Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Band to Leave Houston in the Last Year

    Robert Ellis

    It's hard to imagine that we're less than three years removed from Robert Ellis's stint playing Whiskey Wednesdays at Mango's and then Fitzgerald's. From that small but loyal fan base — and even earlier in previous band Eyes Like Lions — Ellis has seen his star deservedly rise on the shoulders of his 2011 New West Records debut, Photographs. Along… More >>
  • Best Artistic Renovation

    Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston

    This past summer, the Blaffer Art Museum, nestled on the University of Houston campus, paid the hefty sum of $2.3 million for total reconstruction surgery, and the money was incredibly well spent. The facade evolved into a stunning windowed parallelogram, which both sticks out and enhances the lackluster brick buildings of UH. The interior space is now sprawling and bright,… More >>
  • Best Reading Series


    Poets, novelists and essayists get rock-star receptions at Inprint's two popular reading series, the Margarett Root Brown Reading Series for adults and Cool Brains! for young readers. Authors scheduled for 2013-2014 season readings/onstage interviews and signing sessions include James McBride, George Saunders, Anne Carson and Khaled Hosseini. Past authors have ranged from internationally known Salman Rushdie to Daniel Handler, a.k.a.… More >>
  • Best Mural

    Fruits of the Fifth Ward

    Dedicated in 2006, this ceramic tile mosaic celebrates the rich history of Houston's Fifth Ward by featuring the faces of some truly amazing people who came from the neighborhood — Barbara Jordan, Mickey Leland and George Foreman. In a city known for bulldozing the past to make room for strip malls or townhomes, murals like this one — which reflect… More >>
  • Best Ensemble Production

    Stephan Koplowitz’s “Natural Acts in Artificial Water”

    Any dancer will tell you that there's a special connection that forms during the run of a performance; the intimacy and trust are necessary for a dance ensemble to be successful. Now put a group of dancers in the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park and make them perform in the streaming fountain, and imagine the level of confidence they must… More >>
  • Best Honky-Tonk

    Blanco’s Bar & Grill

    A roadhouse in River Oaks has been one of the local music scene's most confounding riddles. It's true; some critics have called Blanco's a clubhouse for Coca-Cola cowboys who only book their country-lite friends. And while actual bottle-throwing brawls may be rare — it's definitely an older, moneyed crowd, no question — the Lone Star is still cold, the hardwood… More >>
  • Best Tattoo Artist

    Dan Martin at Scorpion Studios

    Scorpion Studios is the go-to place for serious tattoo artwork, and the man in charge, Dan Martin, is responsible for having built that reputation. As intimidating as the metal music blaring through the sound system may seem, the shop is full of a core group of welcoming tattooers with mad skills and an awesome vision. Both Martin's portfolio and his… More >>
  • Murmuration by Edwaard Liang/Houston Ballet

    Best Ballet

    Murmuration by Edwaard Liang/Houston Ballet

    Dance fans had a real treat at the Houston Ballet's The Rite of Spring concert in March. The performance included the world premieres of HB Artistic Director Stanton Welch's Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) and Edwaard Liang's Murmuration, this year's winner for Best Ballet. The work, commissioned by Houston Ballet, was inspired by the flight patterns of… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    Illegal Wiretaps

    A good band name should be both provocative and evocative, a word or phrase that rattles your nerves a little and sticks in your brain: Rolling Stones, Arcade Fire, the Dicks, Linus Pauling Quartet. Although sometimes the sounds they create hardly qualify them as a "band" — the Wiretaps frequently come across as more performance art or deconstructivist theater, like… More >>
  • Best Blues Club

    Shakespeare Pub

    The blues is alive and well some distance from the Katy Freeway's Kirkwood exit, behind Olde Towne Kolaches and next door to a florist. Otherwise a grubby if literary-minded neighborhood bar, the Shakespeare has for many years now reflected not some long-outdated idea of the blues but what the music looks and sounds like today: older, white, suburban. It's had… More >>
  • Best Dive

    D&W Lounge

    D&W Lounge, off Milby at McKinney in the shadow of the Maximus Coffee Factory and surrounded by railroad tracks, has a kind of Jekyll-and-Hyde vibe. By day (D&W opens at 7 a.m.), the unassuming shack's patio and dark interior are home to third-shifters just getting off work from the nearby factories and warehouses. By night, it's home to everything from… More >>
  • Best Drink Special

    Mo Mong - CLOSED

    Dirt-cheap yet delicious cosmos are a real live thing that exists outside of daydreams, thanks to Mo Mong's "Martini Wednesdays," a weekly tradition that involves not only some rockin' $3 cosmopolitans but also some of the best people-watching and pan-Asian food around. The scenery ain't so bad, either; Mo Mong is a sleek art- and bamboo-filled little spot right in… More >>
  • Best 15 Minutes of Fame

    Juan Carlos (Montrose Rollerblade dancer)

    Sure, this colorful Montrose character has been making passers-by say, "What the fuck?" for a few years now, but it wasn't until recently that the dude actually started making headlines. With the help of some exposure provided by a local documentarian, Carlos's exciting, upbeat dance moves have wowed even more folks, and when he disappeared for a little while at… More >>
  • Best CD by a Local Musician

    DJ Sun, One Hundred

    DJ Sun knows how to release an album right. For the three months leading up to the launch of his first ever full-length LP, One Hundred, the Houston turntablist, producer and host of KPFT's Soular Grooves — not to mention a multiple Houston Press Music Awards winner — regularly updated his Web site with "One Hundred Days to One Hundred,"… More >>
  • “James Turrell: The Light Inside”

    Best Art Show

    “James Turrell: The Light Inside”

    If light artist James Turrell weren't a Houston favorite before his latest exhibition, "The Light Inside," he certainly is now. Turrell, a pioneer in the Light and Space movement, contributed an installation of the same name to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in 2000. That Light Inside was the lighted tunnel between two of MFAH's buildings (colors morph from… More >>
  • Best Piano Bar

    Howl at the Moon

    The talent and range of the musicians at Midtown's Howl at the Moon are vast, impressive and downright fun. Whether singing covers of Top 40 radio hits, rapping the best of hip-hop or belting out the standards, the party is always moving in this interactive atmosphere of music and libations. One of the main attractions here is the 86-ounce "Buckets… More >>
  • Best Landmark

    Personnage et oiseaux (Figure and Birds)

    The theater district is full of some of Houston's most recognizable landmarks, from Jones Hall and the Alley Theatre to the downtown skyline's tallest building, the JPMorgan Chase Tower. But while it may be dwarfed by the 75-story skyscraper, the sculpture in the plaza by Catalonia-born artist Joan Miró (1893-1983) makes a much cooler calling card. Perhaps a surrealist spin… More >>
  • Best Lighting Design

    Robert Eubanks and Nathan Haworth for the Dance Salad Festival, Wortham Theater

    With any dance performance, it must be noted that the dance is only half of what makes a show either remarkable or unmemorable. The other half is the lighting. In this year's "Dance Salad Festival," Robert Eubanks and Nathan Haworth's creative lighting design was as impressive as the work itself. From piece to piece, the lighting mirrored the sentiments of… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar — Montrose


    Cheap drinks; friendly bartenders; pool tables; an expansive patio; an old-school juke with Muddy Waters, Elvis Costello and Outkast; a laid-back crowd; the occasional laid-back dog: We're generally pleased if a bar has one or two of these things, but it's downright kick-ass when they're all rolled into one. There are trendier bars in Montrose, but if you want a… More >>
  • Best Festival

    Houston Art Car Parade

    This year's winner for Best Festival, the Houston Art Car Parade, is actually a weekend-long party that includes the parade; a ball; an awards ceremony and brunch; and other, slightly less official events. True to the parade's Orange Show beginnings, the celebrations are all weird, eccentric and decidedly offbeat. The procession of art cars, art bikes and what are best… More >>
  • Best Artist

    Justin Garcia

    Painter Justin Garcia calls himself an abstract expressionist. It's a more accurate label than simple artist, he says. Garcia is currently enjoying success with both collectors and critics. In today's fickle art world, that's rare. Rarer still is Garcia's drive to blend his artistic endeavors with good business sense. Putting good work on the canvas isn't enough. His self-imposed job… More >>
  • Best Place to Relive the '80s

    Etro Lounge

    If you're looking to pump up the volume...and the hairspray, Etro Lounge is the place to be. The Montrose hot spot blasts '80s pop and underground to the always-ready-to-party crowd. Some come dressed in their regular attire while others deck themselves out in the decade's finest. Spandex and neon and teased hair, oh my! Join the fun Tuesday through Sunday,… More >>
  • Best Hotel Bar

    Four Seasons Lobby Lounge

    The Lobby Lounge is exactly what it sounds like: a tastefully appointed lounge just off the lobby inside the Four Seasons hotel downtown. You can valet your car for only $6 and head inside for one of the best whiskey selections in town, along with a nice array of craft beers, wines and small bar bites prepared by chef Maurizio… More >>
  • Best Film Festival

    Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Latin Wave: New Films from Latin America

    Now in its eighth year, Latin Wave: New Films from Latin America is bigger and better than ever. Standout hits from the 2013 festival included emerging Argentine writer/director/producer Carlos Sorin's Días de Pesca (Gone Fishing). The family drama about a man searching for his estranged daughter received a Special Jury Prize at La Habana Film Festival. This is the second… More >>
  • Best Alternative Venue

    The Silo

    The Silo is such an alternative venue it's barely even open. In fact, the converted rice mill deep in Fifth Ward is open to the public only on rare occasions, such as when the Art Car Ball (almost) got rained out earlier this year. Billing itself on Facebook as "the place where the improbable becomes the possible," the Silo's seven-acre… More >>
  • Best Bar Games


    On the first and fourth Fridays of the month, this is totally the place to get your geek on. Joystix, which adjoins the neighboring 1820 Bar, is a veritable nerd-fest in its own right, and when they open those doors and allow for open play while you sip on stout drinks from next door, it's a gamer's utopia. From the… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Red Cat Jazz Cafe

    Red Cat Jazz Cafe is the kind of place you'd imagine a jazz club would look and sound like, and it now looks even more chic since recently moving into its new quarters a block or two from Buffalo Bayou. With crimson walls and tablecloths, ebony accents and Neimanesque pastel portraits of past jazz greats, the Red Cat is an… More >>
  • Best Dancer

    Karina Gonzalez, Houston Ballet principal dancer

    Following her spectacular performance in Stanton Welch's La Bayadère earlier this year, Caracas native Karina Gonzalez was promoted to principal dancer of the Houston Ballet. It was just one of a long string of successful performances Gonzalez has enjoyed over the three years she's been with the company. Along with principal roles in Welch's Indigo, Divergence, Clear and Tapestry, Gonzalez… More >>
  • Best Open-Mike Comedy Night


    With a decent amount of local talent, Houston deserves more stages to feature homegrown comics. Thankfully, Rudz has stepped forward to devote one night a week to nurturing newcomers and showcasing seasoned vets with its "A Couple of Stand Up Guys" shows. Every Monday at 8 p.m. (as of this writing), you can check out a rotating cast of characters,… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    Rose Garden

    A pre-WWII converted house with an actual rose garden out back, the Rose Garden could also be Houston's leading time warp. The north Heights beer joint resembles somebody's den — toaster oven, mini-fridge, pool table, dusty dartboard in the corner — but the room is dominated by the jukebox, an imposing six-foot-tall piece of amusement equipment that may be the… More >>
  • Best Place for Cocktails

    Anvil Bar & Refuge

    Anvil doesn't have bartenders; it has bar superheroes. From the Anvil-exclusive cocktail list to their ability to read minds and build a custom cocktail based on your taste preferences, these guys (and gals) are the real deal. Think barkeep of old; they're trained in their craft, and they're trained well. So well, in fact, that they have been described as… More >>
  • Best Curator

    Peter Lucas

    Peter Lucas repeats as Best Curator. Last year's win was based on his work with Contemporary Arts Museum Houston's "Perspectives 178: CINEPLEX," while this year it was his work with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Jazz on Film series, a monthlong showcase of classic and rarely seen films that illustrated the long and sometimes tenuous relationship between jazz music… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    William Reaves Fine Art

    The William Reaves Fine Art gallery specializes in Texas art, from early (Jose Arpa) to modern (John Biggers) to contemporary (Laura Lewis). Home to the ongoing "Texas Aesthetic" exhibition series, the gallery hosted "Broadening the Texas Perspective: Rediscovered Paintings by Emma Richardson Cherry," "The Paths to Abstraction: Paintings by Otis Huband and Jim Woodson" and "North Texas Recalled: The Painterly… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    Stereo Live

    Dance music — EDM if you want to give it a modern name — is bigger than ever, and its home in Houston is Stereo Live. The crew at Stereo Live have put the money and effort toward ­turning the space into the premier spot for dance music in the city. Every weekend it's packed with people looking to see some… More >>
  • Best Patio

    El Pueblito Patio

    Sometimes we like to go here and pretend we're dining in some sultry tropical paradise where everyone lives outdoors year-round, because it's that beautiful. When you're on the patio here, it's really not that far of a stretch. Whether you're sitting tree-side at one of the tables or ensconced in one of the cozy cabanas, you're instantly transported to some… More >>
  • Best Strip Club

    Club Onyx - CLOSED

    As noted on its Web site, this upscale gentlemen's club caters to "some of Houston's top businessmen, lawyers, doctors, and professional athletes," meaning you'll get to enjoy beautiful dancers and delicious meals in some very refined company. The club boasts 12,800 square feet of fun, with two full-service bars, bottle service, VIP rooms and the signature "Onyx wings." Be sure… More >>
  • Best Tiny Art Gallery

    The Closet Box: Micro Gallery/ Wonder Emporium, inside Box 13 Artspace

    Houston has quite a few tiny art galleries, from the minuscule Kenmore (a small refrigerator) to Redbud Gallery (a Heights-area shop the size of most gallery entrance halls). But it isn't just size that determined this year's winner, The Closet Box: Micro Gallery / Wonder Emporium inside East End's Box 13 Artspace. It was also programming that pushed Closet Box… More >>
  • Best Bar

    Mongoose Vs. Cobra

    The perfect bar in Houston can be hard to find. As much as you may love that dive or sports bar, sometimes you want a joint that's a bit classier but still friendly and welcoming. Oh, and a large selection of draft beer and cocktails is so, so necessary. Enter the interestingly named Mongoose versus Cobra. As you sit at… More >>
  • Best Concert Venue

    Jones Hall

    Houston certainly has newer and arguably nicer music venues than Jones Hall, but the building at 615 Louisiana has been offering one of the most satisfying concert experiences in town for nearly 50 years, for far more than just classical crowds. Of course, Jones is best known and most often employed as the home of the Houston Symphony, but it… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar


    Multiple screens tuned to all the games you don't want to miss? Check. Pool tables for if you want to "exercise" while watching said games? Check. Killer beer selection at great prices? Affirmative. Friendly staff? That'd be a yes. Wings, fried pickles, burgers and quesadillas? You bet your bippy. Really, there's no shortage of sports bars in Houston, but we've… More >>
  • Best Meeting of Art and Music

    Mixed Media

    A few times a year — not often enough, in our opinion — the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, becomes one of the city's top music venues, pairing gorgeous architecture and one of the nation's finest permanent collections of art with cutting-edge music. Officially named MFAH Mixed Media Designed by IKEA, the event decks out MFAH's luxe interior with the… More >>
  • Best Place to People-Watch

    Discovery Green

    One of the best parts of living in the fourth-largest city in the country is that it's a people-watching paradise, and no spot better represents that than Discovery Green. No two trips to Discovery Green are ever exactly the same, and that's a good thing. It's a location that brings in all sorts of folks, including but not limited to… More >>
  • Best Local Label


    Swishahouse was a local institution even long before many of its priceless mementos were cataloged into the Special Collections at Rice University's Fondren Library in October 2012. By helping commercialize the late DJ Screw's slow and low rap style, the label helped the careers of artists like Chamillionaire, Paul Wall, Slim Thug and Mike Jones bloom and became one of… More >>
  • Best Bathroom Graffiti

    Rudyard's British Pub

    How could a bar with a Flickr Hive Mind page devoted to photos of the awesome potty-wall scribbles not be the recipient of a "Best of" award? No matter what kind of bathroom graffiti you're into, Rudyard's bathroom walls have it covered. Be it your old-school "For a good time, call 555-5555" type of scrawling, a multi-person debate on feminism… More >>
  • Best Place to Bring Out-of-Towners

    Either Airport

    Directing out-of-towners to the area's two major airports might be seen as a hostile gesture, but we're not hating at all. For months, Houston has been all over this national magazine or that Web site as one of the country's best places to visit, eat, do business, buy a house or find a job. As many as 100 people a… More >>
  • Best Bar Food

    The Queen Vic

    The Queen Vic redefines "pub grub" with unexpected twists on bar food favorites, both British and American, thanks to chef/owner Shiva Patel's Indian influence. Bar bites during happy hour are only $4 and feature such diverse dishes as ground lamb and potato croquettes with cilantro chutney, or try the deviled eggs with pili pili sauce. For a few bucks more,… More >>
  • Best Microcinema

    KUHF's Silent Film Series at Discovery Green

    Now in its fifth year, the KUHF Silent Film Series is one of the best free events in town. The series pairs a silent movie from the early 1900s with a Texas-based musical act that creates a score for the film and then performs it live during the screening. The films are shown on the lawn at Discovery Green, where… More >>
  • Best New Effort to Inject Culture into Houston

    Homes & Histories Documentary; Voices Breaking Boundaries

    In order to inject culture, one must first observe, collect and acknowledge the culture that is already in place. "What does it mean to have a home?" is the question posed to us by this Voices Breaking Boundaries production that digs deep into the history of Freedman's Town and its current residents, who are dealing with an elimination of history… More >>
  • Best Place for a Kid's Birthday Party


    Whether your child wants to be a princess, a superhero, a pirate or simply a Nerf-sharpshooter, Wonderwild can assist with making that happen. They're the go-to guys for birthday magic, and they've got a menu a mile long of add-ons to customize little Mikey's pirate extravaganza. Want a sweet treats candy bar to sugar up the little monsters before you… More >>
  • Best Small Museum

    Station Museum of Contemporary Art

    The Station Museum of Contemporary Art made its reputation with exhibitions of international artists such as Mel Chin's "Do Not Ask Me" in 2006, the group show "Iraqi Artists in Exile" in 2008 and Andrei Molodkin's "Crude" in 2011. More recently the museum has focused on local artists, as with its 2012 exhibit "HX8 (Houston Times Eight)," the first in… More >>
  • Best Radio Personality

    Michael Berry

    It hasn't taken long for this intelligent, provocative, smart-ass — and sometimes infuriating — local talk-show host to spread to markets as diverse as Nashville and Portland. So the dude must be doing something right. Even though we generally know where he's going to stand on the day's or week's major events — generally on the redneck end of the… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Shuffleboard

    Natachee's Supper 'N Punch

    Shuffleboard is as serious as you make it. You can idly scoot the metal puck back and forth across the table or calibrate just the proper amount of force that will result in a "hanger." It's fun either way and an excellent way to pass the time. Mid-Main comfort-food oasis Natachee's Supper 'N Punch can get mighty crowded, which makes… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour

    The Grove

    The Grove, a chic little eatery in the heart of Discovery Green, boasts one of the best happy hours in the city, and the scenery ain't bad, either. The patio is perfect as a chilled-out space to hang, but even if you're more of an a/c-and-dining-room person, the floor-to-ceiling windows allow you to bring a bit of the green surroundings… More >>
  • Best Pool Hall

    Slick Willie's

    Montrose has always been a place of wonder and merriment, and overall a cool place to hang. In the middle of the Westheimer/Montrose strip is Slick Willie's, which has always been open to all kinds of characters, from novices to experts, teens to retirees, all looking for a place to cool down. Whether you're skipping class or just pre-gaming it,… More >>
  • Best Coffeehouse

    Black Hole Coffee House

    An extensive coffee menu is just the icing on the cake at Black Hole, which also has delicious, locally made cakes and desserts. While they specialize in caffeinated concoctions, you can also find plenty of non-caffeine drinks such as the absolutely amazing Matte-Latte. Black Hole-ites go there for the good brew and good eats, but it's also a see-and-be-seen coffee… More >>
  • Best Stage Show

    The Suffers

    The Suffers have Houston's best stage show because there's so much to look at: cucumber-cool keyboardist and bandleader Pat Kelly; steady-rollin' drummer Nick Zamora; guitarists Kevin Bernier and Alex Zamora; bassist Adam Castaneda; a three-man horn section doing that old JBs side-to-side; "Chapy" Luna going to town on all manner of percussion — congos, timbales, bongos and more — and… More >>
  • Best Downtown Skyscraper

    Heritage Plaza

    Architect Mohammed Nasr vacationed in the Yucatán just before he was set to design downtown's Heritage Plaza in the 1980s. His time in Mexico is directly reflected in the building's postmodern design; the building's cap is a granite stepped pyramid inspired by the Mayan constructions he saw there, and the interior lobby shows off more Mexican influence with a plaza-like… More >>
  • Best Latin Club

    Rick's Den

    This small but lively Tejano club on the north side was named Oscar's Place for a very long time, but a young man named Rick has converted it into a very nice Tejano dancing venue. A strict dress code is enforced, so take your time getting ready. Inside, the dark room is highlighted with just the right amount of color,… More >>
  • Best Modern Dance Company the Sunlight

    There's more that's unique about choreographer/dancer jhon r. stronks than just his name; he's one of the most daring and innovative dancemakers in town, and his company, the Sunlight, is among the city's most ambitious. Recent productions include B.L.K. Gurls ~n~ W.H.T. Boiz: Singin' 'bout Gawd!, an evening-length program of solo and duet performances by stronks and former student/fellow… More >>
  • Best Wine Bar

    The Corkscrew

    Nothing about the Heights' resident wine bar, The Corkscrew, follows those stuffy conventional wine-bar rules, and that's a good thing. This wine bar has built a good reputation among the wine-loving crowd by offering a solid selection of vino in a laid-back, come-as-you-are atmosphere. Resident musician Nick Greer can be found tickling those ivory keys among the aging Malbec and… More >>
  • Best Artistic Collaboration

    Once There Was, Once There Wasn't: Two Tales From the Minds of Lisa Chow & Y.E. Torres

    Once upon a time a salacious, R-rated performance artist named Y.E. Torres who calls herself a "bad unicorn" hijacked a PG-rated visual artist named Lisa Chow who's notorious for her sweet-as-pie creations. The result of this artistic commandeering was a visual and performance-based collaboration to end all collaborations. The concept for this merger was simple: Torres's dark work would literally… More >>
  • Best Bar Atmosphere/Decor

    The Original OKRA Charity Saloon

    Right in the heart of downtown's historic district lies the (thankfully) unhidden gem that is OKRA Charity Saloon. The striking space, featuring a barrel vault ceiling with a stunning wooden arch, is housed in one of downtown's oldest buildings. Freckled brick walls and sleek gaslight fixtures surround the always-bustling oval-shaped bar in the saloon's center, bringing a classic yet modern… More >>
  • Best VIP Room

    The Foundation Room, House of Blues

    There are many upscale and private establishments to be found in this great city, but there's only one Foundation Room. Entering through the front door is for amateurs. This members-only lounge has its own elevator, which transports guests into an Indian palace of luxury. There is no paying-off-the-doorman routine here — you must be on the membership list to enter.… More >>
  • Best Spanish Radio Station

    Recuerdo 106.5 FM

    Many Spanish radio stations are known for their loud and flamboyant disc jockeys, fast and energetic music programming, and over-the-top contests and giveaways. Recuerdo is none of that. Its on-air personalities speak softly and smoothly, and the music consists of boleros and música romántica that will at the same time calm you and put you in an amorous mood. Throughout… More >>
  • Best Performing & Visual Arts Venue

    The Menil Collection

    The Menil Collection main building is lauded almost as much as the artwork it contains. Plans for a museum complex that would house the John and Dominique de Menil family art collection started in the late 1960s. Italian architect Renzo Piano worked with Dominique de Menil to create a museum that looked "small on the outside but [would] be as… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar — the Heights

    Big Star Bar

    Whether you're looking for a cheap beer or a good stiff drink, Big Star Bar is the place to go. You can grab your drink — they've got a fine selection to choose from, particularly in whiskey — and head on out to the patio; settle in on an ancient-looking, so-beaten-up-it's-actually-comfortable couch or chair; or just sidle up and grab… More >>
  • Best After-Hours Hangout


    On a recent Saturday night (technically Sunday morning), the sun greeted the few club patrons who rode their EDM high well into the dawn hours. "We don't close until the last person is done dancing!" was the response we received when we asked if this was a normal occurrence. In the cavern underneath the historic Magnolia Brewery Building that once… More >>
  • Best Concert Poster Artist

    Carlos Hernandez

    It's nearly impossible to mistake a Carlos Hernandez concert poster for anyone else's. The Lubbock native and master of serigraphy (or screen printing) draws heavily on his Mexican-American heritage in his bold three-color designs, which are flush with skulls, devils, wolves, guns and luchadores, with the stray pistol-packing cowgirl thrown in for good measure. A founding partner of Heights-based print… More >>
  • Best Pickup Spot

    West Alabama Ice House

    Forget the dimly lit awkwardness of some trendy club; dogs, basketball and beer are where it's at. West Alabama Ice House is pickup-spot perfection; there's a super-relaxed, anything-goes kind of vibe with a wide selection of beers and a crowd that seems to know what an icehouse should be. Everyone's friendly, and the crowd is about as diverse as it… More >>
  • Best Socio-Anthropological Study

    Houston Zoo

    Houston has recently come up a lot in the national news for the incredible diversity our city, and rightfully so. However, it's just an abstract number until you venture out someplace universal like the Houston Zoo. There you will hear languages from countries you've never even heard of, see all kinds of different dress styles and just in general realize… More >>
  • Best Sculpture Garden

    Cullen Sculpture Garden, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

    By now, everyone realizes that Houston's Museum District houses some of the most unheralded offerings in the nation. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Cullen Sculpture Garden plays no small role in that reality. Forgoing sprawl for the placid intimacy of an actual exhibit, the garden spins themes as mixed as some of the pieces themselves, all paced alongside enough… More >>
  • Best Place for a First Date

    Discovery Green

    Over the past five years, Discovery Green has played host to everything from political rallies to national sporting events to farmers' markets and dozens of free classes. And it's still the best place to go for a first date. The extensive calendar of free and cheap activities — kayaking on Kinder Lake, anyone? How about a free show at the… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater

    Edwards Houston Marq*E Stadium 23 & IMAX

    Edwards Houston Marq*E Stadium 23 & IMAX has an unfair advantage over other multiplex movie theaters in that there are lots of before/after screening options for moviegoers. A variety of restaurants and shops crowd the plaza just outside its doors. But the real draw here is film choice. With 23 screens, Marq*E offers a full slate of movies. Family-friendly animation… More >>
  • Best Midtown Club

    5th Amendment

    The 5th Amendment is a part of the Constitution of the United States that protects you from abuse by a government agency in a legal procedure, specifically when you're being asked or forced to incriminate yourself. In the case of this midtown establishment, after a night of drinking and dancing and flirting, just remember that "pleading the fifth" is totally… More >>
  • Best Museum

    Houston Museum of Natural Science

    If you're looking for Ankh Hap, the resident mummy at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, you'll find him in his palatial new digs in the Hall of Ancient Egypt. And he's got company. The 10,000-square-foot addition to the museum complex houses two more mummies and hundreds of artifacts. Opened in May, the hall already has one of the city's… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    F Bar

    F Bar is the epitome of bar perfection, gay or straight, and the fact that it is indeed a gay bar with some of the most fabulous drag shows around makes it all the better. There's a mature vibe to the club that adds to the welcoming atmosphere, making it the perfect spot to mingle early in the evening. Add… More >>
  • Best Public Art Project

    Houston Is Inspired Mural by Gonzo247

    The Market Square Park area downtown already had its share of public art (there are mosaic fountains and benches, modernist sculpture by James Surls and photography by Paul Hester, to name a few of the installations). Now a new mural by street artist Gonzo247 adorns the south wall of the Treebeards restaurant building. Sponsored by the Greater Houston Convention and… More >>
  • Best Cigar Bar

    Downing Street Pub - CLOSED

    With the tragic passing of manager Joseph Dufault in May, it would have been easy to select Downing Street as the sympathetic choice for Best of. But between its whiskey wall, the world-class cigar room and a ventilation system that remains an architectural godsend, Downing Street doesn't need anything more to stand out as the finest cigar bar Houston can… More >>
  • Best Place to See Vintage Flicks

    Alamo Drafthouse Mason Park

    When it comes to vintage flicks at Alamo Drafthouse, it's all about creating experiences. Vintage screenings have become a thing a lot of places do now, but no one makes them as fun as the folks at the Drafthouse. Whether it's showing vintage previews before the film, building special menus around the movie or providing the audience with props so… More >>
  • Best Biker Bar

    Outlaw Dave's Worldwide Headquarters

    Outlaw Dave's proves that not all biker bars are created equal. They don't have to be scary places where you might get into a brawl or have to compete with vermin for a barstool. This outpost on the far west arm of Washington Avenue is clean, cool and considerably well-staffed. The location has a history as one of the city's… More >>
  • Best College Campus Building

    Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston

    The Blaffer Art Museum's eclectic, adventurous programming has won it plenty of awards; over the past two years, it's been getting lots of notice for its new physical design as well. The museum's $2.25 million renovation brought the total space to almost 14,000 square feet; added an entrance, lounge and studio areas; and replaced the staircase. The result? An airy,… More >>
  • Best Skatepark

    Southside Skate Park

    Tucked inside an unassuming white and blue warehouse just a block from Old Galveston Road, the Southside Skate Park and Skate Shop is the place for all real and wannabe skaters to buy gear, meet friends, practice and showcase their skills. Opened in 1994, this skate haven is the oldest and longest-running skatepark and pro shop in the Houston area.… More >>
  • Best Icehouse

    West Alabama Ice House

    Now that Shiner has landed nationwide, the icehouse may be the last grand secret the rest of the country hasn't wrested from Texas. And no establishment better encapsulates the icehouse ideal than West Alabama. A staple of the Alabama stretch, West Alabama Ice House provides all you might need: a sprawling patio, an open basketball hoop, bottomless beer and a… More >>
  • Best Downtown Bar

    Bad News Bar

    Justin Burrow's no-frills cocktail bar isn't even a year old, but it's already our favorite downtown hangout. You don't have to call Bad News Bar by its full name (Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge) to enjoy it; in fact, it's better if you just relax and let Burrow and his crew mix you any drink you can… More >>
  • The James Turrell Skyspace, Rice University

    Best Installation

    The James Turrell Skyspace, Rice University

    The James Turrell Skyspace, situated just east of Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, stands as a surprising break within Rice's traditional Mediterranean architecture. Based on a quartet of gentle grassy slopes and topped with a square aperture focused on the heavens above, Turrell's creation is a Mesoamerican paean to the naturalistic beauty within the campus. Add the eerie, somnolescent… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar — the Village

    The Ginger Man

    If there's a more satisfying spot to have a beer in Houston than The Ginger Man's open-air backyard, I've yet to find it. Never overly packed, never too isolated — those thick-beam tables have a way of bringing even the most disparate groups together — The Ginger Man's pairing of patio and pint remains properly unparalleled. The drink selection's as… More >>
  • Best Bingo Night

    Bingo Paradise

    Line up your troll dolls and lucky rabbit's feet; we're goin' to bingo! Bingo Paradise in the city of South Houston, Texas, is the spot to be with your nine bingo cards and markers any night of the week. They've got a huge menu of unhealthy-but-delish foods available along with those bingo cards, so you're all set once you've placed… More >>
  • Best Place to Cool Off

    Rothko Chapel

    Everyone knows that it gets hot in the city, which is why we're fortunate to have so many places with air-conditioning to cool down our bodies. Cooling down our minds is another matter, and when it comes to finding a quiet spot to stop and calm thyself, Rothko Chapel is the place to go. Whether you find inner peace through… More >>
  • Best Yoga Studio

    Joy Yoga Center

    Houston's seen a ton of yoga studios open or expand in the past couple of years, but for yogis of all stripes, Joy Yoga is still the best all-round studio. A recently revamped schedule means Joy can offer the best variety of classes in town, from classes for beginners and those wanting to wind down after work with a Candlelight… More >>