Congratulations, Best of Houston® 2014 Music & Nightlife Winners

Houston is fun. Even if the ink is still wet on the lease you just signed after relocating here to work in the Bayou City's booming energy or health-care sectors, it shouldn't take you any more than 48 hours before something here makes you wonder how you ever got along back wherever it is you came from -- a restaurant, a store, a bar, a park, or maybe something uniquely Houston like the Williams Tower waterwall or the no-cover Wednesday-night blues jam at the Big Easy.

You came here at the right time, too. This week -- today, really -- the Houston Press is proud to unveil our annual Best of Houston issue, the product of the combined efforts of dozens of HP staffers and freelancers several months in the making. With dozens, if not hundreds, of winners in all sorts of categories (grouped into the wide-ranging fields of Arts & Entertainment, City Life, Food & Drink, Shopping & Services and Sports & Recreation), this issue should serve as a much better map of Houston than one that shows our often-congested roadways.

Now, Houstonians of an older vintage, we know we're not telling you anything you don't already know...or are we? You'll want to hold onto that not-so-slim volume that comes in this week's issue of the Press, and bookmark its online counterpart, just as much as our newcomers. Because Houston is a city that's always changing, always taking chances, some categories that have been around for years our longtime readers assume are shoo-ins might suddenly have a new winner. But other categories, like so many of our new neighbors, may not have even been around last year.

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Heads Up: Best of Houston 2014 and the Readers' Choice Awards Drop Next Week

Categories: Best of Houston

Just a heads up from your friends here at the Houston Press: We are literally one week away from our Best of Houston 2014 issue hitting the streets.

We've been all across this great city we call home looking for the very best that Houston has to offer. Food has been eaten. Clubs have been visited. Parks have been enjoyed.

And it's not just our picks that you'll be reading. You got to vote in 100 categories for your favorite things in Houston. We hope you're as excited to see who you picked as we are.

Houston is awesome, and we look forward to sharing the best of it with you next week.

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The 2014 Best of Houston® Readers' Poll: Vote Now for the Best of Houston Nightlife!

Categories: Best of Houston

Live somewhere long enough and you develop a collection of favorite locations, places you can always count on to deliver a good times or good service. You have your favorite museum to explore, your favorite spot to grab a glass of wine, your favorite place to work out, so on and so forth.

In a few weeks, our Best of Houston® 2014 issue is going to drop and we'll have our list of favorites for you to read and check out. Of course, we also know that you feel very passionate about some of the subjects, which is why we're giving you the chance to let us know what your favorite spots are.

That's right, it's time for the 2014 Best of Houston® Readers' Poll.

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Vote Your Readers' Choice for Our Annual Best of Houston Issue

Categories: Best of Houston

It's time
We're getting ready for our annual Best of Houston issue, which will hit the stands in early October.

This year's theme: we're gamblers willing to take chances and roll the dice. As a result, Houston has prospered and even when the pot gets low, we double down and rebound. And so do the people who live here in every category from restaurants to government to health, to sports and music. Houston is holding a winning hand and we're going to tell everyone so in this year's Best of Houston.

The other important part of BOH -- besides our writers' picks -- is our Readers' Choice awards. That's where you tell us what you think the best places/people are in 99 categories as well as the category we forgot.

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Rest of the Best: Houston's 10 Best Bands (With Only Two Members)

Categories: Best of Houston

Ghost of Cliff Burton
Bill Curtner and I contemplating how awesome it is to not have to argue with four other band members.
I went from being in a band that at its biggest had six members to ending up in one that has only two. Let me tell you something, it is fantastic! Thanks to modern technology, you can replace damn near any instrument and boil down an artistic vision to two mates that get along. I wouldn't trade it for any other sort of lineup.

And apparently I'm not alone, because a fair amount of musical duos in Houston have also found the tag-team to be the most effective way to deliver audio sucker-punches. Here follows 20 people who constitute ten phenomenal acts.

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Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Bars of 2013

This is a picture from Houston's best bar. But where is it?
Houston has dozens of bars that are not also something else (restaurants, coffeehouses, etc.), just places designed for people to who want to shirk their responsibilities while someone else plots to take over the world at the next stool, and the couple at the table in the back is on their first date of a lifelong love affair. Or something like that.

As the year draws to a close, Rocks Off grew curious about which of this city's multitude of watering holes could really be called the best, so recently we asked our regular contributors (some 15 people in all) to give us the handful of places they most enjoyed spending a night out drinking. They didn't even have to tell us why, but these are the ten places whose names came up most often.

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Houston's 10 Best-Sounding Music Venues

Categories: Best of Houston

Photo by Jeff Balke
Sound makes a difference.
Listening is not necessarily the strong suit of Houstonians who frequent live-music venues. But for those who do choose to silence themselves and their phones for live performances (or those drowned out by the sound system), there are certain places around town that are built for great sound. These venues, be they large or small, find ways -- either through acoustics, great sound systems or both -- to generate sounds that are pleasing to the ears even if the bands aren't.

On this list, we have purposefully left off the big venues like Cynthia Woods or Toyota Center. So many of these larger venues are not built for sound and what fans do hear is largely reliant upon the sound engineer and system provided by the touring artist, it is unfair to include them here. Suffice it to say big traveling acts rarely sound bad, but that is not always the case with locals, so having great venues is even more of a blessing when you can't afford a great sound guy or PA system.

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Houston's Top 10 Hookup Bars

As does our sister blog Eating...Our Words, from time to time Rocks Off will be giving your our picks for the top taverns in various Houston-area neighborhoods. Of course, the lines can be porous, but here anything with a TABC license that cannot reasonably be considered either a restaurant, coffeehouse or live-music venue is fair game.

You guys can just call me this weekend's wing-woman. Don't say I never gave ya anything...

notsuoH is still unabashedly quirky, full of artsy folks, cheap beer, and crazy indie bands cranking out some sweet tunes. Its eclectic nature and the patrons' chill vibe creates the perfect setting to snag that random weekend hookup with no apologies. Just don't pull any bro stuff (please), or you're bound to unseal the deal.

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The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Concert Venues

Photo by Marc Brubaker
Arcade Fire at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, May 2011
As the Houston Press doffs our kudos cap to local institutions great and small in the Best of Houston® 2013 awards, all through October each of our four blogs will be looking beyond the winners of selected categories in a series we like to call "The Rest of the Best." Rocks Off happened to draw Fridays, when music is on many people's minds as they ponder their weekend plans, so we figured we'd start with a pretty big one: the places where all this music we cover almost nightly actually happens.

The editor asked each Rocks Off regular contributors to come up with a Top 5 list of local venues, in order, and added up the scores. For the record, 30 different venues across our sprawling metropolis drew at least one vote, but these are (drum roll)... the rest of the best.

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The 2013 Houston Press Best of Houston Readers' Poll: Vote Now for the Best in Houston Music and Nightlife!

Categories: Best of Houston

For 25 years we at the Houston Press have been hitting the streets to visit local businesses in search of the Best of Houston. Our October 10 issue will reveal our picks for the best Houston has to offer in entertainment, dining, shopping, and more. We're pretty excited to share our picks with you.

We're also excited to find out what you think the Best of Houston is, which is why we're putting up this reminder to go vote in the 2013 Best of Houston Readers' Poll. Let us know what your favorite Houston spots are in a variety of categories including Best Concert Venue, Best Dance Club, Best Jukebox and more. The Readers' Poll closes at 11:59 p.m. on September 22, 2013.

We know Houston rules. You know Houston rules. The country and the world are learning that Houston rules. Let's show them the best we have to offer. Vote now!

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