Here’s to a new year of parties 

Happy Hangover!

We’re not going to lie, we started 2014 with a pounding headache. The hangover from hell came courtesy of a New Year’s Eve spent at the Alley. The sold-out party started around 9 p.m., and the masses arrived promptly. Most were dressed to the nines — well, except for that one dude in a velour hoodie that said “Ride or Die” — and they mingled amid the three open bars. And even with more than 400 tickets sold, guests didn’t have to wait long for their drinks. Our head didn’t thank them for that. But what was with the deal with the smell? The aroma of tater tots was overwhelming and somewhat off-putting. Of course, it didn’t keep us from trying them, and they were pretty delicious. Given our hangover the next day, maybe we should have eaten more. The Alley made sure to use all of its space. The majority of the guests stayed in the front area, close to the bar, watching some of the football game. Upstairs, dancers also had access to a silent disco, a photo booth, and a bowling pin and ball-shaped ice luge. A few of the guests spent a little too much time fingering the bowling ball’s holes. On the main floor, DJ Sonar played some pretty good music, but at times it seemed more like background noise than a feature of the party. The bowling also seemed like it wasn’t one of the major attractions with many of the lanes remaining unused. As the night wore on, typical New Year’s Eve shenanigans ensued. Shots were taken, people danced, and everyone counted down to the start of the new year. The next morning was rough, and we logically thought the way to cure our hangover was to jump into the Atlantic Ocean with hundreds of our new best friends. The Folly Beach Polar Bear Plunge started at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day, and it started promptly — so promptly we barely had time to throw down our blankets and towels before joining the mass of people running toward the frigid water. Despite rushing the water with a gaggle of strangers, a sense of camaraderie emerged among the plungers. And we needed it. The water was bracing, taking our breath away as soon as we hit it, but knowing we weren’t alone made it better. One comrade saw a fin in the water moments before everyone jumped in. We’re just glad we didn’t know that beforehand. The costumes were what really made the day. We saw the cast from Saved By the Bell, Pee-wee Herman, a gold Speedo-wearing man, bacon, and prom queens. And then there were the pajamas, worn by so many we had to assume they had just rolled out of bed after their New Year’s Eve revelry. Afterward people’s lips started turning blue, and a large crowd made their way to the bars. We joined in — but only for one drink — before calling it a day. On Friday night, we hit up First Fridays on Broad, but the cold kept a lot of the art walkers away. We managed to stop into three or four of the galleries, which were devoid of wine. Wait. What!? Only one of the galleries (thank you Galerie on Broad) had some of the good stuff, but, sadly, it was our first stop. We should’ve stayed for another glass. While at Galerie on Broad, we spoke to new owner Kate Mullin. She was happy for the steady flow of guests, and maybe even a little thankful that it wasn’t as bustling as normal since it gave her the chance to mingle with patrons. She has big plans for the gallery, including incorporating more contemporary pieces. From there, we wandered down Broad before bagging the walk for a glass of wine and a warm blanket on the couch.

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