Best of Jackson 2008


Best Bartender: Trevor Palmer, Club Fire
Club Fire's got to be a hectic place for a bartender. Hundreds of sweating, dance-crazed bodies are thirsty for a drink on Thursday's ladies night, and you know every fan at Fire's live-music weekends has to have a drink in hand to fully enjoy the show. Some people thrive in that environment, and Trevor Palmer is one of those people. Serving as both manager and bartender at Fire, Palmer puts us lethargic folk to shame. But ladies, you do know all those free drinks you're getting weren't Palmer's way of saying he likes you; women drink free on Thursdays.

Second: Cotton Baronich of Edison Walthall (225 E. Capitol St., 601-948-6161) / Third: (tie) Justin Byers and Nick Cheatham of Last Call Sports Grill (3716 I-55 N., 601-713-2700); T. Francis of Old Venice Pizza Co. (1428 Old Square Rd., 601-366-6872) / Good Showing: Jennie Terrell of Fenian's Pub (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055)

Best All-Ages Venue: Swell-o-Venue
2769 Old Canton Rd., 601-981-3547

by Herman Snell
Photo by Andi Agnew

Universal edict #32 holds that all hip skateboard shops must install ramps that double as a music venue. It comes as no surprise then that Fondren hot spot Swell-o-Venue takes the top award for best all-ages venue. After mom and dad buy you sneakers and a skateboard, music lessons are sure to follow, and what better place to practice your new skills than the place where you've been shopping for years? It's a comfortable environment where parents can drop the kids off to enjoy a long lineup of five or six bands, while they go to Rainbow or Cups for food or caffeine.

Second: Hal and Mal's (200 Commerce St., 601-948-0888) / Third: Fire (209 Commerce St., 601-592-1000) / Good Showing: Freelon's (440 N. Mill St., 601-353-5357); Buffalo Wild Wings (808 Lake Harbour Dr., Ridgeland, 601-856-0789)

Best Dance Club and Best Place to Dance Like a Fool: Club Fire
209 Commerce St., 601-592-1000

by Lindsey Maddox

Most people can't bust a move in just any old place. With a 1,600-square-foot dance floor and Thursday's Ladies Night/Dance Night—where ladies get in and drink free—even the shyest person will surely cut loose at Club Fire. And it only gets better. Fire just hired DJ Brake from Chicago, who "will be the best deejay in Jackson next year," manager Trevor Palmer says. Following close behind is Dick and Jane's. Public relations director Liz Peabody, of Dick and Jane's, says: "People sometimes get up on the stage—Dick and Jane's gets so crazy." Its dance-loving patronage has clearly caught the spirit.

Dance Club
Second: Dick and Jane's (206 W. Capital St., 601-944-0123) / Third: Freelon's (440 N. Mill St., 601-949-2535) / Good Showing: Mardi Gras (824 S. State St., 601-969-6718)

Place to Dance Like a Fool
Second: Dick and Jane's (206 W. Capital St., 601-944-0123) / Third: Mugshot's (1855 Lakeland Dr., 601-713-0383) / Good Showing: Martin's (214 S. State St., 601-354-9712)

Best Beer Selection (Draft): The Bulldog
6111 Ridgewood Rd., 601-978-3502

by Lindsey Maddox

Picking up the torch for recently defunct Lager's, The Bulldog easily meets the needs of Jackson beer connoisseurs. Co-owner/manager Rusty White argues that "people (in Jackson) these days are pretty knowledgeable about the beer." With 56
different beers on tap, it's hard to beat Bulldog's draft selection. Offering a diverse selection of standard domestics, microbrews—including all six locally brewed Lazy Magnolia varieties—and imports, White says his patrons have no clear favorites. Some patrons stick to domestic standbys, while others are more adventurous, and pretty much every keg is emptied by week's end. Whatever your taste—occasional adventurer or never-satiated beer explorer—your needs will be met at The Bulldog.

Second Place: Sal and Mookie's (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919) / Third Place: Fenian's (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055) / Good Showing: Hal & Mal's (200 Commerce St., 601-948-0888)

Best Beer Selection (Bottle): Martin's
214 S. State St., 601-354-9712

by Lindsey Maddox

Martin's unassuming atmosphere and mellow vibe makes it a great place for hanging out with friends and drinking a few beers. With more than 100 brands of bottled beers, Martin's has you covered whether you like microbrews Rogue Dead Guy Ale and Anchor Steam, classic imports like Newcastle and Hoegaarden or standard domestics like Budweiser and Miller Light. If you're feeling unpretentious—or ironically hip—you can always swing for a can of Miller High Life or Pabst Blue Ribbon. If you like your beer like you like your wine—with hints and aromas of your favorite foods—try out a Samuel Smith Oatmeal or a Woodchuck Pear.

Second: Bulldog (6111 Ridgewood Rd., 601-978-3502) / Third: Sal and Mookie's (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919) / Good Showing: Sportsman's Lodge (1220 E. Northside Dr., 601-366-5441)

Best Club DJ: DJ Phingaprint

by Donna Ladd
Photo by Jaro Vacek

Timothy Washington was not born DJ Phingaprint, but he took on the persona after his parents bought him a set of turntables in 1985. He had his calling. Today, DJ Phingaprint is the best deejay in a town filled with good ones. In some ways, though, he is rare: He is a record jock who plays music for the most down-and-dirty hip-hop artists and crowds, and he can show up at the JFP's extremely diverse Best of Jackson party every year and take the crowd to a state of extreme frenzy. And he grins through it all, knowing there isn't a crowd he can't please, as he fondles his vinyl and does musical gymnastics over his tables. And he'll do it again this year on Jan. 27 at the Mississippi Museum of Art. The public is welcome starting at 8 p.m.

Second: DJ Cadillac / Third: DJ Mr. Nick (Seven) / Good Showing: DJ Allen (Dick & Jane's); DJ Joe Nasty; DJ Venom; DJ Knol Aust

Best Biker Bar: Hooters
4565 I-55 North, 601-981-0480

by Emily Braden

I went to Hooter's once. They have hot wings. I don't really like hot wings, but that's the only valid reason to tell your chick you are going. However, she knows you are full of sh*t. Hooter's felt like a garage. There were lots of people throwing and kicking balls on the television. The chicks had tight clothes, and I bought a tank top (NOT a wife beater). Honestly, I didn't see any bikers, but you know, I tried not to make eye contact with anyone, either. However, if I had a Harley and wanted to flash my boobs, I think Hooter's would be where I'd choose to do that. Congrats to Hooter's for their long standing as the Best Biker Bar in Jackson. Get a crotch rocket and head on over. And for old time's sake: (*)(*)

Second: Shuckers (116 Conestoga Rd., Ridgeland, 601-853-0105) / Third: Pops Around the Corner (2636 S. Gallatin St., 601-355-3853) / Good Showing: Sam's Lounge (5035 I-55 N., 601-983-2526)

Best Casino for Gaming, Best Casino for Shows: Ameristar Casino
4116 Washington St., Vicksburg, 800-700-7770

by Drake DeVille
Photo by Lynette Hanson

Vicksburg is the new Vegas, or haven't you heard? Ameristar has been voted Best Casino for Gaming every year since 2003, making this their sixth win in a row. Ameristar's appeal probably begins with their close proximity to the city of Jackson. If you have a spontaneous itch to throw the die or pull the slots' handle, you can book it over there and back quickly (what folks from Jackson call a "run to the boats.") The casino is spacious and inviting, the food is good and plentiful, and the people are friendly. Until Jackson gets jet service to Philadelphia and Biloxi (which, I must admit, have properties I enjoy immensely), our quick fix is 70 mph on I-20 West.

Ameristar was voted Best Casino for Shows, as well. Fans of The Beau and Hard Rock may scoff, but Ameristar regulars will defend the Bottleneck Blues Bar's variety of regional acts, most offered five nights a week with no cover. I know the theory. They get it back from you one way or another. Well, maybe you shouldn't be so exacting.

Best Casino for Gaming
Second: Pearl River Resort casinos (Hwy. 16 W., Choctaw, 866-44PEARL) / Third: Beau Rivage (875 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, 228-386-7111) / Good Showing: Rainbow (1380 Warrenton Rd., Vicksburg, 601-636-7575); Horizon (1310 Mulberry St., Vicksburg, 601-636-3423)

Best Casino For Shows
Second: Beau Rivage (875 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, 228-386-7111) / Third: Pearl River Resorts (Hwy.16 W., Choctaw, 866-44PEARL) / Good showing: Hard Rock (777 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, 228-374-ROCK)

Best Cover Band: The Hardline Monks and The Molly Ringwalds (tie)
by Andi Agnew

A relatively new and obscure cover band, The Hardline Monks combine an infectious sense of humor with real musical talent to make for an entertaining catalogue of music. Adding quirky sound bites and effects such as a baby crying to their songs makes them more original than most cover bands. They do not currently have any scheduled shows, but maybe now that their popularity has been validated they will come out of hiding. The Molly Ringwalds, Fire favorites and an '80s tribute band, stops in Jackson regularly and never fails to deliver a fun dose of nostalgia, both by playing the music and by dressing like notable characters from 20 years ago. Who doesn't like a good cover band? You already know all the songs, so all that is left to do is sing along and shake your booty.

Second: (tie) Full Moon Circus; The Rainmakers / Third: Trial By Fire / Good showing:
Dr. Zarr's Amazing Funk Monster; Faze 4

Best Country Artist: Faith Hill
by Larry Morrisey

Jacksonians love celebrities with local connections, and country-music superstar Faith Hill still ranks as one of their favorites. The singer, who mentions her childhood years spent in tiny Star, Miss., in her hit song "Mississippi Girl," gets a back-to-back win in this category after taking the top honors in 2007 as well. Hill also continues to demonstrate her strong national following. According to the music industry magazine Pollstar, her "Soul to Soul II" tour with husband (and fellow country singer) Tim McGraw was one of 2007's top grossing music tours in the U.S.

Second: Crossin' Dixon / Third: (tie) Goodman County and Taylor Swift / Good Showing: (tie) Justin Patterson and Corey Smith

Best Blues Artist: "Miss Sweetheart" Jackie Bell
by C. D. Eubanks

Straight out of the heart-of-the-blues tradition of the South, there's no question as to why "Miss Sweetheart," as she is called by her many fans, should be chosen as this year's Best Blues Artist. If you don't know her, she's the sultry singer who heats up the stage at her regular spot, the 930 Blues Café, and also the countless national and international stages when she's on tour. In Jackie's singing, all sides of the blues can be not only heard, but also felt. Miss Sweetheart gives a show that doesn't just let the audience sit still; instead, it moves them to rock, clap, dance and, of course, sing along with her. She prides herself in her ability not to just reach each listener, but also to allow him or her to feel that they are partaking in an intimate moment with a special friend.

Second: B.B. King / Third: Eddie Cotton / Good Showing: Ironing Board Sam

Best GLBT Hangout: Dick and Jane's
206 W. Capitol St., 601-944-0123

by Lindsey Maddox

New kid on the scene Dick and Jane's has taken the GLBT community by storm. On most Fridays, catch a drag show featuring local or national talent. On Saturdays, the club packs them in for "House Party Night." DJ Allen and DJ Ray spin the best in dance music, and bartender Michael is even known to jump up on the bar and start dancing. Sundays play host to lounge nights alternating with movie nights. PR Director Liz Peabody said the club hopes to evolve into a traditional "big city" club. "(We are) slowly adding things that are seen in (those) clubs," she said.

Second: J.C.'s (425 North Mart Plaza, 601-362-3108) / Third: Jack & Jill's (3911 Northview Dr., 601-982-5225) / Good Showing: Que Sera (2801 N. State St., 601-981-2520)

Best Happy Hour: (tie) Julep
4500 I-55 N., #105 Highland Village, 601-982-8111 and
4500 I-55 N., #244 Highland Village, 601-362-1411

by Jeri Lynn Ostrander

Julep is one of Jackson's favorite places to enjoy happy hour. Since there are no "specials" or expensive marketing techniques to entice the after-work crowd, what then is the big draw? Perhaps it's the relaxed atmosphere and personable staff who are so inviting. Or maybe it's the uniquely named martinis, like "Fantastic Jason" or "Caroline's Wedding Cake," in honor of owners Patrick and Mary's friends. Or could it be that their fabulous wine is available for only $5 over retail by the bottle? Patrick would like to think it's because Julep is the home of the finest mint julep around. If you haven't already, find out for yourself what makes Julep a one-of-a-kind favorite among Jacksonians.

Just down the block is another of Jackson's favorite happy-hour spots. Although there is no official happy hour at Bravo!, the after-work crowd begins to emerge in droves around 5 p.m. to enjoy great food, beverages, and friends after a day of deadlines, meetings and memos. With an extensive cocktail menu and a can't-be-beat wine selection, Bravo!'s knowledgeable and friendly staff is there to ensure a relaxing good time.

Second: Sportsman's Lodge (1220 E. Northside Dr., 601-366-5441) / Third: Fenian's (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055) / Good Showing: Char (Highland Village, 4500 I-55 N. #142, 601-956-9562)

Best Hotel Bar: Fitzgerald's at the Hilton
by Todd Stauffer

Tickled ivories, over-priced drinks and excellent people-watching—that's Fitzgerald's in the lobby of the Hilton. Sometimes there's a valid excuse to be there—friends visiting, a business meeting, a Sweet Potato Queen sleep-in—and sometimes the best thing you can come up with is a desperate need to hear great music from the likes of Andy Hardwick or Buie, Hammond and Porter. But that's a good one, too. The Edison-Walthall doesn't sport the entertainment, but it does sport one of Jackson's institutions—Cotton the bartender—and it's a great place for a quiet beer and a business or personal discussion. Sam's Lounge intrigues us as it climbs this list … it seems to be taking aim quite nicely as an alt-rock and punk-abilly music scene, with all the right accoutrement in the way of pool tables, a juke box and Luv Tubs in the motel to which it's attached.

Second: Edison Walthall / Third: Sam's Lounge / Good showing: Marriott

Best Hip-Hop Artist: Kamikaze
by Andi Agnew

He's a fervent supporter of the music and arts scene in Jackson. He is an outspoken advocate for free speech and racial equality. Jacksonians voted him Best Hip-Hop Artist in 2007. He has a solid career as a hip-hop artist, and has worked with some of the best in the biz. Hell, he even took his music all the way to eager fans in the Czech Republic last year! But I bet you didn't know that Kamikaze is a KISS fan, did you? Me either, until he asked to see the "Dirty Santa" gift I drew at the JFP's annual Christmas party a few weeks ago—KISS' "Love Gun" LP.

"Yep, I have that one," he said. Probably the first in-person conversation I had with Kamikaze, and of all things we were talking about KISS. Just goes to show—versatility doth a great artist make. Kamikaze gets props this year for best hip-hop artist, an honor that is well deserved. Combine that with a new album coming out, and it looks like 2008 is off to a very good start for Kamikaze.

Second: Shivaz / Third: David Banner / Good Showing: Skipp Coon; Benz

Best Gospel Artist: Dathan Thigpen
by Larry Morrisey

Dathan Thigpen's roots run deep in Jackson's gospel music scene, and he's working hard to make his own mark. A "Mississippi Mass Choir baby," the 27-year-old singer grew up around the choir co-founded by his uncle, David Curry Jr., and is currently directed by his mother, Dorcus Thigpen.

While he continues to perform with the Mass Choir, Thigpen has assembled his own group, "Dathan Thigpen & Holy Nation." He sees it as a way to reach out to his contemporaries. "Some people around my age have been tainted with that negative view of what church is all about," Thigpen explains. "And that's one thing we wanted to knock out." The group's self-titled CD works hard to turn those negative perceptions around. Recorded live at Word of Faith Christian Center in Jackson, the CD offers high-energy performances that were inspired by the group's theme, "GET UP" (Get Exposed To Unadulterated Praise). "It's just simple worship," Thigpen says. "We love to sing and worship, and we just put it all together."

Second: Mississippi Mass Choir / Third: Yolanda Adams / Good Showing: Mama Burks, Vergia Dishmon

Best Open Mic Night, Best Karaoke, Best Bar Menu: Fenian's Pub and Restaurant
901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055

by Jeri Lynn Ostrander
Photo by Jason Jarin

Let's face it. In Jackson restaurants and bars often come and go, but Jacksonians have made it clear… WE LOVE FENIAN'S! For the best open-mic gigs in town, go in on Tuesday, and enjoy bluegrass, Americana, celtic, blues/jazz, classic rock and everything in between. General Manager Damon Hogben receives around 15 CDs a week from bands as far away as Texas who want to play at Fenian's. Want to show off your own talent? Karaoke every Monday night is the place to let loose and sing your heart out while cheering on other Jackson locals in this intimate, relaxed atmosphere. Satisfy your appetite with something tasty from the best bar menu around. Fenian's serves appetizers, soups and stews, salads and sandwiches, and mouth-watering hot hoagies. Or, if you're in the mood for something Irish, try one of their famous boxty dishes. Fenian's maintains close ties with the Belhaven neighborhood while promoting all things Celtic and Irish through its relationship with the Celtic Heritage Society. Fenian's: a good place to eat, drink and enjoy that comfortable, easy "neighborhood" feeling.

Open Mic Night
Second: Seven*Studioz (147 Millsaps Ave., 601-316-5074) / Third: (tie) Fanatics (436 E. Capitol St., 601-360-2881); Left Field (1198 Lakeland Dr., 601-982-9775) / Good Showing: McB's (815 Lake Harbour Dr., 601-956-8362)

Best Karaoke
Second: McB's (815 Lake Harbour Dr., 601-956-8362) / Third: Sportsman's Lodge (1220 E. Northside Dr., 601-366-5441) / Good Showing: Last Call (3716 I-55 N., 601-713-2700); Buffalo Wild Wings (808 Lake Harbour Dr., Ridgeland, 601-856-0789)

Best Bar Menu
Second: Cherokee (1410 Old Square Rd., 601-362-6388) / Third: Elixir (4800 I-55 N., 601-981-7896) / Good Showing: Mugshots (1855 Lakeland Dr., 601-713-0383); Julep (Highland Village, 4500 I-55 N., #105, 601-362-1411)

Best Local Musician, Best Jazz Artist: Ezra Brown
by C. D. Eubanks
Photo by Roy Adkins

With a sound as warm and massive as Ezra Brown's, it is obvious why he's this years pick for Best Local Musician and Jazz Artist. Whether performing in small clubs to intimate numbers, or in front of large crowds, Brown brings a level of intensity to the music that's unmatched. The influences of John Coltrane's enormous sound and Sonny Rollins' witty improvisational creativity, as well as the funky bite of Maceo Parker's playing style, can all be heard in Brown's playing. He is also responsible for the gathering of many of Jackson's greatest artistic minds through his creation, Seven All Arts Café, on Millsaps Avenue. There you can find some of the best in African American artwork, music and poetry. Brown draws from all of these influences to feed his improvisational skill and creativity.

Best Local Musician
Second: Sherman Lee Dillon / Third: Scott Albert Johnson / Good Showing: Barry Leach, Hunter Gibson

Best Jazz Artist
Second: Barry Leach / Third: Lisa Palmer / Good Showing: Raphael Semmes; Rhonda Richmond

Best Jukebox: Cherokee Inn
1410 Old Square Rd., 601-362-6388

by Andi Agnew

Brace yourselves; this is not going to be pretty. The Cherokee's beloved vintage jukebox is no more. Now glowing in the corner of the "game room" (and sticking out like a sore thumb) is a taller, brighter, brand-spanking-new jukebox, the kind that serves up MP3s instead of CDs or 45s. I looked around for the old one, hoping it had just been moved to another part of the restaurant, but sadly, it is gone. A waitress confirmed that the newfangled contraption had been installed about four months ago. "I liked the old one better myself," she commiserated. At least the cheeseburgers and onion rings are the same as always. There's something to be said for continuity.

Second: Sam's Lounge (5035 I-55 N., 601-983-2526) / Third: Sportsman's Lodge (1220 E. Northside Dr., 601-366-5441) / Good Showing: Last Call (3716 I-55 N., 601-713-2700), Left Field (1198 Lakeland Dr., 601-982-9775)

Best Original Band, Best Rock Artist: The Weeks
by Larry Morrisey and Ian Williams
Photo by Darren Schwindaman

The Weeks have been quick out of the gate. With subtle hints of garage, classic rock and alt-country comparable to The Strokes and Kings of Leon, the group of teenaged musicians has swiftly built a local audience. Despite their rapid success, the band members don't get hung up on trying to create perfect performances. "We're pretty satisfied as long as we play an energetic show, and nobody has any song-ending errors," explains Weeks guitarist Sam Williams.

The guys are working on a new album, called "Comeback Cadillac," with Jimbo Mathus in his studio in Como.

Best Original Band
Second: Goodman County / Third: Wooden Finger / Good Showing: Redneck Trucker; The Vamps

Best Rock Artist
Second: Goodman County / Third: (tie) Storage 24 and Redneck Truckers / Good Showing: Colour Revolt

Best 'Meet' Market: Club Fire
209 Commerce St., 601-948-1000

by Andi Agnew

Perhaps this is not the best term to use when describing where to pick up hot guys/chicks, because many of our carnivorous readers submitted heartfelt supporting votes to Paul Anthony's, Little Willie's, McTaggart's and Kroger. No, what we are talking about is the type of place that people go to see and be seen, to hook up and get hooked up, to meet. Since it's also the best place to dance your booty off, Fire is the logical choice for top honors. Who can't resist booty shaking? If you're not the dancing type, then maybe you really should check out all the great MEAT markets in the area—you might find your true love perusing the lamb shanks.

Second: Julep (Highland Village, 4500 I-55 N., #105, 601-362-1411) / Third: Char (4500 I-55 N., Highland Village #142, 601-956-9562) / Good Showing: Sam's Lounge (5035 I-55 N, 601-983-2526)

Best Margarita: La Cazuela Mexican Grill
1401 E. Fortification St., 601-353-3014

by Lindsey Maddox

Many a Thursday night have I spent at La Cazuela enjoying their weekly two-for-one margaritas. With or without salt, frozen or on the rocks, strawberry or regular, it all seems to go down better with a basket of chips and salsa. La Cazuela's prime Belhaven location makes it a favorite for Millsaps students and Belhaven residents alike. And it doesn't hurt that La Cazuela has spacious outdoor seating—replete with large tables for your mid-week gatherings and even heaters for the winter. I've never had a bad experience with a La Cazuela margarita, and I've had too many good ones to count.

Second: Margarita's Mexican Restaurant (1625 E. County Line Rd., 601-957-7672) / Third: On the Border (6352 Ridgewood Court Dr., 601-977-9447) / Good Showing: Cozumel (multiple locations)

Best Martini: Elixir
4800 I-55 N., 601-981-7896

by Drake DeVille

I turn to ask a friendly passer-by: "Have you ever done a Russian Push-Up?" She smiles at the joke; I'm simply pleased to be back at Elixir. Elixir has been voted Best Martini for the past four years running, and they've done it with style. Elixir's chic leather seating and mod décor make it a fashionable, relaxed choice, offering no fewer than 22 martini varieties on their martini menu. I am a vodka drinker and a huge Rocky IV fan, so I typically order a Russian Push-Up, consisting of a tasty blend of Stoli Vanil and Stoli Ohranj, some 80-proof Cointreau for additional orange, a splash of orange juice for a little more, and finally a splash of cranberry juice.

Second: Julep (Highland Village, 4500 I-55 N., #105, 601-362-1411) / Third: Bravo! (4500 I-55 N. #244, 601-982-8111) / Good Showing: Char (4500 I-55 N. #142, 601-956-9562); Bonefish (201 Colony Way, Madison, 601-607-3334)

Best R&B Artist: Akami Graham
by C. D. Eubanks

This stunning and seductive songstress has been tantalizing local listeners for five years. Graham credits her success to her humble beginnings as a church pianist and singer. But it was at a performance of the Jackson group High Frequency that she was asked to sing, and it jump-started her R&B career. Since then, Akami has been wowing audiences with her powerful voice and range with a stage presence that will hold you captive until she lets you go. With influences like Jill Scott, Chaka Khan, Lisa McClendon, Mary J. Blige and Mint Condition, this vocalist is sure to have something for every listener. If she was this hot in 2007, I can't wait to see what Akami has for us in 2008.

Second: (tie) Dorothy Moore; Romain / Third: M.L. / Good Showing: Recognition; Kamikaze

Best Place for a Stiff Drink, Best Place to Drink Cheap, Best Place to Drown Your Sorrows: Martin's
214 S. State St., 601-354-9712

by Drake DeVille

Jackson agrees. There's a good drink for your glass at Martin's. Most anytime you go there you'll find people enjoying a stiff drink. Whether you seek a cold Smithwick's or prefer a stout Crown and Coke, Martin's can get you going.

Martin's is a distinct and rare place, the kind of place you can recommend to someone from New York City visiting Jackson over the weekend. Martin's is a genuine lounge specimen perfectly preserved. You can sit by yourself at the bar, you can shoot the bull with the old guys, you can meet up for drinks with friends, and you can catch some uncommon live music. Martin's caters to the lunch crowd; they have a regular afternoon rush, an after-work professional crowd, and the place is usually rocking at night, courtesy of yet another cool band you're just now hearing about.

Martin's is unique to Jackson in that it is a generational thing, too. Martin's has been in the same location since 1984, and still stands as a Jackson institution. I remember my father stopping by the old place for a beer or two whenever the mood suited him. I find it a great place to smooth out the edges myself.

Best Place for a Stiff Drink
Second: Fenian's (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055) / Third: Char (4500 I-55 N. #142 Highland Village, 601-956-9562) / Good Showing: Tico's (1536 E. County Line Rd., Ridgeland, 601-956-1030); Julep (Highland Village, 4500 I-55 N., #105, 601-362-1411)

Best Place to Drink Cheap
Second: (tie) Sportsman's Lodge (1220 E. Northside Dr., #100, 601-366-5441); Cherokee (1410 Old Square Road, 601-362-6388) / Third: Sam's Lounge (5035 I-55 N., 601-983-2562) / Good Showing: Fenian's (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055)

Best Place to Drown Your Sorrows
Second: Fenian's (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055) / Third: Sam's Lounge (5035 I-55 N., 601-983-2562) / Good Showing: Sportsman's Lodge (1220 E. Northside Dr., # 100, 601-366-5441)

Best Sports Bar:
Sportsman's Lodge
1220 E. Northside Dr. #100, 601-366-5441

by Lori Gregory

The first time I walked into the Sportsman's Lodge, I couldn't believe that I'd finally found a place that had more dead animals on the walls than my grandaddy's hunting cabin in the Delta. By the time the beer kicked in, and I made it to the women's restroom, it was no surprise that there was a television playing right outside the stall doors. Everything that defines a great "sports bar" is contained within its four walls.

I'm not saying that "Game Day" has more of an effect on my drinking habits than any other day, but I will say that if you choose to drink at The Lodge, its extremely difficult not to notice the sports going on around you—despite your best efforts.

Second: Buffalo Wild Wings (808 Lake Harbor Dr., Ridgeland, 601-856-0789) / Third: The Alumni House (574 Hwy. 51, Ridgeland, 601-605-9903) / The Bulldog (6111 Ridgewood Rd., 601-978-3502)

Best Place for Live Music: Hal & Mal's
200 Commerce St., 601-948-0888

by C. D. Eubanks

As you slowly walk into the hallowed halls of Hal & Mal's, you may be overwhelmed by a true sense of awe, because of all of the history and pride woven into the fabric that makes Hal & Mal's the top spot for the best live music in Jackson. Tradition can be seen all over the walls of this restored 1920's-era railroad depot through the vast collection of musicians and singers whose photos grace this musical landmark.

Fans and musicians alike are drawn to the pub for their large selection of beers—exotic and home brews—and other enticing and intoxicating concoctions, mouth-watering salads and entrees, and, of course, the absolute best in live music from all over the country. Whether it's hosting the St. Paddy's Day Parade, featuring live groups during the holiday seasons, the ever-popular blues and jazz concerts, or the sold-out Soul Revival concert series, Hal & Mal's has become Jackson's own "Musical Mecca."

Second: Fire (209 Commerce St., 601-592-1000) / Third: Martin's (214 S. State St., 601-354-9712) / Good Showing: Fenian's (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055); 930 Blues Café (930 N. Congress St., 601-948-3344)

Singer/Songwriter: Eric Stracener
by Ian Williams

If you are a fan of good music, then you should be a fan of Eric Stracener. With influences that range from blues legends to rock giants to indie icons, Eric takes that mix and blends it together to create something that is totally new, but with the feeling of something classic. His songs are a slice of Americana that would be at home on any triple-A compilation. His music might seem like pop, but it holds a darker edge. While this will probably keep him off the Top 40, it is a good sound for college radio or anybody looking for something a little deeper than what you will find on your special radio station. Eric has released two albums to date. The first, "Sockeye," in 2003, is primarily an acoustic album with a folkie sound. He followed that up with his 2006 release, "The Trickbag," for which he put together an all-star line-up of local talent called The Frustrations. It will be interesting to see what Eric Stracener does next.

Second: Cody Cox / Third: Laurel Isbister / Good Showing: Andrew Pates

Best Wine Selection: Bravo!
4500 I-55 N., #244 Highland Village, 601-982-8111

by Jeri Lynn Ostrander

What does Bravo! have that can't be found anywhere else in Mississippi? A wine list the wine gods envy! With so many options to choose from, it's possible to sip a different wine from their extensive cellar every day of the year and still not have experienced them all. Not sure which one to have with the delectably desirable pan-seared crab crusted fish or the penne with beef tenderloin and portabello mushrooms? Looking for something fruity, earthy, velvety or broad to tantalize your palette? Sommelier Kelly Boutwell knows her stuff, and she's ready with the experience and knowledge to assist with the perfect wine selection for sipping at the bar or pairing with your favorite entrée. Satisfy your senses with a delightful Champagne or choose from a vast array of red, white and sparkling wines from domestic or international vineyards ranging anywhere from $18 to $475 per bottle.

Second: Shapley's (868 Centre St., Ridgeland, 601-957-3753) / Third: Nick's (1501 Lakeland Dr., 601-981-8017) / Good Showing: Julep (Highland Village, 4500 I-55 N., #105, 601-362-1411)

Sexiest Bartender: (Tie) Jennie Terrell, Fenian's
901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055
and Justin Cook, Nick's
1501 Lakeland Dr., 601-981-8017

by Ian Williams

What is sexy? If you ask 10 different people, you will get 10 different answers. Jennie Terrell is sexy. Sure, she has the looks. But that just makes her good looking. The thing that makes Jennie really sexy is that she is nice. She can serve you one of the best drinks in town, tell you a bad joke and remember to ask you about something you talked about three weeks ago, all the while serving about 50 other people. At Fenian's where she is the smallest bartender by at least 100 pounds (and the only female), she runs the place. And that is sexy, too.

If Jennie is sexy because she is nice, Justin Cook is sexy because he is cool. Justin has been bartending around Jackson for many years and at Nick's for the last two years. He has the laid-back but commanding presence necessary for running a high-volume bar. When you ask him why he is still bartending, he answers: "The freedom! I like that I can go play golf in the afternoon and then go to work." That's just cool, and sexy.

Second: Brandee Bass at Left Field (1198 Lakeland Dr. 601-982-9775) / Third: Laura at Hal & Mal's (200 Commerce St., 601-948-0888) / Good Showing: Patty Dotson at Martin's (214 S. State St., 601-354-9712)

Best Place to Shoot Pool: The Green Room
444 Bounds St., 601-713-3444

by Lori Gregory

I admit that I've only played pool at The Green Room once. It's the kind of place where walking through the door and not carrying your own monogrammed pool cue is a crime. Only serious players need apply. I do have dreams of becoming a pool shark and making several thousand dollars while "taking care of whitey" and tossing my hair, and The Green Room is the best place in Jackson to do it. Just ask the regulars. If you are really nice, they might stop laughing long enough to give you a few tips.

Second: The Sportsman's Lodge (1220 E. Northside Dr., 601-366-5441) / Third: Sam's Lounge (5035 I-55 N., 601-983-2526) / Good Showing: Reed Pierce's (6791 Siwell Rd., Byram, 601-376-0777)

Previous Comments


Shivaz! myspace.com/shivaz4real


Funny. ;-)


Shivaz!!! When he hits the big time... you know, like Vanilla Ice, we'll say we knew him when.


you guys are too funny


Hey choctaw..get me an email on shivaz or a number. Skipp and I are planning a big show for April perhaps at 121 and we're looking for alternative hiphop artists to fill the bill. This is something different than what even *I* am used to but itll be cool.


CONGRATS to all the Best...especially Phinga who has been holding Jacktown down for sooooo soooo very long. It's about time he gets some recognition! Luv ya Timmy!!!! Peace



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