It's Christmas night, and you seriously need to get away from your family and the stress they bestow on you on this holiest of days. Downtown's M Bar will be open and offering up a "Milkshake" -- the party, not the drink. It seems the weekly NoDo shindig has become this year's popular holiday getaway. "On Thanksgiving, it was crazy," says One Voice Media president and CEO Russ Corley, who runs the night with Tastemakers.net's Steve Rogers and Lisa Rogers (no relation). "People couldn't get in. Fire marshals had to be called in. We're expecting Christmas to be off the hook."
With its mixed, colorful demographic, its gumbo of R&B, reggae and hip-hop -- provided by Rob G. -- and the ball players and other celebs the promoters invite down to mingle with the night folk, you don't have to be in Mensa to see why "Milkshake" is so popular. "There's a lot of energy there," says Steve Rogers. Adds Corley, "People talk about it after they leave. They feel like their money has been well spent. It's not a stuck-up crowd."
But with all this celebrity-spotting and multicultural rump-shaking going on, the real question is, do they actually serve milk shakes at "Milkshake"? "That was an idea we played around with," says Rogers. "But we thought it would be too costly, with bringing in blenders and drink mixes and everything." However, they are toying with the idea of serving souped-up eggnog. 9 p.m. Thursdays. 402 Main. For information, call 713-875-5617 or visit www.houstonsocial.com or www.tastemakers.net. $10 to $20; free before 10 p.m. with RSVP at www.houstonsocial.com. -- Craig D. Lindsey
LA TAPATIA TAQUERIA'S KAHLÚA MUDSLIDE
After a hilarious five-cocktail holiday lunch, I pulled my beer can of a car -- my rearview mirrors are attached with duct tape -- into the parking lot of La Tapatia Taqueria (1749 Richmond, 713-521-3144) for another quick libation. When I sat down, it suddenly dawned on me that I had been perched on this very bar stool sometime around 2 a.m. the night before, wolfing down tacos and sucking back horchata like it was Christmas-party Crown Royal! Near blind from so many holiday cocktail parties, I jabbed my stolen $12 cheater-glasses over my ears, looked up and saw a smile that must have sent many a waiter spilling tostadas on the customers' Ropers. "Can I get you something?" Liz asked me with a sideways smile. What the hell did I want to drink? I thought a minute, and then asked to see the bottle of Kahlúa on the top shelf. When I turned it over, I found a recipe for Kahlúa mudslides that would be a hit at any party. But please remember to imbibe carefully. We can choose our friends, but we can't always choose our designated drivers. Have a happy and safe holiday (on ice).
1 ounce Kahlúa
1 ounce Heaven Hill vodka
1 ounce Baileys Irish Cream
1/2 ounce half-and-half
Measure out ingredients over ice-filled old-fashioned glass. Stir and sip slowly. May induce brain freeze. -- J.W. Crooker
Back to Black
Do you really know the words to "Auld Lang Syne"? It won't matter at the Numbers New Year's Eve party, where resident DJ Wes Wallace is more likely to spin the Cure's "Friday I'm in Love" or the Normals' "Warm Leatherette" than the traditional tune. The usual goth crowd should be out en masse for drink specials all night long and a $2,004 balloon drop at midnight. And just in case you want to sing along, here's a snippet of the song: "A tear of petrol is in your eye / The hand brake penetrates your thigh / Quick, let's make love before you die / On warm leatherette." 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday, December 31. 300 Westheimer. For information, call 713-526-6551 or visit www.numbersnightclub.com. $15. -- Keith Plocek
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Next to Halloween, New Year's Eve is probably the biggest holiday party on the gay scene. It's the time when all the cute boys come out of the woodwork to party without their shirts on. At South Beach's end-of-the-year blowout, they'll slurp champagne and clamber for cold hard cash in a balloon drop at the stroke of midnight -- and then throb to the thumping bass until the early morn. Straight folk are welcome, but they'd better be ready for a kiss when the clock strikes 12. 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday, December 31. South Beach, 810 Pacific. For information, call 713-529-7623 or visit www.southbeachthenightclub.com. $15 in advance; $20 at the door. -- Keith Plocek