Entertainment
2012 Readers Poll
2012 Critics Picks
Best Bar Staff

We – and apparently our readers, who've given this new joint a well-deserved three awards this year – seriously dig this year-old establishment’s sticky-floor aesthetic and convivial vibes. The room is dark, the music is hot, and friendly barkeeps keep the margaritas and the Two Steps flowing. But what gladdens our hearts the most are the ranges of ages and faces gathering to groove on everything from bluegrass to punk. Conjunto Sundays are our fave, when tatted hipsters in Bettie Page bangs are squired around the dance floor by senior señors. Eastside forever, y'all.

The White Horse
500 Comal
512/553-6756
www.thewhitehorseaustin.com

Best Club Night/Theme Night

Once upon a time, The Glitoris, the nastiest of nasty, took his SXSW party-throwing cred and leveraged it into a weekly Tuesday gay gathering. Did we say Tuesday? Sorry, it's now officially TuezGayz. No joke. Around 11:30pm, when Barbarella is packed to the brim, you'll be checking to make sure it is, in fact, the middle of the week.

Barbarella
615 Red River
512/476-7766
www.fb.com/barbarella.austin.9

photo by Sandy Carson

photo by John Anderson

Best Cocktail Menu

Our winners this year both bring a little bit of prewar Europe to Austin. East Side Show Room is a sexy Weimar Republic cabaret perfect for our inner Sally Bowles. The Barrel Aged Negronis are absolutely wunderbar and the Rittenhouse Rye Old Fashioned has no equal. Across town, Peché has the glowing ambience of 1920s Montmartre. Josephine Baker would have looked trés chic holding her perfect French 77. We like the incomparable selection of absinthe, potent enough to create another lost generation.

Péché
208 W. Fourth
512/494-4011
www.pecheaustin.com

Best Drag Performer

If we didn't know better, we would think Paul Soileau is dabbling in the black arts. How else to explain his ability to do so many things at once? As aging flapper Rebecca Havermeyer, Paul is a fixture of Austin's charity circuit – showing up to emcee many an ASA function, and holding court each week with Shitty Kitty Big Ball Bingo. As Christeene, he performs internationally as Austin's ambassador of grody genderfuck. We don't know what keeps him going, but we are forever under his spell.

www.christeenemusic.com
www.rebeccahavemeyer.com

Shelley Hiam

Best Jukebox

This carefully curated collection is brought to you by Casino, the man, the namesake, the music nerd. Mr. Perennial Winner of this category. Have a hankering for Screaming Jay Hawkins' "Feast of the Mau Mau" while you feast on your burger? Casino understands. A frequently updated selection and a well-balanced mix of old and new, obscure and mainstream, keeps things tasty.

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

Best Karaoke Night

When Dick and Jane want to play pop star they go to Ego's. Watch Dick drink. See Jane sing Go-Go's. Go Jane go! Whether you got the beat or you're faking it til' you make it, Ego's has a stage with your name on it every night of the week. With a seemingly endless song menu, this is the place to hone your performing chops and kicks in a judgment-free zone.

Ego's
510 S. Congress
512/474-7091
www.fb.com/egos.bar

Todd V. Wolfson

Best LGBTQ Hangout

Remember when a ragtag group of kids got together to save the community center in Breakin' 2? We feel the same way about Cheer Up Charlies. It's not just a bar for Austin's LBGTQ community. It's not just another East Sixth haven for hipsters and slackmeisters. It's where we come together to watch movies, hold fundraisers, and bring our first dates. Noise ordinance, schmoize ordinance. Cheer Ups is indispensable – not to mention our rainbow-hued Electric Boogaloo.

Cheer Up Charlies
900 Red River
512/431-2133
www.cheerupcharlies.com

Best Live DJ

Sure, Mel's rez is packed with impressive business like 2004 Scion "Free Your Mix" finalist and being Austin's "DJ's DJ," as well as party name checks like Rock the Casbah, Silent City Limits, Swoll, Hip-Hop at Nasty's, and Hip-Hop for Laydeez (bet you thought we'd forgotten all about that one, didn't ya, pal?), but dang, dawg, ACL??? This year, DJ Mel's last-minute slot-fill had the kids sloggin' in the mud and even Dallasites chirping about him in the Observer's "10 Best & Funniest Moments at Zilker": "His perfect balance of scratching and mixing is a must-see, or must-hear." And to that we say, "Hear, here!"

DJ Mel
www.djmel.com

Best Local Beer

The (512) brew crew makes "small handcrafted batches" of four varieties, with special releases popping up seasonally. For us, the Pecan Porter is the highlight. A delicious, thick meal in itself, it's perfect for winter weather. If specialty and seasonal are your thing, try the Whiskey Barrel Aged Double Pecan Porter. Think chocolate, coffee, whisky, pecan, and vanilla. Though the (512) family is available on draft at many bars around town, we recommend touring the brewery. The open house happens every few months with a free tour and samples. Be kind to your tour guide and get in on a pre-release seasonal tasting.

512 Brewing
407 Radam
512/707-2337
www.512brewing.com

Best Lounge

The special on our first visit here was: "A shot of Devil's Piss – $5" Naturally curious, we ordered it. "No, no," owner Ibrahim Aminou shook his head solemnly. "You do not want that. Let me make you something good." Overall, pretty indicative of the Sahara's atmosphere: honest and casual – with a shot of the eclectic.

The Sahara Lounge
1413 Webberville Rd.
512/927-0700
www.saharalounge.com

John Anderson

John Anderson

Best New Bar

We Рand apparently our readers, who've given this new joint a well-deserved three awards this year Рseriously dig this year-old establishment's sticky-floor aesthetic and convivial vibes. The room is dark, the music is hot, and friendly barkeeps keep the margaritas and the Two Steps flowing. But what gladdens our hearts the most are the ranges of ages and faces gathering to groove on everything from bluegrass to punk. Conjunto Sundays are our fave, when tatted hipsters in Bettie Page bangs are squired around the dance floor by senior se̱ors. Eastside forever, y'all.

The White Horse
500 Comal
512/553-6756
www.thewhitehorseaustin.com

Best New Club

We – and apparently our readers, who've given this new joint a well-deserved three awards this year – seriously dig this year-old establishment’s sticky-floor aesthetic and convivial vibes. The room is dark, the music is hot, and friendly barkeeps keep the margaritas and the Two Steps flowing. But what gladdens our hearts the most are the ranges of ages and faces gathering to groove on everything from bluegrass to punk. Conjunto Sundays are our fave, when tatted hipsters in Bettie Page bangs are squired around the dance floor by senior señors. Eastside forever, y'all.

The White Horse
500 Comal
512/553-6756
www.thewhitehorseaustin.com

Best Party of the Year

Some may think of beaches for spring break, but any Austinite worth their margarita salt knows it's more fun to staycation in town for this rowdy week of tech nerds, film junkies, live music, and non-stop parties. South by Southwest is our annual chance to show the world what Austin is about 24/7 - innovation, tacos, and Lone Star.

South by Southwest
400 Bowie
512/467-7979
www.sxsw.com

Best Place To Dance

Whether it's Tuezgayz, soulful Grits and Gravy on Thursday, or Saturday's New Noise playlists, video dance club Barbarella is always getting down. The delicate mix of classic rump-shaking anthems and the latest indie-dance rock (not to mention the lack of seating), keeps the dance floor stocked with a diverse set of sweaty bodies.

Barbarella
615 Red River
512/476-7766
www.fb.com/barbarella.austin.9

photo by Sandy Carson

Miguel Angel

Best Scenester/Mover and Shaker

We like the way that party photographer, DJ, and promoter Miguel Angel (codename: uLOVEi) is everywhere that is worth being, we like the beats he spins, and we like his ubiquitous bowtie. But what we really like about Miguel is the way he captures the scene in all its glorious ragtag beauty. Even if a night sucked, and you ended up losing your favorite hat or crying off all your mascara while you ate gas station nachos, seeing yourself in Miguel's photos the next day takes all that away and makes us remember: We are sexy.

www.ulovei.com

Best Trivia Night/Pub Quiz

Geeks Who Drink participants are tough contenders, answering verbal questions about great literary works one minute and identifying mashups of Justin Bieber and Slipknot songs the next. They are fueled by their desire for eternal glory… or just bragging rights and pub gift certificates. The chance to win free pints between rounds doesn't hurt, either.

Geeks Who Drink
www.geekswhodrink.com

Best Video Game Studio/Developer

It's a strange pairing for sure with local behemoth BioWare releasing the massive online game Star Wars: The Old Republic early this year and underdog KingsIsle producing a steady stream of browser and PC games for kids. Apparently the key to winning in this category is a free-to-play business model. Even online, Austinites can't resist free stuff.

BioWare
3110 Esperanza Crossing #110
512/382-8682
www.bioware.com

KingsIsle Entertainment
PO Box 82543
512/623-5900
www.kingsisle.com

 
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