Houston is fun. Even if the ink is still wet on the lease you just signed after relocating here to work in the Bayou City's booming energy or health-care sectors, it shouldn't take you any more than 48 hours before something here makes you wonder how you ever got along back wherever it is you came from -- a restaurant, a store, a bar, a park, or maybe something uniquely Houston like the Williams Tower waterwall or the no-cover Wednesday-night blues jam at the Big Easy.
You came here at the right time, too. This week -- today, really -- the Houston Press is proud to unveil our annual Best of Houston issue, the product of the combined efforts of dozens of HP staffers and freelancers several months in the making. With dozens, if not hundreds, of winners in all sorts of categories (grouped into the wide-ranging fields of Arts & Entertainment, City Life, Food & Drink, Shopping & Services and Sports & Recreation), this issue should serve as a much better map of Houston than one that shows our often-congested roadways.
Now, Houstonians of an older vintage, we know we're not telling you anything you don't already know...or are we? You'll want to hold onto that not-so-slim volume that comes in this week's issue of the Press, and bookmark its online counterpart, just as much as our newcomers. Because Houston is a city that's always changing, always taking chances, some categories that have been around for years our longtime readers assume are shoo-ins might suddenly have a new winner. But other categories, like so many of our new neighbors, may not have even been around last year.
Really, there's only one sure way to find out. Allow us to present you this year's Best of Houston winners at this very link, and to offer our special congratulations to the music and nightlife winners you see below. Next round's on us!
BEST ALTERNATIVE CLUB: WALTERS DOWNTOWN
BEST BAND TO GET TOGETHER IN THE PAST YEAR: BLSHS
BEST BAR ATMOSPHERE: POISON GIRL Readers' Choice: Cottonwood
BEST BAR GAMES: JOYSTIX
BEST BLUES CLUB: DAN ELECTRO'S GUITAR BAR Readers' Choice: House of Blues
BEST CD BY LOCAL MUSICIAN(S): DOUGHBEEZY, FOOTPRINTS ON THE MOON
BEST CONCERT POSTER ARTIST: JERMAINE ROGERS
BEST CONCERT VENUE: CYNTHIA WOODS MITCHELL PAVILION Readers' Choice: Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
BEST DIVE BAR: COZY CORNER Readers' Choice: Poison Girl
BEST DOWNTOWN BAR: CAPTAIN FOXHEART'S BAD NEWS BAR & SPIRIT LOUNGE Readers' Choice: Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
BEST GAY BAR: GEORGE COUNTRY SPORTS BAR Readers' Choice: JR's Bar & Grill
BEST HONKY-TONK: REDNECK COUNTRY CLUB
BEST HOTEL BAR: HOTEL ZAZA Readers' Choice: Hotel ZaZa
BEST JAZZ CLUB: CEZANNE
BEST JUKEBOX: UNDER THE VOLCANO Readers' Choice: La Carafe
BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR (HEIGHTS): BOOM BOOM ROOM
BEST PERFORMANCE SPACE: DISCOVERY GREEN
BEST PLACE FOR COCKTAILS: LEI LOW RUM LOUNGE Readers' Choice: Anvil Bar & Refuge
BEST INTIMATE CONCERT VENUE: MCGONIGEL'S MUCKY DUCK
BEST PLACE TO RELIVE THE '80S: NEILS BAHR
BEST POOL HALL: SLICK WILLIE'S FAMILY POOL HALL Readers' Choice: Slick Willie's
BEST RADIO PERSONALITY: OUTLAW DAVE
BEST RADIO STATION: KACC 89.7 FM Readers' Choice: 94.5 The Buzz
BEST RECORD STORE: SIG'S LAGOON Readers' Choice: Cactus Music
BEST SPORTS BAR: NICK'S PLACE Readers' Choice: Little Woodrow's/Midtown
BEST STRIP CLUB: THE COLORADO SPORTS BAR & GRILL Readers' Choice: Treasures
BEST WINE BAR: LA CARAFE Readers' Choice: 13 Celsius
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
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