2009: Nightlife | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

2009: Nightlife

<b>BEST DANCE CLUB

Photo by Ben Deneka

BEST PLACE TO DANCE LIKE A FOOL
BEST MEET MARKET
THE ELECTRIC COWBOY
6107 Ridgewood Road, 601-899-5333

When you get the urge to dance like a crazy fool, this is the place to do it. Thursday night is ladies' night, when ladies get in half price, and the music doesn't stop until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays feature a variety of bands, with DJs playing in between sets. It's so packed on the weekends, good luck finding a parking spot if you get there "fashionably late." Saturday nights are possibly the best opportunity to dance, according to General Manager Danny Thomas. And have you seen the people that go to the Cowboy? I mean, if you are looking to meet someone who is good-looking, Electric Cowboy looks awful good from where I'm sitting. Oh, and God love Little Willie's for some Grade A red meat.
—Dawn R. Dugle and Emily Braden Knight

Best Dance Club
Second: Fire Club (209 Commerce St., 601-592-1000) / Third: Dick and Jane's (206 W. Capitol St.) / Good Showing: Freelon's (440 N. Mill St., 601-949-2535)

Best Place to Dance Like a Fool
Second: Fire Club (209 Commerce St., 601-592-1000) / Third: Dick and Jane's (206 W. Capitol St.) / Good Showing: Martin's (214 S State St., 601-354-9712); Shucker's (116 Conestoga Road, 601-853-0105)

Best Meet Market
Second: Fire Club (209 Commerce St., 601-592-1000) / Third: Julep (5035 Interstate 55 N., Suite 105, 601-362-1411) / Good showing: Little Willie's (multiple locations); Kroger (multiple locations); Paul Anthony's (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 100, 601-981-7559)

BEST SINGER-SONGWRITER
BEST ROCK ARTIST
BEST ORIGINAL BAND

JEREMY RAINEY, NO LESSER BEAUTY

Pulling out in front of the pack of talented musicians, Jeremy Rainey is the frontman for No Lesser Beauty, 2009 Best Original Band. Rainey has been a mainstay of the shuffled four-piece and has been rocking Jackson since 2001. Citing influences like Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne, Rainey's songwriting has pushed the band beyond their limits and continues to explore new territory. In the past, they have been on a regional tour, opened for national acts, and have played at Hal & Mal's and Fire. NLB has recently taken a hiatus from touring to write and record. With an expected release of their new album, "Strip It Down," in spring 2009, Rainey says the band members cannot wait to share it with their fans. With the overwhelming interest from those fans—here is proof—No Lesser Beauty will surely be welcomed back to the rock scene.
—Neola Young

Best Singer-Songwriter
Second: Chad Wesley, Full Moon Circus / Third: Johnny Bertram / Good Showing: Brian Jones, Full Moon Circus; Scott Albert Johnson

Best Rock Artist
Second: Chad Wesley, Full Moon Circus / Third: The Weeks / Good Showing: Brian Jones, Full Moon Circus; Roosevelt Noise

Best Original Band
Second: Absence of Concern / Third: The Weeks / Good Showing: Roosevelt Noise; Full Moon Circus

BEST CASINO FOR GAMING AND SHOWS
AMERISTAR
4116 Washington St., Vicksburg, 601-638-1000

Ameristar Casino in Vicksburg offers your favorite table games and plenty of slots to keep you itching for that big win. After you have played your numbers at the Roulette table and battled the house in Blackjack, grab a seat and enjoy some video poker and live music in the Bottleneck Blues Bar, which is styled like a blues juke joint complete with vintage playbills and art. With bigger and better events every month, exciting shows and concerts, and delicious Cajun cuisine at Pearl's Oyster Bar, there is always a reason to go to the "boats."
—J.P. Neff

Casino for Gaming
Second: Beau Rivage (875 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, 228-386-7111) / Third: Silverstar (13541 Highway 16 W., Choctaw, 601-650-1234); Golden Moon (13541 Highway 16 W., Choctaw, 601-650-1234)

Casino for Shows
Second: Beau Rivage (875 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, 228-386-7111) / Third: Silverstar (13541 Highway 16 W., Choctaw, 601-650-1234) / Good Showing: Hard Rock Casino (777 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, 228-276-7625)

BEST BLUES ARTIST (TIE)
DOROTHY MOORE and JACKIE BELL

Dorothy Moore and Jackie Bell are both superb artists, each in her own way. Moore is a nationally known Mississippi legend in the music industry who started singing in church as a young girl. Starting her career as a soulful R&B singer, Moore's most popular song is "Misty Blue," which she recorded with Malaco Records in the '70s. In recent years, she's started her own record label, Farish Street Records, and the Mississippi Blues Society unveiled a blues trail marker in her name last year. While Dorothy Moore is a good down-home soul artist, Jackie Bell is a born entertainer, first and foremost. Singing what I like to call "fabulously raunchy" blues songs with a kick, Bell is Jackson's blues sweetheart. As "musician in residence" at 930 Blues Café, Bell sings most weekends at the Congress Street joint, and trust me; you don't want to miss her belt out some of the best blues in the city.
—Maggie Neff

Second: Eddie Cotton / Third: Bobby Rush / Good Showing: Patrick Harkins

BEST HIP-HOP ARTIST
KAMIKAZE

I spent a few years verbally battling Jackson's "rap royalty." Then, right when I'd dismissed him, he sent me a CD, and I heard the music that reflects my Jackson. Kamikaze has the definitive ability to universally incite and inspire a passion for his music, city and people. 7even:Thirty is like hearing Andre 3000 rap about outer space, but he's even more of an enigma. Skipp Coon, my forever platonic crush, recently dropped "Women, Revolution, Tennis Shoes" with some of the smartest lyrics you'll hear. Period. If you listen to these lyrics and continue to dismiss all hip-hop as "thug" music, then I will have to question your reading-comprehension skills. —Emily Braden Knight

Second: David Banner / Third: 7even:Thirty / Good Showing: Skipp Coon

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

While living in Portland for the past couple of years, I often yearned to visit Fenian's for an ice cold Guinness and good live music. Admittedly, it was my one of my favorite parts of returning to Jackson. Winning several categories is no surprise for patrons of this corner bar. Start the week off right with Monday-night karaoke with Matt Collette, Jackson's master KJ. You'll have a rollicking good time and maybe sing a song or two. But beware: it's so popular that you may wait hours for a seat. Follow with another visit on Tuesday for the open-mic night beginning at 9 p.m. A great venue for local singers and songwriters, Fenian's welcomes performances by nearly anyone interested. While you're hanging out in the dark corners or at the bar, order the cheese fries or the fried dill pickles to share and accompany whatever libations you imbibe.
—Neola Young

Best Open-Mic
Second: Time Out Sports Bar (6270 Old Canton Road, 601-978-1839) / Third: Seven*Studioz (147 Millsaps Ave., 601-316-5074) / Good Showing: Martin's (214 S. State St., 601-354-9712)

Best Karaoke
Second: Mc B's (815 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-956-8362) / Third: Sportsman's Lodge 1220 E. Northside Drive, Suite 100, 601-366-5441) / Good Showing: Electric Cowboy (6107 Ridgewood Road, 601-899-5333)

Best Bar Menu
Second: Julep (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 105, 601-362-1411) / Third: Elixir (4800 Interstate 55 N., Suite 6B, 601-981-7896) / Good Showing: Cherokee Inn (1410 Old Square Road, 601-362-6388); Bravo! (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111); Hal & Mal's (200 S. Commerce St., 601-948-0888)

Best Cover Band: Full Moon Circus

Brian Jones, Brandon Latham, Joey Tannehill and Chad Wesley of Full Moon Circus have been together since 2001 playing everything from top-40 pop to '80s hits. The band recently played at the Jackson Convention Complex grand opening, and the band mates plan on spending the 2009 writing more original music, diverging from their cover style into alternative thrash rock. They will also be working in the studio trying to put out their second album. Some little known facts about Full Moon Circus: They are obsessed with mixed-martial arts fighter Tito Ortiz and the L.A. Lakers.
—Sage Carter-Hooey

Second: The Hardline Monks / Third: The Molly Ringwalds / Good Showing: Faze 4, Bofus

Best GLBT Hangout:
Dick & Jane's
206 W. Capitol, 601-592-1000

Dick & Jane's came storming on the scene a few years ago and quickly became the hot spot for partying GLBT folks and their allies, offering adventure every weekend. They now host quality drag shows every Friday night, followed by dancing 'til all hours on Saturday night. What's more, the club is all about the GLBT community and always has contraception, pamphlets about HIV/AIDS and STD screening. Dick & Jane's has also been the site for Grace House benefits, Jackson's transitional living facility for those living with HIV and AIDS. —Neola Young

Second: JC's (425 North Mart Plaza, 601-362-3108) / Third: Cups (multiple locations) / Good Showing: Club Metro Reloaded (4670 Highway 80 W.); City Lights (200 N. Mill St., 601-353-0059)

Best Club DJ: DJ Cadillac
Electric Cowboy, 6107 Ridgewood Road, 601-621-1751

A sick day made all the difference for DJ Cadillac. His friend owned a bar, and one day the DJ wasn't able to make it. So he asked Cadillac to step in. Two years later, he's made a name for himself at the Electric Cowboy, signed with a record label and created a DJ company. Next month, he heads out on a 28-city tour with Amp Music, then it's off to Japan. Cadillac says he will be featured in an upcoming episode of "My Super Sweet 16" when the show returns to MTV this spring. You can catch him at the Electric Cowboy Feb. 6.
—Dawn R. Dugle

Second: OB1 / Third: Phingaprint / Good Showing: Mr. Nick

Best Beer Selection, Bottled and Draft: The Bulldog
6111 Ridgewood Road, 601-978-3502

Finding a seat at The Bulldog on Wednesday Pint Glass Night is like finding the prized drumstick at a fried chicken buffet—you'd better get there early. It's heartening, though, because it means Jackson's beer drinkers have evolved their tastes to the point where they're ready to properly enjoy The Bulldog's myriad offerings. With their beer menu listing each brew's country or U.S. state of origin, beer style and alcohol percentage, it's easy to feel like a connoisseur. Be sure to ask your server for beer pairing recommendations with the restaurant's upscale bar food, and explore the diverse seating options. When the weather's nice, enjoy the newly improved patio, complete with fountains, torches and a Monday Night Football-sized HDTV.
—Darren Schwindaman

Beer Selection (Bottled)
Second: Martin's (214 S. State St., 601-354-9712) / Third: Fenian's (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055); Sportsman's Lodge (1220 E. Northside Drive, 601-366-5441) / Good Showing: Sal & Mookie's (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919)

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: Buffalo Wild Wings (808 Lake Harbor Drive, Ridgeland, 601-856-0789)

Best Biker Hangout: Hooter's
4165 Interstate 55 N., 601-981-0480

In Hooter's honor, I asked my friend what he uses, hot wings excluded, as an excuse for patronage to Hooter's. He, of course, wondered why one might need an excuse. Don't ask me! Y'all are the ones who keep talking about "how good their hot wings are." Just claim the T&A already. There's even a show tune you could incorporate as you tap dance that one. After all, I've surmised that your best bet would just be to buy the motorcycle already so you can use "Best Biker Hangout" as your excuse, because Hooter's always wins. Plus, we need you to get out of the house so we can "clean." Nudge. Wink.
—Emily Braden Knight

Second: Shucker's (116 Conestoga Road, Ridgeland, 601-852-0105) / Third: Electric Cowboy (6107 Ridgewood Road, 601-621-1751) / Good showing: Sam's Lounge (5035 Interstate 55 N., 601-983-2526)

Best R&B Artist: Akami Graham
She's done it again! Graham has been one of Jackson's shining stars, singing like an angel for years, and she isn't done yet. She continues to bring the eclectic mix of R&B, neo-soul, gospel and old school that we have come to adore and appreciate from her. No stranger to music, Graham has performed all over the South, from Tennessee to Alabama and back to her home state of Mississippi. No matter your age, color or musical preference, she will definitely bring you a show you will never forget. —Queen Folayan

Second: Dorothy Moore / Third: Chad Wesley / Good Showing: Jewel Bass; DMar and the Nu Funk Society

Best Country Artist: The Colonels

Young, fun and passionate about bringing back mullets; The Colonels are five homegrown Mississippi boys out of Brookhaven who started their band as a joke, really. Members Josh Brister, Topher Brown, Brett Hart, Charlie Townsend and Marvin "Chatty" Curtis are heartthrobs with college girls, singing their fan-favorite song about their love of mullets. It was such a hit they began including more serious songs and even mixing in covers of '80s hits and Justin Timberlake for good measure. With a growing fan base, you can catch them playing shows all over the state, and they even competed in the recent Colgate Showdown in Picayune. One place you'll always find them, though, is The Warehouse on Highway 18.
—Sage Carter-Hooey

Second: Crossing Dixon / Third: Jeff Maddox / Good Showing: The Scramblers, The USA

Best Bartender: Justin Cook, Nick's
1501 Lakeland Drive, Suite 101, 601-981-8017

The one person who can make or break your whacky hijinks around town at night is the bartender, who need not merely know a litany of recipes by heart or be capable of eyeballing a shot from space with their glasses cracked. The person's demeanor and attitude are key. Justin Cook, resident hooch-slinger at Nick's, can serve up cocktails in a demanding environment and not break a sweat. His love for the profession shows in the way he serves his customers, making sure no one leaves unsatisfied.
—Vince Falconi

Second: Trevor Palmer, The Electric Cowboy (6107 Ridgewood Road, 601-899-5333) / Third: T. Francis, Old Venice (1428 Old Square Road, 601-366-6872) / Good Showing: Kavan Wood, The Electric Cowboy (6107 Ridgewood Road, 601-899-5333)

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

Don't nobody know my troubles but God and maybe a few friends at Martin's. They are always open when I feel like crying—even most holidays—and they have some of the stiffest drinks in town to help wash down your tears. No one stares if you sit alone, and no one stares if you sit with those "crazy people." Plus, it can get pretty dark in Martin's, so if you find yourself being one of those crazy people, the crowd will not recognize your face. Or maybe they just won't remember. Oh, and post-pub quiz karaoke can be quite cathartic. As far as I know, I've never been reprimanded for throwing my own dry commentary into the chorus of Sylvia's "Nobody."
—Emily Braden Knight

Best Place to Drown Your Sorrows
Second: Fenian's (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055) / Third: Sam's Lounge (5035 Interstate 55 N., 601-983-2526) / Fourth: Char (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 142, 601-956-9562)

Best Place For a Stiff Drink
Second: Nick's (1501 Lakeland Drive, Suite 101, 601-981-8017) / Third: Tico's (1536 E. County Line Road, Ridgeland, 601-956-1030) / Good Showing: Char (4500 Interstate 55 N. Suite 142, 601-956-9562); Fire (209 Commerce St., 601-592-1000); Sam's Lounge (5035 Interstate 55 N., 601-983-2526)

Best Gospel Artist: Dathan Thigpen & the Holy Nation

In fall 2003, Dathan Thigpen & Holy Nation came to life after Thigpen received a vision from the Lord to assemble a choir whose main ministry was to expose people from every walk of life to unadulterated praise. The group has a unique flair that attracts people of all cultures and religious affiliations. They have dedicated themselves to showing the world the awesome power of praise and worship.

Thigpen is an ordained minister and serves as the praise and worship leader at Word of Faith Christian Center in Jackson. Look for great things from Dathan Thigpen & Holy Nation in 2009.
—Queen Folayan

Second: Twice Born / Third: Dorothy Moore / Good Showing: Mississippi Mass Choir; Sedric Brinson

Best Jukebox: Sam's Lounge
5035 Interstate 55 N., 601-983-2526

You're out with your friends consuming libations, getting lost in the fun that is nightlife here in sunny Jackson. There's no band playing, but you and your crew are still getting down. Instead of a DJ or a live musical act, you've got the next best thing: a jukebox. When the stage is empty, the jukebox at Sam's Lounge takes over with its nigh infinite options for aural entertainment, courtesy its speedy Internet connection and wide pre-loaded selection. Metal, hip-hop, alt. Country—you name it, and it's probably there. Speaking from personal experience, I don't mind playing Alvin and the Chipmunks.
—Vince Falconi

Second: Cherokee Inn (1410 Old Square Road, 601-362-6388), Sportsman's Lodge (1120 E. Northside Drive, 601-366-5411) / Third: JC's (425 North Mart Plaza, 601-362-3108) / Good Showing: Time Out Sports Bar (6270 Old Canton Road, 601-978-1839); Waffle House (multiple locations)

Best Sports Bar: The Sportsman's Lodge
1120 E. Northside Drive, 601-366-5441

When I first moved to Jackson, all I wanted to do was watch the San Francisco Giants play baseball, and the only place that had enough screens to make that happen was The Sportsman's Lodge. I ordered a huge plate of nachos, got comfortable with my bucket of beer and watched all nine innings like I was in the comfort of my own home. You can watch any sport imaginable on one of the many flat-screen TVs surrounding the perimeter, or you can take a chance at one of the various 'sports' the lodge offers including—but not limited to—the only shuffleboard table in town. They even put a small TV in the girls bathroom—the only bar I've ever been to that does that. Keep up the good work, Sportsman's Lodge.
—Sage Carter-Hooey

Second: Time Out Sports Bar (6270 Old Canton Road, 601-978-1839) / Third: Buffalo Wild Wings (808 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-856-0789) / Good Showing: Alumni House (574 Highway 51, Suite F, Ridgeland, 601-605-9903); The Bulldog (6111 Ridgewood Road, 601-978-3502)

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

The dozen tables at The Green Room are a far cry from those ravaged green surfaces you see in the corner of some bars. Here, pool is the main attraction, not a diversion. Low-hanging lamps illuminate the geometry of cue ball and pocket without spoiling the shadowy privacy of each game. Refuel at the bar, which boasts an excellent beer selection and cheese fries you'll wish you could eat twice.
—Ward Schaefer

Second: Sam's Lounge (5035 Interstate 55, 601-983-2526) / Third: Reed Pierce's Sportsman's Grill (6791 S. Siwell Road, Byram, 601-376-0777) / Good showing: Sportsman's Lodge (1120 E. Northside Drive, 601-366-5441)

Best Wine Selection: BRAVO! Italian Restaurant and Bar
4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111

Nothing sets off a fine meal better than perfectly paired wine. Better yet, pair off every course—appetizer, entrée and dessert—with a perfect wine for each. You'll need an extensive wine list, a sommelier who knows her stuff, and a few friends to share the joy. BRAVO! gets the first two done with panache. With a wine list covering the best domestic and international vineyards, I suggest you grab sommelier Kelly Boutwell for her expert selections. Even if you don't know a claret from a veltliner, you'll be amazed at how well food and wine complement one another. Wine Spectator magazine has awarded BRAVO! an award of excellence since 1997. Prosit! —Ronni Mott

Second: Nick's (1501 Lakeland Drive, 601-981-8017) / Third: Julep (1305 E. Northside Drive, Suite 105, 601-362-1411) / Good Showing: Kats Wine Cellar (901 E. Fortification St., 601-354-9181), Shapley's (868 Centre St., Ridgeland, 601-957-3753)

Best Place to Drink Cheap, Best Place to Break Up: Fire Club
209 Commerce St., 601-592-1000

Well, there you go. Strategery! I heard what you said about me. My friend's uncle's girlfriend's cousin told him, and he totally told me. I must get drunk and dump you in a public place. Or perhaps I must get YOU drunk before I dump you in a public place. Either way, I prefer to dance at Fire as I kick your good-for-nothing self to the curb and peruse the meet market for your replacement.

Fire is now serving all my relationship needs. Cheaply, I might add.

And then, I hope someone takes our picture and posts it on Facebook as I change my status to "single," so that people I don't even know can comment on your jackassery. You are so going down mister. Wait, you are buying? In that case, let's go to Northpark where I'll dump you via text message after you buy me that halter-top I've been wanting. Then I'll wear it to Fire. Without you. LMAO!
—Emily Braden Knight

Best Place to Drink Cheap
Second: Sam's Lounge (5035 Interstate 55 N., 601-983-2526) / Third: Mugshots (1855 Lakeland Drive, 601-713-0383) / Good showing: Martin's (214 S. State St., 601-354-9712)

Best Place to Break Up
Second: Electric Cowboy (6107 Ridgewood Road, 601-621-1751) / Third: Northpark Mall (1200 East County Line Road, Ridgeland, 601-957-3744) / Good Showing: Martin's (214 S. State St., 601-354-9712); Fenian's (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055); Text Message

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

It is a Jackson landmark for a reason. The food is real, down-home cookin'. The atmosphere is rough around the edges, but the old train station has been around for decades and has become a part of the unique character of Jackson. In the restaurant you can always find a spot in a booth, and you can listen to music ranging from traditional old time to current rockers. Order a plate of red beans and rice, served with a large link of sausage on top, or my personal favorite, the black bean tamales. If you prefer the bar, you have the pleasure of being served by two of the sassiest/classiest bartenders in town. When Lara and Shannon aren't hosting pub quiz, they are setting the record straight and pouring you a fabulous gin and tonic. There is also the newly repurposed and little-known secret brewpub that includes two pool tables and a jukebox—a must for when you want to hang out without the big crowds. Hal & Mal's continues to be a perfect spot for kids of all ages with its classic spaces in the Red Room and the Big Room for music and fundraisers including the annual JFP Chickball. —Sage Carter-Hooey

Best All-Ages Venue
Second: One to One Studio (121 Millsaps Ave., 601-255-4393) / Third: Swell-o-Venue (2769 Old Canton Road, 601-981-3547) / Good Showing: Fire (209 Commerce St., 601-592-1000)

Best Place For Live Music
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)

Sexiest Bartender: Toni Jones, Fenian's Pub
901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055

If you're in the mood for a drink, whether it's a Killian's or something a bit more elaborate, Fenian's Pub is a fun, friendly place to get it. And, luckily for you, Fenian's also happens to be host to Jackson's sexiest bartender—Toni Jones. If you met her on the street, you might think her a bit shy. Get her behind the bar, though, and she's in control, serving up drinks with style and skill. She can even make a few concoctions I've never seen anywhere else. Ask for an "Alpenrosen" sometime, an impressive production involving fire and cinnamon. If your server shoots you a quizzical look, follow up your request with, "Toni knows what I'm talking about." Believe me; she always does.
—Dan Ladner

Second: Scott Stevens, Nick's (1501 Lakeland Drive, Suite 101, 601-981-8017) / Third: Justin Cook, Nick's (1501 Lakeland Drive, Suite 101, 601-981-8017) / Good Showing: Kurt Monaghan, Electric Cowboy (6107 Ridgewood Road, 601-899-5333); Vince Falconi, Dick and Jane's (206 W. Capitol St., 601-592-1000)

Best Jazz Artist: Michael Burton

Atlanta-based but Jackson-raised, Michael Burton delivers smooth saxophone melodies matched with hip-hop and R&B tunes. That might look like an odd combination on paper, but your ears will tell you otherwise. Burton has toured with Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott and Willie Clayton, among others. He has also performed with a lengthy list of well-known performers like Young Jeezy, Timbaland and the Mississippi Mass Choir (of which his mother was a member). And I must give a nod to the second, third and good showing winners in this category. All three of these artists still live in the Jackson area and can be heard around town on just about any given weekend. I even caught Barry Leach at the zoo last spring, so you never know where these cats will show up!
—Andi Agnew

Second: Barry Leach / Third: Rhonda Richmond / Good Showing: Ezra Brown

Best Hotel Bar: Fitzgerald's at the Hilton
1001 E. County Line Road, 601-957-2800

The large lobby bar at the Jackson Hilton is a perpetual winner of this category for good reason: It's classy, laid-back, has great music and an excellent array of bar-menu items. Fitzegerald's offers live music six nights a week with no cover, featuring many local musicians (Chris Gill and the Soul Shakers; Adib, Andy Hardwick, and Larry Brewer and the Rainmakers, among them). Fitzgerald's has an extensive martini bar, as well as outdoor poolside cocktail space. The bar menu is far from ordinary—with a southwestern-Cajun flair. Try the green chili corn chowder with shrimp, homemade salsa, shrimp taquitos, Memphis ribs or Chorizo pizza to help your dirty martini go down smoothly.
—Donna Ladd

Second: Roberts-Walthall (225 E. Capitol St., 601-948-6161) / Third: Sam's Lounge (5035 Interstate 55 N., 601-983-2526) / Good Showing: Alumni House at Holiday Inn, 110 Bass Pro Drive, Pearl, 601-896-0253); Jackson Marriott (200 E. Amite St., 601-969-5100)

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