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After Dark: Critics' Picks

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BEST CONCERT VENUE (LARGE)

Neighborhood Theatre

A repeat winner. Since going through a remodeling, the Neighborhood Theatre has quickly become a venue-of-all-sizes. They can put in seats for the mellow shows and clear house to make room for dancing. The VIP sections give great views while the balcony offers a completely different perspective. The staff is comprised of some of the friendliest scene supporters around, and the recent lineups have been notable, including a number of sold-out shows, including two by the Black Crowes last fall.

511 E. 36th St.
704-358-9298

BEST CONCERT VENUE (MEDIUM)

Visulite Theatre

While continuing to draw in bands of all kinds, the Visulite continues providing great sound and quality acts while also showcasing a local festival or two from time to time. They've had local music showcases, burlesque shows, national touring acts and a little bit of everything in between. You've also gotta love the multi-tiered approach that gives a great view from just about anywhere in the place.

1615 Elizabeth Ave.
704-358-9200

BEST CONCERT VENUE (SMALL)

Milestone

It's hard to forget the traditions and history in this place ... until you walk through the door and literally see the writing on the wall. Credit goes to Neal (MF) Harper for his undying dedication to keeping the venue going and booking bands that most places in town wouldn't even give a second glance to. When it comes to supporting local and independent music, The Milestone is where it's at.

3400 Tuckaseegee Road
704-398-0472

BEST CONCERT OF PAST 12 MONTHS

Get Out and Vote @ Amos' Southend

The last minute mini-tour by the Beastie Boys in support of getting people out to vote was a major coup for both Charlotte and Amos' Southend. While the tour hit arenas and coliseums in other markets, the show here sold out in minutes and, literally, had the crammed-in audience climbing the rafters for a better view. Sheryl Crow and Santigold were also on the bill.

BEST CLUB FOR MUSIC

Neighborhood Theatre

If it's options you like, it's options you'll get. They can cover the floor with chairs for mellow enjoyment, clear half the floor to mix things up or open the place entirely for getting the collective groove going. It leans toward the jam side of the street, but there've been plenty of other acts to fill the gaps for rock, blues, bluegrass and just about everything in between. NoDa wouldn't be the same without it.

511 E. 36th St.
704-358-9298

BEST CLUB FOR DANCING

Halo

Once quietly tucked away in the mostly vacant yet quite expansive N.C. Music Factory complex, Halo (formerly known as the Garden & Gun Club) is now taking full advantage of the recent openings of the new Fillmore Charlotte and Uptown Amphitheatre offering free pre-show and/or post-show cover on concert nights. So it shouldn't come as a surprise to club regulars that more folks are turning out to soak up the club's atmosphere and hit its dance floor. House music seems to be the main focus, yet depending on the crowd (or show next door), that can change. There's also comfy couches for lounging and an outdoor patio for cooling down when you're not out on the floor.

820 Hamilton St., Suite A2
704-246-1752

BEST KARAOKE

Jackalope Jacks Restaurant & Bar

Good karaoke is an oxymoronic myth. But if you must belt out your favorite Journey ballads, Jackalope Jacks is the place to be on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays starting up around 10:30 p.m. If you aren't feeling bold enough to perform, you can American Idolize those who do from the comfort of the closest booth or barstool.

1936 E. 7th St.
704-347-1918

BEST PLACE FOR A FIRST DATE

Las Ramblas

What better way to get to know your potential soulmate than sharing small plates of savory Spanish cuisine? The warm, intimate ambience alone is worth the dining experience. Then add an amazing tapas menu and wine list into the mix and you're sure to make a great impression ... or, if you don't, at least the meal will.

2400 Park Road, Suite M
704-335-8444

BAR WITH HOTTEST MEMBERS OF OPPOSITE/SAME SEX

Anywhere In The EpiCentre

Tanned hotties swarm to the EpiCentre like moths to a flame. Partygoers from UNC-Charlotte to Gastonia come dressed to impress. At the EpiCentre, there's no such thing as skin too tan, boobs too big, a dress too short, or a graphic tee too flashy. Bring all your goodies and shake it.

210 E. Trade St.

BEST POOL HALL

Elizabeth Billiards

A repeat winner. We dare you to find a better place to rack 'em up. We haven't, which is why EB has won this category an infinite number of years in a row. Sharks and novices alike will feel at home in this no-frills friendly dive bar, complete with cheap beer and billowing nimbus clouds of nicotine that'll keep you smelling cigarette fresh for days.

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