Best Lounge - 2012
Shoeshine Charley's Big Top Lounge
The Big Top's circus-themed decor always makes it seem a little like a Fellini movie. First of all, it's dark enough that you almost need to strike a match to see your drink, like every great lounge should be. There's also something a little surreal about nursing a cold one or cocktail surrounded by multiple Elvis portraits, Christmas lights, tabletop video games, an ancient beer-can collection, an old shoeshine stand (once used by the late Shoeshine Charley himself) and all kinds of other kitschy memorabilia. But besides the decor — yes, and the drinks — the Big Top is also home to some of the coolest recurring musical events in town, from the Reverberation and Fistful of Soul DJ nights to Gulf Coast soul quartet Umbrella Man's Thursday-night residency.