Danny Howells + Justin Long + Nate Manic + Ari Frank
While much of the city opts for pomp and circumstance, historic basement club Smart Bar keeps it properly underground. Much-lauded U.K. jock Danny Howells works the dance floor with his tribal, funky techno and house style. The bar also sees sets from house purist Justin Long, music director Nate Manic and Ari Frank, who spins all things deep and techy. Smart Bar, 3730 N Clark St (773-549-0203). 10pm. $40, in advance $35.
A Night in Rio: New Year’s Eve 2012
For the biggest night of the winter season, Lumen deviates from the usual proceedings. The Fulton Market ultra lounge whisks the New Year’s crowd off to Rio for a Carnival-inspired night with Brazilian bites, all-inclusive drink packages, live tropical rhythms from Chicago Samba and club-friendly sounds from DJ Nardo. Lumen, 839 W Fulton Market (312-733-2222). 8pm. $75.
NYE 2012: The Official Playboy Celebration
This annual fete has all the right trappings for the perfect way to greet 2012. In addition to open bar, hors d’oeuvres and Champagne toast amenities, it boasts sets from Scandinavian club star Eva Simons and hit maker Baby Bash, a casino that’ll be the envy of Sin City and a gaggle of buxom Bunnies. Hilton Chicago, 720 S Michigan Ave (312-922-4400). 9pm. $155–$215.