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Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Bar Decor

    Under the Volcano Taking its cue from the Malcolm Lowry novel of the same name, Under the Volcano is a colorfully riotous celebration of El Día de los Muertos -- the Day of the Dead -- all year round. As you walk in, there's a glassed-in shrine to recent notables who have passed over, complete with clipped-out newspaper obituaries and… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Cezanne Sure, there are more glamorous spots to catch jazz in this town. You can delight in the sights of open-backed, little black dresses and power players at spots like Scott Gertner's Skybar or Sambuca. But jazz has always been about the music. And traditional, straight-ahead fans have always flocked to tiny rooms to listen to serious players. Tucked up… More >>
  • Best Set Design

    Infernal Bridegroom Productions' Symphony of Rats Stepping into the Axiom theater for Symphony of Rats was like entering an attic from another world. In a place where presidents receive messages from robots -- who make bubbles and smoke cigarettes as they discuss philosophical constructs -- Infernal Bridegroom's production of Richard Foreman's play called for serious set creativity. Designed by the… More >>
  • Best Bar Games

    Brian O'Neill's So you're at an Irish pub knocking back a pint of Guinness, checking out the beautiful people of Rice Village, when all of a sudden you look at your buddy and say, "I'm gonna sink your battleship!" Well, you can at Brian O'Neill's, where they match great food and drink with your favorite games. They've got typical pub… More >>
  • Best Place for Cocktails

    The Lounge at benjy's The upstairs lounge at this Rice Village restaurant offers eight specialty martinis, strawberry-infused vodka and great chilled sake. But more than fantastic drinks, it has the perfect cocktail-lounge atmosphere: swank, sexy and fun. From the low-slung leather couches to the mod pale blue barstools to the pastel Chinese lanterns, the place hums with an understated Asian… More >>
  • Best Radio Talk Show (FM)

    Cultural Baggage Like many of us, Dean Becker has a problem with the current war against the livelier substances available on our streets -- particularly marijuana. With "Project Housterdam," he's knocking on the doors of every politician in town, spearheading an initiative smokier than a hole in Afghanistan after Dubya had his way with it. In his personal fight for… More >>
  • Best Radio Talk Show (AM)

    Confessions Who doesn't want to eavesdrop on or, better yet, weigh in on, a total stranger's dysfunctional relationship? That's the premise of Confessions, KCOH's mid-afternoon talk show hosted by the unflappable Wash Allen. At the beginning of the show, a "soothsayer" phones in to say he's cheating with his wife's sister, or that her husband doesn't know it but their… More >>
  • Best Blues and Soul Preservationist

    Eddie Stout of Dialtone Records While Stout is an Austinite, we feel he deserves an award from us anyway. After all, many of the artists he records -- Little Joe Washington, Gloria Edwards and soon Earl Gilliam -- are from here; and no one else is cutting official albums on them. And what albums they are: Washington's volcanic Houston Guitar… More >>
  • Best Blog

    Off the Kuff In a field cluttered with "what I had for breakfast" and "my girlfriend/boyfriend is so cute" entries, Charles Kuffner's gazette keeps track of local and national politics, music, baseball and a bunch of other stuff in an informative and digestible way. And among political bloggers, Kuffner also stands out as a sensible moderate Democrat amid all the… More >>
  • Best Music Gadfly

    Crazy Tony Avitia Say what you will about Crazy Tony Avitia, but the man will not be ignored. Since tearing out of the northside in the late '80s as a member of 30footFALL, Avitia has released numerous compilation CDs of local and Texas funk, punk and rock on his Broken Note label and won several Houston Press Music Awards as… More >>
  • Best Local CD Cover

    Lagoon! by Clouseaux This band's tiki lounge exotica sound demands a tiki-lounge-exotic-adelic album cover, and they deliver. The picture on the cover presents us with a palm tree, Polynesian warriors plying the coast of a mountainous island under a full moon, and another godlike tiki guerrilla standing in the foreground. The picture calls to mind a '50s-era children's book --… More >>
  • Best Radio Station

    KPFT/90.1 FM It's tempting to play the contrarian and give this award to some other spot on the dial, but KPFT is simply the best station in town. No other station has as much variety; blues, zydeco, rock en español, jazz, several forms of rock, world music, old-school Tejano and hip-hop all vie for space in the KPFT weekly schedule,… More >>
  • Best Theater Season

    Alley Theatre Most regional theaters would be delirious with a season that included just one recent Pulitzer Prize-winning play. But the Alley Theatre's artistic director, Gregory Boyd, is not your typical AD. Last season he proved it by filling up his stages with some wonderfully controversial shows, including two Pulitzer-winners. David Auburn's renowned Proof and Suzan-Lori Parks's Topdog/Underdog ran back… More >>
  • Best New Club

    - CLOSED

    The Meridian Sure, this pagoda-studded hulk may look like the Chinese seafood warehouse that it once was, and yeah, it might be pretty hard to find the door to the place, but the Meridian is bringing in a lot of acts, from the remnants of the MC5 to Gavin DeGraw. The divan-dotted, haremlike antechamber is a nice touch, and the… More >>
  • Best Band

    The John Sparrow Mod rockers the John Sparrow have the sort of appeal that spans generations. If you're a teenager or a twentysomething, they sound superhip. If you're in your thirties or forties, they remind you of the Jam, and singer Kevin Richardson is fast becoming the American Paul Weller. If you're an old fart that still likes to rock,… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    The Next Door The jukebox at Rudyard's -- next door to the Next Door, as it were -- is no slouch, with its selection of alt-country, cool local tunes, classic jazz and rock and blues, but the one at this art gallery/bar has it beat. Though the art on the walls is often top-notch, the jukebox is the real masterpiece… More >>
  • Best Dancers

    Barbara Bears and Andrew Murphy What a way to bounce back after a baby. Barbara Bears returned to Houston Ballet's stage this season after a two-year hiatus, and she's looking stronger than ever, and her dancing is consequently more expressive. For fans who thought they had seen the last of Bears, her comeback has been a blessing, as has the… More >>
  • Best Dive

    Ruthie's Place Don't let the modernist tin exterior fool you -- inside the red door of this funky joint there beats the heart of a real dive. Amusements are minimal -- sure, there's a large-screen TV, a well-stocked jukebox and a pool table, but the main attraction is the unpretentious (read: "heavy on the cheap domestic") beer, which is dished… More >>
  • Best Band Stage Show

    The Medicine Show This category is somewhat misnamed, for when the Medicine Show performs, the group is seldom constrained by the stage. The madcap bluegrass/old-time ensemble generally uses the stage as a mere launching point. One minute you'll see guitarist Craig Kinsey picking from atop the bar, the next you'll see multi-instrumentalist Geoffrey Muller standing atop a table, strumming a… More >>
  • Best Bar Food

    Kenneally's Irish Pub This authentic pub has a standard ol'-sod charm: Guinness pints and whiskey along the bar, dartists playing their game. And then there are the bright silver pizza trays atop their racks -- scores of them. Of course, many bars offer complete menus, but Kenneally's makes no pretensions: It's still a pub. It shuns tired bangers-and-mash plates in… More >>
  • Best Installation

    Chapel at Live Oaks Friends Meeting House If you think James Turrell's tunnel of colored light under the MFAH is cool, check out his chapel at Houston's local Quaker meeting house in the Heights. Every Friday night, if the weather obliges, folks gather to see the "celestial vaulting," as Turrell refers to it. It may look like just a… More >>
  • Best Art Show

    "Inverted Utopias: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America" In 1965, Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez constructed an amazing light-based installation -- pre-James Turrell and Dan Flavin. And in the late '60s, Brazilian Lygia Clark created interactive works that employed brightly colored hoods to control participants' senses: Vision was obscured, sachets of spices over the nose provided olfactory sensation, and shell-like earpieces created… More >>
  • Best Spanish Radio Station

    Órbita 100.7 FM Yeah, you can get jiggy with the Box or the Party, two-step till you drop with KILT or Q-Country, hold your burning Bic aloft to the classic rock on the Arrow, or bang your head to all that Audioslave on KLOL, but if you want to dance, there is no spot on the dial quite like Órbita,… More >>
  • Best Second Banana

    Susan O. Koozin It's tempting to say that the best part of Ted Swindley's Always...Patsy Cline was the music. The show was jammed with hits made famous by the unforgettable singer, one of Nashville's all-time greats. Julia Kay Laskowski played the down-home star in Stages Repertory Theatre's production, and she really sang it Patsy-style, smoky and dark. But as good… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar

    The Harp This Irish-tinged watering hole is a little different from the average Montrose hangout, but that's part of its appeal. Its dark walls, soft lighting and hardwood floors are charming. And there's something pleasantly laid-back about the atmosphere -- maybe it's the dart players tallying up their points or the comfy, wrap-around porch. Maybe it's the fact that denizens… More >>
  • Best Sculpture Garden

    The Artery Visit the Artery during the day, and it looks at first glance like an enclave for a neighborhood crack dealer. Surrounded by a dense thicket of hackberry trees and a rusting chain-link fence, the lot in the Museum District's residential area is full of rubble. Indeed, works by artists such as Louise Bourgeois and Frank Stella are much… More >>
  • Best Actor

    David Rainey in Topdog/Underdog Suzan-Lori Parks's Pulitzer Prize-winning Topdog/Underdog revolves around two brothers who bear the unlikely names of Lincoln and Booth: their father's "idea of a joke." But the names carry hefty metaphorical weight in this play about violent sibling rivalry. And the play's interfamily feud burned especially bright when actor David Rainey stepped on stage in the Alley… More >>
  • Best Musical

    TUTS's Thoroughly Modern Millie Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan's Tony Award-winning Thoroughly Modern Millie is the sort of charming musical that comes along too rarely. And Theatre Under the Stars' summer production at the Hobby Center offered Houston audiences an especially electrifying theater experience. Combining romance, intrigue and some unexpected humor, the tale bubbled over with the flair and charisma… More >>
  • Best Bar Dad

    Harry Bishop Bars invariably take on the personalities of their owners, and Noche Cocina is blessed to have Harry Bishop at the helm. Bishop arrived late in the restaurant-and-bar trade; he's a veteran of the oil business who took over Noche a few years ago. Quiet, competent and always ready with a quick smile, Harry could double for a slim… More >>
  • Best Radio News

    KPFT/90.1 FM Car crashes and warehouse fires are dramatic on TV, but they're way boring to listen to on the radio. So why do so many of the conservative news affiliates on the AM dial waste their time on them? They're scared to tackle issues that might offend those who line their dirty pockets, that's why. You, the listener, line… More >>
  • Best Microcinema

    Aurora Picture Show The Aurora Picture Show is a holy trinity of art, media and fun. Located in a former church (the audience still sits in pews), the tiny Aurora Picture Show has presented film, video and installations by locally and nationally known artists since 1998. A desperately needed alternative to your standard cineplexes, the Aurora is a place where… More >>
  • Best Museum

    The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston When the original Museum of Fine Arts in Houston opened its doors in 1924, it was the first art-museum building in Texas. Eighty years later, the MFAH is the grande dame of the local scene, holding court over a burgeoning contemporary shift in the district. It might be all that great impressionist and expressionist… More >>
  • Best Artist

    Robert Pruitt The man is ubiquitous. The Contemporary Arts Museum, DiverseWorks, Lawndale Art Center, Project Row Houses, OneTen Studios, you name it -- Pruitt has shown his work just about everywhere in town that has an available wall. His series of "Black Stuntman" cartoons chronicles the life of a hapless antihero, doing his best to make it in this whitewashed… More >>
  • Best After-Hours Hangout

    Late Nite Pie Sometimes the party just has to keep going, even after last call. And it's always a good idea to drop something solid down your gullet before passing out. Late Nite Pie has one thing few other after-hours joints can offer: good food in the form of truly authentic, New York-style pizzas. It also serves up video games,… More >>
  • Best Club for Local Artists

    Helios Hands down, Helios is the best club for local artists, and by "artists" here we mean every kind: musicians, painters, poets, dancers, DJs, rappers and comedians, to name a few. Helios is home to them all, with various permutations of the above often performing simultaneously, whether on one of the club's three stages (two indoor and one out) or… More >>
  • Best New Bar

    Shoeshine Charlie's Big Top Lounge As much as we've always loved the Continental, it's long needed a chill-out room, and this vintage circus-themed bar two doors down fills that bill just right. Though there are occasional live performances here, the usual routine is quiet conversation amid vintage furniture over stiff drinks. Music from one of the last 45 jukeboxes in… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    Toaster Oven Nightmare Squad We like names that give us some kind of picture. That's why we like Toaster Oven Nightmare Squad. Toaster ovens are, by their very nature, nightmarish contraptions. It seems like every time we use one, we burn our food or start a fire. And that's why we'd be reassured by the existence of some kind of… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    JR.'s JR.'s is a standby in the Houston gay community -- for more than a decade, it's been the place to go for a good buzz and the hook-up that often follows. With its sexy ranch-house atmosphere, $2.50 domestics and other notoriously cheap drinks, beefcake dick dancers in tight shorts, and ceiling-mounted TVs showing hot guys doing hot things, this… More >>
  • Best B-Boy

    Josh Pena In a city chock-full of world-class breakers -- so many of whom deserve accolades for using their art to stay out of trouble -- the safest bet for B-boy of the year is busting out from Youth Advocates and its home crew, Havikoro. There have been some up-and-comers in 2004, including Nathan Cano and Kirk Beecher, who join… More >>
  • Best Curator

    Matthew Drutt Matthew Drutt, chief curator of the Menil Collection, is on a roll. He curated the stellar "Kazimir Malevich: Suprematism," a wonderfully cogent exhibition and indispensable catalog exploring the artist's development of the movement. The show presented Malevich's seminal 1915 Black Square for the first time outside Russia, as well as the artist's lesser-known architectural models. The exhibition was… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour

    - CLOSED

    Cafe Adobe On the streets below, late-afternoon motorists are still battling the maddening crowds, unaware of the blessed sacrament of happy hour unfolding nearby -- that unique time zone of decompression between the rigors of work and an evening's adventures. But fans of Cafe Adobe are already assembled and ascending, literally, to postwork bliss, with a little help from a… More >>
  • Best Fund-Raiser

    Bayou City Concert Musicals Five years ago, Houston theater veteran Paul Hope gathered some friends and staged a nightclub production of Follies, giving the proceeds to the Center for AIDS. Since then, what's become known as the Bayou City Concert Musicals has grown into a huge gift -- not only for the center but also for Houston's musical theater fans.… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Musical Instrument

    Rockin Robin Rockin Robin is H-town's best place to buy any musical instrument, but don't take our word for it. Ask the steady stream of millionaire musicians who have slipped in unannounced to buy cool stuff ever since it opened in 1972, or just to sit in the corner and wail away on guitar, as Stevie Ray Vaughan used to… More >>
  • Best Ensemble Production

    Main Street Theater's The Dead The fact that dramatists Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey managed to tease James Joyce's melancholic story The Dead into a musical was nothing short of astonishing. But it was the skilled cast who re-created the essential Victorian party scene at the center of Joyce's tale with delicate warmth and seamless familial unity. The middle-aged drunk,… More >>
  • Best Actress

    Ann C. James in Laughing Wild In one of her strongest Houston performances in years, Ann C. James burned up the stage in Christopher Durang's Laughing Wild, produced by the amazingly resilient Unhinged Theatre Company. The strange play focused, in part, on a street woman haranguing the audience with her many wonderfully obscure opinions. During one 30-minute monologue, James ranted… More >>
  • Best Sunday-Night Party

    Sundown at The Social "And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day." So reads the second chapter of King James's Genesis, though the Sabbath crowd at The Social in the Heights apparently didn't get the memo. Criminally sexed-up hotties mingle with Houston's best metros, all gelled up and… More >>
  • Best Place to Be Glad You're Alive

    Houston Zoo Lions, tigers and bears, oh, my! Komodos, leopards and white alligators -- even better! It's hard not to feel giddy while roaming the Houston Zoo on a sunny day. After all, for $7 you can be instantly transported to the Serengeti, the Andes or the Australian Outback, gazing upon the most magnificent creatures that ever roamed the earth.… More >>
  • Best CD by Local Musicians

    Free Radicals' Aerial Bombardment This jazzy, funky, hip-hoppity, experimental and dub-centric Houston collective never stays within the boundaries of a particular genre, and that's only one of the things that make them so special. Their third CD, Aerial Bombardment, is a unique masterwork helmed by percussionist Nick Cooper and featuring 50 different musicians and vocalists, mostly from H-tizzle. Though the… More >>
  • Best Modern Dance Company

    Dominic Walsh Dance Theater The adorable and talented Nicky Walsh bids ballet adieu as he bows out of Houston Ballet after a 15-year career. But that's great news for his two-year-old company, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, which was named one of the top 25 companies to watch in Dance Magazine last year. Walsh's dancing days are not quite over (he… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater

    Landmark River Oaks If you want stadium-style seating, 24 screens and convenient parking, this is not your movie theater. But if you care about the movies -- if you actually go to watch the show, not to swivel back in your seat while the special effects whiz by -- then your best bet is the Landmark River Oaks theater. Built… More >>
  • Best Blues Club

    The Big Easy Social & Pleasure Club We tip our feathered felt hats to the dearly departed Miss Ann's Playpen, which closed last summer. The sweaty Third Ward mecca of all things blues was the kind of eternally legit joint that a real blues town like ours needs. But there's a blues club still keepin' it real, and it ain't… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    South Beach Call it "DJs' choice," because this Montrose hot spot garners rave reviews from the high priests of Houston clubbing. Now in its third year of existence, the venue (known in its previous life as Heaven) has more than 10,000 square feet of room to work with -- and a dance floor that fits hundreds. Decknicians drool over its… More >>
  • Best DJ

    Michael DeGrace These are tough times for house DJs, scrapping to have their signature sound heard above the ubiquitous din of Top 40 and hip-hop. (As if there were much difference between the two nowadays.) If anyone has earned the respect that comes with longevity, though, it's local spinster veteran Michael DeGrace. The venerable resident turntablist at the Habitat after-hours… More >>
  • Best Theater Company

    Masquerade Theatre Musical theater doesn't get too adventurous in Houston. TUTS revives the usual suspects of Broadway warhorses; Broadway in Houston tours the safest current hits; and most of the smaller troupes in town, ever on the edge of financial ruin, can't afford to take too many chances. But for seven years, Masquerade Theatre, near the Heights, has consistently put… More >>
  • Best Strip Club

    The Men's Club You can go to any club and get rejected by that sweaty college girl with the limp hair in her eyes. You know the routine: The drinks will make you broke and the DJ will play techno that was old last year. So why not try a club where no girl will reject you for a dance… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    Sicardi Gallery María Inés Sicardi started her gallery ten years ago, focusing on Latin American artists. The always carefully curated space has a history of introducing intriguing contemporary work and thoughtfully presenting lesser-known works by 20th-century masters (such as the elegantly awkward late sculptures of the Venezuelan artist Gego). On the contemporary front, Oscar Muñoz's exhibition at Sicardi Gallery was… More >>
  • Best Bathroom Graffiti

    Late Nite Pie Complete with bulging veins and a ribbon tied around the shaft, the penis drawn on the wall of the women's restroom is accompanied by a message: "For those who pass through here this is a present for you." It shares the wall with the usual political fare, such as "George Bush is an asshole," and self-referential remarks… More >>
  • Best Mural

    Paul Mewis Law Office Houston is home to many beautifully painted murals, some by noted artists. The backside of Paul Mewis's small building isn't one of them -- but this crude hodgepodge depicting the horrors -- and humor -- of the justice system is precisely the kind of soulful native art that deserves attention. On the corner of Caroline, just… More >>
  • Best Talk Radio Host

    Jim Rome "Pimp in the box, what is up? Thanks for the vine, Rome, Houston Press here -- first time, long time. Way back, in fact, from the early days on the Mighty 690 with Smacksaw Hamilton. 'Show us your lightning bolt!' Anyway, V-Smack, it's been an epic run of syndication, and your old saying remains true: The Jungle… More >>
  • Best Director

    James Black "What kinda fuckin' world is this?!" wailed the man on the stage, wearing only a shirt and underwear. From this opening line, we knew life wasn't easy for the folks in Stephen Adly Guigis's Our Lady of 121st Street. In the play, the pants-less character, Victor (James Belcher), was supposed to attend services for his dead friend, but… More >>
  • Best Hotel Bar

    Whiskey Bar at Hotel Icon Achingly hip hotels have been springing up all over Houston like crabgrass. Really hip crabgrass, of course. One of the hippest is Hotel Icon, housed in the beautifully restored, 93-year-old Union Bank Building (which, in Houston years, qualifies as prehistoric). And the best part of the Icon is the Whiskey Bar, a local version of… More >>
  • Best Midtown Lounge

    The Red Door Lounges seem to be popping up all over Midtown, but the Red Door has managed to stand firm in the capricious scene. Once you pass the eponymous port of entry, you find yourself surrounded by attractive twentysomethings who are dressed to impress and sloshed to excess. They mingle around the circular bar, exchanging and avoiding glances in… More >>
  • Best New Effort to Inject Culture into Houston

    Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Okay, maybe it's not high culture that the Alamo Drafthouse is injecting into Houston, but they're catering to film buffs who like their brew. The Alamo features independent films alongside Hollywood smash hits, underground classics like the Toxic Avenger series and plenty of Japanese anime. They serve decent bar-type food such as pizza, wings and spinach dip,… More >>
  • Best Ballet

    Divergence Houston Ballet is under construction while it morphs from longtime director Ben Stevenson's baby into a balletic butterfly, compliments of new artistic director Stanton Welch. His restaging of an earlier work, 1994's Divergence, blew the doors off the Wortham Theater Center and had balletomanes howling for weeks. Sandwiched into a rep evening earlier this year, the short, abstract work… More >>
  • Best Piano Bar

    Leon's Lounge Piano bars should be divey, but also have a touch of class. There should be history and mystery in the air. You should be able to envision yourself as Humphrey Bogart, and that shapely woman at the bar as Ingrid Bergman. They should inspire you to think up and use corny dialogue in lieu of your usual speech.… More >>
  • Best Latin Club

    Club Tropicana You can hear the salsa pumping from almost a block away. Inside, Club Tropicana is chock-full of attractive patrons. The salsa, merengue and bachata (the spicy music from the Dominican Republic) throb compliments of perennial local stars Mi Rumba. DJ Salserin, who's getting props around town for his mad salsa spinning, accents Mi Rumba's tunes on Fridays. It's… More >>
  • Best Summer Respite

    The Light Inside Oppressive, unceasing brightness got you down? The depths of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston will lift you up with the shadiest spot in the state of Texas this side of a Tom DeLay PAC. Burrowed beneath Main Street, this James Turrell installation is our choice when the summer sun becomes too much to bear. From a… More >>
  • Best Bathroom Art

    - CLOSED

    Cahill's on Durham It's all about the juxtaposition. In one stall of the men's bathroom you've got a Budweiser poster featuring supermodel Elsa Benitez -- typical fare for a sports bar. Over the urinal hangs a poster of a Harley-Davidson chick in a black leather jacket. This one looks like it came straight out of a truck-stop bathroom. But inside… More >>
  • Best Original Show

    Jerry's World at Infernal Bridegroom Productions Based on the programs of Joe Frank -- a real-life radio personality dubbed "the most imaginative, literate monologist in radio" -- Jerry's World, like a strangely ecstatic tone poem, celebrates the dirty little corners of our contemporary landscape, in which life gets funnier as it gets more abstract and amorphous. Directed and adapted… More >>
  • Best Performance Space

    DiverseWorks A visiting performance artist once sent a note to DiverseWorks saying, "Once you've done DiverseWorks, you've done Texas." That's a mighty strong statement, but we agree that everyone should "do" DiverseWorks. Now in its 21st year, the funky, intimate performance space has brought consistently challenging and groundbreaking contemporary works to Houston. Homegrown shows like the experimental electronic music festival… More >>
  • Best Coffeehouse

    Agora Okay, so Agora isn't just a coffee house -- if all you want is a tall latte to go, we suggest Starbucks. This is a place to linger, to sip, to read. Dark and cozy like a library in one of those rambling Agatha Christie manors, Agora is an easy place to curl up with a book and lose… More >>
  • Best Public Art Project

    "give up" Consisting of posters and flyers wheat-pasted to metal boxes all over the Montrose, the "give up" series preaches its message of ironic apathy to all who cruise by. One poster (near Bagby and West Alabama) features a forlorn woman's face and a Pink Floyd-esque row of hammers. "SWEETNESS, I was only joking," says the message at the top.… More >>
  • Best Bar Mom

    Carolyn Wenglar Okay, since we're talking about Warren's, we'd better make this one "best bar moms." The bartending babes -- young and old -- of this venerable downtown watering hole are all delightfully skilled in the stuff of drinks. They can mix virtually anything with flair and flavor; and they can most certainly mix it up with the eclectic blend… More >>
  • Best Reading Series

    Gulf Coast Reading Series Born from the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston, the Gulf Coast Reading Series offers any hungry bibliophile a can't-miss opportunity to witness up-and-coming literati before they hit the big time. Organized by (and featuring) graduate students from the UH program, the Gulf Coast series has introduced many young writers -- including poet Cate… More >>
  • Best Patio

    - CLOSED

    La Strada Perched above one of the noisiest areas of Westheimer, the second-floor patio at the newly remodeled La Strada is classy, casual and deliciously above it all. It offers a roof to shield patrons from the sun, track lighting to cut the darkness, and piped-in air conditioning and ceiling fans to keep the breeze moving. You can barely glimpse… More >>
  • Best Downtown Bar

    Shay McElroy's Irish Pub Consumption of spirits in a relaxing downtown locale always comes easy, thanks to the McElroy clan. They started with the comfortable beachhead pub in Shepherd Plaza, stepped up to the stylish setting of the State Bar & Lounge at the Rice Lofts, and have balanced that beautifully with the quietly cordial Shay McElroy's on the Main… More >>
  • Best Unsigned Band

    Freedom Sold From the funky whiteys and their rap-rock hybrids, to the experimental East Coasters and their off-kilter patterns, to the crunk pioneers of the Southeast with their ultra-aggro approach to the art, it's hard to say just what hip-hop is these days. It's gone way past two turntables and a microphone, but Houston's Freedom Sold knew that eight years… More >>
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