Our readers spoke, the votes have been tallied, the smoke has cleared and the only ones left standing are the winners of PGN’s first annual Best of Gay Philadelphia, celebrating all things that matter to the LGBT community in the city of brotherly stuff and other stuff.
Some of the categories were won by a total landslide victory. Other categories were really tight — fierce battles where every vote mattered. A few categories were so close, our crack PGN staff had to cast tiebreaking votes. There were also some surprises along the way and some moments you didn’t have to own a crystal ball to figure out.
So here it is, the list of winners. If you don’t like the results, you really can’t blame us, which is the greatest gift of all ... next to money, a new car, a better career or an iPad.
Anyway, we hope to hear even more of your voices next year.
Adult Store Danny’s, 133 South 13th St.; 215-925-5041
Danny’s slapped handcuffs on the competition, whipped them into submission with a riding crop and made them bow down to lick its boots. Who’s your favorite dildo wall?! Louder! I can’t hear you!
Bicycle Shop Bicycle Therapy, 2211 South St.; 215-735-7849
The only silver lining to having our bikes stolen in the city is having an excuse to (ahem) walk to Bicycle Therapy to buy a new one. Because the cops are damn sure not going to break a sweat trying to find your old bike. Really? One hundred parking tickets written on the block in two hours and you didn’t see anyone making off with our bikes? You’re not even going to write this up are you? Oh well, can you give us a ride to Bike Therapy?
Camping The Woods; thewoodscampground.com
This gay and lesbian clothing-optional campground in the Poconos dominated the category.
Clothing Store Metro Men’s, 1615 E. Passyunk Ave.; www.metromensclothing.com
Oh, look who has decent credit! You all are obviously better off than we are in the pockets. Kudos to Metro and its customers.
Furniture Bo Concept; 1719 Chestnut St.; 215-564-5656
Glad to see the recession isn’t hitting everybody.
Gym 12th Street Gym; 204 S. 12th St.; www.12streetgym.com
This well-equipped gym annihilated all others in the category, and deservedly so. If you don’t believe us, believe the sweaty masses crammed into the place to work out.
Hair Salon Salon K, 1216 Locust St.; 215-545-1880
Oddly enough, salons A through J didn’t get a single vote.
Breakfast IHOP, 1320 Walnut St.; 215-732-1726
All the culinary talent floating around the city and you all picked IHOP? We like to nurse our hangovers with stacks of fruity pancakes too, but the illusion of fine dining disappears when we sober up.
Brunch Sabrina’s Café, 910 Christian St., sabrinascafe.com
Sabrina’s quickly bounces back from its narrow loss in the breakfast category to IHOP. Still, it has to sting.
Dessert Brown Betty’s, 722 N. Second St. and 1625 Market St.; www.brownbettydesserts.com
With an arsenal of various high-quality sweets at its disposal, no other establishment shoots our hours at the gym straight to hell more than Betty’s. Damn! Damn! Damn! We wish we could quit you.
Dinner Valanni, 1229 Spruce St.; 215-790-9494
We agree. Whether you are trying to get full or get just enough food in your system to kick off a night of drinking, Valanni definitely does the trick. Wave at us the next time you visit.
Lunch Garces Trading Company, 1111 Locust St.; 215-574-1099
Also known as “Jose’s” on the streets, the Trading Company and its upscale European-bistro vibe won over the vast majority of you. And with a culinary powerhouse like Garces calling the shots, why wouldn’t it?
Outdoor Patio ICandy, 254 S. 12th St.; www.clubicandy.com
Luckily most of you know a real patio when you see one. For the rest of you, know this: Putting tables, chairs and umbrellas on the sidewalk when the weather is nice does not a patio make.
Overall Restaurant and Overall Bar and Happy Hour Knock, 225 S. 12th St.; 215-925-1166
Wow! You all love you some Knock. Holy crap! Knock, more than any other restaurant and bar, was a strong contender in a lot of restaurant and bar categories on this poll. Hell, Knock almost won best house of worship and best gym. We’re kidding ... But if they ever put an altar and a Bowflex in Knock, watch out!
Activist Christopher Bartlett
We haven’t known Chris to be loud or a rabble-rouser. But he’s got the community at the front of his mind at all times. Now he’s got the community behind him too.
Bartender Kenny at Tabu
The tide of votes Kenny got is impressive considering the rumors that he only works Friday-night happy hour.
Personal Trainer Jim Hart at 12th Street Gym
No contest. Hart won this category by a massive margin. And if we could afford his services, we’d probably know why. We can afford booze or personal training, but we can’t afford both.
Server Liz Smith at Dmitri’s
Liz, we’ve got a 45 single of Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money” with your name on it.
LGBT Event OutFest; phillypride.org
No disrespect, but we’d also prefer a block party in the fall over sweating our nether regions into oblivion in the summer too.
LGBT Fundraiser TOY, Delaware Valley Legacy Fund; www.dvlf.org/toy
This annual event to provide toys for children from the pediatric HIV/AIDS unit of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia never fails to warm our cold alcoholic hearts each holiday season.
House of Worship The Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany, 330 S. 13th St.; www.stlukeandtheepiphany.org
We agree wholeheartedly. If we ever backslide into liking organized religion again, and Buddhism or Wicca doesn’t work out, you’ll definitely find us keeping a pew warm at St. Luke’s.
LGBT Blog/Website Philadelphia Gay Calendar; phillygaycalendar.com
We’d like to thank all of you for not mentioning Perez Hilton in this category.
LGBT Nonprofit Mazzoni Center, 21 S. 12th St.; 215-563-0652
Kudos to this staff for its tireless efforts to keep the community healthy.
LGBT Networking Event Our Night Out; www.facebook.com/pages/Our-Night-Out-Philly
Yay! A reason to carry business cards!
LGBT Sports League City of Brother Love Softball; www.cblsl.org
Yeah ... This league knocked it out of the park.
Bar Food and Craft Beer Bar and Place to Grab a Beer Westbury, 261 S. 13th St.; 215-546-5170
Kudos to Westbury for nabbing a trio of awards and nailing the holy trinity of drunken sustenance: fried, grilled and melted, all the food groups that go great with imbibing mass quantities of a tasty and nonpedestrian selection of brews. The no-frills menu and excellent selection of frilly beers (pause for irony) is all we need to keep the good times rolling.
Bar/Nightclub Outside Philly Prohibition Night Club, Resorts International Hotel Casino, 1133 Boardwalk, Atlantic City; 800-334-6378
Atlantic City nightclubs can be frightfully tame and very straight, but fortunately neither of those qualities apply to Prohibition — so far the only casino-nightclub dedicated to the LGBT community in the glitzy city by the sea.
Place to Meet Women Stimulus; www.stimulusphilly.com
Damn! This monthly party pulled a Rocky Balboa-like victory from the jaws of the juggernaut that is Sisters.
Place to Meet Men and Karaoke Tavern on Camac, 243 S. Camac St.; 215-545-0900
Another tight race, but the notorious T.O.C. edged out the stiff competition as the place to meet men. It also narrowly came out in front in the karaoke race. It’s hard to believe the best place to meet men and karaoke can coexist, but that’s probably because when we sing, we can’t get laid to save our lives.
Casino The Borgata, 1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City; 609-317-1000
The Borgata blew away everything in Chester and downtown Atlantic City, and deservedly so. It has the best concerts and shows in town, great accommodations, top-notch restaurants and the best places to gamble away any money you have left.
Cozy Bar Stir Lounge, 1705 Chancellor St.; 215-732-2700
It’s like our living room but with better music, lighting, people and furniture. Yet somehow we have more booze at home. Professional help needed desperately ...
Dance Floor Voyeur, 1221 St. James St.; 215-735-5772
Surprise, surprise! We don’t know if you were voting for the “dancing” or the “floor,” but there you have it.
Drag Show Bob & Barbara’s Drag Show, 1509 South St.; 215-545-4511
We love to see drag invade the mainstream at any given opportunity, but we all know that drag is at its best in an environment of a dive bar where feather boas and Pabst Blue Ribbon coexist in grand fashion — which is why B&B’s drag night has been the longest-running drag show in the city.
Gay/Gay-Friendly Bar Woody’s, 202 S. 13th St.; 215-545-1893
This was a landslide and a surprise to few. Hats off to Philly’s iconic gay watering hole.
Lesbian/Lesbian-Friendly Bar Sisters Nightclub, 1320 Chancellor St.; 215-735-0735
We’d like to give a shout-out to all the people who answered the question like we were stupid and wrote “Sisters ... duh!” on the ballot. We pretty much figured they had this award locked down before we even called a vote, but we had to ask anyways.
Martini Chocolate Martini at Valanni, 1229 Spruce St.; 215-790-9494
We can’t argue with being the right drink and the right place at the right time, which is any time this place is open.
Mixed Drink Long Island Iced Tea at Knock, 225 S. 12th St.; 215-925-1166
Time travel in a glass. Beware! Long Island iced-tea goggles are a beast come daylight.
Neighborhood Bar Uncles, 1220 Locust St.; 215-546-6660
It turns out when you, dear readers, want to hit a bar stripped of all the bells and whistles, you make a beeline to the no-nonsense hangout that is Uncles.
Place to go after Pride Triumphant Pride; www.nightlifegay.com/p/triumphant-pride.html
Enough of you wrote “home” to almost make the list. And we can’t blame you. After a long day in the sun (or rain) at Pride, nothing would make us happier than hosing off eight hours worth of sweat, body paint and/or glitter and crashing for the night. But the heartier of you keep going, and most of you opt for Bruce Yelk’s annual post-Pride blowout.
Sports Bar Tabu, 200 S. 12th St.; 215-964-9675
Normally we can’t stand sports bars. Oh, we’ll watch a football or soccer game every now and again, but when it comes to remembering players’ names, memorizing stats, fantasy football, anything having to do with baseball, pretending the UFC fighting isn’t gay porn for straight guys, golf, basketball, etc., we can barely muster up the strength to care. But if we were to set foot in any sports bar, it would be Tabu. An overwhelming majority of you seem to agree.
Theme Night Jock Strap Night at The Bike Stop, 206 S. Quince St.; 215- 627-1662
The Bike Stop’s jock-ular evening beat the pants off the competition. It also must be noted that The Bike Stop was almost in competition with itself: Underwear Night was close to being in the running.
Arts & Entertainment
Local DJ DJ Robert Drake; www.myspace.com/djrobertdrake
Wow! You all like retro 1980s pop, new-wave and zombie-themed parties just as much as we do. And Drake is seemingly tireless when it comes to bringing it to us. If he’s not working at WXPN or hosting a theme night or dance party (Sex Dwarf, Zombie Prom, etc.) somewhere in the city, he’s opening for the hit bands from the ’80s when they roll through town.
Drag King Rasta Boi Punany; www.facebook.com/pages/Rasta-Boi-Punany
You go, boi!
Drag Queen Brittany Lynn; www.facebook.com/pages/Brittany-Lynns-Drag-Mafia
You go, girl!
Festival Q Fest; www.qfest.com
With mainstream Hollywood film getting increasingly disappointing in quality and scope of diversity, we all look forward to the likes of QFest, where we can see many, many films bringing to life a broad range of LGBT themes.
Live Music World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St.; 215-222-1400
World Cafe is such a wonderful and eclectic music venue that it recently had to open a second location in Wilmington. Have you been to Wilmington? We mean, have you ever stopped in Wilmington instead of driving through it on the way to someplace cool? Yeah, we haven’t done that in a long time. You have to have some serious musical mojo in Philly to make you want to tackle Wilmington. What’s next, Camden? Plus, World Cafe Live gets extra points for not relying on flavor-of-the-minute pop, rock and R&B acts. Instead, it favors artists who have built or are building a local following through dedication, artistry and hard work.
Musician and Singer Aiden James; www.aidenjamesmusic.com
We really dig James, and the out singer-songwriter took both categories handsdown and deserved the win. But come on, people! With all of the talent percolating in Philadelphia, it really should have been a tighter race, with more votes cast and more names of local performers and musicians thrown into the ballot box. Drag kings, queens and DJs all had clear top-five contenders, but musicians and singers didn’t. That is downright shameful, especially since a few of you wrote Beyonce and Elton John on your ballots. Yeah, like either one of them would bother to show up at our party. They can’t even be bothered to show up to court to renew their restraining orders against us. They send their lawyers and poof, “You have to stay 500 feet away! Get out of my limo!” Dear readers, here’s some homework due next year: Be able to rattle off a half-dozen worthwhile local musicians and/or singers and then get off your asses and go see some of them perform live. You’ll thank us.
Party Promoter Bruce Yelk
Bruce Yelk couldn’t be here to accept this award because he’s too busy promoting the living daylights out of yet another one of his fabulous events ... as well as the before-parties, the after-parties and the after-after-parties for said events.
Theater Group Maukingbird Theatre Company
The best and the gayest the city has to offer the world of theater, Maukingbird is always up for producing captivating and sometimes-edgy LGBT-themed productions.