Best of the Bay

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Best of the Bay voting closes tonight at midnight!

Posted By on Thu, Aug 29, 2013 at 5:00 AM


Alright Tampa Bay, it's time to make your voice heard in our annual Best of the Bay Readers' Poll. The poll is part of CL's annual Best of the Bay issue, which arrives Sept. 19 and highlights all the best (and sometimes the worst) that the Bay area has to offer in hundreds of categories covering People, Places & Politics, Food & Drink, Goods & Services and Arts & Entertainment. A big part of the issue is the Readers' Poll, for which we ask CL's smart, worldly and well-cultured readers (that's you, in case you were wondering) to weigh in on who YOU think we should be celebrating. The poll covers hundreds of topics, but don't worry, you only have to vote in a minimum of 24 categories for your vote to count. Voting takes minutes, it's easy and anonymous, and you can even save an unfinished ballot and come back later if you so desire.

You’re just a few click away from becoming a bona fide tastemaker. So click here and start voting. And be sure and check back in September to see who won!

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Best of the Bay winners bring some Laundry Love

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 6:18 PM

One of the more inspiring Best of the Bay winners of recent years was Current of Tampa Bay, named Best Young Hopefuls in BOTB 2011.

A nonprofit founded by former youth pastor Jason Sowell, Current is an almost entirely student-run organization that assists low-income families through initiatives like home makeovers and the Laundry Love Project, a unique solution to a basic human need.

Laundry Love crews turn neighborhood laundromats into ad hoc community centers, putting coins in the slot for those unable to pay for clean clothes themselves and providing activities for families while they wait.

The next Laundry Love Project will take place tomorrow, Dec. 3, at Big Wash Coin Laundry, 908 E Waters Avenue in Tampa from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Jason says volunteers are always needed, so stop by and join the fun. While you're there you can learn more about Current's upcoming Laundry Love road trip to Orlando and its annual Christmas trip to help the needy families of Las Vegas.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Loafies rocked!

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 5:06 PM

The crew from Impulse Pole Dance celebrates their win for Best Pole Dancing Fitness Studio.
  • The crew from Impulse Pole Dance celebrates their win for Best Pole Dancing Fitness Studio.

Best Local Scene Champion Andre Jones accepts his award.
Last night, 600 people crowded into Czar's Imperial Theatre for The Loafies, Creative Loafing's celebration of the 21st annual Best of the Bay Awards. From former Mayor Pam Iorio (Best Local Politician, Best Local Hero, and Best Actress in a Two-Minute Introductory Loafies Video) to the irrepressible Andre Jones (Best Local Scene Champion, aka Black Viking God), the club was packed full of fabulousness. And music: Living Arches, Rise of Saturn, Sons of Hippies, Geri X, Infinite Skillz, B.C., DJs Blenda, Mega, Casper and Lesage all rocked the room.

With roughly 400 awards in the Readers' Poll and Critics' Pick lists combined, we weren't able to hand everything out during last night's show — and even some of the folks who were there to accept couldn't maneuver their way through the throngs to pick up their awards on stage. (Sorry, SideBern's.) So, if you didn't receive your award yet — and you can find the entire list right here — come by our offices at 1911 N. 13th St. (above Spaghetti Warehouse in Ybor Square) anytime between 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and pick them up. Or — contact Lily Reisman at 813-739-4815 or, and she'll help arrange a delivery.

For more pictures, check out the Loafies slide show.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Got your Loafies tickets?

Posted By on Sun, Sep 18, 2011 at 5:03 PM


Creative Loafing's annual Best of the Bay extravaganza turns 21 this year, so now that we're finally legal we're holding the BOTB awards show, The Loafies, at a bar — on the 21st.

Join us Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 7 p.m. to whenever at the multi-level, multi-media Czar Imperial Theatre in Ybor City. We'll be announcing winners of our Critics' Picks and Readers' Poll in categories like Best Politician (and Best Worst Politician), Best Breakout Visual Artist (and Best Place to Show Your Butt), Best Chef (and Best Band to Drink Whiskey To) — and we'll be handing out the first copies of the Best of the Bay 2011 issue.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Readers' Poll 2011: Voting closes midnight Aug. 31

11:59 p.m., to be exact: Vote now for Best of the Bay!

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 12:40 PM


36 hours to go! We'd previously announced a deadline of 4 a.m. tomorrow for the end of voting in this year's Best of the Bay Readers' Poll, but figured who but robo-voters would be up at 4 a.m.? So now all you human beings have a chance, too — our biggest Readers' Poll ever closes officially once and for all at 11:59 p.m. Wed. Aug. 31.

That means you still have a chance to vote for your favorite restaurants, newsmakers, dog parks, head shops, bizarro local news stories and more. We've already alerted you to some of the close races and top vote-getters; so log in and be counted!

Plus, you can now get an amazing deal on our annual Best of the Bay Awards Show, The Loafies.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Readers' Poll 2011: Which categories are the hottest?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 12:02 PM

You have less than 48 hours to vote in the Best of the Bay Readers' Poll 2011, which closes on Wed. Aug. 31 at 4 a.m. 11:59 p.m.

We told you last week which races are the tightest — and it looks like someone paid attention, because things have changed in categories like Best Italian Restaurant and Best Gym.

Well, here's some more intel you might find of interest — the categories drawing the biggest number of votes, plus a few that could use a little love. And remember: There's still plenty of time for a dark horse to pull ahead in the poll's final days.


• Hair and there: In Goods & Services, voters are flipping their wigs for the Best Hairstylist and Best Hair Salon categories. Best Clothing Boutique (Women) is also a hotly contested race. And in what may be an indication that huge institutions=huge votes, we're seeing big tallies for Best Hospital and Best Department Store. But if you've got a favorite Pilates Studio, it's time to stand up (or stretch out?) and be counted.

• If you lived there, you'd be voting now: Love where you're living? Two contenders are currently tied for first place for Best Apartment Complex — so it's time to get off the couch and get out the vote.

• Big appetites: The votes are pouring in like gravy for categories like Best Breakfast, Best Pizza and Best All-Around Restaurant (a new category this year). But vote counts for Best Middle Eastern Restaurant and Best Soul Food could use some fattening up.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Best of the Bay Readers' Poll 2011: Who's winning?

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 5:51 PM


Have you voted in this year's Best of the Bay Readers' Poll? If not, you'd better hurry: The poll closes at 4 a.m. 12:59 p.m. on Wed. Aug. 31. The tally so far has already broken records, and with less than seven days to go, we're expecting all of the races to go right down to the wire.

Here's some hints on where things stand:

Best City: Tampa, St. Pete or Clearwater? We added this new category thanks to a staffer who's a passionate advocate for his side of the Bay, and it's turned into one of the biggest vote-getters ever. While some voters want to think more holistically ("Aren't they just one big city that doesn't want to admit it?") and others are rejecting the three cities altogether and suggesting alternatives — "Temple Terrace (and no, that's not the same as Tampa - waaaaaaay different)" — we are seeing a fierce fight that at this point any of the three could win.

Worst Local Politician: For years, one public servant has had a lock on this category. She's once again showing strength, but this year she faces a competitor who may have out-worsted her.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

BOTB '11: YOU choose the best in food and drink in Tampa Bay

Don't let Taco Bell win again.

Posted By on Wed, Aug 10, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Unless you live under a rock or rarely use the internet, you've most likely heard that it's that time of the year again. No, I'm not talking about Hurricane Season — it's Best of the Bay time!

For the 21st time, we're asking our readers to get online and make their voices heard on who/what/where to see/do/eat/play/shop/make fun of in Tampa Bay. And, since dining out seems to be a big deal in the Bay, we at the CL Food & Drink section are humbly requesting your votes. We don't care who or what you choose, we just want your opinion on the hard-hitting topics, like "Who has the best burger?," "Which chef throws it down the most skilfully?," "Where's the best spot to abuse a Happy Hour menu?," and so many more.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Best of the Bay Readers' Poll: It's in the works

Tampa Police Chief Castor was a winner last year. Help us create the 2011 ballot.

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 9:34 PM


The voting for Creative Loafing's 2011 Best of the Bay Readers' Poll is just weeks away, and we'd like your input.

Check out last year's winners. What categories should we add? What categories should we retire? Any predictions for this year's results?

We're in the process of putting together the ballot right now, and the polls will open on July 28. Tell us what you're hoping to see on the ballot in comments below, or go to CL's Facebook page.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Best of the Bay 2010: The best in global cuisine

Posted By on Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 4:30 PM


Tampa Bay has an array of restaurants that represent different cuisines from around the globe. So put away your passport, save yourself an expensive flight overseas and check out some of the best ethnic fare the Bay area has to offer as picked by our CL staffers and faithful readers.

Critics' Picks:

Best Fish & Chips: Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Palma Ceia

Anglophiles on both sides of the bay have known for years that when only the perfect fish and chips will do, Mad Dogs is the destination. Greasy, but not too greasy, with that batter that’s crispy on the outside yet moist on the inside. The chips are great big slabs of salty golden awesome, and the portions are heroic. The whole meal is so authentic it oughta come wrapped in newspaper. There are a couple of other places in the area that come pretty close, but Mad Dogs has been doing it so well for so long that their perfection is second nature. 4115 S MacDill Ave., Tampa, 813-832-3037,

Best Dinner and a Movie: Bollywood Cafe, Westchase

At first, it seemed like Bollywood Cafe would be all schtick and little substance. This new Westchase restaurant promised internet kiosks at every table, Bollywood flicks on the patio and food that seemed silly at best. But the menu turned out to be better than expected, with serious Indian dishes sharing space with bizarre but satisfying Indo-American fusions like chili paneer fries or tandoori penne vodka. It’s just the kind of fun but tasty fare you need to carry you through 90 minutes of massive, highly energetic choreographed dance numbers on the big screen in the courtyard. 9648 W Linebaugh Ave., Tampa, 813-926-4000,

Best "Why Didn't I Think of That" Fusion Restaurant: Nitally’s Thai-Mex Cuisine, Downtown St. Pete

A risky idea pays off handsomely for this spicy Grand Central space, and for St. Pete diners as well. The folks at Nitally take two of the boldest ethnic cuisines out there and cross-reference them both subtly — like serving a peanut chicken dish with tortillas — and outrageously (like their curry burritos). There’s also plenty of more traditional Thai fare on the menu for the less adventurous, and it’s wonderful, but it’s those epicureans willing to take a chance on chorizo fried rice or the stunning panang mole that really benefit from Nitally’s unique culinary perspective. 2462 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-321-8428,

Best Lunchtime Thai: Sumo's Thai Cafe, Downtown Tampa

Only open for lunch, this family-owned bistro serves contemporary Thai food in a pleasant atmosphere. Perfectly browned spring rolls with a delicate spicy-sweet sauce and uniquely refreshing main dishes are sure to send you back to the office with a smile. It’s a bargain, too — even with an appetizer and drink, you’re not likely to break $15. 301 E Twiggs Ave., Tampa, 813-849-7866

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