Whiskey and pasties at Barsa's Noche Vieja 

Ringing in 2012

The revelers were masked and the pasties were sequined at Barsa's Noche Vieja party. Compared to the loud cheers and applause that would come in the wee hours, the night started off as a whisper. Inside the dimly-lit restaurant, groups of friends finished off plates of tapas and a couple laughed while pouring their bottle of bubbly. On the patio, party-goers snagged freebie masks and koozies while waiting for drinks or posing in Babe Rouge's photo booth.

The sleepiness wore off when Whiskey Diablo took the stage. Although their sound cannot be confined to a single genre, their strumming singularly got the crowd moving. The master of ceremonies was the mustachioed Mr. J., who, despite his role as the pain-proof man for Carnivalesque, had the relatively painless task of keeping the party on pace.

On the last night of 2011, it was his fur- and pearl-clad cohorts who lit up the stage (quite literally — dancer Plume de Paname theatrically struck a sparkler just before her Lucite heels popped up in the air).

While the tent remained a heady mix of foot-tapping music and straight-up sex appeal, the bar staff inside struggled to keep up with the crush of requests for shots and champers. "There's a German expression," the bartender told us while thoroughly in the weeds. "If you don't become anything, you become a restaurateur." Yikes.

Under the makeshift big top just minutes later, Mr. J instructed us to grab our champagne and sparklers, and the countdown was on. Despite whispers of the devil, plenty of drink and boudoir dressing, Barsa's New Year's Eve celebration was more good, old-fashioned fun than anything else. Dance Evelyn DeVere seemed equally pleased with 2011's send-off.

"I was really happy with how it turned out. There were no hot messes out there."

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