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Best Local Band: The Floorwalkers (Credit: Jeremiah Hyde)

ColumBEST 2012: People and Places

By (614) Magazine

Published May 1, 2012
Best Local: DJ roeVy (Credit: Brien Vincent)
Best Local Radio Station: CD101 (102.5FM) (Credit: We Are Glitterati)
Best Overall Columbus Celebrity: Jack Hanna (Credit: Chris Casella)

Best Local Band

The Floorwalkers
13.53% of 2,572 votes


For years, only the hippest in town knew and loved the Floorwalkers, whose eclectic mix of soul, funk, reggae and folk could be heard at such low-key jive joints as the Shi Sha Lounge. Now, two years after their first EP, the Floorwalkers reign supreme for the third year in a row as the best local band, according to our readers. With six members cranking out an energetic live show, and a stop at this year’s South by Southwest festival in Austin, the Floorwalkers have maintained a label-free, independent mindset, making them a favorite not only in Columbus, but throughout the Midwest. How popular are the Floorwalkers? They recently raised enough money through Kickstarter to buy a new touring van. Can you say blowing up?

2) The Castros … 11.35%
3) MojoFlo … 7.74%

Best Local DJ

roeVy<br. 1.57% of 1,145 votes


There’s a lot to take in at a roeVy show. Glow sticks carried by body-painted, glitter-dusted fairies move to the thick bass line laid down by two hooded figures with murky faces and red lasers for eyes; fans bounce through their blurred red, glowing lines of vision, through smoke and sparkling winged-fairies. Self-proclaimed as being born from a witch’s cauldron, roeVy mixes fantasy with horror in such a way that once experienced, becomes a scene unto itself.

2) Rob Stylz … 0.96%
3) DJ Moxy … 0.79%

Best Cover Band

The Reaganomics
21.17% of 2,074 votes


Out of all the decades for a cover band to choose from, this five-piece must have done something right by selecting the ’80s as their specialty. Since 1996, the Reaganomics have been spreading their love of new wave and dance pop throughout the Midwest. Beyond a busy schedule of live shows at clubs and festivals throughout the region, these retro-rockers are also available to keep the dance floor electrified at your private event.

2) Hoo Doo Soul Band … 13.4%
3) The Winnie Cooper Project … 10.99%

Best Local Radio Station

CD101 (102.5FM)
26.03% of 3,569 votes


Even if you don’t listen exclusively to CD102.5, try wandering to the rest of the country, where independent radio doesn’t exist. One of a dying breed, the station pays homage to the greats of alternative music, but programmers are ever-watchful, and some of our new favorite bands owe the keen ears of the nationally influential station their success. Fiercely independent, CD101 also pays respect to Columbus talent, sponsoring shows and broadcasting local bands – something you aren’t likely to see from the radio giants. The spirit of legendary DJ and music programming guru John “Andyman” Davis lives on in the station’s genuine dedication to good music and giving back to the community with events like the annual CD101 for the Kids Andyman-a-thon.

2) WNCI (97.9) … 14.12%
3) The Blitz (99.7) … 7.12%

Favorite Local Radio Personality

The Morning Zoo
22.72% of 2,865 votes


It isn’t easy to entertain people who just rolled out of bed, but Dave and Jimmy of WNCI’s Zoo have managed to attract a considerable fan base. The topical morning show features everything pop culture, from interviews with local and international celebrities to playful political and social commentary. The popularity of the Zoo proves that humor is tantamount to caffeine in starting your day off right.

2) Lesley James of CD101 … 18.12%
3) Woody Johnson of WCOL … 7.16%

Best Local TV Personality

Andrea Cambern of WBNS 10TV
19.35% of 3,055 votes


We at (614) might like to think that our in-depth profile of Cambern in January helped push her to the top, but this is the third time the most recognizable woman in Columbus has nabbed the ColumBEST top TV spot in a row. A decorated and respected reporter and anchor, Cambern has spent 21 years with 10TV. When she isn’t hanging out in her German Village neighborhood or her favorite spot Lindey’s, she’s making a difference for those who most need it, volunteering for several Central Ohio causes, including the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Central Ohio and The James Cancer Hospital.

2) Monica Day of NBC 4 … 12.41%
3) Jym Ganahl of NBC 4 … 9.23%

Best Overall Columbus Celebrity

Jack Hanna
21.31% of 2,529 votes


Briefly embroiled in a strange controversy earlier this year after defending Zanesville deputies who put down over 50 exotic animals, Jack Hanna still hung onto the mantle of the city’s best overall celebrity. Most rational people sided with Jack, who probably cried a lot as he helped authorities track down very many escaped predators. Widely acknowledged as one of the leading animal experts in the country, his incredible work at the Columbus Zoo transformed it into a national destination. When it comes down to it, we just love him as Jungle Jack – the man in the khakis with the charming Southern drawl. His love for animals and devotion to charitable causes and conservation efforts has made him the gold standard of Columbus celebrities.

2) Jeni Britton Bauer … 6.56%
3) Nina West … 6.45%

Best Local TV Station

33.52% of 2,885 votes


It’s time for Ellie Merritt, Cabot Rea, Colleen Marshall, Jim Ganahl and company to strut their proud peacock feathers again, for the third year running! From local news and weather to great daytime programming, the readers have spoken: NBC 4 wins again.

2) WBNS 10TV … 30.19%
3) FOX 28 … 15.63%

Best Art Gallery

Wexner Center for the Arts
40.29% of 1,683 votes

1871 N High St.

A reputation as one of the greatest artistic hubs in the Midwest is rightly deserved. The Wex does it all. Situated at the forefront of the Ohio State campus, the center announces itself with some of the most avant-garde architecture you’ll see around town. Inside, its unique corridors play host to sculptures, paintings, dance, music and film exhibitions by internationally acclaimed artists. Also, isn’t it about time that Heirloom, the Wex’s stellar cafe, got its due?

2) Roy G Biv … 11.29%
3) 83 Gallery … 10.46%

Best Festival

31.48% of 3,358 votes

It’s all in the name: the definitive festival of the summer is also the definitive festival for – and by – the Columbus community. Take a beautiful park, dozens of the best bands in the city, fleets of food trucks, innovative artisans, and good old-fashioned grassroots activism and you’ve got a potent mixture of dedication and relaxation. It’s more than lounging around in a vintage tie-dyed Grateful Dead t-shirt and drinking beer in the sun all weekend (although that ranks high on the agenda). Comfest is the essence of our city’s formidable creative edge – and it’s almost here!

2) Dublin Irish Festival … 16.83%
3) Jazz & Rib Fest … 13.76%

Best Movie Theater

Arena Grand Theatre
19.32% of 3,224 votes

175 W Nationwide Blvd.

The finest in cinematic entertainment, this campus-located, locally-owned multiplex brings both mainstream blockbuster and award-winning art house fare by way of its many plush auditoriums. A fantastic bistro, a full bar and weekly specials compete the stylish experience. We’d expect nothing less from a theater whose motto is “for the love of movies.”

2) AMC Lennox … 14.42%
3) Movie Tavern … 13.15%

Best Comedy Venue

Columbus Funny Bone
53.62% of 2,100 votes

145 Easton Town Center

Boasting a steady rotation of famous comedians and aspiring humorists alike, the Funny Bone has made comedy shows a local destination, rather than a background distraction. The venue also serves as a stepping-stone for local comedians, with talent searches and competitions pulling these wise guys (and gals) out of obscurity and onto the big stage.

2) Shadowbox Live … 23.9%
3) Wild Goose Creative … 6.57%

Best Live Music Venue

The LC Pavilion
30.43% of 2,665 votes

405 Neil Ave.

Promowest Productions’ flagship concert venue is no slouch when it comes to bringing in the best national and international acts through town. From Dylan to death metal, every performance sounds and looks amazing on the LC’s dual-action stage.

2) Newport Music Hall … 21.24%
3) Skully’s Music Diner … 10.39%

Best Dance Club

Skully’s Music Diner
35.8% of 1,746 votes

1151 N High St.

Dance-oriented Columbus nightlife is dominated by Skully’s, the Short North standby that, lately, seems perpetually in a state of improvements and installations: a partial roof on the expansive back patio and a top-of-the-line sound and light system are a few of the new additions that bolster this venue’s reputation as the go-to spot for gettin’ down and turnin’ loose. From the irrepressible weekly Ladies ’80s party to various electronic and hip-hop events throughout each month, you can count on Skully’s to bring the bodies and the beats to the dance floor.

2) Park Street Cantina … 19.53%
3) Wall Street Nightclub… 14.32%

Best Bowling Alley

Columbus Square Bowling Palace
27.72% of 1,941 votes

5707 Forest Hills Blvd.

Whether you take the game seriously, or just want a little friendly competition at 4 a.m., Columbus Square Bowling Palace has made a name for itself with its accommodating staff and charming atmosphere. As a cult favorite, it comes as no surprise that the alley hosted part of the Lebowski Fest last year. Bowlers of all skill levels are invited to join a league and enjoy the facilities and the timeless art of bowling.

2) AMF Sawmill Lanes … 23.54%
3) Ten Pin Alley and Spikes … 17.47%

Best Local Blogger

Nick Dekker, Breakfast with Nick
4.64% of 884 votes


It can sometimes be hard to sift through the self-absorbed wasteland that is the blogosphere; relationship advice, kitty photos and sports analysis from the unqualified masses abound. But, where the casual internet writer fails in either consistency or focus, Nick Dekker shines by sticking to what he knows best: starting the day with a big-ass breakfast. His win here indicates breakfast isn’t just the most important meal of the day; it’s the most blogworthy.

2) Cheryl Harrison, drinkupcolumbus.com/beingcheryl.com … 4.52%
3) Amy Schmittauer, Savvy Sexy Social … 3.17%

Best Karaoke

Mickey’s Bar
23.88% of 1,604 votes

1230 W Fifth Ave.

Mickey’s has certainly earned its reputation as a neighborhood favorite in Grandview, and karaoke is never more entertaining than in a venerable dive bar. Thursday through Sunday nights, One More Round Karaoke dominates the space, attracting a spirited crowd of regulars and 20-somethings who prefer the more laidback approach to getting behind the mic. Adrian X and a series of rotating hosts keep the event hopping. Accompanied by cheap drinks and friendly service, it isn’t difficult to understand the enthusiasm. You’ll be singing along before you know it.

2) Bernard's Tavern … 17.83%
3) Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace … 15.21%

Best Dining Patio

19.22% of 3,033 votes

263 E Whittier St.

Yet again, Barcelona ranks at the pinnacle of dining al fresca in Columbus. Routinely appearing at the tops of dining lists of all kinds, Barcelona's hidden patio alone warrants a trip to the German Village bastion of fine dining – but get there early, an empty set is a rare occurrence when the mercury hits 65 degrees and up. Be tenacious, though; it’s worth waiting for one of the finest culinary experiences in the city.

2) Lindey's … 17.05%
3) Haiku … 15.4%

Best Drinking Patio

Brazenhead Pub
17.63% of 2,898 votes

1027 W Fifth Ave.

In Grandview, you can tell more about the changing weather by looking to Brazenhead, rather than robins or groundhogs. Long a preferred post-work watering hole for the suit-and-tie set, grad students and YPs also scurry about, keeping an eye out for the next open table. Even better luck to you if it’s a Wednesday, when the $3 burger special reduces the vacancy to nearly nill. The good news: if you are part of the great comfortably-seated masses, you’re settled into the best outdoor drinking spot in town.

2) La Fogata … 13.29%
3) Woodland’s Tavern … 12.56%

Cleanest Public Restroom

The Cheesecake Factory
24.74% of 1,956 votes

Multiple locations

The quickest way to spoil an appetite is a dirty bathroom. Luckily our friends at the Cheesecake Factory have worked tirelessly to provide the most positive potty experience in Columbus. Thank you Cheesecake Factory; we appreciate each air freshener and stocked paper towel dispenser more than you can ever know.

2) Mitchell’s Ocean Club … 20.86%
3) Von Maur … 16.82%

Best Columbus Brewery

Columbus Brewing Company
36.62% of 2,717 votes

525 Short St.

Their Columbus Pale Ale has become a local classic; their Brewery District restaurant and brewhouse is an indispensable stop on any good tour of Columbus, but their willingness to think outside the keg is what makes this local micro a crowd favorite. Columbus Brewing Company is not only our city’s best brewery – it’s easily in the running for best in the state.

2) Elevator Brewery & Draught Haus … 23.41%
3) Barley’s Brewing Company … 18.48%

Best Bartender

Cris Dehlavi, M at Miranova
9.86% of 1,106 votes

2 Miranova Place

In a town full of bartenders, M’s Cris Dehlavi is a pour above all the rest. Her creative and crafty concoctions have earned her accolades beyond the Columbus cocktail scene, including her most recent accomplishment, a victory at the U.S. Bartenders Guild Don Q Rum competition. Her winning Refresco cocktail earned her the right to compete in the Manhattan Cocktail Classic in New York City this month. Cheers, Cris!

2) Tony Murray, T. Murray’s … 1.45%
3) AnnMarie, O’Reilly’s … 1.18%

Best Dive Bar

Char Bar
14.29% of 2,457 votes

439 N High St.

When most bar owners look up the online reviews for their establishment, the last words they’d prefer to see are “creepy” or “spooky,” but in the case of Char Bar, it’s all part of the kitsch-y appeal of the capital city’s favorite dive bar. The supposedly haunted cellar bathroom area might be the urban legend revelers pass around, but the intimate downtown patio and dart room is the best place to curl up for some judgment-free quenching – day or night.

2) Bob’s Bar … 12.05%
3) Beck Tavern … 10.22%

Best New Bar

World of Beers
30.05% of 2,080 votes

503 South Front Street

By combining simplicity with selection, World of Beers has helped put a little hop(s) back in the revived Brewery District. More than 500 different beers in stock would have been a sufficient hook to reel in new customers, but clever promotions like Service Industry Night, a monthly Sunday customer appreciation cookout, as well as live music, sets WOB apart from the average pub.

2) Local Bar … 13.75%
3) The Loose Goose Tavern … 11.83%

World of Beers Also Won: Best Beer Selection
28.81% of 2,492 votes

2) Bodega … 22.67%
3) The Winking Lizard … 16.61%

Best Overall Bar

12.17% of 2,992 votes

1044 N High St.

Once again, Bodega reigns King of Bars in our contest. We’re not sure what it is exactly that makes Columbus love the little Short North dive so hard – maybe it’s the amazing beer selection, or the affectionate happy hour deals, or the $1 grilled cheese sandwiches on Mondays, whatever the case may be, Bodega has again earned best overall bar, as well as best happy hour deal. In addition to the aforementioned accolades, this happening little spot on the corner of Third and High offers an easygoing atmosphere that caters to a wide array of patrons. Bodega is ideal all day long: perfect for a weekday lunch, an after-work beer, weekend cocktails, or a Sunday sabbatical.

2) Surly Girl Saloon … 10.86%
3) Club 185 … 8.32%

Bodega Also Won: Best Happy Hour
20.48% of 2,393 votes

2) Marcella’s Ristorante … 12.41%
3) Matt the Miller's Tavern … 11.24%

Best Wine Bistro

The Wine Bistro
19.53% of 2,340 votes

Multiple locations

Whether you’re looking the perfect spot for a romantic rendezvous or a classy post-work gathering, The Wine Bistro offers an array of bottles with palate-pleasing menu pairings galore. Explore the cellar for bottles to take home at state minimum prices, and don’t forget to stop by Mondays and Tuesdays to enjoy bottles in house with no corkage fee.

With locations in Upper Arlington and Worthington, you’ll feel right at home in The Wine Bistro's warm atmosphere.

2) Wine Guy Wine … 12.52%
3) Spagio Cellars … 12.26%

Best Trivia Night

Grandview Café
40.68% of 1,684 votes

1455 W Third Ave. www.columbustrivia.com

Host Steve Meyers keeps a steady a hand with the raucous and crowded Columbus Trivia Challenge that has become one of the more popular weeknight entertainment options in the capital city. With a healthy mix of pop culture and actual academic questions, the thirstiest know-it-alls in the city mix it up at the Grandview Café along with hundreds every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

2) Bernard's Tavern … 10.93%
3) Gresso's … 8.97%

Most Romantic Restaurant

The Melting Pot
16.16% of 3,583 votes

4014 Townsfair Way, Easton

Apparently, the love canal flows with fondue. Nothing says ‘hot times ahead’ like a river of scalding liquid chocolate. Go ahead and feed the strawberries to each other … after all, you’re in a public place, right? Such amorous scenes have seduced readers into voting the fondue-focused restaurant into the top romantic spot. Eating fondue is not only fun, but certainly qualifies as foodie foreplay. Check, please.

2) Barcelona … 11.97%
3) The Refectory Restaurant & Bistro … 11.86%

Best Pick Up Bar

Park Street Patio
19.9% of 1,266 votes

533 Park St.

Always packed, with patios full of Columbus’s most beautiful and libationally lubricated hotsters, the Park Street Patio draws from both the younger campus crowd and the downtown urban-living scene. These people must work out or something, because they look like they fell off the Coors train, and there’s plenty of rotation, so get in the line … it’s generally fairly long.

2) Bar Louie … 19.02%
3) Flannagan’s Dublin … 15.22%

Best LGBT Bar

Union café
42.17% of 1,487 votes

782 N High St.

Union Café redefines the popular notion of an LGBT hangout spot. The spacious patio and excellent fare creates a draw for everyone, and drink specials abound, making this a hot spot for karaoke, live shows, and great cocktails. Whether you’re into dancing, meeting new people, or checking in on everyone else in the scene, Union Café has you covered. The versatility of this Short North spot has made it one of the most popular names in the local scene.

2) Level Dining Lounge … 21.25%
3) Wall Street Nightclub … 15.06%

Best Sports Bar

Eddie George's Grille 27
17.23% of 2,409 votes

1636 N High Street

Since the former Buckeye great took his rightful place overlooking High Street, the large murals of the Heisman trophy winner serve not only as a reminder of gridiron glory, but as a beacon for gamedays and nights. Eddie George's, as it’s been refined to in local vernacular, has become a go-to spot for in-town and visiting sports freaks, with its ambitious menu and CIA-grade bank of flat screens.

2) Buffalo Wild Wings … 15.86%
3) Roosters … 15.28%


Brian @ 05/01/2012 05:05 pm

it looks like nick and cheryl tied for the blogger category, why did nick win?

Editor @ 05/01/2012 10:15 pm

@Brian: our apologies, Cheryl's percentage should have been 4.52%. It was by far our closest race, though!

Tim Okazaki @ 05/08/2012 11:39 am

Byrne's should win everything. I demand a recount.

Jessica H 7582 @ 05/15/2012 08:47 pm

Colors & Bottles www.colorsandbottles.com is the new best of Columbus!