Entertainment
2002 Readers Poll
2002 Critics Picks
Best Place to Meet Friends After Work

Whether you prefer the yummy Tex-Mex, the Mexican Martinis (limit two), or the great happy hour specials, Trudy's keeps you running back every time the whistle blows. Laughter and mingling from off-duty workhorses always fills this Austin hot spot. With all the ruckus, people must feel this is the perfect place to unwind, let loose, and discuss office gossip. So hooray, Trudy's, you end the day so right.

Trudy's
Trudy's Texas Star, 409 W. 30th, 512/477-2935
Trudy's North Star, 8820 Burnet Rd., 512/454-1474
Trudy's Little Texas Lane, 901-C Little Texas Ln., 512/326-9899
www.trudys.com

Best Place to Cruise Chicks/Dudes

Though many voted for "Anywhere but Sixth Street," somebody must be having some sort of success. Now the question is, for you lucky/beautiful/pheromonal elite, what was your strategy? Well, for the rest of us, we can remain assured that we can still cruise Sixth and expect to bump into enthusiastic partiers.

Sixth Street
between I-35 and Congress

Bret Brookshire

Best Gay/Lesbian Hangout

Before the warehouse district became oh-so-trendy, there was Oilcan Harry's. Our readers know that the tidy lads at Oilcan's have had it goin' on for quite some time. Hey, they've been winning this category for almost as long as we've had a poll.

Oilcan's
211 W. Fourth
512/320-8823
www.fb.com/oilcanharrys

Best Swanky Joint

Tucked downstairs from the Brown Building lofts, behind smoky glass on the corner of Eighth & Lavaca streets, the Brown Bar has become the lounge of choice for Austin's beautiful people. Maybe it's the lighting, which has that Forties feel of glamour. Or it could just be that the bartenders know how to make a mean drink -- including one of the best Mojitos in town.

The Brown Bar
201 W. Eighth
512/480-8330
www.thebrownbar.com

Best Friendly Bar

Ginny's has the charm of a Texas small-town bar where locals hang to drink, hear the band, and discuss simple matters. The Dog & Duck caters to the pub hounds who like beer, darts, and good company. Each place greets you with a smile, and soon feels as cozy and warm as your favorite old sweatshirt.

Little Longhorn Saloon
5434 Burnet Rd.
512/524-1291
www.thelittlelonghornsaloon.com

Best Jukebox

Another dull Saturday evening? Maybe it's time to head over to Casino el Camino, the place where on any given night, you can find Chuck Berry, the Ramones, Mudhoney, the Propellerheads, Marvin Gaye, Big Mama Thornton, Fugazi, and friends whipping fans into a frenzy. Well okay, fine, it's just a jukebox, but it happens to be your most beloved jukebox in all of Austin.

Casino el Camino
517 E. Sixth
512/469-9330
www.casinoelcamino.net

Casino El Camino

Best Live Music Venue

The Live Oak Amphitheater has played host to everyone from Willie Nelson to Bonnie Raitt to Counting Crows to Stevie Ray. Nestled at the joint of Highways 71 & 620, the Backyard offers a surreal yet beautiful concert setting to crowds of up to 5,000. Just recently, the venue had a makeover, adding a food court, landscaping, and bars aplenty.

The Backyard at Bee Cave
13801 Bee Cave Pkwy.
512/651-5033
www.thebackyard.net

Best Live Music Acoustics

From the manic chaos of Snoop Dogg to Lucinda Williams' songs of heartache and desire, there is no better place than Stubb's to hear it. Dishing out cold drinks and hot music (not to mention their legendary barbecue), Stubb's showcases local talent as beautifully as world-class acts in a distinctly Austin venue.

Stubb's
801 Red River
512/480-8341
www.stubbsaustin.com

photo by Sandy Carson

Bret Brookshire

Best Dance Music Club

Take one huge dance floor, add an array of lights that can be timed to swirl with the beat. Top it all off with resident DJs like Lance Cashion, Merrick Brown, DJ Tats, DJ Mel, and others, and the hottest booking acts in town, and you've got Texture, the entertainment district's most popular place to dance the night away.

Best Movie Theatre

Dinner and a movie. Such a common phrase ... such a common date. Alamo Drafthouse puts the two together and takes the concept more than a few notches higher. Their genius programming (Mr. Sinus, Spike & Mike, Butt-Numb-a-Thon, not to mention first-run mega-hits at the north location) has taken the Alamo from local novelty to local icon in no time.

Alamo Drafthouse
Alamo Drafthouse Village, 2700 W. Anderson #701, 512/861-7030
Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, 1120 S. Lamar, 512/861-7040
Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz, 320 E. Sixth, 512/861-7020
Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane, 5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060
Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline, 14028 U.S. Hwy. 183 N., 512/861-7070
www.originalalamo.com

Best Video/DVD Rental

So in a film town rolling in reels, what distinguishes one great video/DVD rental center from the others? In most places, you could certainly make a case for selection -- as usually is the case of these "best of" city things: The "artier" and more adventurous places get chosen. But Austin has a number of arty, adventurous rental joints. So what is it that puts Vulcan over the top year after year after year? May we venture to guess? We vote (as we bet our readers did) for Vulcan's staff. Not only are they knowledgeably swimming in that sea of celluloid, but they are darned nice to boot. Chalk another one up for Austin's Best Video/DVD Rental sweethearts.

Vulcan Video
4411 Russell, 512/326-2629
www.vulcanvideo.com

Best Bar Staff

Looking for some magical adventure in your next drinking experience? The Club DeVille's indoor space is an intimate study in mellow lounge conjury, while the outdoor area, set against a colorfully lit, jagged, sheer-faced cliff, constitutes the majority of this mystical club. Upon arrival, one finds cocktail servers floating effortlessly among a rag-tag assortment of outdoor tables and enchanting, oversized flower sculptures. Hard-working bartenders maintain a sage-like equanimity under the pressure of readying the endless libations needed to keep the illusion of levitating waitresses fresh in the villager’s heads. All of this and they make a mean dirty martini.

Best Bar Ambience

Looking for some magical adventure in your next drinking experience? Club De Ville's indoor space is an intimate study in mellow lounge atmosphere, while the outdoor area -- set against a colorfully lit, jagged, sheer-faced cliff -- constitutes the majority of this mystical club. Upon arrival, one finds cocktail servers floating effortlessly among a rag-tag assortment of outdoor tables and enchanting, oversized flower sculptures. Hard-working bartenders maintain a sage-like equanimity under the pressure of readying the endless libations needed to keep the illusion of levitating waitresses fresh in the villager’s heads. All of this and they make a mean dirty martini.

Best Bar Food

Casino El Camino's "genuine bar grub" is just that, covering all the standards, including three-quarter-pound burgers (certified Angus beef or chicken breast), sandwiches, and mild, medium, or, for the masochistically inclined, "explosive" buffalo wings. While you're there, don't forget to check out their award-winning jukebox.

Casino el Camino
517 E. Sixth
512/469-9330
www.casinoelcamino.net

John Anderson

Best Drink Specials/Happy Hour

Trudy’s has good food, a fun atmosphere, and loads of upbeat people. And from 2 to 7pm they take a dollar off most of their drinks, which means you spend less than $10 on a very good buzz … errrrrrr, we mean "refreshment," and that is pretty darn special.

Trudy's
Trudy's Texas Star, 409 W. 30th, 512/477-2935
Trudy's North Star, 8820 Burnet Rd., 512/454-1474
Trudy's Little Texas Lane, 901-C Little Texas Ln., 512/326-9899
www.trudys.com

Best Pub/Neighborhood Bar

Far from the fast-paced, drunken fervor of Sixth Street, Dog & Duck Pub offers dart boards, pool tables, a jukebox, and taps a-flowin' to make for one refreshingly laid-back pub. Fish and chips are on the menu if you want more of the British pub feel.

 
Readers: Arts & Culture
Readers: Food

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