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Spend the Night - People's Poll 

BEST NEW NIGHTSPOT (LAST TWO YEARS)
TIE

Park Bar
2040 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-962-2933
Cherry Martini
50296 Cherry Hill Rd., Canton; 734-495-0550
With its big-windowed view, graceful, roundabout bar and upstairs music venue, the Park Bar truly is a presence in the night, a lovely beacon in downtown D. The Cherry Martini's high-end club atmo doubles as a place you'd half-expect to see Peter Lawford gracefully amble in, a wink and bejeweled finger-pistol aimed straight at the barkeep. Dreaming aside, the airy elegance and polished wood grain are as alluring as its martini namesake.

BEST PLACE TO GET A MARTINI
Cherry Martini
50296 Cherry Hill Rd., Canton; 734-495-0550
(See above.)

BEST BAR TO PICK UP GUY, GIRL, OR OTHER
BEST MULTICULTI NIGHTSPOT
Sips Bar & Grill
30555 Grand River Ave., Farmington Hills: 248-888-9288
Because a sip in its VIP is often the best strategy for touching lip(s) and exchanging spit. Really. Also, lots of youthful energy, an anatomically enticing staff, flavorsome provisions (had on the cheap) and lots of frothy libations.

BEST PLACE TO POSE LIKE A STAR
THREE-WAY TIE
Luna
1815 N. Main St., Royal Oak: 248-589-3344
Amnesia
2901 Grand River Ave., atop the Motor City Casino Hotel, Detroit; 313-309-4605
Elbow Room
6 S. Washington St., Ypsilanti; 734-483-6374
Amid the curious speciousness of the MySpace and Facebook era, personas can now take on the living and breathing; it's no wonder we can spot so many donning it without actually doing it.

BEST DANCE CLUB
BEST CLUB NIGHT: '80S NIGHT AT LUNA
BEST LIBIDO-STIMULATING NIGHTCLUB CROWD
BEST SEXED-UP WAITSTAFF
BEST SUBURBAN DANCE CLUB
Luna
1815 N. Main St., Royal Oak: 248-589-3344
Comely barkeeps, ace sound system, wicked lighting and so on and so forth. If you've set foot in Luna then you know. If not, come yourself or don a persona of alt, retro or downright porno. See, the lovely Luna continues to be the most footloose in the entire metro.

BEST PLACE TO GET DRUNK ON CHANGE
Old Miami
3930 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-3830
As long you're standing, that is. Why risk reaching for dropped coins while aloft in your bar seat? It's the Cass Corridor's best music venue too, comfy with couches!

BEST BAR FOR KARAOKE
Royal Kubo
27 E. 14 Mile Rd., Clawson: 248-588-2300
With Filipino cuisine only a server away, perhaps no other restaurant can offer the mixed possibility of blaring one's mouth out and stuffing it around the same time. Just make sure the audience is beyond projectile distance, natch!

BEST PLACE TO DRESS LIKE A SLUT
BEST CLUB TO GET YOUR FETISH ON
BEST CITY DANCE CLUB
Leland City Club
400 Bagley St., Detroit: 313-962-2300
Where industrial beats sidle up to Peter Murphy's, nothing could be raunchier than heading south — basement-wise, that is — in kohl-eyed glory with a nod in the general direction of London's long-shuttered Batcave. With attendant PVC and BDSM leanings.

BEST SCENESTER BAR
BEST LIVE-MUSIC VENUE
BEST CLUB TO HEAR ROCK 'N' ROLL
Magic Stick
4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700
Where Detroit's ersatz glitterati still come to frolic, disregard the band, play with weighty balls downstairs and swill and swill and swill ... even if crusty Rolling Stone magazine rightfully weighed in, calling the Stick "the best live music venue in Detroit." With one terrific stage, one bar and 12 billiard tables, it remains a reader-fave, with bands from the New York Dolls to the White Stripes and the Dirtbombs nodding in agreement.

BEST BAR FOR UNDER-30S
Pulse Detroit
156 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-420-0313
Propose a toast in an air of artful sophistication that hums of inner-city mirth and collegiate getaway. Its wine-colored walls, glossed-to-perfection bar, hypnotic sounds and ambient light seem to throw cozy blankets over your shoulders.

BEST LOCAL BEER
Motor City Brewing Ghettoblaster
In all of its dark luster glory, this wonderful and shitface-ready brew (uh, that's home-grown, mister) guarantees its namesake.

BEST BEER SELECTION IN A STORE
BEST WINE SELECTION STORE
Bello Vino
2789 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor: 734-213-0303
With a collection of that numbers in the vicinity of 800 labels (!?), beer 'ficionados know paradise when it rises before them ... or under them ... or spinning about their heads ... And the vino?; with more than a whopping 4,000 selections, what can be burped?

BEST FIRST DATE
TIE

Cliff Bell's
2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543
Motor City Brewing Works
470 W Canfield St., Detroit; 313-832-2700
Cliff Bell's? See above. For Motor City Brewing Works, this win is more than a reasonable expectation. The place is both sleek and comfy, its romantic upstairs deck offers a neighborhood view, and its brick-oven pizza lives somewhere just south of heaven. But none of that comes close to MCBW's own home-brewed beer, which, you'll note, actually lives in heaven. The kiss starts here.

BEST DIVE BAR
Gusoline Alley
309 S. Center St., Royal Oak: 248-545-2235
One way to measure a dive bar's worth is by checking the quality of the tunes on its juke. Gusoline's kicks, of course, as does its narrow-room beauty and aura of bumper-sticker artistry, night or day.

BEST CASINO FOR CRAPS
BEST CASINO FOR HIGH-STAKES POKER
Motor City Casino
2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 877-777- 0711
We always assumed craps was craps ... but the Motor City Casino has fine-tuned its gaming area during the recent reconstruction, now featuring the most extensive variety of poker in town. This casino features more than 75 table games, including blackjack, roulette and craps, as well as a wide variety of specialty table games. Our readers agree. If old Larry Flynt was D-Town-bound for a night of money-pissing, this would be his place.

BEST CLUB TO HEAR COUNTRY
Coyote Joe's
49440 Ryan Rd., Shelby Twp.; 586-254-4666
This Shelby Township establishment caters to the inner shitkicker, and regularly presents some of the best country music in the region. And the smoldering "Coyote girls," who shimmy each hour, on the hour, are an added bonus.

BEST ALL-AGES MUSIC VENUE
BEST HIP-HOP VENUE
St. Andrew's Hall
431 E. Congress St., Detroit; 313-961-MELT
One of D-Town's longest running venues, housed in a historic building, St. Andrew's has made itself completely vital over the years by opening its doors to any age group that adores popular music. Take hip hop: many venues throughout the country, even to this day, frown on booking hip hop, basing it on the racist mentality that the music attracts a criminal element. No shit. Anyway, that's never the case with this Live Nation-booked spot, though — which is why it regularly hosts rap and hip-hop on an almost weekly basis. God bless 'em.

BEST ELECTRONIC CLUB
Oslo
1456 Woodward Ave., Detroit: 313-962-7200
The place recently changed ownership — but the sushi still kicks ... and the electronic music follows suit. A swell club for the sexed-up soft-shoe, and many proclaim that Friday night's best to see and be seen on the dance floor.

BEST BEER
Guinness
Resorting to Irish spirits in a time of momentous national uncertainty? Um, that's downright brilliant, sister ...

BEST COMEDY CLUB
Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle
269 E. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-542-9900
A Motown tradition for nearly a quarter century, the Castle continues to book the finest local and nationally known comedians from TV, film and, of course, stage. A real laugh riot.

BEST CLUB TO HEAR ACOUSTIC ARTISTS
The Ark
316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-761-1800
An Ann Arbor tradition, to be sure; it's a great place to watch your fave musicians perform theirs in an acoustic format, running the gamut from Rodney Crowell to Robyn Hitchcock to Todd Snyder. Intimate hardly describes it.

BEST CLUB TO HEAR BLUES
Memphis Smoke
100 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-543-4300
The barbecue's great ... but the regular live blues music is often more smokin'. And in that Delta blues-lovin' white area called Royal Oak, no less!

BEST OPEN-MIC
Blue Goose Inn
28911 Jefferson Ave., St Clair Shores; 586-294-0690
This St. Clair Shores inn has been running since 1910, and it was both a saloon and grocery through the Prohibition years. These days, it features killer blues and, as far as our readers are concerned, the best place for up-and-comers to showcase their talents on "open mic" nights.

BEST SPORTS BAR
BEST PLACE FOR DARTS
The Arena
203 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-222-9999
Drinks are incredibly cheap at this A2 establishment — Labatt's is but three bucks a pint — just one of many reasons that its hard to find a table before or after a U-M game. Best place for Wolverines and Wolverines fans to have a most excellent time.

BEST CLUB DJ
DJ SirReal
Born Jacob Valentino, DJ SirReal has more than 16 years experience, blending the "old" (funk and soul) with the "new" (house, drum 'n' bass, etc.). Dude regularly appears live at Motor City Casino, with residencies at clubs in Ferndale and Pulse Detroit, not to mention regular radio stints, keeping the Detroit tradition alive for future generations.

BEST WINE
Cakebread Cabernet
Wine connoisseurs chirp all over the Internet that the Napa Valley-based Cakebread winery produces the best Cabernet around, no matter what the year (we wonder what the characters in Sideways might say!) — and our readers obviously agree with that flavorful sentiment.

BEST LESBIAN BAR
Stiletto's
1640 Middlebelt Rd., Inkster; 734-729-8980
Long an MT staff and reader fave, the milieu here is totally queer-friendly, certainly, and what could be remiss with lovelies named Electra Lites and a room called the Adrenline? And watch for the return of baby oil Wrestling! Sparks the imagination with good, clean gutter fun, eh?

BEST DIVE STRIP CLUB
Booby Trap
141 W. Eight Mile Rd., Detroit; 313-366-9030
We love this place as well. See, some women must sometimes scale unbelievable heights of emotional distress to dance, um, exotically. Others happen to have been born to rumba in the skin trade. Booby Trap girls number in the latter group. Nice.

BEST GAY BAR
Aut Bar
315 Braun Ct., Ann Arbor; 734-994-3677
Its smooth and sleek modern interior, drink selection and menu smack of style and taste. Its bar manifesto smacks of compassion for the GLBT community, who can hang here with dignity. Highly recommended.

BEST SUNSET VIEW
BEST BAR ON THE WATERFRONT
Coach Insignia
100 Renaissance Ctr., Floor 72, Detroit; 313-567-2622
What an eagle-eyed sightline. It's crazy how the panoramic view stretches over Windsor's waterfront casinos deep into Canada and shows Detroit to be the weather-beaten charmer that it really is, with that rusted and lovely skyline betraying years of joy and sorrow, boom and bust. Dusk gives rise to goosebumps, a sensation that's qualified by a wine and drink menu that's top-shelf.

BEST BEER SELECTION IN A BAR
Berkley Front
3087 12 Mile Rd., Berkley; 248-547-3331
Well, we here at MT know that both Wyndotte's Oak Café and D-Town's Ye Olde Tap Room sport more selections of beer, but who's to argue the semantics of the golden froth, eh? Truth: the Berkley Front is hugely popular in this area, for good reason. The happy hour kills and its mirthful patrons can choose from myriad beers, but that ain't all — the joint offers swell martinis too amid old barroom charm. Can't forget the '50s-ish lounge-speak upstairs, which sometimes sports live music.

BEST BAR FOR BOOTY DANCING
Deluxe Lounge
350 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-962-4200
It's cozy, dark and ripe for all-out keister shakes, as the category implies. So far we know three people who fell in love at this place. It's easy.

BEST BOWLING ALLEY
Garden Bowl
4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700
The Magic Stick is upstairs and, next door, through the Majestic café, sits the Majestic Theatre. Up front, aside the bar, you can buy pizza slices at Sgt. Pepperonis. What else do you need? The bowling here is sublime, particularly when a DJ is on or when some local rock star is throwing gutter ball sliders while falling drunk off his dirty Converse.

BEST HAPPY HOUR
Black Finn
530 S. Main S, Royal Oak; 248-582-9460
This slightly upscale Irish sports bar and grill hosts a daily happy hour that runs from 4 until 7 p.m. and features a $3.95 menu, $2 domestic drafts, $3 import drafts and house wines, $4 wells and $5 martinis. Hey, bring along a designated driver!

BEST POOL HALL
Fifth Avenue Billiards
215 W.Fifth St., Royal Oak; 248-542-9922
Its menu's choices run the vegetarian burger to classic pepperoni pizza gamut. There's live music, one weekly stand sees the trusty Reefermen pulling a night's duty. Its many pool tables service a "gentler" crowd — in other words, you won't see pool cues cracking heads of patrons. (This ain't some Patrick Swayze movie, kids.) Moreover, the place is always packed. It's like that.

BEST IRISH PUB
Connor O' Neill's Traditional Irish Pub and Restaurant
318 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-665-2968
Whether your game is foamed stout or drowning the shamrock, pretending you're James Joyce or Feargal Sharkey, or if you're out looking for the ghost of Phil Lynott ... even if you're some Yank hunting the best liver-blasting pint and serving of Galway Bay Mussels (with healthy dollops of conversation) that you can find — who cares? The jolly barstool warmers at Connor O' Neill's certainly don't. Because they know what's what.

BEST NONSMOKING SPOT
Amici's Living Room
3249 12 Mile Rd., Berkley; 248-544-4100
Best known for its award-winning gourmet pizza, this Berkley lounge and restaurant is also a family-friendly, nonsmoking place for folks to gather. A classic ... or what used to be called a "neighborhood" establishment.

BEST BAR FOR CONVERSATION
THREE-WAY TIE
Northern Lights
660 W. Baltimore St.,Detroit; 313-873-1739
Mixx
43155 Main St., No. 502, Novi; 248-347-6499
Cass Cafe
4620 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-1400
This trio of bars share the kind of atmosphere that's conducive to swill and conversation, two ideas that, as history tells us, led to mighty big changes over the years. So drink up.

BEST NONDRINKING SPOT
Starbucks
Various locations; starbucks.com
Well, even after the company decided to close hundreds of stores, it still seems that Starbucks can be found on damn near every other block these days. With the company doing everything possible to make its product synonymous with "corporate" and "coffee," this is hardly a surprise. Nevertheless, the coffee's is good — so's most of the food — and it's a swell place to gather with pals or to sit alone and read.

BEST PLACE TO BUY A 40 OZ.
Honest John's Bar & Grill
488 Selden St., Detroit; 313-832-5646
One of the greatest neighborhood bars in the city, Honest John's boasts a sweet juke, good food and cool servers. But one of the main components that keeps patrons returning is not only Internet access (at the bar!) but those inexpensive Black Label 40-ouncers. Drink it straight from bottle to be one of the boys!

BEST WINE SELECTION IN A BAR
TIE

Vinotecca
417 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-544-6256
Grape Expectations
555 Forest Ave., Plymouth; 734-455-9463
Well, given their names, what did ya expect? The Royal Oak-based Vinotecca isn't just a wine bar but a really cool restaurant and wine shop; hence the stellar selection for those ready to dine or drink. Plymouth's more upscale Grape features a soothing patio for summer months, down-to-earth food and, naturally, a killer wine (and beer) selection.

BEST BAR TO PRETEND YOU'RE SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN DETROIT
Amnesia
2901 Grand River Ave., atop the Motor City Casino Hotel, Detroit; 313-309-4605
It's damn randy. And its skylight height gives the sensation that you're bigger than life.

BEST AFTER-HOURS SPOT
The Works
1846 Michigan Ave.,Detroit; 313-961-1742
The Michigan Avenue club is a bar and grill in business hours. After-hours, though, it frequently showcases some of the best electronica and techno music in Detroit. The Nefarious Net crew were the ones originally responsible for transforming it into a hotbed of dancing "fools" and tools.

BEST JUKEBOX
The Bronx Bar
4476 Second Ave., Detroit; 313-832-8464
Wow! This is a new one this year and a pretty big deal in a city that boasts spectacular jukeboxes, especially those famously at Honest John's and Royal Oak's Gusoline Alley. But this Cass Corridor "dive" takes it this year for its double-juke featuring almost every genre one can name this side of opera.

BEST BARTENDER
TIE

Jenn at Luna
Chris at the Bronx Bar
See how it works? If your 'tending skills are such that you've amassed a following large enough following to weigh in on a reader's poll read by hundreds of thousands of people, than you must have the drink-slinging star-power of a hundred who're hawking the last legal drug.

BEST UPSCALE STRIP CLUB
Coliseum
11300 E. Eight Mile Rd., Detroit; 313-527-6969
This Eight Mile Road adult institution boasts "the most beautiful women in Detroit" and "the hottest bartenders and waitresses this industry has ever seen." Add that to daily great drink specials, and who gives a damn if the food's good or not.

BEST CLUB BATHROOM FOR A HOOK-UP
Northern Lights
660 W. Baltimore St.,Detroit; 313-873-1739
The loo here is clean. Now, do with that what you may.

BEST BAR FOR OVER-30S
BEST UPSCALE NIGHTSPOT
BEST JAZZ CLUB

Cliff Bell's
2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543
For those who look to keep their heart-rates somewhat settled, the warming, jazzy acoustics and hushed deco-y interior of Cliff Bell's gives lounging a measured pace. Nice.

BEST DRAG SHOW
Gigi's

16920 W. Warren Ave., Detroit; 313-584-6525
This venerable gay club packs 'em Saturday nights to see one thing: the girls. The show's core includes locals Nikki Stevens, Daisy van Cartier and Jennifer Fox, but their special guests can include out-of-town talent, such as Denise Russell, the only drag performer to have graced the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. The shows attract a mixed gay and straight crowd, and have been known to entertain a bachelorette party or two.

Spend the Night - Staff Picks
by Metro Times staff

From upscale cocktails to rawk 'n' roll, our fave nocturnal haunts

BEST PLACE FOR EXOTIC DRINKS
PY Styx
11791 Farmington Rd., Livonia; 734-421-6070
How exotic? The bartenders are encouraged to be creative and invent their own drinks — including right on the spot. You go in, explain, say the mood you're in and what you might like to taste (weird day, let's go for fruity, dude) and the 'tenders will serve up a shot for your mood. Bartenders also perform what sound like circus tricks with shot glasses on the bar, and there's the "famous shot chair" where you can have a drink poured down your mouth. "The atmosphere is just a big party," said one commenter on the Internet. "It is hard to explain until you go there."

BEST CASINO
BEST CASINO SLOTS-VIDEO
MGM Grand Detroit Casino
1300 John C. Lodge Fwy., Detroit; mgmgranddetroit.com
But what exactly put MGM over the top with readers roughly a year after the heralded move from temporary digs to its permanent, $800 million hotel-casino entertainment complex? The entertainment offerings in the nightclubs (the likes of Thornetta Davis, Chris Codish and house music DJ Michael Geiger are hardly anonymous entertainment)? Having Wolfgang Puck among the three signature restaurants? The spa and other amenities at the hotel? We're going to take a gamble and bet it was mainly the gambling experience at the game tables, plus the 4,000 slots and video poker stations.

Previous Winners

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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