Readers' Choice 2008 - Las Vegas Weekly

Features

Readers’ Choice 2008

In this everlasting season of inescapable campaigning, we were glad to see our readers get down to the business of voting -- on the important things: food, drink and fun.

* Best Steak *

Strip Steak

The first true steakhouse from über-Chef Michael Mina (he’s since done a clone of this place in Scottsdale, Arizona), the restaurant soars on the wings of an outré design by the Japanese firm Super Potato (Sensi) and slow-poached meats such as Berkshire pork and American Kobe beef, cooked at low temperatures before completing their journey on a mesquite-burning grill. Inside Mandalay Bay, 632-7414.

* Best Pizza *

Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria

Grimaldi’s is American ’za royalty. The offshoot of a Brooklyn classic, this joint fires its pies in a coal-burning brick oven. The result is amazing crispy-crusted goodness. Build a pie with meatballs, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, ricotta and more—you choose. The house salad is great, too. 9595 S. Eastern Ave., 657-9400.

* Best Italian *

Nora’s Wine Bar & Osteria -->

Step up to the Enomatic wine system for micro-pours of numerous vintages. Then enjoy plates of bruschette (dressed-up rustic toast) or chicetti (appetizers such as arancini or Sicilian sweet and sour meatballs). Pastas and meats are top-notch, too. 1031 S. Rampart Blvd., 940-6672.

* Best Mexican *

Dos Caminos, Las Vegas

There’s a new honcho in fine Mexican cuisine in town at the Palazzo. Stroll down a menu featuring exotica such as roasted plantain empanadas and a coconut-infused lobster ceviche. Enchiladas are jazzed up with mole poblano and tomatillo verde sauces. Go Mayan with roast suckling pig pibil with achiote sauce. Inside the Palazzo, 577-9600.

* Best Outdoor Dining *

Social House

It isn’t just the view of the Sirens of TI, but rather the amazing Asian fusion cooking of Chef Joe Elevado that makes this late-night, outdoor scene one of the hottest in Vegas. Get hooked on Elevado’s sliders, handrolls and lumpia egg rolls from his native Philippines. Great cocktails, too. Inside Treasure Island, 894-7777.

* Best Dessert *

<-- The Cupcakery

It’s velvet yummery: Our favorite, beautiful, little cup of culinary joy is surely the Southern Belle, which combines moist red velvet cake with sinful cream-cheese frosting. But don’t stop there. Dive into the Cupcakery’s signature Tickle Me Pink cupcake (classic white cake with pink vanilla buttercream frosting) or Chocolate Passion (chocolate, made with passion), and you’ll understand why this local business has become the mouth-watering favorite for dessert. Or a snack. Or, for the dietarily brave, breakfast. Yum. 9680 S. Eastern Ave., 207-2253; 7155 W. Lake Mead Blvd., 835-0060.

* Best Seafood *

Joe’s Stone Crab

It’s wonderful when you live in Vegas, where you can get stone crab claws year-round, unlike in the restaurant’s original Miami location, and not have to stand in line to eat them. This restaurant belongs to Richard Melman’s Lettuce Entertain You dining group, which also owns Eiffel Tower in the Paris and Café Ba-Ba-Reeba at Fashion Show Mall. The rest of the food here, especially Prime steaks, is terrific. Inside the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, 792-2222.

* Best Hamburger *

In-N-Out -->

Still the undisputed king of the West Coast, Vegas included. There’s a certain zen to eating a double-double while driving. We hear it’s the perfect burger to have before or after bowling, or what have you … Multiple locations.

* Best Sushi *

Ra Sushi Bar Restaurant

In a city where the ocean may as well exist only in fiction, Las Vegas has become a sushi heaven. Who could have foreseen that? We love us our fresh seafood, and Ra is a perfect place to sample it. A great location right off the Strip, reasonable prices and lots and lots of spicy tuna. We’re there already. 3200 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 696-0008.

* Best Bakery *

Freed’s Bakery of Las Vegas

It’s amazing to us how many Las Vegans still don’t know about this phenomenal bakery. After all, it’s been in town 48 years. But now there’s no excuse. They just opened another location in Henderson, and this place—with its second-floor birthday/wedding cake gallery—has to be seen to be believed. It’s pricey, to be sure, but the cheesecake alone will have your eyes rolling up into your skull in no time. 9555 S. Eastern Ave.; 4780 S. Eastern Ave. 456-7762 for both locations.

* Best Breakfast *

<-- Hash House a Go Go

Best you fast for half a day before dining here, with its gargantuan, Claim Jumper-ish portions of “twisted farm food.” While Hash House a Go Go is pretty good across the board, readers prefer breakfast, where Frisbee-sized pancakes and scrambles featuring a mish-mash of ingredients like roasted chicken, fresh corn, roasted red pepper and mozzarella—think a breakfast version of gumbo—are the menu’s stars. 6800 W. Sahara Ave., 804-4646.

* Best Cheap Eats *

Roberto’s Taco Shop

Okay, so it’s never going to pass for a four-star restaurant, but ask us if we care. When it’s lunchtime and we need it quick, cheap and, preferably, delicious, this is the perfect stop. There are way too many locations to list here, but suffice it to say Roberto’s is easy to find. Our favorite dish? The Super Nachos. Multiple locations.

* Best Place to Buy Wine *

Lee’s Discount Liquor

What’s that? Only 10 bucks in your pocket and a hankering for Cab Sauv? In most cases, you’d have to whip out the plastic and overspend for some bottle with a washed-up filmmaker’s name on it. But with nine Lee’s in town, you’ll stay within your budget and find a vintage you actually want. And here’s the best part: You actually save more money by using cash here. Multiple locations.

* Best Healthy Eating *

Whole Foods Market -->

Here’s stuff that tastes good and is good for you. Whole Foods offers a smorgasbord of such vittles, which is a tough combination to beat. From the immense salad bars to the aisles of organic produce, to the great wine selection and the fine chocolate, this is Vegas’ reigning health-food destination for good reasons: variety, reliability, tastiness. 100 S. Green Valley Parkway, 361-8183; 8855 W. Charleston Blvd., 254-8655.

* Best Stick-to-Your-Ribs Food *

Dick’s Last Resort

You like your ribs with some sauce and sass. There are plenty of both in Dick’s neck of the woods. Have a half-pound bacon cheeseburger with a side of back talk. The “Sampla Platta” is a deep-fried collision of chicken tenders, wings, cheese sticks and shrimp. Belly up, hoss. Inside Excalibur, 597-7991.

* Best Asian Restaurant *

Satay Malaysian Grille

In a city notorious for its awesome Asian food, Satay Malaysian Grille stays high and mighty against the competition. With superbly delicious dishes spanning the entire continent of Asia, not to mention excellent service and a laid-back yet stylish atmosphere, all while being easy on the wallet, Satay has proven itself a major force in the Chinatown dining experience and totally worthy of this pick. 3755 Spring Mountain Road, 362-2828.

* Best Cocktails *

Noir Bar

Nothing is as subjective as one’s perception of a good cocktail, except perhaps for one’s political bent. But you weighed in on that hot-button topic anyway, and Noir Bar reigns supreme for having the finest libations. Putting alcohol, fruit and a whole pantry of sweet and savory items (cream cheese, graham crackers, pumpkin pie filling ...) to good use are the mighty mixologists, who, more like alchemists or wizards than bartenders, divine through brief hypnotic conversation your taste buds’ deepest desires and then deliver—to the tune of about $25 per drink. But at what cost gustatory satisfaction? Ken Hall’s peanut butter and jelly martini could very well bring about world peace. Inside Luxor, 262-5257.

* Best New Restaurant *

<-- Company American Bistro

This lush and cozy dining haven, complete with rustic logs and stacked stone, features a fireside lounge and a beautiful wine wall in the main dining room. It’s served up exotic American cooking such as new-age matzo ball soup, and soon will be changing up the culinary format and offering comfort fare such as steak and fried chicken. The prices will be lower, too. How much more American can you get? Inside Luxor, 262-4852.

* Best Happy Hour *

Kona Grill

Dethroning back-to-back champ Paradise Cantina was no easy feat, but if you’ve ever been to Kona, you’ll understand why. Despite the Summerlin location, this happy hour is refreshingly free of yuppie pretension—a great place for drinks, excellent sushi and meeting interesting people. 750 S. Rampart Blvd., 547-5552.

* Best Non-Hotel Bar *

PT’s -->

The good thing about chains is consistency: You know what you’re gonna get each and every gosh-durn time. Addictive fries at Mickey D’s, for example. PT’s Pub traffics in sameness, which, in this case, is a good thing. The drinks are typically potent, the food generally spot-on, the atmosphere ridiculously genial. All of which makes PT’s McDonald’s-style ubiquity—it seems like there’s one on every corner—a big help. Multiple locations.

* Best Nightlife *

Pure Nightclub

If you had trouble finding copies of the Weekly when the Readers’ Choice Awards ballots were in circulation, it may have been because fans of Pure were hard at work ensuring a solid showing in nightlife categories.

Pure’s Alex Cordova was surely hard at work schmoozing the nightclub’s never-ending barrage of celebrities, as he takes the prize in the Best VIP Host category. Fortunately for him, Pure isn’t a hard sell, with a variety of perks and amenities to ooh and ahh over ... if you are able to get past the mob of people outside clamoring to get in. With four separate rooms and environments, including the Pussycat Dolls Lounge, the Main Room and the Red Room, there’s something to appeal to every avid club-goer, including this year’s Best View of the City, Pure’s outdoor terrace. Separate DJs await in each of Pure’s realms, including the Readers’ Choice Best DJ winner, DJ Hollywood. Raise your sparklers in the air and add a Best Bottle Service notch to Pure’s proverbial bedpost. With a clean sweep of the majority of the categories (Pure Management Group also picked up a couple of wins for their Noir Bar), it’s only fitting that Pure Nightclub brings it home and retains their title as the Readers’ Choice Best Nightclub. Inside Caesars Palace, 731-7873.

* Best Public Art *

First Friday

We appreciate consistency, and First Friday, going on six years old, continues to offer an artistic vibe for locals. And whether it be performance artists, gallery openings or the big festival atmosphere, First Friday is one big party that brings our town’s artists and art enthusiasts together for one damn good time. Charleston Blvd. between Main St. and Casino Center Blvd. firstfriday-lasvegas.org.

* Best Pool Hall *

<-- Las Vegas Cue Club

Like at all great Vegas establishments, the ambiance here is maintained by an Internet jukebox. There are more than 39 tables, and the boys are separated from the men by a delineated section for those under 21. But the best part of the Cue Club is Tables 7 and 8, where on any given night the masters play pool for very high stakes. 953 E. Sahara Ave., 735-2884.

Best Local Radio Station KLUC 98.5-FM A little-known fact for non-KLUC listeners: After the September 11 terrorist attacks, the station stopped playing music for a few days and devoted time to news updates and fielding listeners’ calls. By giving listeners what they want—great music selection, amiable DJs, killer prizes and fun contests such as voting for the biggest douchebag ever—KLUC keeps listeners glued and ratings high.

* Best Hotel Bar *

Center Bar at the Hard Rock Hotel

Whether it be for grabbing a beer between watching bands at the Joint or getting a late-night cocktail before hitting the tables, the Center Bar at the Hard Rock Hotel is a fine place to get your drink on and hang out with the lounge lizards and busty broads of the rock ’n’ roll generation. But be aware, the real action at this bar doesn’t really start until after midnight.

* Best Art *

Gallery/Museum Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art

Today it’s American Modernism; in the past, the featured exhibit has been the Masters. The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art stands as a grand example of how to offer the fine arts on the Strip. Tucked away from the main casino and yet still easy to access in the casino’s shops, the gallery has offered some of the world’s finest paintings and sculptures, from Renoir to O’Keeffe. Inside Bellagio, 693-7871.

* Best Afterhours Club *

Empire Ballroom

Locals dished out some love to the Strip’s freestanding nightclub that embraces free spirits. From fabulous club kids wearing platforms and furry earmuffs to the adorable girl with the bunny backpack to that one guy who’s having a blast dancing as if no one is watching (we are—and loving every minute!), Empire’s patrons leave the pretentious airs at the door and show up for the music. Whether they’re in the main room or the Pirate Lounge, or on the terrace, national and international acts provide entertainment until after the sun comes up. 3765 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 737-7375.

* Best Live Music Venue *

House of Blues -->

The Pearl might be shinier. The Beauty Bar might be hipper. The Colosseum might be more majestic. But once again, you the readers have shrugged off the others and cast your votes for ol’ reliable—the place packs its calendar with affordable shows for lovers of pop-punk, emo, metal, alternative, classic rock, hip-hop, country, comedy and lots of stuff in between. Congrats again, HOB. We can’t imagine cramming into the Mandalay Bay parking garage for anyone but you. Inside Mandalay Bay, 632-7600.

* Best Lounge/Ultralounge *

<-- The Beatles Revolution Lounge

Revolution steps outside the interactive box to bring tourists and locals an alternative to those other lounges with groovy touch tables. Partnering with LA’s Indie 103.1-FM for Tuesday’s Live Revolution and Thursday’s This is NOT Commercial, Revolution offers patrons music ranging from local bands and indie-rock favorites to big-name DJs doing something a li’l bit different. Mondays and Sundays also break the mold with House of Cirque and Special Events Sundays, but as This is NOT Commercial’s MySpace warns, “Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays are formatted for the commercial hip-hop/mash-up crowd, and may not be suitable for indie consumption.” Inside the Mirage, 692-8383.

* Best Gay/Lesbian Nightclub *

Krave

Once again, Krave delivers as the LGBT community’s favorite hot spot—and we mean hot! With events such as CandyBar (for girls who like girls), wet boxer contests, free porn giveaways, La Noche Latin nights, Sanctuary Industrial/Gothic/Rock on Fridays and Boys Night Out, everyone is welcome to gawk at Krave’s sexy ladies and gorgeous boys. Add a lineup of DJs spinning multiple genres, and you have yourself an extraordinary night out at the place that bills itself as the “first and only alternative club on the Strip.” Inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, 836-0830.

* Best Strip Club *

Scores

Potent cocktails. Fine dining. Deluxe VIP services. A classy ambiance. And girls who flirt with the image of perfection. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. In this way, a trip to Scores is the ultimate Las Vegas experience, for locals and tourists alike. 3355 Procyon St., 367-6040.

* Best Clubwear *

Studio Lites -->

From the outside the store with the red signs doesn’t look like much, but how can you resist any place that promises “6,000 square feet of head-to-toe shopping”? Inside Studio Lites you’ll find all your club- and dance-wear needs, but you’ll also find corsets, costumes and a wide assortment of wigs (you can give a little assist to the cross-dresser in your life). 4000 W. Sahara Ave., 876-0234.

* Best Place to Buy Gadgets *

Best Buy

From the essential to the ephemeral, this place is packed to the rafters with enough stuff to max out 115 credit cards. Televisions and iPods, vacuum cleaners and electric shavers, two-way radios and toy cars. Come in with a predetermined budget: Your credit depends on it. Multiple locations.

* Best Womenswear *

H&M

Happy 60th birthday, H&M. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for everything you’ve given us over the past year—that pair of pin-striped slacks we’d wear every day if no one would notice, those high-waisted, wide-leg blue jeans that cost less than a tank of gas, the earrings that make us feel like we’re strolling the red carpet even when we’re just shopping at Smith’s. You, H&M, remind us that dressing well doesn’t have to mean going broke. And with new designer collaborations like Comme des Garçons on the horizon, 61 looks like it’s going to be a pretty great year, too. Happy birthday, you Swedish delight, you. Inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, 369-1195; 6605 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 260-1481.

* Best Furniture Store *

RC Willey

Just remember: The fussy old stuff that your grandparents like is on the left, the cool modern stuff that you like is on the right. The TVs are somewhere in the back. After that, you’re on your own, but there’s so much good furniture in here, in a setting that is neither staid nor slick, that you’re bound to ring up the right item. And the prices won’t break the bank, either. 3850 S. Town Center Drive, 515-2600; 20 N. Stephanie St., 856-8000.

* Best Sporting Goods Store *

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Walking through Dick’s is an athletic event in itself, with its two extensive stories of equipment and apparel for just about every recreational activity known to man. From mixed martial art fighters to Red Rock hikers to little league baseball players, Dick’s has your goods. 1308 W. Sunset Road, 855-5000.

* Best Spa/Massage  *

Green Valley Ranch

Relaxing, beautiful and professional—there’s no element missing from GVR’s spa. Spend the day being pampered with any of a host of massages and skin treatments, then move on out to the pool, or step into the sauna, or dip into the Jacuzzi. From the dramatic staircase to the excellent massage therapists, readers pick GVR time and again for good reason. 617-7570.

* Best Menswear *

Stash

So, say you’re a truck driver who suddenly wants to get into the club scene—or, perhaps, let’s say you’re a metalhead who’s trying to soften your image. But where to go? Fortunately, there’s three branches of Stash Clothing to help. With brands ranging from Affliction to Dom Rebel to English Laundry, the selection for men strikes the balance between aggressive and stylish. Now, you can make looking cool look easy. Multiple locations.

* Best Movie Theater *

<-- Brenden Theatres

Home to CineVegas, IMAX and the premiere one-week run of Zombie Strippers, the Brenden Theatres at the Palms has a little something for everyone. It’s conveniently located near the center of town—close to the Strip but not right on top of it—and has the Palms’ plethora of other attractions (clubs, restaurants, concerts) right outside its doors. Inside the Palms, 507-4849.

* Best Tattoo/Piercing Shop *

Diversity tattoo

With so many people inking themselves these days, it’s harder than ever to avoid the banal tattoo. Let the award-winning artists at Diversity take care of you. Thousands of Las Vegas voters can vouch for them—and have. Multiple locations.

* Best Radio Personality *

Xtreme Disorder

“Thousands upon thousands” of ninjas can’t be wrong. That’s how many dedicated followers of Attention Deficit Dave, Brian Black and Lemmy the Gopher there are, according to the guys themselves. Every weekday from 3-7 p.m. on X-107.5-FM, they present comedy sketches, song parodies and weird phone calls (and some music, too). Weekly film critic Josh Bell also shows up on Fridays, so you know they’re keeping good company.

* Best Local Rapper *

Ne-Yo

We know your first thought: Ne-Yo doesn’t rap. And your second as well: He doesn’t even live here. Your third, too: What about the talent that exists all over town? Consider it a tribute to the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and Las Vegas Academy veteran’s burgeoning celebrity that he even merits mention among the town’s best hip-hoppers. However, we must tsk-tsk supporters of the local hip-hop scene for not offering up more credible acts like The Chapter and others who’ve been making noise for quite some time. Resolve to do better next year, won’t you?

* Best TV Personality *

Joey Gonnello at Fox 5 News Las Vegas

 As colorful as the highlights he’s used on celebrity clients’ hair, Gonnello handles his job as trend editor for Fox 5’s More show with the fashionable flair and technical aplomb of a top hairstylist. Which he is. (The guy’s also got a born-for-TV look—dark hair, knowing smile.) After he does your hair, he can also get you ready for the red carpet, offering tips on wardrobe, shoes and accessories.

* Best Community Hero *

<-- Andre Agassi

The tennis legend could have blown off Vegas years ago, but instead, he has consistently reinvested in his hometown. He’s tried to make the city a better place through the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, including Agassi Prep, the Andre Agassi Boys and Girls Club and support for Child Haven, the YMCA ... the list goes on and on.

* Best Local Band *

The Killers -->

At this stage of the game, The Killers feel about as much like a local Vegas band as Aerosmith does a Boston favorite and Bon Jovi does king of the Jersey underground. Nothing against Brandon Flowers and the boys, but we (and most likely they) would have preferred to see a long-grinding mainstay like Slow to Surface or a hot up-and-comer like A Crowd of Small Adventures take this category. Then again, both of those bands placed in your top four, so maybe the scene is starting to show off its bright side (ba dum bum) after all.

(Reader Feedback)

Best TV Personality

Joey Gonnello at Fox 5 News Las Vegas

"Joey has such great energy ... it’s contagious! And he’s hysterical when you sit down to talk with him. He’s a really great guy!"

<-- Chidimma Ozor, Weekly reader, over a year

* Best Local Writer *

Norm Clarke

He’s been slapped by Pete Rose and physically threatened by Criss Angel; what’s not to love? Very few entertainment/gossip columnists in the country throw themselves in harm’s way quite like the Review-Journal’s beleaguered, eye-patched Norm, the unofficial referee for a celebrity free-for-all that’s created the epicenter of pop culture.

* Best Local Artist *

Gina Quaranto -->

For the second year in a row, Downtown art maven Gina Quaranto’s ceramic skulls and dark-but-cute paintings have locked up this award. And for someone who started down on the streets of First Friday and is now hitting the big time organizing shows and gigs all over town, the 30-something local artist proves one thing: The dark and macabre arts are still pretty cool-looking.

* Best Hairstylist *

Crystal Merten, Canyon Ranch Spa

Vegas born and raised, Merten’s perfected her artistry since graduating from Vo-Tech High School in 2001, including assisting under the legendary Michael Boychuck for six months. She became a full-time hairstylist in late 2007, and her client list is growing by the week—bartenders, local bands and a healthy dose of out-of-towners count themselves among her regular clientele. The most popular request? “In the age group between 21 and 46, it’s, ‘I’m thinking about cutting my hair short like Victoria Beckham.’ I get that about five times a day.”

* Best Chef *

Joe Elevado at Social House

In a town that’s home to restaurants by some of the world’s best chefs—guys who, like Madonna, are referenced with first names only: Alex, Daniel, Emeril—our favorite is someone you may not know. Despite still using his surname, Social House’s Joseph Elevado has more than proven his mettle at this Treasure Island hot spot. Elevado’s menu boasts modern Japanese dishes like pan-seared sea scallops with nasu miso and curry emulsion and Kobe beef with pickled wasabi crème fraiche, which draw on his years under Nobu Matsuhisa while showcasing his own creativity. For the best of what Elevado has to offer, ask your server about the unofficial tasting menu, a multi-course tour of some of the chef’s best work that ends with a dessert sampler featuring the crispy ice cream with sweet corn. This unusual dessert appears on the menu with the caption “Trust the Chef”; one bite and you’ll be a believer.

* Best Bartender *

Ken Hall

Imagine Kobe Bryant coaching your men’s-league basketball team. That is a fraction of what it is like to have the world-renowned Hall serve your martini on any given night at Noir Bar. Too awesome to be true, it would seem. At 36 years old, Hall has come a long way from his beginnings in bartending 17 years ago. In his 20s he worked slinging drinks at Walt Disney World in Florida, before coming to Vegas 11 years ago. Cheers!

* Las Vegan You Love to Hate *

<-- Criss Angel

Because unusual stunts and street magic are better suited for Venice Beach than the Strip. Because he looks like a cross between Marilyn Manson and the Fonz. Because Cirque du Soleil was doing just fine without him. Because he thinks his new Cirque-powered Luxor show (Believe) “will reinvent magic”—so said during a March 2007 presser. Because he takes his bad-boy magician shtick way too seriously (witness his verbal tirade against a certain gossip columnist on the eve of the Miss USA pageant, and his flipping the bird on the NBC telecast after Veronica Grabowski was eliminated). Because a nickname like “Mindfreak” marks you for derision.

* Best Photographer *

Jeremy Womack

Everyone needs to know what’s going down in Party Town USA, and party photographer Jeremy Womack is the person to let you know. His weekly documented images in our magazine show everyone from you to your neighbor getting down at your favorite club. We would say you’re all vain, but in a city like Vegas, aren’t we all?

(Reader Feedback)

Best Photographer

Jeremy Womack

"Jeremy is always glad to keep you informed on the goings-on around town. He strives to keep you in the loop of all nightlife events."

Julie Sparks, Weekly reader, almost three years -->

* Best Local Hero *

<-- Oscar Goodman

In a town of 24-hour booze and parties, having a mayor who can hold his liquor is important. But having a mayor who can, the next morning ,spend hours in committee meetings, or go on Hannity and Colmes to defend his wish to legalize brothels in town is, depending on how you see things, heroic. Maybe that’s why you readers voted for Hizzoner Goodman, or maybe it’s his relentless cheerleading for Sin City, or his storybook mob-related past.  In any case, Here’s to you, Oscar.

* Best Comedian *

Carrot Top -->

Quirky and memorable, our city’s orange-haired mascot may suffer many slings and arrows, but when you’ve got a freakishly large upper body like his, they tend to bounce off much easier. And until he decides to switch to a career in bodybuilding, CT is packing the houses with crowds and laughter. Prop comedy still lives—who knew?

* Best Nightlife Figure *

Kozmoe Alonzo at Revolution

Oh, Kozmoe, is it your ever-changing, perfectly angled, multicolored mohawk that won us over? Or perhaps it’s your extensive collection of snazzy sneakers or autographed Polaroids? Now spreading the word for The Beatles Revolution Lounge, you’re back for your second win in this category, and while the venue may have changed, we love you just the same.

(Reader Feedback)

Best Nightlife Figure

Kozmoe Alonzo at Revolution

"I hired Koz to be a part of our street team almost three years ago. I am so proud of all he has accomplished once he became a promoter."

<-- Chris Miguel, Weekly reader, over six years

* Best Vegas-Based Movie or TV Show *

CSI

Okay, confession time: We know someone whose decision to check out Las Vegas as a place to live was based partly on this show’s sleek, blue-hued visuals. Who cares if these kinds of crime labs are nowhere near Sin City? And who cares that the exterior shots are all courtesy of Los Angeles? When that Strip unfolds in high-def, we’re ready to gloat in our residency once again.

* Best Place to Take the Kids *

Adventuredome at Circus-Circus

Okay, it’s kinda weird to have this much frivolity and mirth taking place in the midst of slot machines and hotel rooms, but that tyke by your side doesn’t care what you think. They just want you to get them to the SpongeBob ride in time to beat the crowds. And even we jaded Weekly staffers are kinda partial to the Canyon Blaster roller coaster. Just don’t tell that to anyone cool.

* Best Dog Park *

Sunset Park

It’s central-ish, it’s green, it’s pretty big by Vegas park standards, there is a nearby pond. Bring your mutt, meet other dog lovers, love it. 2601 E. Sunset Road.

* Best Day Trip & Place to Take a Visitor *

Red Rock Canyon

Okay, so we developed way too far into Red Rock’s mouth; nothing can diminish the natural beauty of this federally protected area once you’re in the 13-mile loop. Hike, bike, climb, walk or picnic—take a camera and snap a few shots of wild burro, or of the rock walls or of yourself getting back to nature. There’s nowhere better, closer or more gorgeous for day trips and visitor getaways.

* Best Pet Store *

PetSmart

Is there a more appropriate name in all of caring-for-your-pet-dom? No there isn’t! Find everything you need for your dog, cat, bird, fish or reptile in this animal version of Wal-Mart. Local stores offer a bevy of services, including grooming, training, doggie day camps and the PetsHotel, a 24-hour day-care center for dogs and cats. Even Morris the Cat would love that. Multiple locations.

* Best WiFi Hangout *

Starbucks

Get over it: Starbucks is your local coffee shop. Where you meet your friends, break up with your loved ones, ponder your navel. And why not? The frappuccinos are delicious, the music is not half bad, and there are always good-looking people. And, later this spring, the WiFi will become (largely) free at Starbucks stores across the Valley. Still don’t believe us? At the least, you can enjoy your latte and begin researching your polemic on the Deterioration of the Local. Locations—pssst!—they’re everywhere!

* Best Neighborhood *

Green Valley

Say what you will about the unlikelihood of a “green” anything in Las Vegas, this neighborhood appeals for many other reasons: groomed walkways, lots of parks, fields, tennis courts, basketball courts and playgrounds, walking distance to grocery stores and shopping, community-wide garage sales, a gorgeous outdoor concert pavilion and a rec center with an Olympic-sized pool.

* Best Local Blog *

Robin Leach -->

At some point we must come face to face with the stark truth of it all—Robin Leach is immortal. He’s not going away. He’s never going away. He’s like one of those swordsmen from Highlander, the progenitor of a race of celebrity gossip procurers. We are all living in his world. All we can do now is bow down and praise its maker. blogs.lasvegasmagazine.com/VegasLuxeLife

* Best Local Ad, Billboard or Commercial * Vegas.com

What else is there to say?

* Best People-Watching *

The Strip

Well, duh! Not only is the people-watching on the Strip the best in town, but it’s also the best reason to go to the Strip at all. The capacity to be wowed by new casinos shrinks every year, but the delight in observing the great washed and unwashed masses, the global tourist class, the salesmen and conventioneers, the party people who believe they’re in heaven—never gets old.

Our readers aren't the only ones with opinions on the best of the best in Las Vegas. This year the Weekly staff also weighed in on their favorite people, places and things. Read our own "best-of" buffet, Staff Speaks.

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