I’m going to come out with a (potentially) unpopular opinion: I usually hate New Year’s Eve in Chicago. I’ve dabbled with the different types of events that the city has to offer, from the $250 hotels black tie hotel parties down to dive bars with no cover. It’s cold, it’s hard to find a cab (or not pay 8x Uber surge pricing), and I invariably feel packed like a sardine in whatever setting I’m in, struggling to get a drink. If there’s an expensive cover, I’m certainly hating that most of all.
With those as my typical options, I was extremely excited that Paradigm Presents was putting on a Dirtybird Records party on New Year’s Eve that hit all the points I wanted. Early bird pricing was only around $50 per person and included three drink tickets and a champagne toast – an incredible value for this holiday in Chicago. The location also boded well for a fun evening – Lacuna Lofts, south of the city close to Chinatown, is a huge 15,000 square foot space with plenty of room to move around, along with a second room for local artists. Best of all it went until 6 am, giving us ample time to get past that surge pricing and get a cab for a standard rate.
My group arrived reasonably early around 11 pm, and the door staff seemed well prepared to get us in and get us in quick. Considering it was less than 10 degrees we distinctly appreciated the hustle. Although the coat check line had a pretty long wait, after that the evening was superb. The large venue gave plenty of room to move around, and the bartenders were quick to get drinks made. There wasn’t much on the menu besides standard liquor with mixers, which certainly helped, but I was happy with the service regardless.
In terms of music, Christian Martin was already going as we walked in and Justin Martin jumped on the decks at midnight to play a full three hour set. His set was hitting the Dirtybird sounds hard, and he dropped in a couple of his well known tracks like “Don’t Go.” The “Baking Soda” song he dropped in the middle of his set was especially funny considering how long the lines at the bathroom were – clearly the stalls were a bit over occupied in this crowd. J. Phlip then came on at 3 am, although we bowed out shortly thereafter.
My only complaints on the evening were that the lines for the bathrooms were exceedingly long as I just mentioned, and the coat check was a little bit of a mess. One of the bars holding a set of coats collapsed at some point so that definitely gave the staff some trouble, but overall the folks serving us partiers were friendly and had a positive attitude. That was definitely an issue that caused some delays, but the Paradigm Presents staff handled it well.