Gone are the days where Auckland was a ghost town on New Year’s Eve — this year there are rivals battling for party supremacy and dollars on the biggest party night of the year.
Leading the charge among dozens of events are maestros Adam Bennett, Peter Urlich and Tim Phin. Bennett is behind Highlife NYE at the Wharf, Northcote Point, Nice and Urlich are at Ostro, Britomart, and Phin is leading SO/NYE on the rooftop of the new So Hotel.
They are facing a challenge from UPSIDE Downtown — a “multi-genre” ticket which gets punters entry to six bars and clubs including the Roxy and Cassette.
Festivals like Rhythm & Vines, Bay Dreams and Northern Bass seem to have lost their allure for some.
“A lot of people are over some of the festivals, so SO/NYE provides something more upmarket where you can actually get a cocktail or a bottle of Champagne at Auckland’s most sought-after hottest new venue,” says Phin.
Urlich, a legend of the party scene for more than 30 years, does Nice n Urlich with best mate Bevan Keys and says people expect better service these days. “Some of our crowd have been with us for 20 years, so it’s a bit like a family. The venue is fantastic, with balconies on both sides offering fresh air, al fresco boogying and sophisticated partying.”
All three hosts insist theirs will be the best place to see the SkyTower fireworks. Spy is picking Bennett’s party as the top bet for that, given the wide views from the North Shore which will also take in the harbour bridge.
Bennett is working alongside Girl About Town Michaiah Simmons-Villari who says there will be some surprises in store to liven up the party atmosphere.
“We have an aerial artist, showgirls and more to entertain our guests well through until 2019,” she says.
None of the party masters would reveal their guest list names, though Urlich let slip he had friends arriving for the night from out of town, noting how handy the chopper pad at Mechanics Bay is.
Spy also hears the ASB Tennis Classic is looking for the perfect place for the women’s players to see in the New Year. They have plenty of options.