Best live theater venue
1. Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts (1419 Basin St., 504-287-0351; www.mahaliajacksontheater.com; @mahalianola) — Opera-gloved blue hairs and musical theater nerds found Broadway at the Queen of Gospel's home to performing arts: Jersey Boys, Flashdance and Wicked headlined the 2012-2013 season.
2. Le Petit Theater du Vieux Carre (616 St. Peter St., 504-522-2081; www.lepetittheatre.com; @lepetitnola)
3. Mid-City Theater (3540 Toulouse St., 504-488-1460; www.midcitytheatre.com)
Best local theater performer
1. Becky Allen — Human flamingo yard ornament Becky Allen has performed in the local theater community for more than half a century and continues her reign as New Orleans' campy Y'at provocateur.
2. Bryan Batt
3. John "Spud" McConnell
Best local comedian
1. Chris Champagne — Local humorist Chris Champagne published his Y'at Dictionary late last year, and his political satire frequently targets former Mayor Ray Nagin, whether in a musical or roast format.
2. Chris Trew
3. J.D. Sledge
Best place to see comedy
1. La Nuit Comedy Theater (5039 Freret St., 504-231-7011; www.lanuittheater.com; @nolacomedy) — For another year in a row, Best of New Orleans voters ranked as No. 1 this Freret Street home to short-form improv games by comedians in goofball matching outfits.
2. The New Movement (1919 Burgundy St., 504-302-8264; www.newmovementtheater.com; @tnm_nola)
3. Harrah's New Orleans (4 Canal St., 504-533-6000; www.harrahsneworleans.com)
1. Harrah's New Orleans (4 Canal St., 504-533-6000; www.harrahsneworleans.com) — The honor goes to Harrah's, where 115,000 square feet of hundreds of slots, tables and games await your paycheck.
2. Boomtown Casino (4132 Peters Road, Harvey, 504-366-7711; www.boomtownneworleans.com)
3. Treasure Chest Casino (5050 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 504-443-8000; www.treasurechest.com; @tchestcasino)
- Photo by Cheryl Gerber
- Best Movie Theater: Theatres at Canal Place
Best movie theater
1. The Theatres at Canal Place (333 Canal St., third floor, 504-522-9200; www.thetheatres.com; @thetheatres) — If you missed the most talked about flick of 2013, don't worry — so did voters in this category, who may not have caught the big plot twist while being delivered $7 truffled popcorn.
2. Prytania Theater (5339 Prytania St., 504-891-2787; www.theprytania.com; @PrytaniaTheatre)
3. AMC Palace 20 Elmwood (1200 Elmwood Park Blvd., Elmwood, 504-733-2029; www.amctheatres.com)
Best college bar
1. The Boot (1039 Broadway St., 504-866-9008; www.thebootneworleans.com; @thebootnola) — Recently named the best college bar in the country by The Daily Meal, The Boot offer 50-cent drinks on Tuesdays. You'd have to be drunk not to think that's a good deal.
2. Bruno's Tavern (7538 Maple St., 504-861-7615; www.brunostavern.com; @brunostavern)
3. F&M Patio Bar (4841 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-895-6784; www.fandmpatiobar.com)
Best dance club
1. Gold Mine Saloon (701 Dauphine St., 504-586-0745; www.goldminesaloon.net) — "Dance" might be generous. Gold Mine Saloon isn't a place to practice your hustle, but if you've got a perfect grind to Next's "Too Close" and a thirst for flaming Dr Pepper, this is your Soul Train.
2. Oz (800 Bourbon St., 504-593-9491; www.ozneworleans.com; @ozniteclub)
3. Metropolitan (310 Andrew Higgins Drive, 504-568-1702; www.themetropolitannightclub.com; @metro_nola)
Best gay bar
1. Oz (800 Bourbon St., 504-593-9491; www.ozneworleans.com; @ozniteclub) — This perennial favorite is as known for its club flyers featuring shirtless dudes as it is for bass-pumping dance music, barely-there bar-top dancing and Bourbon Street people- watching.
2. Good Friends Bar (740 Dauphine St. 504-566-7191; www.goodfriendsbar.com)
3. The Country Club (634 Louisa St., 504-945-0742; www.thecountryclubneworleans.com; @countryclubnola)
Best gentlemen's/ strip club
1. Rick's Cabaret (315 Bourbon St., 504-524-4222; www.iknowrick.com; @ricksnola) — Gambit readers know to bring cash to this gentlemen's joint, where ATM fees are sure to bristle a gentleman's whiskers and send his monocle spinning — if the women inside don't do it first.
2. Larry Flynt's Hustler Barely Legal Club (435 Bourbon St., 504-571-6340; www.barelylegalnola.com; @barelylegalnola)
3. The Penthouse Club (727 Iberville St., 504-524-4354; www.penthouseclubneworleans.com; @phcnola)
Best hipster bar
1. Mimi's in the Marigny (2601 Royal St., 504-872-9868; www.mimisinthemarigny.net; @mimismarigny) — Fedora wearer nursing a whiskey? Check. Ironic tattooed couple drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon? Check and check. For more than 10 years, the hip have called this Royal Street double-decker bar home.
2. The Saint (961 St. Mary St., 504-523-0050; www.thesaintneworleans.com; @saintbar)
3. Cure (4905 Freret St., 504-302-2357; www.curenola.com; @curenola)
- Photo by Cheryl Gerber
- Best Hotel Bar & Best Nonsmoking Bar: Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge
Best hotel bar
1. Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge (Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St., 504-523-3341; www.hotelmonteleone.com; @carouselbar) — Count your drinks per revolution — as you begin to spin, so does the merry-go-roundesque bar, whose historic patrons range from Tennessee Williams to Liberace.
2. Sazerac Bar (The Roosevelt, 123 Baronne St., 504-648-1200; www.therooseveltneworleans.com)
3. Davenport Lounge (The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, 921 Canal St., third floor, 504-524-1331; www.ritzcarlton.com)
Best neighborhood bar
1. St. Joe's Bar (5535 Magazine St., 504-899-3744; www.stjoesbar.com) — Though its signature blueberry mojito lures newcomers, St. Joe's is the closest some of its patrons get to church, thanks to religious relics and church pews by the pool table. Judge not lest ye be judged — the lantern-lit patio also is a favorite.
2. Pal's Lounge (949 N. Rendon St., 504-488-7257; www.palslounge.com; @palslounge)
3. The Bulldog (3236 Magazine St., 504-891-1516; www.bulldog.draftfreak.com; @bulldog_uptown)
Best nonsmoking bar
1. Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge (Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St., 504-523-3341; www.hotelmonteleone.com; @carouselbar) — Gambit readers looking to take a break from the heady mix of booze and smoke find refuge in a growing number of smoke-free spots. This time-honored favorite has a no-smoking policy, but after a few Ramos gin fizzes and a literal spin around the bar, you may need something to calm those nerves.
2. d.b.a. (618 Frenchmen St., 504-942-3731; www.dbaneworleans.com)
3. Cure (4905 Freret St., 504-302-2357; www.curenola.com; @curenola)
Best sports bar
1. Cooter Brown's Tavern (509 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-866-9104; www.cooterbrowns.com) — University neighborhood students and fans of far-flung franchises can watch their favorite teams in action on one of many flatscreen TVs lining the walls at this sports and beer emporium. But local college and pro teams tend to dominate the two 8-foot pull-down screens. The bar is equipped with NFL Package and other bundles so patrons can watch a vast selection of games in a wide array of sports.
2. Manning's (Harrah's New Orleans Casino Hotel, 519 Fulton St., 504-593-8118; www.harrahsneworleans.com)
3. Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar (1009 Poydras St., 504-309-6530; www.walk-ons.com; @walk_ons)
Best bar for craft cocktails
1. Cure (4905 Freret St., 504-302-2357; www.curenola.com; @curenola) — The Freret Street "renaissance" started here. Freret's Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael are its bartenders, who craft museum-worthy cocktails.
2. Bar Tonique (820 N. Rampart St., 504-324-6045; www.bartonique.com; @bartonique)
3. Bellocq (The Hotel Modern, 936 St. Charles Ave., 504-962-0911; www.thehotelmodern.com/bellocq; @bellocqnola)
- Photo by Cheryl Gerber
- Best Beer Selection & Best Bar Food: The Bulldog
Best beer selection
1. The Bulldog (3236 Magazine St., 504-891-1516; www.bulldog.draftfreak.com; @bulldog_uptown) — Hoarders, broke apartment dwellers and beer drinkers love this bar for its free pint glasses. The bar's nearly 200 available beers are just an excuse.
2. Cooter Brown's Tavern (509 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-866-9104; www.cooterbrowns.com)
3. Avenue Pub (1732 St. Charles Ave., 504-586-9243; www.theavenuepub.com; @avenuepubnola)
Best locally brewed beer
1. Abita Brewing Company (21084 La. 36, Abita Springs, 985-893-3143; www.abita.com; @theabitabeer) — Bottles and cans, just clap your hands: Abita's beer-brewing empire, which cranks out 400 bottles a minute, has outshined its peers in the bustling Louisiana craft beer scene. Coming soon: strawberry on draft, 12-ounce Andygator and Grapefruit Harvest IPA.
2. NOLA Brewing (3001 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-896-9996; www.nolabrewing.com; @nolabrewing)
3. Crescent City Brewhouse (527 Decatur St., 504-522-0571; www.crescentcitybrewhouse.com)
Best happy hour
1. Domenica (123 Baronne St., 504-648-6020; www.domenicarestaurant.com) — John Besh decided his patrons need half-price glasses of wine and pizzas seven days a week. The happy hour humanitarian received votes that landed two of his restaurants (the other being The American Sector) in the top three in this category.
2. The American Sector (945 Magazine St., 504-528-1940; www. www.nationalww2museum.org/american-sector)
3. Superior (3636 St. Charles Ave., 504-899-4200; www.neworleans.superiorgrill.com)
Best place to dance to a live band
1. Tipitina's (501 Napoleon Ave., 504-895-8477; www.tipitinas.com; @tipitinas) — Though we're not sure how one manages to squeeze in dance moves on the packed floor inside this Uptown institution, we're happy to receive lessons. Pro tip: The Cajun fais do do on Sundays is more like a not-so-secret dance party where you can let your dance-freak flag fly.
2. Rock 'N' Bowl (3000 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-861-1700; www.rocknbowl.com; @rock_n_bowl)
3. Maple Leaf Bar (8316 Oak St., 504-866-9359; www.mapleleafbar.com; @mapleleafnola)
Best place to get a bloody mary
1. Superdome (1500 Poydras St., 504-587-3663; www.superdome.com)
That see-through NFL regulation bag won't hide your makeshift flask. The Superdome doesn't do doubles, but this liquid brunch and annual BONO favorite since 2009 is the definitive gridiron sipper.
2. Cafe Atchafalaya (901 Louisiana Ave., 504-891-9626; www.atchafalayarestaurant.com; @atchafalayafood)
3. Commander's Palace (1403 Washington Ave., 504-899-8221; www.commanderspalace.com; @commanders_nola)
Best place to get a margarita
1. Superior (3636 St. Charles Ave., 504-899-4200; www.neworleans.superiorgrill.com) — Voters head to Uptown's white-collar cantina for its killer f'rita. The pro-est of tips: they are two-for-one from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
2. El Gato Negro (81 French Market Place, 504-5259752; 300 Harrison Ave., 504-488-0107; 3001 Ormond Blvd., Suite 1, Destrehan, 504-307-0460; www.elgatonegronola.com; @elgatonegronola)
3. Felipe's Taqueria (301 N. Peters St., 504-267-4406; Mid-City Market, 411 N. Carrollton Ave.; 6215 S. Miro St., 504-309-2776; www.felipestaqueria.com; @felipesnola)
Best place to get a martini
1. The Bombay Club (830 Conti St., 504-586-0972; www.thebombayclub.com; @bombayclub) — Come for the people watching (cougars, sugar daddies, relieved tourists venturing away from Bourbon Street), stay for a seat in a wingback chair with the leather-bound, velvet-lined martini menu from a cocktail wizard.
2. Cure (4905 Freret St., 504-302-2357; www.curenola.com; @curenola)
3. Commander's Palace (1403 Washington Ave., 504-899-8221; www.commanderspalace.com; @ commanders_nola)
Best place to get wine by the glass
1. Delachaise (3442 St. Charles Ave., 504-895-0858; www.thedelachaise.com; @thedelachaise) — Topping W.I.N.O. for the No. 1 spot is the St. Charles Avenue bar where Best of New Orleans voters know to clink glasses on the patio for a romantic evening filled with the sweet smells of the adjacent gas station.
2. Wine Institute of New Orleans (610 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-324-8000; www.winoschool.com)
3. Martin Wine Cellar (3500 Magazine St., 504-894-7420; 714 Elmeer Ave., Metairie, 504-896-7300; Village Shopping Center , 2895 Hwy. 190, Suite A-1, Mandeville, 985-951-8081; www.martinwine.com; @martin_wine)
Best Jazz Fest performance 2013
TIE: 1. Billy Joel
TIE: 1. Fleetwood Mac
Baby boomer smackdown! Will it be the Piano Man in black shades, or the gypsy crew in black lace? Best of New Orleans voters called it a tie.
2. Maroon 5
3. Dave Matthews
- Best Live Music Show in the Last 12 Months: Beyonce
Best live music show in the last 12 months
1. Beyonce — Super Bowl halftime headliner Beyonce returned to the Superdome for July's Essence Fest and blasted through a 23-song set and a dozen costume changes. After the show she ordered 150 po-boys to promote her new single "Crazy in Loaf."
2. Cyndi Lauper
3. Anders Osborne
Best live music venue
1. Tipitina's (501 Napoleon Ave., 504-895-8477; www.tipitinas.com; @tipitinas) — What's up with the banana logo, you ask? Legends persist that it's the logo artist's signature, or a yogi's nickname. Or it could be all that remains of the juice bar that the venue used to share.
2. House of Blues (225 Decatur St., 504-310-4999; www.houseofblues.com; @hobnola)
TIE: 3. d.b.a. (618 Frenchmen St., 504-942-3731; www.dbaneworleans.com)
TIE: 3. One Eyed Jacks (615 Toulouse St., 504-569-8361; www.oneeyedjacks.net; @oejnola)
Best local brass band
1. Rebirth Brass Band — The Grammy Award-winning outfit celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Despite frequent tours on the East and West Coasts and around the globe, its most sought-after ticket is Tuesday nights at The Maple Leaf, a gig the band has held for more than 20 years.
2. Hot 8 Brass Band
3. Soul Rebels Brass Band
- Best Local Bounce Artist: Big Freedia
Best local bounce artist
1. Big Freedia — The queen diva and soon-to-be reality TV star seemingly ruined the lives of countless Northwestern concertgoers this year as the Postal Service's reunion tour opener. The Best of New Orleans salutes the ambassador of ass as the first-ever winner in this new category.
2. Katey Red
3. Sissy Nobby
Best Cajun/ zydeco band/ artist
1. Rockin' Dopsie Jr. — It's almost like a comic book origin story: David Rubin inherited his superstar father Alton's accordion-wielding powers following the latter's death in 1993. This year, Junior has usurped the Best Of title from nemesis Amanda Shaw. On the next Zydeco Wars ...
2. Amanda Shaw
3. Lost Bayou Ramblers
Best local DJ
1. DJ Soul Sister — Soul Sister moved her Saturday night Hustle! dance party from Mimi's in the Marigny to the Hi-Ho Lounge, where throngs of sweaty funk seekers find their Valhalla. Fans now include Craig Robinson, who is known to command the dance floor (and the massive fan cooling it).
2. Keith Juneau
3. DJ Jubilee
Best local funk/ R&B band/ artist
1. Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews — The 27-year-old Treme bandleader reclaims his Best Of New Orleans top spot this year (he held the title in 2009 and 2011), just in time for his new album Say That To Say This, which is set for a Sept. 10 release.
3. Papa Grows Funk
Best local jazz band/artist
1. Kermit Ruffins — Once again, the perpetually high jazz everyman holds down the No. 1 position, and this year he can add "advocate" to his spirited credentials: his Basin Street restaurant Speakeasy is a biweekly meeting spot for the Musician and Culture Coalition.
2. Jeremy Davenport
3. Irvin Mayfield
Best local rock band/ artist
1. Better Than Ezra — How "Good" is it? So good that after nearly two decades, Gambit readers have seemingly forgotten other rock bands exist in the greater New Orleans area and once again voted Better Than Ezra the best.
2. Cowboy Mouth