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Best of Memphis 2011: Nightlife


North Mississippi Allstars
1st place: "Best Local Band"

Best Local Band
1. North Mississippi Allstars
2. Lucero
3. Star & Micey

Has any band ever been more appropriately named? Luther Dickinson strokes his Gibson ES-175, teasing out Hill Country blues riffs and thrilling solos. Cody Dickinson's electric woogie washboard solos bring down the house. Chris Chew's fat-bottomed bass weaves it all together. To borrow a line from Luther and Cody's dad, the late, great Jim Dickinson, "World boogie is coming." And these guys are bringing it.

Best Place To See Live Music
1. Minglewood Hall
2. Levitt Shell
3. Hi-Tone Cafe

This place is huge! But it still has the intimate feel of a rock club. That means popular, nationally known music acts can draw the crowd they'd expect from a larger arena show without the sell-out vibes that come from playing a stadium. Besides, if you get tired of listening to the band, you can duck into Minglewood's hookah lounge or cereal bar.

Best Local Singer
1. Amy LaVere
2. Joyce Cobb
3. Yo Gotti

For a short time, this soulful singer-songwriter moonlighted as the receptionist at the Memphis Flyer's office. When her unique Southern twang sounded over the P.A. system, it was almost like we were getting our own private concert. But alas, Amy's talent has won her national acclaim, and she had to leave us to tour for her latest gem of an album, Stranger Me.

Best Karaoke
1. Windjammer Restaurant & Lounge
2. Yosemite Sam's
3. Blue Monkey

According to a recent ABC News article, "Picture" by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow is the number-one most performed karaoke song. So grab a duet partner and head down to the Windjammer, where the loyal karaoke crowd gathers every night of the week to sing their hearts out over cheap pitchers of beer.

Best Hole-in-the-Wall
1. Earnestine & Hazel's
2. Alex's Tavern
3. The Cove — tie — P&H Cafe

Best Jukebox
1. Earnestine & Hazel's
2. Alex's Tavern
3. Young Avenue Deli

This brothel-turned-dive-joint has all the qualifications for a winning hole-in-the-wall bar: Greasy Soul burgers? Check. Peeling paint? Got it. A fantastic jukebox? It's there. A pool table? Got that too. Rickety wooden stairs that lead to creepy, dimly lit private rooms? Earnestine & Hazel's definitely has that one covered. Rumors of a possible haunting? Oh yeah.

Best College Hangout
1. RP Tracks
2. Newby's
3. Flying Saucer

Perhaps the college kids love this campus-area bar for its famous barbecue tofu nachos. Or maybe it's the fact that it's Project Green Fork-certified, which means RP Tracks goes out of its way to recycle and use biodegradable to-go boxes. Or perhaps it has more to do with the policy of discounting shooters every time a train rolls past on the nearby tracks. Probably the latter.

Best Bartender
1. Allan Creasy, Celtic Crossing
2. Brad Pitts, Bari Ristorante
3. Erin Patterson, Blue Monkey

Celtic Crossing's Allan Creasy is well-loved by the regulars at Midtown's original Irish pub. "He's very affable, a nice guy," says Celtic owner D.J. Naylor, who took Creasy on a trip to Ireland last year. Creasy, an Arsenal fan, is a fave among the soccer crowd that gathers to watch live broadcasts.

Best After-Hours Club
1. Paula & Raiford's Disco
2. Alex's Tavern
3. Earnestine & Hazel's

Best Dance Club
1. Paula & Raiford's Disco
2. Club 152 Beale
3. Rumba Room

When bartenders are screaming, "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here!" don't go home. Go to Paula & Raiford's Disco. Change into your dancin' shoes because the night has just begun at Memphis' number-one disco.

Best Pickup Joint
1. Peabody Rooftop
2. Flying Saucer
3. Blue Monkey — tie — Paula & Raiford's Disco

Rooftop parties: They're not just for capturing views of the Mississippi. You can also capture your next Ms. (or Mr.) Right. The Peabody's rooftop parties are teeming with hotties still rockin' their office wear. So down a few cocktails and work up some liquid courage. Then approach that lady in the business suit and win her over with this sure-fire line: "Are you wearing space pants? Because your ass is out of this world."

Best Beer Selection
1. Flying Saucer
2. Boscos Squared
3. Young Avenue Deli

The Saucer has the lockdown on this category. And how could they not with more than 240 beers on tap and two locations in the Memphis area? There are amber ales, pale ales, IPAs, stouts, porters, wheat beers, barley wines, bocks, pilsners. You name it, and the Flying Saucer's got it. Try them all through the Saucer's U.F.O. Club and get a personalized plate on the wall.

Best Place To Get a Martini
1. Peabody Lobby Bar
2. Beauty Shop
3. Side Street Grill

The dirty martinis served from the bar of this historic downtown hotel are close to perfection. But as an added bonus, at the Peabody's lobby bar, there's plenty of opportunity for people watching as tourists the world over check in for their stay in the home of rock-and-roll.

Best Place To Get a Margarita
1. Molly's La Casita
2. Happy Mexican
3. Cafe Ole

Booze Buddha Jimmy Buffett tells fans seeking the true location of Margaritaville two stories. Sometimes, "It's anywhere you want it to be." Sometimes, "You'll know it when you find it." Memphians suspect it's Molly's La Casita, Midtown's super-friendly Tex-Mex institution, just up the street from Shangri-La (records). A frozen drink with Mr. Bruce's Nachos beats a cheeseburger in paradise any day.

Best Happy Hour
1. Bardog Tavern
2. Flying Saucer
3. Boscos Squared

Where else but Bardog can you have a proper absinthe poured over a flaming sugar cube while munching on a sandwich as simply decadent as the Rambo, a grilled New York strip sandwich laced with horseradish and smothered in caramelized onions, peppers, and American cheese?

Best Place
To Shoot Pool
1. Fox & Hound English Tavern
2. Young Avenue Deli
3. RP Billiards

Best Sports Bar
1. Fox & Hound English Tavern
2. Buffalo Wild Wings
3. TJ Mulligan's

When you just want to crack a rack and have a cold one, almost any beer joint will do. But Memphians who love billiards love the casual vibe and well-kept pay-by-the-hour tables at the Fox & Hound. And with all the big-screen TVs, it's no wonder people also vote it Best Sports Bar.

Best Gay Bar
1. The Pumping Station
2. Spectrum
3. Dru's Place

This no-frills joint is famous for its fantastic happy hour and beer busts. And where else but the Pumping Station are you going to see a band called the Glory Holes playing in their underwear?

Best Bar
Readers Choice
Bardog Tavern
The Cove
Flying Saucer
Sweet Grass Next Door

Voting was too close to call in this category. Suffice it to say, when it comes to "Best Bars," our cups runneth over.

Best New Bar
1. Sweet Grass Next Door
2. Bar None
3. Salty Dog

Sweet Grass Next Door is an ordinary pub, really: dimly lit with some big-screen TV sets on the wall playing sports shows between large pieces of art. But on any given [Mar]Tini Tuesday, you can sip your favorite drink while munching on something spectacular like perfectly steamed mussels, grilled peach salad, or a duck liver mousse.

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