dance, and contemporary deep house. It's glossy, playful, fun, and sexy, perfectly suited to a New Year's Eve party. They're joined by Oakland new-wave duo The Lovemakers and a who's who of local DJs: DJ M3 and Erik Deutsch; Richie Panic and Corey Sizemore; Lisbona, Shiny Objects, and Papa Lu; Mozghan, Tasho and Cole; and last but not least, DJ Alvaro.
New Year's Day
Black Magic Disko's feat. Afrikan Sciences and more at F8, 6 a.m.-midday Thursday, Jan. 1. Free with Housepitality entry, $10+ otherwise; feightsf.com
If you choose Housepitality for your NYE debauchery, plan to stick around F8 all night long until Black Magic Disko takes over at 6 a.m. to launch the new year. If not, you should still show up in the wee hours of the morning, because this one features hometown hero Conor playing tunes in the 6 a.m. slot, followed up by a slew of headliners including Afrikan Sciences, an Oakland-born producer who released one of 2014's best albums on renowned label PAN. He's joined by Silky from London and Blakkat from L.A., house aficionados with record collections that span decades. Dirtie Blonde will keep the party going in the back alongside Victor Vega and Woo.
Sunset Soundsystem's New Year's Day Dance Party feat. Roy Davis Jr. and more at Mezzanine, 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 1. $15-$20; mezzaninesf.com
Sunset's annual New Year's Day party is going big this time, running a full 12 hours on Jan. 1. The festivities begin in the afternoon (which means you could conceivably party nonstop beginning Wednesday evening into Friday morning) at Mezzanine, featuring local Benjamin Vallery as well as Sunset's residents Solar, Galen, and J-Bird. Later on, Chicago acid house legend Roy Davis Jr. takes over, ushering in the new year as only an old-school legend can.
Morning Glory 3 featuring Jackie House, Steve Fabus, DJ Primo, Doc Sleep and more at BeatBox, 4 a.m.-9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 1. $5 with Honey Sunset wristband, $10 without; beatboxsf.com
BeatBox is keeping it a locals-only affair with Morning Glory, a 4 a.m. dance party featuring a series of 30-minute DJ sets from a host of San Francisco selectors, including the names above as well as Trevor Sigler, Taco Tuesday, CarryOnDisco, M*J*R, and ChiChi. Expect a sleazy, dirty, sweaty, and queer-ish party — perhaps the most San Francisco way possible to celebrate 2015.