It's not too late to make plans to join the party animals

December 29, 1993|By Mike Giuliano | Mike Giuliano,Contributing Writer

If you're too worn out by 1993 to even contemplate '94, your New Year's Eve plans may be no more ambitious than to slump into the living room sofa and wait for the Times Square ball to descend across your TV screen. Next thing you know, you'll be nodding off at 11:59 p.m. and will enter the new year with a snore.

What with hundreds of thousands of your neighbors making like party animals Friday night, do you really want to be a hibernating bear? Of course not. So dust off your dancing shoes, consider your festive options and head out.

The sampling of events listed below is just that, a mere fraction of what's available. Whether it's a black-tie event or a torn-jeans rave, there's something for all tastes going on around town. Although it's better to make reservations than to be turned away as the midnight hour approaches, some of the low-cost entries in this list are geared for walk-up trade.

One place where you never need a reservation is Baltimore's Inner Harbor. The family-oriented, city-sponsored event kicks off with six non-alcoholic parties at the Baltimore Convention Center at 8:30 p.m. and continues until 11:30 p.m. Featured entertainment includes country music from the band Maria Rose and Blue Horizon, R&B from The Tempests and the Hurricane Horns, comedian Bob Somerby, jazz from singer Saisa, a children's room, a dance club with a deejay, a karaoke room, strolling musicians and free refreshments.

Admission to the Convention Center is $7 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger.

Totally free are the country line dances being taught by Jim and Mindy Ratliff at the Harborplace Amphitheatre from 8 p.m. to midnight. What with one Convention Center party and this Amphitheatre event, it seems like country music will be the sound of the season.

Folks moseying on over from the Convention Center will join the thousands already hooting and hollering around the harbor as the magic moment nears. By now, we all know that where there's Mayor Kurt Schmoke, there's fireworks. So help His Honor with the countdown.

The public transportation-minded will be pleased to learn the MTA Metro and Light Rail are operating after the fireworks. (In the event of bad weather, the date for the fireworks show is Saturday at 7 p.m.) For more info on the city's Inner Harbor festivities call (410) 837-4636.

Among hotels ringing the harbor, the Stouffer Harborplace Hotel (202 E. Pratt St., (410) 547-1200) presents a "Cotton Club"-themed evening starting at 7 p.m. with cocktails, dinner and The 52nd Street Swing Band for $125 per person.

In addition to various dinner deals, the Hyatt Regency Baltimore (300 Light St., (410) 528-1234) has its main party from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. for $60 per person. Three live bands -- Moon August, Klassix and Freddie Stevens -- will help you work off the calories from the party buffet.

The Marriott Inner Harbor (Pratt and Eutaw streets, (800) 598-0005) offers a "Mystery Cafe" theatrical entertainment, dinner and dancing for $49.95 per person.

Over at the Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore (20 W. Baltimore St., (410) 539-8400), there is the Top 40 band Pure Gold, open bar and buffet starting at 8:30 p.m. for $139 per couple ($209 per couple with accommodations). Another option here, at $19.94 per couple, features a swing band and pay-as-you-consume food and drink.

There also are some harbor address events for those who want to help a good cause while having a good time. The organization Black Professional Men has a black tie optional party from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Oriole Park. Live jazz and a DJ are featured for $40 per person in advance, $50 at the door. Call (410) 377-1023.

The third annual Crystal Ball will be held from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Baltimore Museum of Industry at 1415 Key Highway. This black tie optional event benefits the South Baltimore Homeless Shelter Inc. Performing are the Delta Devils Blues Band and Tony Berry and New Money. $40 per person. Call (410) 727-5512.

On the purely hedonistic front in the harbor area, Hammerjacks (1101 S. Howard St., (410) 659-ROCK) has a three-band extravaganza headlined by a midnight show by Kix at $16 per person.

And 8x10 (10 E. Cross St., (410) 625-2000) has Lazy Susan for only $5.

For rambunctious types, Balls (200 W. Pratt St., (410) 659-5844) sports an open bar from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and buffet from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Its 24 TV screens will broadcast all the Times Square action. $25 per person.

Alternative music

For alternative music mavens, The Bank (401 W. Baltimore St., (410) 837-0504) has as its headline band Juice starting at 10 p.m. for a $5 cover.

If you want a laugh, the Comedy Factory (Light and E. Lombard streets, (410) 244-5233) presents comedian Jeff Marder. The 8 p.m. show is $10 per person, while the 10 p.m. show at $35 per person includes food and dancing.

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