Best Of 2013

Best Music Release Event

The Sh-Booms at Independent Bar

For their release parties, most bands just get up on the stage of whatever bar they haunt most and play their usual set. But not these Orlando soul revivalists. Befitting their grand, dazzling style, they filmed a professional video for their single (“123”), took over the city’s best indie dance club with a free party and premiered the clip before a packed house on the club’s famous video wall. Your release party ain’t shit.

1. Lil Indies, 1036 N. Mills Ave.,
2. The Geek Easy, 114 S. Semoran Blvd., 407-332-9636,
3. The Peacock Room, 1321 N. Mills Ave., 407-228-0048,

1. Will’s Pub, 1042 N. Mills Ave.,
2. Dancers Royale, 5221 E. Colonial Drive, 407-281-0120,
3. Sportstown Billiards, 2414 E. Robinson St., 407-894-6258,

The Matador

724 Virginia Drive

A bar’s atmosphere is a mystical thing. If one’s lucky enough to capture a special mood in the first place, seldom does that magic survive a change in space and neighborhood. But the Matador is one of the most successful transplants in recent history. From staff to furnishings to loyal clientele, it still has that cherished Matador vibe. But it’s now part of the rising, vibrant Mills Avenue scene and is much less susceptible to occasional influxes from the toolbox that is downtown.

Best Bar Theming

Lot1433 and

Stepping into the Courtesy feels like wandering into an old-fashioned space (worthy of serving the classic drink by the same name) through a Narnia-esque portal – it’s that big a shift from downtown’s otherwise downtrodden curb appeal. The most immediate impact comes by savoring the theming and details executed so rustically by the inspired folks at Lot1433 – and more specifically, design mastermind Andrew White. Up next for Lot1433: designing Skyebird juice bar at East End Market. Let’s hope the aesthetic there is as intoxicating as Courtesy’s.

1. Mariel Olcoz at Redlight Redlight, 2810 Corrine Drive, 407-893-9832,
2. Aaron Hardy at Tier Nightclub, 20 E. Central Blvd., 407-317-9129,
3. Tammy at Dancers Royale, 5221 E. Colonial Drive, 407-281-0120,

Best Case Studies to Stop Indoor Smoking

The success of Peacock Room and Lil Indies

The Peacock Room
1321 N. Mills Ave.

Lil Indies
1036 N. Mills Ave.

Tobacco use kills more people annually than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. This fact makes indoor smoking particularly distressing for live music fans who cannot escape the stench of premature death at local shows. Thanks to the September opening of Will Walker’s smokeless sidecar, Lil Indies, and the Peacock Room’s April 1 smoke-free rebirth, Orlando has observed that music and drinks both go down better with a few gulps of clean air.

Best Cheese

Mr. Belding at Mac & Cheese

Early-’90s teen sitcom Saved by the Bell isn’t your garden-variety bad. It’s uniquely, spectacularly bad. That’s why bringing Mr. Belding in to host a special celebrity edition of a dance night dedicated to cheese is just about the pinnacle of stupid perfection. Just ask the 900 people who showed up for it.

1. Jimmy Joslin,
2. DJ A-Rock,
3. Kittybat,

1. Grits & Gravy at Independent Bar, 70 N. Orange Ave., 407-839-0457,
2. Shotspitality Tuesdays at Vintage Lounge, 114 S. Orange Ave., 407-649-0000,
3. Takeovr at Roxy, 740 Bennett Road, 407-898-4004,

1. The Mud Flappers,
2. Tommy Treadway, (tie)
2. Thomas Wynn and the Believers, (tie)
3. Hindu Cowboys,