Best of Houston®

Best Of 2003

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Best Of :: Arts & Entertainment

Best Movie Theater

This lovely movie palace -- really, it has to be described that way -- is an antique in a city that doesn't normally cherish old things. Built in 1939, it's the only theater in town that's gotten its very own mayoral proclamation. (River Oaks Theatre Day was March 26, 2000, in case you forgot to celebrate.) Its memorable red art deco marquee lights up the West Gray strip, and its three theaters show the current hits as well as underground art-house features and foreign films you won't find anyplace else. If you're looking for something even more offbeat, check the place out on weekends at midnight, when everything from the John Hughes classic Pretty in Pink to Spike and Mike's Twisted Festival of Animation graces the silver screen. When you toss in the stellar snack bar and the fact that River Oaks hosts Houston's annual Academy Awards-watching party, there's simply no way any other theater can compete.

Best Happy Hour
Shiloh Club

This blue-collar Heights hangout doesn't draw the sexiest crowd, but for colorful characters and unusual enthusiasm, you can't beat it -- especially on weekdays at 6:30 p.m., when Wheel of Fortune is on. Looking at the long bar flanked by two large TVs (both tuned to the show), you'd think it was game seven of the '94 NBA Finals. It's fun to pound a few $2 beers and listen to folks shout insults at the screen and beat their fellow barflies to the puzzle solution. Just don't let the practice become a habit. You'll know you have a problem when you belly up for a Lone Star and wind up ordering a vowel.

1321 Studewood, Houston, 77008
MAP
713-880-2401
Best Happy Hour

This blue-collar Heights hangout doesn't draw the sexiest crowd, but for colorful characters and unusual enthusiasm, you can't beat it -- especially on weekdays at 6:30 p.m., when Wheel of Fortune is on. Looking at the long bar flanked by two large TVs (both tuned to the show), you'd think it was game seven of the '94 NBA Finals. It's fun to pound a few $2 beers and listen to folks shout insults at the screen and beat their fellow barflies to the puzzle solution. Just don't let the practice become a habit. You'll know you have a problem when you belly up for a Lone Star and wind up ordering a vowel.

Best New Club

Sadly, this is another posthumous award. Stuka as we know it is closing down; when the club reopens it will be under a new name, concept and management. Stuka was harder to pigeonhole than its competitors Numbers and the Proletariat, and former manager Tim Murrah liked it that way. Since its opening last winter, Stuka dive-bombed the competition by bringing in hot New York acts such as Navdeep, Longwave, ARE Weapons and Larry Tee, while not neglecting California (the Dragons) and Texas (the Riverboat Gamblers). The love of music trumped the love of being a scenester here at this short-lived haven for the truly hip, a nightspot where having good ears was seen as more desirable than having the coolest thrift-store threads.

Best New Club

Sadly, this is another posthumous award. Stuka as we know it is closing down; when the club reopens it will be under a new name, concept and management. Stuka was harder to pigeonhole than its competitors Numbers and the Proletariat, and former manager Tim Murrah liked it that way. Since its opening last winter, Stuka dive-bombed the competition by bringing in hot New York acts such as Navdeep, Longwave, ARE Weapons and Larry Tee, while not neglecting California (the Dragons) and Texas (the Riverboat Gamblers). The love of music trumped the love of being a scenester here at this short-lived haven for the truly hip, a nightspot where having good ears was seen as more desirable than having the coolest thrift-store threads.

Best Coffeehouse
Brasil

Tucked behind trees on the corner of Dunlavy and Westheimer in the heart of the Montrose, this funky, mellow hangout is the place to go for a cup of joe. Sure, there's a wide variety of coffees to choose from, but what turns this cafe into a hangout is the ambience. Brasil offers what Starbucks can't: a relaxed, homegrown vibe. The pleasant staff doesn't have to wear matching aprons, and the music playing depends on who's behind the counter. The outdoor patio is the perfect place to feed the birds or just waste time, and inside there's live music on weekends. It doesn't matter whether you're a struggling student, a lady who lunches or the tortured artist type -- Brasil welcomes all who just need a spot to relax. And if coffee isn't enough, there's also a full menu of delicious pizzas and sandwiches.

2604 Dunlavy, Houston, 77098
MAP
713-528-1993
X

Best Movie Theater: River Oaks Theatre

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