Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Coffee House

    Onion Creek Café Coffeehouse Bar & Lounge

    Onion Creek first sprang to the owners' minds while they were tubing in the Hill Country, and was birthed while the Heights was recovering from Tropical Storm Allison. Since, it has attracted a loyal, eclectic following: Bikers find it a place a tad nicer than most, gays and lesbians feel right at home, yuppies feel hip and happenin' by dint… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Producer

    The ARE

    The ARE is no newcomer to the hip-hop game. He started searching for the perfect beat in 1991 and hasn't stopped moving since. First getting his feet wet as a member of the legendary Houston rap group K-Otix, nowadays the ARE bares the production skills behind the boards to more than prove himself. From winning the Houston Red Bull Big… More >>
  • Best Strip Club


    Whereas one can go to any Inner Loop establishment and get ignored for $100, those who want a real gentlemen's — and we use that word loosely — club experience go to Splendor. With all its 1983-casino­-lobby, uh, splendor, this independently owned and operated club treats every customer as if he's Tom Sizemore on a spending spree. Somewhere among the… More >>
  • Best Patio

    El Pueblito Place

    Sure, you could eat their delicious Guatemalan and Mexican dishes in a jail cell or a submarine and they'd still probably taste good, but you'll be doing yourself a disservice if you don't dine on the patio. It's like you're not even on the same continent. Tiki torches and string lights wrapped around lush palms provide intimate lighting, and the… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar


    This venerable neighborhood bar isn't just for ass-kicking Saint Paddy's Day blowouts. It's also a great place to watch the Texans, Astros, Rockets or whomever any time of the year. And if your game is on a Tuesday night, you're in for an especially tasty treat: Griff's $10 steak night — which includes a 16-ounce rib eye, baked potato and… More >>
  • Best Actor

    Luther Chakurian of Masquerade Theatre

    Intense and passionate, Luther Chakurian, a mainstay of Masquerade Theatre for nearly a decade, embodies this multitalented musical company with highly stylized, brooding performances that grab you by the throat and take your breath away. Starring in three of the group's most intriguing recent shows, Jane Eyre, Sweeney Todd and Parade, he emitted dark sexiness as troubled Victorian Rochester, scared… More >>
  • Best Actress

    Jeannette Clift George of A.D. Players

    There are numerous actresses who gave radiant performances this year, all of them at least a generation, if not two, younger than our winning pick. But our heart goes out to theater veteran, and consummate pro, Jeannette Clift George. Playing obsessed, drab Carrie Watts in Horton Foote's masterpiece The Trip to Bountiful, George oozed humanity, compassion and humility as she… More >>
  • Best Musical

    Sweeney Todd by Masquerade Theatre

    The black gloom of irony inherent in Stephen Sondheim's peerless 1979 musical was elevated by its epic sweep on every level: Grand Guignol-like revenge melodrama, characters who ranged from virginal to debauched, bleak world view of the powerlessness of the powerless, bouncy English music hall roots, cinematic staging, immaculate lyrics and gloriously robust music. In the hands of Masquerade Theatre… More >>
  • Best Theater Company

    Ensemble Theatre

    Founded 31 years ago "to preserve African-American artistic expression and to enlighten, entertain and enrich a diverse community," the Ensemble Theatre gets better each season, and this year was a banner one. The stage fare was distinctly varied and indefectibly produced with the company's usual high polish and downtown sass. There were two wonderfully different musicals: Christmas is Comin' Uptown… More >>
  • Best Bar


    Rudyard's has captured countless Best of Houston® awards, including Best Veggie Burger, Best Burger, Best Bar Food and Best Neighborhood Bar. It's really about time it was recognized for being everything patrons love about a bar. The jukebox is usually off, but the staff's eclectic preference for everything from jazz classics to the latest in rock never draws complaints, and… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater

    Loews Fountains 18

    A chain movie theater is the same everywhere, right? Not so with the one we affectionately call "Fountains." There are indeed fountains nearby, but we hardly ever notice them. We rush right past to get to the unassuming theater that boasts the most comfy seats in town. Maybe it's the vibes from the church that once met in the theater… More >>
  • Best Bar Atmosphere/Decor

    Leon's Lounge

    Whether you're looking to make eyes with a cutie at the end of the bar, shoot pool with friends in a hunter's lodge or listen to a piano man in a room of gorgeous wood paneling and fancy mirrors, Leon's Lounge is your place. Just off the McGowen stop on the METRORail, it's the bar you've always wondered about, thanks… More >>
  • Best Buried Treasure

    The Twin Sisters

    In 1836, America was in the throes of a national frenzy of Manifest Destiny. In support of their brethren fighting Santa Anna in Texas, the citizens of Cincinnati forged two small cannons. The guns were shipped on steamboats down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and then out of New Orleans to Galveston, where they were officially presented to the Texian… More >>
  • Best Club for Local Acts

    Super Happy Fun Land

    A band would be hard-pressed to get turned away from Super Happy Fun Land, whether their shtick is playing traditional style (using instruments as they were meant to be used) or hitting a mayonnaise jar with a rubber chicken. The lack of standards gives many a green musician a chance to play in front of an audience. And for music… More >>
  • Best Comedian

    Rodney Yarbrough

    Rodney Yarbrough, a.k.a. Lil Brough, has been on the Houston scene for more than 15 years. He's toured nationally and was invited to perform at the Houston stop of Dave Chappelle's Block Party Tour a couple of years back. He makes regular appearances at local venues like The Improv and the Laff Stop, but is also known to frequent open-mike… More >>
  • Best Comedy Show

    Doomsday Wrestling

    We'll probably get some threatening letters from the folks at Doomsday Wrestling for calling them a "Comedy Show," but rest assured, it's in good fun. It's hard to believe either the wrestlers or producers don't see the humor in their events. Especially considering Doomsday's roster, which includes Precious Jewels, a guy who wears a silver spandex S&M costume and gets… More >>
  • Best Film Festival

    Houston 48 Hour Film Festival

    The Houston 48 Hour Film Project is for both your viewing and participating pleasure. Houstonians get the chance not only to watch films created in the titular time frame, but also create one themselves. Teams are given a list of guidelines, including a genre and a prop, a line and a character that must be used to create their own… More >>
  • Best Improv Troupe

    The Greatest Thing in the History of the World

    Houston has a nice tradition of short-form improv, so it was nice to see a change of pace this year with The Greatest Thing in the History of the World. The long-form improv troupe works in the style perfected by the Upright Citizens Brigade. (In fact, many of the members of GTHW have trained with UCB in NY — oops,… More >>
  • Best Mom and Pop Band

    Paris Falls

    Paris Falls is the brainchild of Jennifer and Raymond Brown. When the two are not perfecting their musical offspring, they're raising their biological one. The pair creates some of the best rock around and recorded most of their first album, Paris Falls Vol. I, after the birth of their son. Pending a good babysitter, you can see them and their… More >>
  • Best New Coffee Shop

    Inversion Coffee House

    This coffeehouse is attracting as much attention as its namesake. Inspired by Inversion, the giant-vortex house that once stood at 1956 Montrose, Inversion Coffee House has just as many Houstonians stopping by for its art as for its killer cup of joe. Inversion has all the pleasantries of Starbucks (i.e., quality coffee served by a staff that doesn't think they're… More >>
  • Best Place for Local Comedy

    Rudz Comedy Werkshop

    If you ever find yourself at Rudyard's on a Tuesday night, do yourself a favor and head upstairs to check out Rudz Comedy Werkshop. The free event — run by and for comedians — gives local comedians a chance to stretch their wings with more than the usual two to five minutes normally offered at open-mike nights. Every week at… More >>
  • Best Clown School

    Houston Clown School/Kibbey's Clowns

    John Wayne Gacy. That spider-clown from It. The dude from Capturing the Friedmans. For generations, clowns have held a special place in our hearts. They camouflage their faces and speak like castrati, and we let them near our children. We do this because the painted man-child lets children revel in their natural schadenfreude, before the world beats them down and… More >>
  • Best Unexpectedly Good Juke


    After a night of drinking enough to make you crave the food of whatever restaurant is in sight, you're not usually worried about the music that accompanies the meal. This is what makes Chapultepec's jukebox such a pleasant surprise. The music machine is loaded with enough classic jazz, soul, rock and Latino hits to make you want to stay past… More >>
  • Best Unsigned Band

    500 Megatons of Boogie

    Formerly known as The Squishees, who were formerly known as The Slurpees, 500 Megatons of Boogie offers up an original, post-punk sound. Led by Erik Westfall, who has played with such notable names as Randy "Biscuit" Turner, the group conjures up comparisons to Gang of Four, The Melvins and Link Wray. The three-piece also features longtime bassist Johnny Todd and former… More >>
  • Best Band to Break Up in the Last Year

    Los Skarnales

    The legendary ska/norteño/rockabilly/punk vatos rudos went out the way they came in — playing a packed house full of brawling, beered-up pachucos and peckerwoods. (There were no less than four fights that night at the Continental Club.) Their particular only-in-Houston brand of Second Ward psychosis and Navigation Boulevard madness might never be heard again. Since then, frontman Felipe Galvan has… More >>
  • Best CD about Houston

    Kashmere Gardens Mud, Johnny Bush

    Long a resident of San Antonio, Texas honky-tonk titan Johnny Bush turned his attention this year to the city of his birth and raising. In collaboration with former Chronicle music critic Rick Mitchell, Bush both authored his memoirs (Whiskey River [Take My Mind]: The True Story of Texas Honky-Tonk) and a Bayou City-themed album called Kashmere Gardens Mud. Neither Bush… More >>
  • Best CD By Local Musicians

    Waitin' to Inhale, Devin the Dude

    A true jazzman on the mike, Devin is a master of meter, intonation and rhyme. His down-to-earth words are full of wit and humor, and man, those relaxing, blessed-out beats — they make you exhale like you just slid into a hot whirlpool bath after toting the rock 32 times against the Chicago Bears D. "Almighty Dollar," the album's first… More >>
  • Best Dive

    The Cozy Corner

    Stepping into this dark, friendly cavern of a tatterdemalion strip mall bar near the ruins of Westbury Square is like entering a portal back to 1980, with a difference. Yes, it's got the requisite low ceiling, cheap drinks, smoky ambience, early opening time (11 a.m.) and friendly, take-no-shit service you expect from any old-school dive worth its salty peanuts. And… More >>
  • Best Pirate Band

    Flying Fish Sailors

    From their name to their repertoire, historical nautical themes permeate all that the Flying Fish Sailors do. Each of their albums features a sea shanty or four, and even shanties about such landlubberly subjects as mowing the lawn, and U-Haul trucks. (If you ask them nicely, they'll don "pseudo-pirate" attire for a gig.) Guitarist Jay Lee fondly recalls playing a… More >>
  • Best Local CD Reissue

    Texas Thunder Soul 1968–74, Kashmere Stage Band

    All these decades later, it's still hard to believe that these brassy, jazzed-up funk grooves were made by mere high school kids. It's also amazing how fresh and contemporary these pieces sound today — when done well, classic funk never, ever goes out of style, and Texas Thunder Soul definitely qualifies as well-made classic funk. (Hip-hop DJs, especially DJ Shadow,… More >>
  • Best New Song about Houston

    "Fannin Street," Tom Waits

    A lovely lament from Tom Waits's latest, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards, "Fannin Street" seems especially timely. The song opens like this: "There's a crooked street in Houston town / it's a well-worn path I've traveled down / now there's ruin in my name / I wish I'd never got off the train and I wish I'd listened to the… More >>
  • Best New Bar

    Pearl Bar

    The antithesis of all the trendy lounges catering to the fickle 400 that come and go every year, Pearl Bar is in it for the long haul. Right now, it's just a beer garden with an icehouse vibe behind what once was Mary Jane's. A few picnic tables are scattered about, along with low-tech games like ping-pong and hula-hooping, but… More >>
  • Best New Club

    Libra Lounge

    Almeda south of Alabama is hopping these days, nowhere more so than at the Libra Lounge. New Orleans native and longtime Houstonian Coye Devrouax set out to create an authentic Crescent City-style hole in the wall, and he's done just that. It's easy to imagine you're in the Big Easy's Sixth Ward rather than Houston's Third, especially on Monday nights… More >>
  • Best Public Art Project

    Wortham Park

    Nobody ever goes to this spectacular water park hidden in plain sight near the Med Center on the site of the old Shamrock Hotel. There's no free parking around and almost no foot traffic in the area, so likely as not your only company will be maintenance workers. And that's what makes it such a great place to take your… More >>
  • Best Rapper


    The Dirty South takes a lot of knocks from the greater Hip-Hop Nation. New Yorkers, especially, accuse us of dumbing down the music. They love to say hip-hop is dead, murdered by stupid songs like "Laffy Taffy" and "Chain Hang Low." They say our beats are wack and our lyrics are moronic. Chamillionaire is everything the smarty-pants New Yorkers say… More >>
  • Best Pool Hall

    Slick Willie's Family Pool Hall

    Sure, sure, we don't like to praise the chain outlets, but this really is the best pool hall in town, and we're not just saying that because we get a kick out of the irony of a place called Slick Willie's being stationed right across the street from the girl bar: Twenty-three of the big-boy pool tables (and one of… More >>
  • Best Icehouse

    West Alabama Ice House

    West Alabama Ice House is a perennial Best of Houston® winner, most deservedly, so rather than subject you to a rewording of bygone blurbs, we'll just give the place the Zagat treatment. It's not plagiarism if you're quoting yourself, right? "Cheap beers, pretty bohemian bartenders, roots rock and free hot dogs on Friday make this icehouse in the heart of… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    Texas Gallery

    Texas Gallery manages to be both blue-chip and hip. Opening in 1971, they were the first to show artists like Chuck Close, Brice Marden, Ed Rusche and William Wegman in Houston. They've shown Lynda Benglis since 1972. Some 30 years ago, they exhibited her bronze cast of a double-headed dildo and put an image of it on the postcards they… More >>
  • Best Art Show

    "Wishing for Synchronicity: Works by Pipilotti Rist," Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

    Pipilotti Rist's video work is lush, elegant, absurd — and hard to sum up. But "Wishing for Synchronicity," organized by the CAMH's Paola Morsiani, created a riveting and fabulous retrospective of the Swiss artist's work. While most video art ends up being shown in or on a black box, Rist's show took over the entire main floor of the CAMH,… More >>
  • Best Artist

    Bill Davenport

    Bill Davenport embraces his inner hobbyist when he makes art. He's built wonky wood sculptures that look like shop-class rejects. He's crocheted objects and needlepointed drawings. He's painted trompe l'oeil replicas of old paperbacks. In his recent work, he's made outsized sculptures from insulating foam board and joint compound that look like props from Shrek with half-timbered ceilings, dungeon doors… More >>
  • Best Art Guru

    Clint Willour

    Clint Willour is everywhere — but quietly. His intense involvement in the Houston art scene is about the art rather than his ego. Curator of the Galveston Arts Center, Willour not only puts together great shows at his own institution, he has curated and juried hundreds of exhibitions all over Houston, Texas, and the world. Willour is at every art… More >>
  • Best Artistic Collaboration

    Otabenga Jones & Associates

    Otabenga Jones & Associates may have hit the big time, but they're not letting it go to their heads. OJ&A — aka Dawolu Jabari Anderson, Jamal Cyrus, Kenya Evans and Robert A. Pruitt — first met in a freshman art class at Texas Southern University. The collective's inclusion in the 2006 Whitney Biennial put OJ&A on the radar of all… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    Doo Doo Butter

    Unfortunately, the most memorable and original name for a band is Doo Doo Butter. No other moniker could better burn "disgusting" into a person's mind. What it means exactly — well, we'll let you figure it out on your own. Doo Doo Butter is just gross on so many levels that you can't escape it, nor fail to admire it.… More >>
  • Best Artistic Renovation

    Isabella Court Building

    Isabella Court opened in 1929, the year the Great Depression began, but the lovely Spanish-style building is a survivor that made it onto the National Register of Historic Places. Purchased in 1991 by Trudy Hutchings, Isabella Court has been lovingly preserved and restored. The building's stunning courtyard is legendary, and its original murals, faded with time, lend the building a… More >>
  • Best Curator

    Kim Davenport

    Kim Davenport has made Rice Gallery a treasure trove of installation art in the middle of the Rice University campus, an institution far better known for engineering than for visual art. This past year, Davenport brought in two particularly outstanding installations. The first, "Rip Curl Canyon" by the young collaborative team of Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues, completely transformed the… More >>
  • Best Installation

    "Rip Curl Canyon"

    Two architects took eight tons of cardboard and three tons of wood and created a surreal landscape that consumed all of Rice Gallery. Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues of the collaborative team Ball-Nogues previously worked with architect Frank Gehry, the don of cardboard furniture. But Ball-Nogues did Gehry one better — instead of using cardboard to make chairs, they used… More >>
  • Best Ensemble Production

    The Clean House at the Alley Theatre

    Artful, surprising and truly fine in so many ways, the Alley Theatre's Spring production of Sarah Ruhl's Pulitzer Prize-nominated The Clean House was thrilling. Houston's inventive cast turned each and every character into a creative joy. Josie de Guzman's Matilde, the Brazilian maid who didn't like to clean, was a gift of sweet sadness who found a perfect foil in… More >>
  • Best Performance of a Really, Really Long Monologue

    Christianne Mays in Homebody/Kabul at Main Street Theater

    Magical, lyrical, ecstatically in love with the power of language, and profoundly political, Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul was one of last season's best plays. A good part of the power came from the writing, which was unquestionably extraordinary, but what made Main Street Theater's production so amazing was Christianne Mays's brilliant hour-long monologue as the Homebody, a middle-class, wildly intelligent British… More >>
  • Best Original Show

    Rot by John Harvey at Mildred's Umbrella

    Local playwright John Harvey is nothing if not bizarre, at least he's that way in writing. His disturbingly funny plays, featured at Mildred's Umbrella, have examined incest, debauchery and sex with animals. Last season's Rot, presented with the help of those grand puppets from Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theatre, was Harvey's most tortured and most hilarious yet. It featured a nasty family… More >>
  • Best Performance Space

    Barnevelder Movement/Arts Space

    Perched on the northeast edge of downtown, the squatty building doesn't look like much from the outside. But that's okay, all the magic happens inside. The 7,200-square-foot venue houses a 120-seat black-box performance space that's as versatile and smart as they come. One night it's turned into a full in-the-round theater; two weeks later, the whole thing has been reconfigured… More >>
  • Best Second Banana/Supporting Actor

    Annalee Jeffries as Virginia in The Clean House at the Alley Theatre

    Annalee Jeffries is one of Houston's most wonderful treasures. Funny, fierce, smart and glowing with charisma and charm, the quirky actor is a bright spot in every production she joins. But this season she created one of her most unforgettable performances as the dowdy kook of a sister in the Alley Theatre's production of Sarah Ruhl's The Clean House. Though… More >>
  • Best Theatrical Idea

    365 Plays/365 Days

    When Suzan Lori Parks became the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama — for 2001's TopDog/Underdog — you'd think she might have been willing to sit back on her laurels for a while. Not the reigning queen of American theater. Just one year later, in November 2002, she came up with what may be the most… More >>
  • Best Ballet

    Carnival of Animals, Houston Ballet

    Houston Ballet's opening-night performance of Christopher Wheeldon's Carnival of Animals had the audience roaring, thanks to a special per­form­ance by two-time Tony Award-winner John Lithgow. The multitalented actor and children's book author wrote the dialogue for this family-friendly ballet, and he performed it with scene-chewing zeal in Houston for two nights during the May premiere. He danced the part of… More >>
  • Best Body Shot

    Seabrook Beach Club

    The Jimmy Buffet-meets-Larry Flynt style of Seabrook Beach Club definitively answers the age-old question that we all ponder at some point in our lives: "What do people at NASA do when they get fucked up?" The answer, of course, is body shots off of hot women in bikinis, which also happens to be the official uniform of Seabrook's wait staff.… More >>
  • Best Cigar Bar

    Downing Street Pub - CLOSED

    Come September 1, the city's new smoking ordinance goes into effect, banning smoke in just about every building imaginable. One of the few exemptions will be cigar bars, thanks pretty much to Downing Street Pub. What saved Downing Street? Was it the 400-square-foot humidor in the center of the dark bar, stuffed with high-end cigars and Dunhill cigarettes? The single-malt… More >>
  • Best Family Outing

    Houston Museum of Natural Science

    Houston was once home to AstroWorld, amusement park extraordinaire. Sadly, AstroWorld is gone, but we still have a world-class family entertainment facility – the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Wait, wait, yes, it's a museum, but it's not the kind where you have to whisper and the exhibits are safely tucked behind velvet ropes. Here, kids are encouraged to talk… More >>
  • Best Bingo Night

    JR's Drag Queen Bingo

    Our selection for Best Bingo Night this year is JR's Bar and Grill's Drag Queen Bingo. Now, bingo played à la JR's has some special rules. For one thing, the opening instructions include "Pay attention to your drag queens!" For another, every time the number "O-69" is called, everyone has to swoon, "Ohhhh, sixty-nine!" and the bar offers dollar shot… More >>
  • Best Blues Club

    The Big Easy Social & Pleasure Club

    The Big Easy is big fun. Nowhere else in Houston can you find live blues six nights a week. The venue features music legends like Guitar Shorty (Jimi Hendrix was a fan) one night and local favorites like Tony Vega or Earl Gilliam the next. They take turns keeping the dance floor crowded. And as if being the best blues… More >>
  • Best Club for Out-of-Town Acts

    Warehouse Live

    Imagine Corinne Bailey Rae in an intimate setting, with just you and 300 of your closest friends. Maybe you'd prefer Stephen Marley or James Hunter. From neo-soul up-and-comers to blues legends, everyone stops by Warehouse Live. The club, a converted 1920s warehouse, has made its reputation by having a diverse lineup in a low-key, but comfortable setting. The two rooms,… More >>
  • Best Dancer

    Randy Herrera, Houston Ballet

    Graceful and strong at the same time, with a style that masks the difficulty of the dance, Houston Ballet principal dancer Randy Herrera glides effortlessly from role to role (his favorite is Basilio in Don Quixote). Herrera is both smooth and explosive in his performances, with effortless jumps and pirouettes. The Acapulco-born Herrera was with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago… More >>
  • Best Drag Queen


    Previous Readers' Choice Best Drag Queen winner Kofi is originally from Louisiana, but she's been in Houston for so long, she calls herself a local girl. Regulars at JR's Bar and Grill and South Beach know her well — she hosts the Tuesday- and Sunday-night shows (a mix of drag queens and male strippers). Kofi's own act regularly includes Patti… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    South Beach

    Set in the golden gay triangle next to JR's Bar and Grill and the Mining Company, South Beach is the pretty boy of the bunch. And here, it's all about the dancing. Regularly importing DJs from Miami, San Francisco and New York, South Beach offers some of the best and newest dance music anywhere in Houston. The club boasts a… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Sambuca Jazz Cafe

    Live jazz, seven nights a week, in Houston? Look no further than Sambuca. Set in an oasis of dark woods and white linen with the occasional tiger print thrown in, Sambuca features local singers, like the sultry Yvonne Washington and Tianna Hall, and high-energy Houston bands, like the Blue Monks and the Mark Dini Group. The bar also regularly plays… More >>
  • Best Latin Club

    Club Tropicana

    Hot DJs, an enthusiastic crowd and live music from top local and international Latin acts make Club Tropicana an easy choice for this year's Best Latin Club. (It won the title in 2003 and 2004.) The club is open only three nights a week (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday), so try not to miss the fun. Tuesday is Ladies' Night with… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour

    Sherlock's on West Gray - CLOSED

    This paragraph should really just begin and end with "$6 pitchers." But if that's not enough to convince you, keep in mind that this gigantic West Gray pub has an obscenely cheap, and extended, happy hour six days out of the week, and all day on Sunday. Add to this a free buffet, and you're a fat, happy, drunk man… More >>
  • Best Hidden Bar


    Nestled in a nondescript little office strip on the lower end of Richmond, Absinthe is a terrific bar, but one that doesn't exactly spread the word about itself. There's no sign, no indication that the low-slung little building houses anything at all, but open the impressive wooden doors and you've entered a wonderfully cozy little enclave. It has couches and… More >>
  • Best Hotel Bar

    Magnolia Hotel Bar

    You may not be able to afford to stay at the Magnolia, but that shouldn't keep you from nabbing a drink in the hotel's posh second-floor bar. There's something almost ethereal about the place, which is decked out with plasma TVs and dozens of leather couches and chairs. There's live jazz every evening, and a billiards room. A setting this… More >>
  • Best Place to Stage Yiddish Theater

    Emanu El Memorial Park

    Sadly, except for "schmuck," "schlemiel" and a few other silly-sounding words, Yiddish is mostly dead. A Yiddish theater revival would go a long way in resurrecting the language, and there's no better place for it than the gorgeous, grossly underutilized open-air chapel at Emanu El Memorial Park. Long live Tevye the dairyman and Kalmen the matchmaker!… More >>
  • Best Bartender

    Brad Moore of Pearl Bar

    Montrose-area bar patrons have been delighted to have this man pouring their hooch for years now. Many claim he makes the meanest margaritas this city has to offer. Others claim that his famous Bloody Marys have the healing powers of black magic. Whether that's true or not, Moore will greet you with a smile, remember your name and most likely… More >>
  • Best DJ

    Ceeplus Bad Knives

    A veteran who's been down in the trenches of the music scene for years now, Ceeplus (aka Eric Castillo) has a love for music of all genres that shines through his DJ sets. Any given night, the man behind the black-framed glasses will take you from Baltimore club sounds to Italo disco to punk rock to Houston hip-hop and then… More >>
  • Best Tattoo Artist

    Brett Osborne of Bombshell Tattoo and Piercing

    Brett Osborne isn't as old or as experienced as Houston tattoo-artist illuminati such as Dan Martin and Tiger John. Nevertheless, Osborne has firmly established himself as one of Houston's most talented with a needle-tipped gun. Lovers of permanent ink outside of his hometown have taken notice, and some of his colorful works have landed him spreads in magazines such as… More >>
  • Best Steak Night

    The Hideaway on Dunvale

    It's not as cheap as some steak nights — most notably the free ones hosted by PJ's on West Gray — but it's hard to beat The Hideaway's 16-ounce rib eye, baked potato and a salad, all for only $12. The Hideaway offers two steak nights, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and (during crawfish season) two crawfish boils (all you can… More >>