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Readers' Choice

Readers Poll Winner Highlight — Best Open Mic: Austin's Coffee 

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. (austinscoffee.com)

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

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