Best Of 2010

Readers Poll Winners: Arts & Entertainment

Best Bar for Hooking Up

Velvet Dog

If four floors of dancing, DJs, and drinking don't improve your chances of finding that Saturday-night special someone, you've got problems even the Velvet Dog can't fix.

1280 West Sixth St., Cleveland, 216-664-1116,

Best Movie Theater

Cedar Lee Theatre

This venerable Cleveland Heights art house mixes up the best mainstream offerings with the most sought-after independent films. It's clean, it's welcoming — and its concession stand is beyond reproach.

2163 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights, 440-564-2030,

Best Blog

Cleveland Foodie

The Cleveland Foodie is Michelle V, an amateur cook, enthusiastically eclectic eater, and prolific writer who pens unapologetically engaging entries about her encounters with food all over the city, as well as recipes, chef interviews, and reports on her vacation food adventures.

Best Dance Club

Velvet Dog

The world was made for platonic booty-shaking too. If that's your calling, then the Dog of the Warehouse District is still your best bet for quality music and a packed dance floor every weekend.

1280 West Sixth St., Cleveland, 216-664-1116,

Best Place to Drink Cheap

Now That's Class

Every day from 6 to 9 p.m., Now That's Class offers $1 cans of Rolling Rock and Miller High Life. Show up early for a show or leave before it gets loud. The place isn't fancy, and that's precisely the point.

11213 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 216- 221-8576,

Best Local Theater Company

Cleveland Public Theatre

If your theatrical tastes are 180 degrees from community-theater interpretations of Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, catch one of CPT's boundary-breaking productions, which grapple with important issues in offbeat ways.

6415 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 216-631-2727,

Best Hip-Hop Club

B-Side Liquor Lounge

The sleek but comfortable lounge under the Grog Shop serves up a menu of dance music that includes electro, soul, and indie rock as well as hip-hop. Its Tuesday-night spoken-word event attracts a chic adult crowd.

2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-932-1966,

Best Radio Station

100.7-FM WMMS

In the rock & roll capital, nothing sells quite like straight-up rock & roll. The Thundering Buzzard still reigns supreme.

Best Art Gallery

Cleveland Museum of Art

Not a "gallery" in the classic sense, Cleveland's world-class museum is a classic in every other sense, so who are we to argue here.

11150 East Blvd., Cleveland, 216-421-7340,

Best Concert Club


Formerly a polka hall, the Beachland offers great sight lines, crisp acoustics, reasonably priced drinks, and most important: reasonably priced tickets for just about every type of show you can imagine.

15711 Waterloo Rd., Cleveland, 216-383-1124,

Best Club for Underground Sounds

Now That's Class

Rocking seven nights a week, Now That's Class has some of the aura of a D.I.Y. punk club, but with a liquor license and a packed calendar of loud underground bands — some local, some from around the world — booked well in advance. And it serves vegan food.

11213 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 216- 221-8576,

Best Drag Performer

Shari Turner

Already crowned Miss Gay Black Ohio, this stunning beauty from Cleveland's West Side is a cosmetology student when the lights of the stage don't beckon.

Best Bar for Smokers

Spitfire Saloon

In a world gone smoke-free, this refuge on the Lakewood-Cleveland border gets the nod for best place to park your butts.

1539 W 117th St., Cleveland, 216-226-7748

Best Gay-Lesbian Bar


Nestled between Detroit Ave. and the Shoreway on Cleveland's near West Side, Bounce is the epicenter of Cleveland's gay nightlife.

2814 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 216-357-2997

Best Karaoke Bar

Tina's Nightclub

An anchor of the burgeoning Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, Tina's is the place to loosen the belt and belt out the hits.

5400 Herman Ave., Cleveland, 216-651-8057

Best Gentlemen's Club

Christie's Cabaret

With three locations in the region, Christie's has Northeast Ohio's adult entertainment needs covered like no one else.

1180 Main Ave., Cleveland, 216-574-6222, 1246 Pearl Rd., Brunswick, 330-220-1888; 4465 Everhard Rd. NW, Canton 330-305-0555;

Best Club DJ

DJ Kishka

You'll find this turntable dynamo holding court during the Happy Dog Saloon's Polka Happy Hour. You were expecting hip-hop, perhaps?

Best Club Theme Night

Cleveland Trivia Nights at Melt Bar & Grilled

Not sure what it says about our party scene that grilled cheese and U.S. Military History are our idea of a hot night on the town, but consider it further proof that Melt's twin locations ooze everything Clevelanders desire these days.

14718 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-226-3699; 13463 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216-965-0988;,

Best Selection of Microbrews

Buckeye Beer Engine

With great beers of their own plus a phone-book sized list of offerings from around the world, there's no reason to come here seeking the ordinary.

15315 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216-226-2337,

Best Neighborhood Bar

Happy Dog Saloon

It's become the latest hot venue for Cleveland's indie rockers, but the Happy Dog's informal atmosphere and inexpensive, simple yet diverse menu — hot dogs with a huge variety of custom toppings — make it an ideal neighborhood hangout for the Gordon Square district.

5801 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 216-651-9474,

Best Wine Bar

La Cave du Vin

This spacious cellar's dusky romantic atmosphere enhances its large stock of American and international wines and specialty beers. With a plate of craft cheeses and local artisan bread from On the Rise, you can have an evening out that's both simple and sophisticated.

2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-932-6411,

Best Martini Bar

Velvet Tango Room

Food and drink trends may come and go, but the Tango Room continues to be Clevelanders' top place to be shaken and stirred.

2095 Columbus Rd., Cleveland, 216-241-8869,

Best Dive Bar

Now That's Class

Only a martini would be in poor taste at this West Side clubhouse, where punks and metalheads wash down vegan food with cheap beer and listen to thrash on the jukebox.

11213 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 216- 221-8576,

Best Sports Bar

Winking Lizard

With a dozen local locations and counting, the Lizard has tapped into Clevelanders' top passions like no other place around.

Best Hipster Bar

Happy Dog Saloon

The Happy Dog has it all: a cool crowd spanning college kids to scene lifers, gloriously overgarnished hot dogs, hot local bands like HotChaCha, visiting stars like Hüsker Dü's Grant Hart, and a polka happy hour every other Friday.

5801 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 216-651-9474,

Best Museum

Cleveland Museum of Art

Already a world-class institution, Cleveland's glorious art museum is finally emerging from a years-long expansion and renovation that further cements its formidable reputation.

11150 East Blvd., Cleveland, 216-421-7340,

Best Original Musician

Hal Walker

This Kent-based folkie plays an array of instruments from all over the world to enhance his songs celebrating Ohio's natural beauty. Walker belts them out in area clubs, coffeehouses, and even schools, for which he is often asked to perform.

Best Original Band

Forged in Flame

The metal quartet's brand of dense, precise stoner rock is dusted with prog influences and dovetails perfectly with the region's musical sensibilities.

Best Cover Band

Tricky Dick and the Cover Ups

With an arsenal ranging from Kings of Leon to kings of '80s cheese metal, Tricky Dick keeps parties rocking from East Side to West — and all the way to Put-in-Bay.