It’s crunch time, people. If you haven’t yet started making your New Year’s Eve plans, get to it. Since I first posted about NYE parties in November, notices have been flooding my inbox and this blog’s comments section. Bookmark that page and check back. Or simply decide on a bar, club, or restaurant, visit its Web site, and make your reservations, stat. Keep in mind: Most packages cover eats and drinks until midnight, so if you show up later on, in most instances, you’ll just have to pay for cover and a cash bar (some neighborhood bars don’t even charge a cover).

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I received this e-mail from an LGS reader recently:

Subject: Toronto Guys Looking to Party in Chicago

I stumbled across your article on and was quite intrigued. My buddies and I are 24 and have already done the whole NYC, Vegas, and Montreal thing for New Year’s. This year, we decided to keep it a little more economical and come down to Chicago.

After talking to a bunch of other friends who have visited before, I got a lot of mixed replies. Eight of us are looking to hit up a hip-hop/urban club on the 30th and 31st, and were wondering if you had any recommendations for our age group? Thanks for your help!

First things first: Any time eight guys are considering a night out in the city—any city—always plan ahead. That means finding the VIP number through a club’s Web site and reserving a table ahead of time. Eight guys who just show up at a club, even if they’re willing to pay $20 cover each, should be prepared to wait while regulars and ladies scoot past them. The more popular clubs in town make every effort to keep the female-to-male ration heavy on the former, but showing up a little early—at 10 p.m., or sometimes even 9 p.m. for cocktail receptions—will make getting in less laborious.

The weekend before New Year’s Eve will be tricky, but there are plenty of options for hip-hop/urban clubs: Bon V, Le Passage, Stone Lotus, and Rednofive among them. If you’re willing to drop major dough, check out Manor or The Underground—but good luck getting in with a group of eight guys unless you pledge to buy at least three bottles. Snagging some girls at dinner beforehand and bringing them with you should help your chances.

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And for something to do tonight: Drink for a good cause at McFadden’s, where a portion of the happy-hour proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society. Twenty bucks at the door gets you all-you-can-drink beer and wine, plus hors d’oeuvres, from 6 to 8 p.m.