Best bar for cocktails

»1. Cure

4905 Freret St., (504) 302-2357;

2. Carousel Bar & Lounge

Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St., (504) 523-3341;

3. Arnaud's French 75

Arnaud's, 813 Bienville St., (504) 523-5433;


Best beer selection

»1. The Bulldog

3236 Magazine St., (504) 891-1516;; 5135 Canal Blvd., (504) 488-4191;

2. The Avenue Pub

1732 St. Charles Ave., (504) 586-9243;

3. Cooter Brown's

509 S. Carrollton Ave., (504) 866-9104;


Best casino

»1. Harrah's New Orleans Casino

8 Canal St. (800) 427-7247;

2. Treasure Chest Casino

5050 Williams Blvd., Kenner, (504) 443-8000;

3. Boomtown Casino New Orleans

4132 Peters Road, Harvey, (504) 366-7711;


Best gay bar

»1. Oz

800 Bourbon St., (504) 593-9491;

2. Good Friends Bar

740 Dauphine St., (504) 566-7191;

3. Bourbon Pub & Parade

801 Bourbon St., (504) 529-2107;


Best dive bar

»1. Snake & Jake's Christmas Club Lounge

7612 Oak St., (504) 861-2802;

2. The Club Ms. Mae's

4336 Magazine St., (504) 218-8035;

3. Pal's Lounge

949 N. Rendon St., (504) 488-7257;


Best gentlemen's club

»1. Rick's Cabaret

315 Bourbon St., (504) 524-4222;

2. The Penthouse Club New Orleans

727 Iberville St., (504) 524-4354;

3. Larry Flynt's Hustler Club

225 Bourbon St., (504) 524-0010;


Best live music venue

»1. Tipitina's

501 Napoleon Ave., (504) 895-8477;

You know the drill: a bust of Professor Longhair greets you at the door, a basketball hoop and concert posters from yesteryear loom over the dance floor, and bars on either side of the hallowed hall keep things flowing all night. 2017 marks the venue's 40th anniversary, after a group of friends and New Orleans music fans in 1977 named their neighborhood juke joint after a Fess classic. Since then, Tipitina's has become perennial favorite for Best of New Orleans voters, who in the last year likely have caught local artists at a free Friday concert or two, late-night (and early-morning sets) from Galactic, or The New Pornographers with Waxahatchee, or Drive-By Truckers holding down two nights.

2. House of Blues

225 Decatur St., (504) 310-4999;

3. Maple Leaf

8316 Oak St., (504) 866-9359;


Best live theater venue

»1. Saenger Theater

1111 Canal St., (504) 525-1052;

Return to the days before "theater" meant a plain black box with a small stage or a screen, and back to an era when theaters were temples meant to awe an audience even before the curtains went up. Generations of New Orleanians loved the Saenger for its Florentine details and star-studded "sky," which is why its near-destruction in Hurricane Katrina-related flood waters was so devastating — and why its triumphant 2013 restoration and reopening was so inspiring. On the National Registry of Historic Places since 1977, the Saenger is a particular architectural gem in a city full of architectural gems.

2. Le Petit Theatre du VIeux Carre

616 St. Peter St., New Orleans, (504) 522-2081;

3. Orpheum Theater

129 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans, (504) 274-4871;


Best local music artist/band

»1. Tank and the Bangas

The secret's out. When NPR brought the band into its studio for a Tiny Desk Concert in 2017 after a nationwide search with more than 6,000 submissions, New Orleans' own Tank and the Bangas blew minds and won over fans around the world with its exuberant "Quick." Tank and the Bangas — featuring versatile singer and poet Tarriona "Tank" Ball and a powerhouse ensemble — combine soul, funk, hip-hop and spoken word into an exuberant, joyous mix that's both uniquely theirs and from out of this world. The band bounces around on tour through North America this fall before it heads to Europe and then, presumably, outer space.

2. The Revivalists

3. Sweet Crude


Best place to get a daiquiri

»1. Fat Tuesday/ New Orleans Original Daiquiris


2. Daiquiris & Creams

339 N. Highway 190, Covington, (985) 871-0500; 1701 Lake Ave., Metairie, (504) 835-3698; 1737 Florida Ave., Mandeville, (985) 624-3030; 5260 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, (504) 455-9962; 2060 W. Gause Blvd. E., Slidell, (985) 781-9878;

3. Bourree at Boucherie

1510 S. Carrollton Ave., (504) 510-4040;


Best local comedian

»1. Chris Trew

2. Marvin Lee

3. Bob Murrell


Best hotel bar

»1. Carousel Bar & Lounge

Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St., (504) 523-3441;

Like the best hotel bars, the Carousel Bar & Lounge at Hotel Monteleone is a mix of the familiar and the off-kilter or surreal. In this case, the strangeness comes from the slowly revolving bar inspired by an early 20th-century carousel. A seat there offers a faint but perceptible feeling of drift, as though you're on the deck of a large, slow-moving boat. The crowd is a mix of tourists, romantics on dates, the odd businessman from a downtown office and well-heeled shoppers who've stepped in for a cocktail after perusing Royal Street boutiques and galleries; bartenders prepare Sazeracs and sidecars with a solemnity bordering on reverence. An expansion completed in 2012 provided more seating and a larger area to host musicians. It's fun to visit anytime, but especially at Christmas, when the hotel is bedecked with twinkling holiday lights.

2. The Sazerac Bar

Roosevelt Hotel, 130 Roosevelt Way, (504) 648-1200; bar.html

3. Alto

Ace Hotel, 600 Carondelet St., (504) 900-1180;


Best neighborhood bar

»1. Pal's Lounge

949 N. Rendon St., (504) 488-7257

Gingerita, please, and make it a double. Pal's has changed over the years (no smoking — though the cool gold matchbooks still are there — and lots more tourists), but the things we love about Pal's are eternal: the "interesting" wallpaper in the tiny men's room; the air hockey table; pinball machines; a top-flight jukebox; food being cooked and sold on the sidewalk and the chance to run into old friends at any time of the day or night. Tip: Save your blue and gold plastic Pal's go-cups and when you get enough, bring 'em back for a free drink.

2. Finn McCool's Irish Pub

3701 Banks St., New Orleans, (504) 486-9080;

3. Bayou Beer Garden

326 N. Jefferson Davis Parkway, (504) 302-9357;


Best place to get a traditional Louisiana cocktail

»1. The Sazerac Bar

The Roosevelt New Orleans, 130 Roosevelt Way,

(504) 648-1200;

Sazeracs and Ramos Gin Fizzes and French 75s — oh my. OK, that last cocktail wasn't invented in Louisiana,

but certainly has been adopted by the Pelican State and arguably perfected by the bartenders at The Sazerac Bar. Flanked by walnut paneling and plush seating, The Sazerac has been serving up Louisiana libations since 1938, perhaps most notably to Gov. Huey P. Long, who enjoyed the bar's Gin Fizz so much that he flew head bartender Sam Guarino to New York City to show the staff at the New Yorker Hotel the right way to craft one during a business trip in 1935.

  In 1949, then-owner Seymour Weiss lifted the ban on serving women at the bar (they could only drink at The Sazerac on Mardi Gras day before then), and women "stormed" the bar — an event that's commemorated every September with a luncheon and parties in the Roosevelt's Blue Room and The Fountain Lounge, culminating in the "Storming of the Sazerac" in the afternoon. This year's celebration is Sept. 22.

2. The Carousel Bar & Lounge

Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St., (504) 523-3341;

3. Arnaud's French 75

813 Bienville St., (504) 523-5433;


Best local brewery

»1. NOLA Brewing Company

3001 Tchoupitoulas St., (504) 896-9996;

In just eight years, NOLA Brewing Company has hopped on top of the local craft beer scene, with flagship brews including blonde and brown ales, Hopitoulas IPA, 7th Street Wheat, Rebirth Pale Ale and Irish Channel Stout. It's easy to find NOLA Brewing's colorful cans on store shelves, but a few of those names reference its home base, a trio of big red warehouses on Tchoupitoulas Street. There, its taproom has two floors, more than 20 taps, a deck with outdoor seating, a kitchen nook featuring McClure's Barbecue and many beers not available elsewhere. Visitors can drink brews from its sour beer and NOLA Funk series as well as limited-edition releases. NOLA Brewing also issues seasonal beers, such as summer's Hurricane Saison and fall's Darkest Before Dawn (a dunkel-style dark lager). NOLA Brewing has whetted locals' appetites for exploring the world of beer.

2. Abita Brewing Company

166 Barbee Road, Covington, (985) 893-3143;

3. Urban South Brewery

1645 Tchoupitoulas St., (504) 267-4852;


Best rooftop bar

»1. Hot Tin Rooftop Bar

The Pontchartrain Hotel, 2031 St. Charles Ave., (504) 323-1500;

The Pontchartrain Hotel reopened in June 2016, but its signature Mile High Pie no longer rules the roost. New Orleanians flocked to Hot Tin, a rooftop bar with a name inspired by Tennessee Williams (who worked on A Streetcar Named Desire while staying at the hotel). An outdoor terrace offers table seating and panoramic views of New Orleans' skyline and the Crescent City Connection. There's ample seating and views through picture windows in the interior lounge as well, and the luxurious space is decorated to suggest a bohemian salon. The cocktail list includes nods to several famous writers. Ernest Hemingway reportedly devised the Death in Afternoon cocktail, a mix of absinthe and Champagne. The bartenders at Hot Tin offer Death in the LGD, a combination of gin, lemon-ginger shrub, Herbsaint and cava. Hot Tin is a popular spot to hoist a drink and toast the classics.

2. Alto

Ace Hotel, 600 Carondelet St., (504) 900-1180;

3. Monkey Board

The Troubadour Hotel, 1111 Gravier St., (504) 518-5600;


Best movie theater

»1. The Theatres at Canal Place

The Shops at Canal Place, 333 Canal St., third level, (504) 493-6535;

2. The Broad Theater

636 N. Broad St., (504) 218-1008;

3. Prytania Theatre

5339 Prytania St., (504) 891-2787;


Best place to get a bloody mary

»1. The Ruby Slipper Cafe

139 S. Cortez St., (504) 525-9355; 200 Magazine St., (504) 525-9355; 1005 Canal St., (504) 525-9355; 2001 Burgundy St., (504) 525-9355; 2802 Magazine St.;

2. Atchafalaya

901 Louisiana Ave., (504) 891-9626;

3. Superdome

1500 Sugar Bowl Drive, (504) 587-3822;


Best place to get a margarita

»1. Superior Grill

3636 St. Charles Ave., (504) 899-4200;

2. El Gato Negro

81 French Market Place, (504) 525-9752; 300 Harrison Ave., (504) 488-0107; 800 S. Peters St., (504) 309-8864;

3. Velvet Cactus

6300 Argonne Blvd., (504) 301-2083;


Best Theater Company

»1. The NOLA Project

All of New Orleans is a stage for The NOLA Project. The company has presented classic shows in familiar settings, from behind-the-Broadway-scenes comedy It's Only a Play at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre to A Midsummer Night's Dream in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at New Orleans City Park. But the young company also has taken an adventurous approach, presenting a diverse selection of dramas, comedies and musicals in unconventional settings, from the shore of Lake Pontchartrain to a boutique hotel's rooftop pool. In a dozen years, it has produced Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Love's Labour's Lost, Camille, Cloud 9, Assassins, 4000 Miles, Balm in Gilead and an array of new and commissioned works by local playwrights, such as Jim Fitzmorris' A Truckload of Ink, about the demise of a New Orleans daily newspaper. It's no wonder the company has caught our readers' attention. The NOLA Project opens its 13th season in September at UNO's Robert E. Nims Theatre with the offbeat musical Urinetown.

2. Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

616 St. Peter St., (504) 522-2081;

3. Southern Rep


Best dance club

»1. Gold Mine Saloon

701 Dauphine St., (504) 586-0745;

2. Oz

800 Bourbon St., (504) 593-9491;

3. Metropolitan Nightclub

310 Andrew Higgins Drive, (504) 568-1702;


Best place to get wine by the glass

»1. The Delachaise

3442 St. Charles Ave., (504) 895-0858;

2. Bayou Wine Garden

315 N. Rendon St., (504) 826-2925;

TIE 3. Wine Institute of New Orleans (W.I.N.O.)

610 Tchoupitoulas St., (504) 324-8000;

TIE 3. Bacchanal Wine

600 Poland Ave., (504) 948-9111;


Best sports bar

»1. Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar

1009 Poydras St., (504) 309-6530; Clearview Mall, 4436 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, (504) 273-1233;

2. Cooter Brown's

509 S. Carrollton Ave., (504) 866-9104;

3. Manning's Eat-Drink-Cheer

519 Fulton St., (504) 593-8072;

• Best of New Orleans 2017: food

• Best of New Orleans 2017: bars and entertainment

• Best of New Orleans 2017: politics

• Best of New Orleans 2017: local life

• Best of New Orleans 2017: media

• Best of New Orleans 2017: good and services