Best Selection of Imported Beers; Best Selection of Draft Beers
The Toronado is liquid nirvana for barley buffs and wheat whizzes, with a bevy of esoteric brews such as Rose de Gambrinus, Twist of Fate, Arrogant Bastard, and Black Ghost. For the rest of us proletarians, who simply wish to get blotto in the Lower Haight, the Toronado's infinite menu testifies that all bars are not created equal. 547 Haight, S.F. (415) 863-2276.
Best Rep Film House
Catching a flick at the Red Vic Movie House is like being transported to another dimension in which movie theaters are full of comfy sofas, serve hot coffee and huge tubs of buttered popcorn (with real butter!), and show cool underground films. This worker-owned cooperative specializes in art-house fare, documentaries, and cheesy classics like Krush Groove. 1727 Haight, S.F. (415) 668-3994, www.redvicmoviehouse.com.
Best Burlesque Troupe
San Francisco's Kitty Kitty Bang Bang is a cool drink of water. Conjuring the atmosphere of a speakeasy, a turn-of-the-century French cabaret, and a bohemian jazz club, this troupe's feathery peekaboo fan dances and aerial trap-teases peppered with your standard slapstick comedy almost make you want to take Grandma for a night on the town. kittykitty.davedeluxe.com.
Best Theater Company
Danny Glover, Annette Bening, Denzel Washington, Benjamin Bratt, and Winona Ryder are among the American Conservatory Theater's distinguished former students. We're still puzzled over how Bratt weaseled his way in there, but our readers aren't: they singled out ACT as the finest theater company in the Bay Area. 415 Geary, S.F. (415) 749-2ACT.
Best Dance Company
Who wouldn't love Capacitor's Future Species performance, with dancers dangling from pulleys and twirling fire. This hip, exciting dance troupe is like a cross between Cirque du Soleil and capoeira. 890 Urbano, S.F. (415) 308-1952.
Best Improv Company
Unlike most improvisation warm-ups and comedy sketches, works by Bay Area Theatresports are full-length plays created entirely on the fly. And kudos to the players and producers for keeping live theater based in financial reality with ticket prices in $12-to-$15 range. (415) 474-8935, www.improv.org.
Best Art Gallery
There are more than a few reasons to get hyped on City Art Cooperative Gallery, starting with the fact that it's owned and operated by local artists and the artwork is sold at affordable prices. City Art is not merely a gallery it's a network of peers who promote and support one another's creativity. 828 Valencia, S.F. (415) 970-9900.
Best Free Art
Treat yourself to a colorful, free, tour of the murals scattered throughout San Francisco but concentrated in the Mission District. Assorted murals 21st St. and Mission, S.F.; Valencia and Cunningham, S.F.; 19th St. and Valencia. Mission Playground murals 18th St. and Valencia. Jungle mural 1079 Church.
Best Place to Hear Live Rock
A classic Bay Area favorite, Bottom of the Hill features a consistently kick-ass lineup of alternative, rockabilly, punk, hard rock, folk, funk, and pop. It also has a full bar, pool tables, a kitchen that stays open late, and a patio area where marooned smokers can find momentary Zen. Some shows are even all-ages. 1233 17th St. , S.F. (415) 621-4455.
Best Place to Hear Hip-Hop
The Justice League is the spot for sucka-free hip-hop that don't stop till the clock strikes two. It's as gritty as the concrete dance floor under your feet, but with a dive appeal that keeps the kids coming back for more. So get up and shake what yo' mama gave you. 628 Divisadero, S.F. (415) 289-2038.
Best Jazz Club
Oakland's rich music history is virtually unknown to a generation raised on American Idol, but anyone who frequents Yoshi's where an elegant mixture of jazz and sushi seduces the senses will get a chance to experience the best of it. 510 Embarcadero West, Oakl. (510) 238-9200.
Best Salsa Club
One of the oldest Latin clubs in San Francisco, Roccapulco knows how to keep salsa devotees satisfied with authentic live music. For those who wish to hone their dancing skills before shaking it, there are classes on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The owners would also like to remind you to dress to impress after all, this high-end club was once Cesar's Latin Palace. 3140 Mission, S.F. (415) 648-6611.
Best Dance Music
Sublounge may be targeted at a slightly older and more local crowd than the slowly fading candy-raver spots are, but it's the favorite of club-hopping connoisseurs who enjoy progressive house, or just love that old-school funk. 628 20th St., S.F. (415) 552-3603.
Best Retro Club Night
It's 1984 every Thursday night at the Cat Club, always free before 10 p.m. and open an hour later than the city's big-brother curfew would like to permit. Come relive the past or introduce yourself to Reagan-free 1980s hits. 1190 Folsom, S.F. (415) 431-3332.
Best Bar Jukebox
OK, one inevitably loses a degree of faith in the human race when some goober in a trucker hat is feeding the jukebox while the DJ spins, but what would this country be without jukeboxes? Give it up for the 540 Club, a homey dive where you can play table tennis or foosball, and yes, pump quarters into the best damn juke in San Francisco. 540 Clement, S.F. (415) 752-7276.
Best Drag Troupe
There's no lip-synching allowed when Rachel, Trixie, Vaselina, and Winnie of the Kinsey Sicks take center stage this self-proclaimed "dragapella beautyshop quartet" can actually sing. Any group that can pull off a performance titled Get Off Your Fat Ass and See Our Show in retro-fabulous drag teetering on the hideous deserves this award. (415) 882-1142, www.kinseysicks.com.
After duds like Death to Smoochy and One-Hour Photo, fans found themselves praying Robin Williams would hop back on the white horse and return to his "snow king" roots. But Bay Guardian readers don't mind they can't get enough of the humorous homunculus.
Best Happy Hour
Hey, if you love sports and booze, Green's Sports Bar is the perfect place to spend the happiest hour of the day. True to its name, this pub fave houses 15 TVs, 18 draft beers, thousands of sports photos, a pool table, and video games phheew! 2239 Polk, S.F. (415) 775-4287.
Best Dive Bar
Zeitgeist, a rat biker bar with a giant yard for humans and their dogs, is your best bet for getting drunk without emptying your checking account. And for $30 you can rent a sink to puke in and a bed on which to sleep it off. 199 Valencia, S.F. (415) 255-7505.
Best Bar to Play Pool In
At the Transfer the crowd oscillates between hipsters and a steady slew of "mature" regulars. But hey, nothing brings people together like a daily happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m. and a good old-fashioned pool table. 198 Church, S.F. (415) 861-7499.
Best Bar for Queer Men
The Stud, a SoMa establishment catering to queer aesthetics since 1966, is Bay Guardian readers' favorite spot for boys who enjoy a bit of clothing with their skin-clad go-go boys. 399 Ninth St., S.F. (415) 252-7883.
Best Bar for Queer Women
The cozy and relaxed Lexington Club is just the place to have a few drinks with friends and get acquainted with new ones. Whether you want to check out the wild bathroom art or shoot a mellow game of pool, the Lex is the place for dykes of all seasons. 3464 19th St., S.F. (415) 863-2052.
Best Bar for Bisexuals
Este Noche, a place where cultural stigmas are put aside to make way for the free expression of your very own liberated self, is home to the Mission's best drag queens and the men who love them. 3076 16th St., S.F. 415-861-5757.
Best Bar for Transsexuals
Every Tuesday night is Trannyshack night at the Stud, with shows starting at midnight to The Muppet Show theme song. MC Hecklina rules this gender-bending court of drag performers. Bay Guardian voters say it's not to be missed by boys and girls who are into offbeat drag and a raging good time. Tues., 399 Ninth St., S.F. (415) 252-7883.
Best Bar for Heterosexuals
We're not sure what makes Julip so straight. Fortunately the music is anything but. You'll hear everything from electroclash and Afro-Latin beats to funky jazz and soulful funk. 839 Geary, S.F. (415) 474-3216.
Best Spoken Word Night
K'vetsh is the city's only queer open mic, held on the first Sunday of every month at Sadie's Flying Elephant. The best thing about this night besides the slammin' poetry is it costs you a dollar to get in. K'vetsh is guaranteed to be more provocative than any bus ride you'll ever take, unless you're seated next to a schizophrenic communist named Adele. First Sundays, Sadie's Flying Elephant, 491 Potrero, S.F. (415) 551-7988.
Best Spoken Word Performer
He was the lead singer for the Dead Kennedys. He's toured as a spoken word artist. He ran for mayor of San Francisco. He defended himself in court and fought for his constitutional rights. He's a real American role model not some loser athlete or pop star, but a guy who does what he believes and shouts it to the world. Find out more about Jello Biafra at www.alternativetentacles.com/jello.php. Thank you and goodnight.
Best Electronic Band
Gooferman's original sound fuses electronic genres big beat, funky breaks, drum 'n' bass, hip-hop, breakbeats, IDM, reggae, jungle fleshed out with the usual computers and turntables and garnished with live vocals, drums, bass, guitar, percussion, and wacky toys. It all somehow swings to a Latin beat. The band calls its style "chop hop." 1-TON-O-GOOFER, www.gooferman.com.
Best Hip-Hop Group
Deep Dickollective Gawd, that group is so gay, and proud of it. These self-defined "BourgieBohoPostPomoAfroHomos" get the word out to hip-hop haters and enthusiasts. Their lyrics are brainy and political, but their live shows are pure animal energy. Check 'em out. sugartruck.tripod.com.
Best Rock Band
Watching the 40 members of the Extra Action Marching Band jam is sort of like going to your high school's football half-time show on acid, except it's more acidic. This group is full of "school spirit," having rocked San Francisco's LGBT Pride Parade, block parties, and war protests. And since there are as many percussionists in the band as there are students in a public school classroom, you're not likely to stand still when the Extra Action Marching Band comes trampling in. www.extra-action.com.
Best Retro Band
Who can resist those steely blue peepers, those furry eyebrows, and that one good album he made with African musicians? Neil Diamond is the inspiration for Super Diamond, an enigmatic tribute band headed by lead singer Surreal Neil. Super Diamond have found their niche with San Francisco's crazy, soft-rockin' kids. www.superdiamond.com.
Best Club DJ
Listening to Morse Code spin is like the first time you heard Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth's "They Reminisce over You (T.R.O.Y.)" and discovered the spiritual essence of hip-hop. You're sucked into a musical vortex of funk where past, present, and future collide. Check local listings for appearances.