Kristy Holland
Kristy Holland

I t's always been one of my least-favorite holidays.

It's expensive, "amateur night" crowds flood your favorite haunts, the strike of midnight is fraught with expectation and, supposedly, sets the stage for the next 365 days. Especially for anyone in a new (or yet-to-be-defined) relationship, the pressure to pay out, throw down and pucker up can detract from the fun of a night on the town.

My best advice for a romantic event with your current steady? Escape the raucous crowds, take him or her straight to the comfiest bedroom you have access to, and ring in 2012 with, ahem, a banging good time.

Have a gal (or guy) pal that's a romantic interest, but who's still painfully platonic? Escape the Pearl Street crowds for a more intimate pre-party attempt to woo her (or him). It's a 20-minute drive to the Windy Saddle Overlook, or to the Summit of Lookout Mountain in Golden, but the view of downtown Denver is just right for catching the early, 9 p.m., version of the Mile High City's 16th Street Mall fireworks show. The early event is adventurous; the sparkling show itself, suggestive of your romantic intentions; and you'll be her de-facto escort for the rest of the night.

On the outs with your lover? It's a good thing, then, that NYE also spawns some of the best meet-and-greet parties of the year. These social music-based shin-digs will be packed with people interesting enough to get you excited about the year to come.


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A Very CMKY NYE

This electronic music event at Shine and Shug's Low Country Cuisine ($25; 9 p.m.; 2017 13th St.) features Montreal-based purveyor of micro-house music -- Vincent Lemieux -- joined by a handful of local DJs spinning all night. Three music rooms mean that if you can't find the perfect grind, you can keep looking.

G. Love & Special Sauce

From "Cold Beverage" to last year's hit "Fixin' to Die," G. Love is an old school, good time, throwback band that puts on a great show. Make eyes across the room at one of the lovelies who'll be rockin' her little heart out until after the midnight champagne toast. ($69-$72; 9 p.m.; The Fox Theater, 1135 13th St.)

Sambadende

If anyone knows how to shake it, it's the Brazilians, and this local samba band brings Brazil to Boulder at least a couple of times a month -- including this NYE. The hordes crowding the St. Julien Hotel's lobby ($25-$30; 9 p.m.; 900 Walnut St.) will be more grad-school than undergrad-appropriate, but the high-energy music will give everyone enough stamina to ring in the new year. This event will be a fancy-pants one, so dress up if you head downtown.

Kristy Holland writes about dating once a week for the Colorado Daily. Tell her about your date-night ideas at boulderdatenight@gmail.com.