[image-1]NYE | Taking flight

Aloft Charleston, a fairly new hotel from the W family, has managed to create quite a buzz since opening in July. Their grand opening party in September drew a huge crowd to ooh and ahh at the ultra-chic digs, and their Halloween party was one of the most-talked-about of the year. The funny thing is, it’s in North Chuck up by the airport and the Tanger Outlets — not exactly the hippest address in town. Yet they’re sure to sell out the New Year’s Eve bash, because we’re guessing some people are getting a little sick of the hassle of downtown. The party includes food from Bushido Japanese Restaurant, an open bar with top shelf liquor, and music from DJ Shortee. For $299 per couple, you can really celebrate in style (and not have to worry about finding a cab) with a room package. You’ll get a room with a king-tionsize bed, tickets to the party, breakfast the next morning, and 2 p.m. check-out. And you can even bring your dog. (The price is $399 for four people.) Wed. Dec. 31. $115, $200/couple. aloft Charleston. Airport and Convention Center. 4875 Tanger Outlet Blvd. North Charleston. (843) 566-7300. www.alofthotels.com/charlestonevents

[image-2]NYE | Start 2009 with good food in your belly

If you didn’t get invited to that private party south of Broad but you still want to celebrate the New Year in high style, McCrady’s is one of your best bets. Considered by many to be one of the best restaurants in town, it’s located in a beautiful space down a little alleyway where George Washington himself once dined. For New Year’s, they’re offering a range of options throughout the night. From 5:30-10 p.m., the Main and Society rooms will be serving food from the regular dinner menu and the eight-course tasting menu. From 6:30-10 p.m. in the Long and Cypress rooms, they’re serving a three-course tasting menu for $55 per person. But the real party is from 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. in the Gallery Room — tickets are $65 and include a variety of cheeses and sweets, an unlimited open bar, a DJ and dancing, party favors, and a balloon drop and champagne toast at midnight. But if you’re eating at the restaurant earlier in the night, tickets are only $35. Wed. Dec. 31. 5:30 p.m.-til. McCrady’s. 2 Unity Alley. (843) 577-0025. www.mccradysrestaurant.com

[image-3]NYE | Under the Sea Prom phenom

It’s a brand new year. Why not go back in time to the most awkward period of your life? Maybe it’ll put things in perspective a little bit. Make you’ll realize how good you have it now. (We can only hope.) The Tin Roof will be decked out in hues of blue, purple, and silver for their Under the Sea Prom, and prom-goers are encouraged to dress appropriately. But don’t expect some lame band at this prom — performers include Bizarro Burlesque and Dante’s Camaro. Along with a free prom photo, you’ll get the requisite champagne toast, party favors, and hors d’oeuvres. And, unless mom drops you off at the corner, you can take advantage of the free valet parking. The night culminates with a prom king and queen crowning along with watching the ball drop on the big screen. Last year, the Tin Roof had just opened around New Year’s, and while their pajama party drew a small crowd, it’s said to have been a rollicking good time. We can only imagine how much fun this year’s party will be, considering how much the place has blown up in the last year. Just try not to make any bad decisions, kids. Wed. Dec. 31. 7 p.m. $7, $10/couple. Tin Roof. 1117 Magnolia Road. (843) 571-0775

[image-4]NYD | Dare to go polar bear

It’s a tradition that’s arguably wilder than New Year’s Eve. Thousands of people flood local beaches in all manner of costumes (think Elvis, Baby New Year, Where’s Waldo, and plain ol’ bathing suits). Some have already been drinking for hours, many are hungover from the night before, and almost all are beaming at the prospect of a brand new year. The countdown begins, a horn is blown, and the crowd rushes toward the frigid (50-some degrees?) Atlantic. Most promptly run back to shore after getting adequately wet, while some splash around or swim a few laps. Either way, it’s a pretty joyful way to kick off 2009, whether you make the plunge or just stand by and watch. Sullivan’s Island’s plunge has been hosted by the Dunleavy family for the last 15 years. It started with a dare and about six brave souls, and it’s turned into the biggest plunge in the area. You can spot the Dunleavy family in their tuxes and evening gowns. Afterwards, many head back to Dunleavy’s Pub on Middle Street for food, drinks, and football. This event benefits the Special Olympics, so bring some cash to donate. Over on Folly, Snapper Jack’s hosts a similar plunge, now in its third year, to benefit Lowcountry Food Bank at 2 p.m. Costumes are strongly encouraged. Thurs. Jan. 1, 2009. 2 p.m. Free. Sullivan’s Island and Folly Beach.

Go here for our complete calendar of events and here for NYE concerts and such.