Best Of 2021

Will's Pub
Will's Pub

Best Live Music Club, Best Pub, Best Dive Bar, Best Bar Overall: Will's Pub

It's been a hell of a year for the Mills 50 nightlife staple, but the results are in and you, the readers, have nothing but love for Will's Pub. Despite a multitude of pandemic-caused (doors closed, shows off the table) and non-pandemic-caused (the property being sold to a new owner back in March) challenges, the venerable watering hole rolled with the punches and even tried new innovations — the likes of which would have us crouched under the bar sobbing uncontrollably like a depressed Norm Peterson. With expanded hours, the development of the Dirty Laundry outdoors bar into gig space complete with stage, a partnership with Swine & Sons in running a kitchen for snacks and sandwiches on site, and a serious work ethic applied to health and safety policies, Will Walker and staff are doing their level best to evolve in topsy-turvy times. All while still putting out the strong drinks and neighborly vibes that keep the faithful returning night after night. Raise a glass, y'all. (

Readers Poll Winner Highlight — Best Open Mic: Austin's Coffee
Photo by Jessica Bryce Young

In "Big Yellow Taxi," Joni Mitchell sang caustically that "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot," and for a time it seemed like a version of that scenario was in the cards for Winter Park bohemian hub Austin's Coffee. The effort failed, or at least, it's stalled for now, and that's good news to the scores of budding performers who show up most nights to sing their lives at Austin's many open mic nights. The many, many Orlando Weekly readers who voted Austin's Best Open Mic can't all be performers, so we're guessing that's a solid majority endorsement of the entertainment value to be found. Austin's has a dedicated open-mic event for every taste or talent, whether it's comedy, poetry, rap freestyling, singer-songwriter folk, or jazz. And these affairs are proven incubators of heavy local talent — America's Got Talent finalist and touring comedian Preacher Lawson is only one example. Comedian Kirk Bonacci told Orlando Weekly in March that Austin's "has done more to help the local arts scene than any other place in the city." No joke there. (

First: Will's Pub,

Second: The Guesthouse,

Third: Southern Nights,

First: The Hammered Lamb,

Second: Will's Pub Dirty Laundry,

Third: Tuffy's Bottle Shop,

First: Player 1 Video Game Bar,

Second: Arcade Monsters,

Third: Sportstown Billiards,

First: Melissa Fowler, Sunroom and Guesthouse

Second: Jen Harton, Lil Indie's

Third: Benjamin Colon, The Commission Beer Chamber

First: Angel of Boom

Second: DJ BMF,

Third: DJ Scott Robert,

First: Mac & Cheese '90s Night at Barbarella

Second: Girl the Party at Southern Nights

Third: '80s New Wave Night at Barbarella

First: Lil Indie's,

Second: Mathers Social Gathering,

Third: The Guesthouse,

First: Hourglass Brewing,

Second: Redlight Redlight,

Third (tie): Celery City Craft,

Third (tie): The Commission Beer Chamber,