Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Best Beer Selection (draft), Best Beer Selection (bottled) and Best College Hangout:
When you first darken the door of The Bulldog, the aroma of malt and heavy dark wood with just a hint of wheat, lemon or sweetness lures you to a heavy well-balanced pub chair. If you are someone who appreciates the sensory experience of drinking beer, look no further than The Bulldog where more than 50 delicately reared lager, ale and wheat taps are neatly arranged along the wall like crayons in a box.
The Bulldog is most proud of their carefully handled draft beers from countries such as Germany, Australia, Ireland and Mexico, with an expanded selection in bottles, served in a frosty mug or a room-temperature pint glass of your choice. You can even select Mississippi's own Lazy Magnolia or old standards like PBR and Miller Lite. The Bulldog also offers a hefty grub menu featuring standard bar food such as Buffalo wings and nachos, and heavier fares like sandwiches, burgers, Creole delicacies and pastas. But come on: The beer is really why we go there, right?
An eclectic crowd abounds at The Bulldog, noisy but easy going, settled into an evening of brews, unwinding from the day now past. It is really a place to sit with an intimate crowd and enjoy the tour of beers, professionally and responsibly. Any regular will agree: "We're not drunk, we're just drinking."
Beer Selection (Draft) Second: Fenian's, (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055) / Third: Sal & Mookie's, (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919) / Good Showing: Hal & Mal's (200 S. Commerce St., 601-948-8888); Ole Tavern (416 George St., 601-960-2700)
Beer Selection (Bottled): Second: Martin's, (214 S. State St.) / Third: Fenian's, (901 Fortification St. 601-948-0055) / Good Showing: Sal & Mookie's (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919)
College Hangout Second: Cups, (2757 Old Canton Road, 601-362-7422)/ Third: Fenian's, (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055) / Good Showing: Sneaky Beans (2914 N. State St. 601-487-6349); Freelon's (44 N. Mill St., 601-949-2535)
Best Bar, Best Bar for Karaoke, Bar Where Everybody Knows Your Name, Best Bar Menu:
901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055
Tradition isn't something you mess with. So, nothing messes with my holiday rendezvous at Fenian's. Sure, I may have to scout for a parking spot, stand for an hour waiting for a table or graciously accept the one open seat at a table full of strangers. Fenian's is where everybody seems to meet up, the place to remember the ghosts of Jackson's past or the place to run into a face you may have forgotten. There is nostalgia to this bustling Irish pub, a charm that makes it the best bar to retreat to. The fried dill pickles and abundance of heavy beers greatly contribute to any and all extra weight gain, and Fenian's is the only bar in Jackson that serves Scottish Eggs (imagine, a hardboiled egg, wrapped in sausage, battered and deep fried, nom nom).
Monday night is always packed for karaoke with Matt Collette, and you can rest assured, between the hours of 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., you will more than likely hear a song from the "Grease" soundtrack. Not much has changed over the years except for no smoking inside the pub and the removal of the hundreds of old, written-on dollar bills tacked on the walls. Who cares if you have to stand half the night? If you get up from your seat, though, you'd better leave a purse or something of value in that chair or consider it taken. I swear, sometimes it's like a never-ending game of musical chairsbut I've been playing it for years now, and I'm really, really good at it.
Best Bar Second: The Bulldog (6111 Ridgewood Road, 601-978-3502) / Third: Underground 119 (119 S. President St. 601-352-2322) / Good Showing: Electric Cowboy (6107 Ridgewood Road, 601-899-5333); Hal & Mal's (200 S. Commerce St., 601-948-8888); Ole Tavern (416 George St., 601-960-2700)
Best Karaoke Second: Mc B's (815 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-956-8362) / Third: Ole Tavern (416 George St., 601-960-2700) / Good Showing: Hal & Mal's (200 S. Commerce St., 601-948-8888); Last Call Sports Grill (1428 Old Square Road, 601-713-2700)
Bar Where Everybody Knows Your Name Second: Hal & Mal's (200 S. Commerce St., 601-948-8888) / Third: Martin's (214 S. State St., 601-354-9712) / Good Showing: Julep (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 105, 601-362-1411); Bravo! (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111); Cherokee Inn (1410 Old Square Road, 601-362-6388)
Best Bar Food Second: Underground 119 (119 S. President St., 601-352-2322) / Third: Julep (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 105, 601-362-1411) / Good Showing: The Bulldog (6111 Ridgewood Road, 601- 978-3502), Cherokee Inn (1410 Old Square Road, 601-362-6388)
Kavan Wood, Electric Cowboy
6107 Ridgewood Road, 601-899-5333
There is something about a bartender who works at a crazy, loud, crowded bar like the Electric Cowboy. This is the kind of club that one may dread initiallywalking in to hundreds of people, thousands of tiny shots and lots of stumbling, bull-riding fools. Electric Cowboy's secret weapon to calm your pre-drinking nerves and fulfill your drinking needs is Kavan Wood. No other bartender I know can sling beers and take numerous orders at once, while getting your correct change in a timely fashion, even when competing with the stumbling girls in heels shouting out orders for lemon drops. When you've given in to the crazy notion of riding the mechanical bull, it's nice to know Kavan will always have a drink waiting for you when you fall off. Jessica Mizell
Second: Trevor Palmer (Electric Cowboy, 6107 Ridgewood Road, 601-899-5333) / Third: Toni Jones (Fenian's, 901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055) / Good Showing: Justin Cook (Nick's, 3000 Old Canton Road, 601-981-8017); Brad Regan (Julep, 4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 105, 601-362-1411)
Best Cover Band, Best Country Artist:
Bust your butt over to the nearest saloon, and chances are you'll bump into some city slickin' guys and gals getting down to The Colonels, the best country group in town. These Brookhaven heart breakers have taken the Southeast by storm with country ballads and southern-rock revival songs, wailing about the aesthetic pleasures of mullets and beautiful belles. The band started off as a joke because none of the members were into country. After playing their first gig, however, the group decided that if it ain't country, it ain't cool.
When they aren't playing country, they're playing groovy covers of doo-wop and hip-hop hits, ranging from the Jackson 5 to 2 Live Crew. Their live shows are high-energy and unpredictable. You might see a hillbilly doing the tootsie roll or a lovely couple making out on stage. Either way, be prepared to party. Jackson Breland
Best Cover Band Second: Molly Ringwalds / Third: Full Moon Circus / Good Showing: U.S.; Hunter & the Gators
Best Country Band Second: Crossin' Dixon / Third: Bill & Temperance / Good Showing: The Scramblers
Best Place to Drink Cheap and Best Dive Bar:
214 S. State St., 601-354-9712
Ah, Martin's, it would be wrong for any other bar to claim these titles. When one thinks of a dive, they think of a casual, dark, smoky establishment that has cheap drinks and usually a colorful variety of barflies. With Martin's shift from the older day crowd to its hipster night crowd, the variety of people that enter and exit these doors are endless. What is amazing is that Martin's doesn't actually have a "happy hour." Wednesday night is ladies' night, with a mere $5 cover and free drinks all night. All domestic canned beer is $2.50, and most well drinks start at $5. My hair may smell like a cigarette when I wake up in the morning, but at least I know I got my money's worth.
Place to Drink Cheap Second: Sam's Lounge (5035 Interstate 55 N., 601-983-2526) / Third: Cherokee Inn (1410 Old Square Road, 601-362-6388) / Good Showing: F. Jones (303 N. Farish St., 601-983-1148), Fenian's (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055)
Best Dive Bar Second: Sam's Lounge (5035 Interstate 55 N., 601-983-2526) / Third: Cherokee Inn (1410 Old Square Road, 601-362-6388) / Good Showing: F. Jones Corner (303 N. Farish St., 601-983-1148); Pop's Around the Corner (2636 S. Gallatin St., 601-961-4747)
Best Place to Hear Live Music:
209 S. Commerce St., 601 592-1000
Well, let's put on some leather pants and get ready to rawk! It's big, it's loud, and it could only be Fire. Located on Commerce Street, Fire has been bringing all sorts of shows to Jackson for quite a while now. Primarily a rock venue, Fire is the place to go when you want to let your hair down and party. From a musician's standpoint, I've been told that the sound system is A+ quality, and the lighting rivals any in the city. The place is huge and open, so the sound is great, and there are plenty of booths and seating available. The bartenders are fast, the parking is free, and you'll find shows going on almost every weekend. Hot. Jessica Mizell
Second: Hal & Mal's (200 S. Commerce St., 601-948-8888) / Third: Underground 119 (119 S. President St., 601-352-2322) / Good Showing: Martin's (214 S. State St., 601-354 9712); F. Jones Corner (303 N. Farish St., 601-983-1148); Ole Tavern (416 George St., 601-960-2700)
Best R&B Vocalist and Best Local Singer:
Continuing to imprint her stamp on the Jackson music scene and now being coinedby meas the Vocal Vixen of Jackson, Akami Graham has again sealed the No. 1 slot for Jackson's Best R&B and Best Local Singer. Graham is the total package, and if you've ever met her or seen her on stage, this is no surprise. She has a warm, welcoming personality and a smile that is as delightful as her vocals. As one of the house bands at Fitzgerald's, Graham and the Key of G had a big year in 2009; Graham was only female performer there at that time. She also opened for Musiq Soulchild and for B.B. King at the Two Rivers Gala. She is working on her self-titled album with hopes of completion in 2011. Queen Folayan
Best R&B Vocalist: Second: Recognition / Third: Keesha Pratt / Good Showing: AJC; ML; D'Mar
Best Local Singer: Second: Keesha Pratt / Third: Cody Cox / Good Showing: Jackie Bell; Lisa Palmer; Taylor Hildebrand
Place to Shoot Pool:
The Green Room
444 Bounds St., 601-713-3444
The repeat winner in this category is not a shocker to the many Jacksonians who have frequented this pool hall for years. Pool is the reason you go to The Green Room. This pool hall is serious, man. The tables are very well kept up, the sticks aren't shredded at the ends, and you don't have to share your chalk with another table. I have spent many a night trying to work on my game, choosing a table far in the back to avoid the prying eyes of more experienced players. The bar food is good, the drink selection is decent and, best of all, the patrons are nice enough to not laugh if don't know how to break.
Second: Sam's Lounge (5035 Interstate 55 N., 601-983-2526)/ Third: Reed Pierce's Sportsman's Grill (6791 S. Siwell Road, Byram 601-376-0777) / Good Standing: Time Out Sports Cafe (6270 Old Canton Road, 601-978-1839); Cherokee Inn (1410 Old Square Road, 601-362-6388)
Sexiest Bartender (Male):
Kurt Monaghan, Electric Cowboy
6107 Ridgewood Road, 601-899-5333
We could have also called this category the "Tall, Dark, Broad Shouldered" awardor maybe the "When You See Him You Will Forget What You Wanted to Order" award. Kurt Monaghan is the one that makes the patrons blush. The Electric Cowboy ain't exactly your neighborhood bar, and maneuvering the crowds that come through every week all while looking good is a talent all on its own. This man has to be doing something right because the city has spoken, and Kurt is the bartender we hate to see go but love to watch him leave. He will pour you a drink, flash a smile, and take your money and maybe your heart. Â
Second: Brad Regan (Julep, 4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 105, 601-362-1411) / Third: Michael Kennedy (Dick and Jane's, 206 Capital St., 601-944-0123) / Good Showing: Justin Cook (Nick's, 3000 Old Canton Road, 601-981-8017); Leo Turner (Ole Tavern, 416 George St., 601-960-2700)
Sexiest Bartender (Female):
Toni Jones, Fenian's
901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055
To all the patrons who frequent Fenian's, we all know that sometimes the place can become a bit, um, crowdedmaybe even rowdy. Nothing is sexier than a woman who knows how to handle a crowd, and that is exactly what Toni Jones does every week. She's been called a "siren of the sauce" and "a mixologist after your heart." Tossing glasses up with the flick of her wrists, she sets them down on the tap and pours numerous drinks in one fluid motion. I have also witnessed an ESP-like ability to know when you want another drink before you realize you want one. Oh, and on top of that, she is a total sweetheart who can pour a drink quicker then you can say Makers Mark.
Second: Holly Williams (Fire, 209 Commerce St., 601 592-1000) / Third: Laura Collins (Hal & Mal's, 200 S. Commerce St., 601-948-0888) / Good Showing: Alyson Brady (Sam's Lounge, 5035 Interstate 55 N., Frontage Road, 601-983-2526; Time Out Sports Bar, 6270 Old Canton Road, 601-978-1839); Jessica Rice (Fire, 209 Commerce St., 601 592-1000)
Best LGBT Hangout: Dick & Jane's 206 West Capitol St., 601-592-1000
This year's Best of Jackson GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) Hangout is none other than Dick and Jane's, so if you're looking for a carefree night, you know where to go. Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 9 p.m. until 4 a.m., Dick and Jane's serves only beer (liquor can be brought in for a small fee) and is open to those 18 and older, so adults only. If you're into singing, Dick and Jane's hosts Gayraoke on Thursdays and house-party night on Saturdays. Come show your competitive side at Dick and Jane's monthly Showdown variety show, held every third Thursday of the month.
Second: J.C.'s (425 North Mart Plaza, 601-362-3108) / Third: Fenian's Pub (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055) / Good Showing: Jack & Jill's (no longer open)
Best Happy Hour:
Pi(e) Lounge at Sal & Mookie's
565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919
The intimate setting and comfy sofas of Pi(e) Lounge (the bar at Sal & Mookie's) win this year's Best Happy Hour. The phenomenon of the bar's namesake, the value pi, lies in its non-sequential decimal value, which continues infinitely (π=3.14159265
ad infinitum). With a 3.14 percent discount on beer, cocktails and wine every day but Monday, repeat customers are a regular occurrence here. The lounge's happy hour runs from 3:14 p.m. to 6:28 p.m. (3 hours, 14 minutes), and on Saturdays and Sundays, Pi(e) offers $3.14 bloody Mary's and mimosas. The added (e) of Pi(e) is a reminder of the unique pizza pies made fresh just on the other at Sal & Mookie's, so be sure to order a slice with your liquid libation. Â
Second: Underground 119 (119 S. President St., 601-352-2322) / Third: Time Out Sports Cafe (6270 Old Canton Road, 601-978-1839) / Good showing: Julep (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 105, 601-362-1411); Fenian's (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055)
Best Hotel Bar:
Fitzgerald's at the Hilton
1001 E. County Line Road, 601-957-28001
Fitzgerald's at the Hilton is an undisputed favoriteclassy, laidback and sophisticated. Enjoy live music, big cozy leather chairs, dimmed lights and couples swing dancing while listening to the likes of Chris Gill and Andy Hardwick and the Rainmakers. Early in the week, enjoy an intimate moment with a special friend while sipping a Walk Me Down or a Tom Collins. If you like to party, go Friday and Saturday, have a couple of Long Island teas or a dirty martini and party the night away. Hungry? No worries: The bar menu boasts not only great food, but variety, too, from chili lime wings to a classic filet mignon. Â
Second: Sam's Lounge (5035 Interstate 55 N. Frontage Road, 601-983-2526) / Third: Roberts Walthall (225 E. Capitol St., 601-948-6161) / Good Showing: Hunt Club (1525 Ellis Ave., 601-944-1150); Regency Hotel and Bar (420 Greymont Ave., 601-969-2141);
5035 Interstate 55 N. Frontage Road, 601-983-2526
It may not be the 1950s anymore, but that isn't to say you can't still rock a jukebox, especially one that's hooked up to the Internet. The best place for doing just that is Sam's Lounge where you can play the songs you want to hear while enjoying libations in a friendly atmosphere. Want to hear country, hip-hop, metal or pop? Sam's has got you covered with what seems like an infinite number of choicesjust don't forget your change.
Second: Cherokee Inn (1410 Old Square Road, 601-362-6833) / Third: Sportsman's Lodge (1120 E. Northside Drive, 601-366-5411) / Good Showing: Time Out Sports Bar (6270 Old Canton Road, 601-978-1839)
Best Club DJ:
DJ Cadillac has made a name for himself in Jackson and all over the world. He's best known locally for turning up the heat at the Electric Cowboy and transforming the bar into an all-night dance party, but he's also toured around the world, made appearances on MTV and started his own deejay company. He may have made it big in the world of deejays, but he still represents Jackson and is proud to call it home. Lacey McLaughlin
Second: Terry Edwards / Third: Mr. Nick / Good Showing: DJ Reign; DJ Phingaprint
Best Original Band, Best Rock Artist
Back from Best of Jackson's past is local rock band Storage 24. The previous winner of 2007's best Rock Band category, Storage 24's lineup has a few changes. Fronted by original band creator Baby Phred, Storage 24 has added deejay Unkl Ryan, bassist R.C., drummer Daniel G., guitarist Daniel W. and lyricist Kamikaze. Kaze is no stranger to the "Best Of" awards, having won Best Hip-Hop Artist for several years. Infusing heavy rock with elements of R&B, this band is taking off into the music stratosphere. Storage 24 shows are loud, so be prepared to take it all in.
This band can't be described with just one or two genres, having taken aspects of rock, hip-hop and spinning, and fused it into one giant music machine. Recently winning Club De Villa's "Band of the Year" award and a spot playing at MTV's "Spring Break" in Panama City, these familiar faces will be on television in the next few months and has a new album in the works.
Original Band Second: No Lesser Beauty / Third: Furrows / Good Showing: Law School
Rock Artist Second: Jeremy Rainey / Third: No Lesser Beauty / Good Showing: The Colonels; Brian Jones; Cody Cox
Best Place to Dance:
6107 Ridgewood Road, 601-899-5333
I have a confession. I can't dance, and out of shame I never do it in public. If I did, though, it would be at the Electric Cowboy, mainly because you wouldn't see me in the massive sea of folks that frequent this club every weekend. Thursday nights, ladies get half off the cover charge, and Fridays and Saturdays are always packed. Go and dance off some steam and rest easy in knowing that you, too, can be that anonymous dancer that likes to "go fishing" every once in a while, maybe even pulling out the ole "lawnmower" move. If you do happen to see me one weekend dancing, just keep walking. If you bring it up in public, I will deny everything.
Second: Dick and Jane's (206 W. Capitol St., 601-944-0123) / Third: Fire (209 Commerce St., 601 592-1000) / Good Showing: Martin's (214 S. State St., 601-354-9712); Freelon's (440 N. Mill St., 601-949-2535)
Best Sports Bar: Sportsman's Lodge 1220 E. Northside Drive, 601-366-5441 I rarely have a negative thing to say about a bar with the NFL Sunday Ticket and the ESPN College Gameday package. I kind of enjoy the Sportsman's ceiling, strung with hundreds of little lights, casting a soft glow on all the dead things that are stuffed and hung on the walls. There is a certain comfort in the Sportsman's Lodge. A ridiculous guy-to-girl ratio, a huge bar with lots of beer and 20 flat screens make it a place I thoroughly enjoy going to. Order some wings and watch some football, or just use your peripherals and listen to the conversations around you. Keep it up, Sportsman's, you're doing something right.
Second: Buffalo Wild Wings Bar and Grill (808 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland 601-856-0789) / Third: Time Out Sports Cafe (6270 Old Canton Road, 601-978-1839) / Good Showing: Alumni House Sports Grill (110 Bass Pro Drive, Pearl, 601-896-0253)
Scott Albert Johnson
Scott Albert Johnson is a regular on Jackson's music circuit, playing at venues such as Underground 119 and Hal & Mal's. Fusing rock, folk and blues into a fluid, southern sound, Johnson can belt out a ballad just as smoothly as he can deliver a foot-stompin' jam song. And he's never without his trusty harmonica. The singer-songwriter cites Randy Newman and Van Morrison (among others) as musical influences, and it shows on his 2007 album "Umbrella Man." Look for Johnson to perform at this year's Mississippi HeARTs Against AIDS benefit at Hal & Mal's Saturday, Feb. 13. -֖Maggie Neff
Second: Hunter Gibson / Third: Cody Cox / Good Showing: Johnny Bertram; Sherman Lee Dillon; Raphael Semmes
Best Local Blues Artist:
Born in 1962 on the Fourth of July in Monroe, La., Jackie Bell has exploded on the Jackson music scene. She has also been graced with a national spotlight, singing with contemporary blues greats like Michael Burks, KoKo Taylor and Big Bill Morganfield. Bell is perhaps best known locally for her unapologetically raucous Jackson performances. You can see her perform with the house band at 930 Blues Café crooning seductively, dancing with audience members and even shedding parts of her wardrobe to drape over the heads of show goers. Jackie "Miss Sweetheart" Bell can also be frequently seen at Ole Tavern on George Street, and at F. Jones Corner on Farish Street.
Second: Jesse Robinson / Third: Virgil Brawley / Good Showing: Eddie Cotton; King Edward; Scott Albert Johnson
Best Gospel Musician:
A perennial Jackson favorite for Best Gospel Musician, Dathan Thigpen and Holy Nation continue to lift up praise in a fresh, relatable way. Their youthful sound is filled with upbeat guitar, drums, keyboard and other instruments, and each soulful voice carries a rare authenticity. You can tell that Thigpen and the Holy Nation truly believe in their lyrics, and it shows in their fun, energized performances. Songs from their album "Get Up, Vol. 1" have that same energyespecially spirit-stirring tracks like "Bring the Praise" and "Just to Be Close to You." Watch holynation.org for info on the release of a DVD from a live performance recording last May.
Second: The Williams Brothers / Third: Mississippi Mass Choir / Good Showing: Sherry Tate
Best Hip-Hop Artist Not Named Kamikaze:
Cosmic. Inter-galactic. Other-worldly. These are just a few of the words you can use to describe the unique talent of 7even:Thirty. His hard work has amassed him a wide following, and he's made his name by offering and energetic hip-hop extravaganza on stage. This guy is a star, and I'm proud to say he's from Mississippi.
Second: David Banner / Third: Skipp Coon / Good Showing: 5th Child; Brad Franklin
Raphael Semmes is all about music The vocalist and bass player has a versatile repertoire, but his sound seems most at home when he's playing be-bopping, foot-tapping jazz, which he performs at venues such as Underground 119 and Fusion Coffeehouse. Semmes says he had the "jazz itch" when he moved to Jackson in the early 1980s, and that itch has evolved into a quest to promote local music and artists in the metro. Chances are you have seen Semmes play at one time or another, whether it be in his funk/R&B band, These Days with Jewel Bass, or with the Raphael Semmes Ensemble, to name a couple of projects. "(There is) a burgeoning jazz scene in Jackson nowwhich is really, really inspiring," he says.
Second: Rhonda Richmond / Third: Barry Leach / Good Showing: Allison Jenkins; Lisa Palmer
Front man Jeremy Rainey and his band, No Lesser Beauty, received 2009 awards for Best Singer-Songwriter, Best Rock Artist and Best Original Band. Rainey and No Lesser Beauty have opened for several national acts and toured regionally but spent most of the past year staying close to home and performing at Hal & Mal's, Sam's Lounge and Fire. Rainey and his eclectic band mates not only make good music together, they make great memories. In the last year, the band has gone from playing heavy rock to performing more upbeat material: what Rainey calls party rock 'n' roll. "It's all about having fun and creating a good time for those who come and see us play," Rainey says.
Second: Cody Cox / Third: Topher Brown / Good Showing: Johnny Bertram; Shaun Patterson