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BOO 2012

Music & Nightlife - Staff Picks

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180 Grey Goose Lounge


 

Best improved concert room

Small hall at the Plaza Live
plazaliveorlando.com

The old splendor of this venue's grand hall is undeniable. But, besides being in its considerable shadow, the small hall used to feel like an ad hoc music room. However, recent investments like a new PA, permanent sound booth, additional acoustic wall treatment for improved sound, upgraded lighting rig and removal of the tiered floor to increase capacity have gradually transformed the more accessible space into a legitimate concert room in its own right that's hosted acts like Maps & Atlases and Cults. And according to the venue, plans to double the PA are already in the works.

Best High-End Space for Lowdown Gossip

The Abbey
100 S. Eola Drive
407-704-6103, abbeyorlando.com

Though we may have been initially dubious about the potential for the Abbey – it is, after all, located at the base of the Sanctuary, one of downtown's more glamorous condo-living compounds – thinking it would be little more than a mess hall for people with no messes, it's actually blossomed into a charming multi-purpose venue for parties and performances alike. The Abbey's real value, though, comes during political season, when it unconsciously morphs into the de facto donor magnet for your suited hopefuls. Put politics and booze together and you're bound to have some seething gossip, emotional breakdowns and even, on occasion, somebody passing out. Turns out that everyone has messes!

 

Best bar to really feel like you're in Florida

Wekiva Island
1014 Miami Springs Drive, Longwood
407-862-1500, wekivaisland.com

No matter how urban – or urbane – you think you are, sometimes nothing beats a lazy day drinking alongside a good old-fashioned gator-infested Central Florida river. Wekiva Island, a little hot spot for boating, drinking and other outdoorsy good times tucked just off a main thoroughfare down the road from Wekiwa Springs State Park, is one part marina, one part environmentalist retreat, with a big old dose of outdoor bar and grill thrown in for good measure. It's got lush, jungly scenery that serves as the backdrop for bonfires, cornhole games, volleyball and lounging. Rent a canoe and spend the day cruising up and down the river, then rent a party cabana or sit on the boardwalk with a beer in hand and watch the world – and its wildlife – go by. It really doesn't get much more Florida than this.

 

Best sober-up, don't hate yourself late-night food

Tako Cheena
932 N. Mills Ave., 321-236-7457, takocheena.com

Best of Orlando 2012
  • Local Color - Reader' Picks This year's Best of Orlando issue was written, edited, tallied, combined and compiled with the blood, sweat and tears of Marcus Griggs, Holly V. Kapherr, Faiyaz Kara... | 7/18/2012
  • Local Color - Staff Picks Gracing the cover of Orlando Weekly's 2012 Best of Orlando issue is no sweat, when you're Jose Melendez. Better known as Orlando's Mr. Gold, Melendez is the... | 7/18/2012
  • Goods & Services - Reader' Picks Best adult entertainment store 1st Fairvilla Megastore, 1740 N. Orange Blossom Trail, 407-425-6005; 7631 | 7/18/2012
  • Goods & Services - Staff Picks Nameplates! Doorknockers! Gucci bamboo hoops! Cuban links, herringbones, dookie ropes! Medallions! Dog tags! Caps and grills! On strictly utilitarian... | 7/18/2012
  • Food & Drink - Reader' Picks Best Caribbean 1st Bahama Breeze, multiple locations, bahamabreeze.com 2nd Mama Millie's, 12273 University Blvd., 407-382-3570, mamamillies.com | 7/18/2012
  • Food & Drink - Staff Picks Best attention-grabber beverage Beet & green apple juice from Café 118 | 7/18/2012
  • Music & Nightlife - Staff Picks If you're afraid of heights, stay away: Aptly named after its striking 180-degree view of downtown Orlando, this chic sanctuary sits at the top of Amway Center's... | 7/18/2012
  • Music & Nightlife - Reader' Picks Best Club DJ 1ST Baby Lac, @djbabylac 2ND Lemy Currey, facebook.com/lemycurrey 3rd Jimmy Joslin, facebook.com/JimmyJoslin | 7/18/2012
  • Arts & Culture - Reader' Picks Best Arts Event/Festival 1st The Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival, orlandofringe.org 2nd Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, wpsaf.org 3rd Nude Nite Art Exposé, nudenite.com | 7/18/2012
  • Arts & Culture - Staff Picks Best public art that doubles as a weapon "Symphony," 1989, by Paul Marco Mennello Museum of American Art 900 East Princeton Street 407-246-4278 mennellomuseum.com If you've ever thought of an "ice knife" as the perfect murder weapon (it melts! No finger | 7/18/2012
  • Sports & Recreation - Reader' Picks Best billiards hall 1st Sportstown Billiards, 2414 E. Robinson St., 407-894-6258, sportstownbilliards.com 2nd Cue-Phoria Billiards and Café, 2050 Semoran Blvd., Winter Park, 321-972-1867, cuephoria.com 3rd Trick Shots Billiards, multiple locations | 7/18/2012
  • Sports & Recreation - Staff Picks First word we received about this Gaelic jumble of a sport was when Orlando Hurling Club hosted their Clash of the Ash tournament last September. | 7/18/2012
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