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Out & About: Readers Poll 

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Writers Picks

Best creepy abandoned castle

Best puppet theater (with apologies to Paperhand)

Best fancy-pants movie experience

Best palace of puzzles

Best place to dance on roller skates

Best place to pretend you're bowling in virtual reality

Best venue that isn't a venue

Best venue that doesn't exist

Best album we're still waiting for

Most confusing annual festival

Best unexpected public art

Best place to play bumper pool in shorts

Best place to look at weird art

Best place to hear poetry

Best place to look at art mid-bender

Best power-broker dining spot in Raleigh

Best power broker dining spot in Durham

Best restaurant bread service

Best place to live out your Drunktown fantasies

Best case for an exception to the smoking ban

Best place to get drunk with your dog

Best place to get excited about bread

Best place to get strange beer for cheap

Best Sunday morning traffic jam

Best downtown Durham standby

Best beverage district you've never heard of

Best broke sweet treat

Best place to eat with your hands

Best place to watch the sunset

Best place to meet a ghost

Best local tempeh

Best secret vegetarian junk food

Best place to eat cheese fries for dinner

Best cocktail with peanuts in it

Best free happy hour

Best place to make appetizers a meal

Best barbecue for vegetarians

Best bar you don't go to (and please don't start)

Best diner your trendy friends don't know about

Best not-complete-garbage drunk food

Best place to feel old

Best place to stop and smell the flowers in Raleigh

Best place to stop and smell the flowers in Durham

Best place to hike a mountain

Best park that is not technically a park

Best place to fly

Best place to disappear

Best local marathon

Best place to observe latest trends in exercise fashion

Best place to find every cosmetic product you'll ever need

Best place to shop for an embalmed two-headed turtle

Best place to ponder cultural appropriation

Best place to vape

Best place to find a rare record to brag about

Best place to buy church pews (or almost anything else)

Best place to find weird stuff to brag about

Best cheap mani/pedi

Best place to buy gifts for your parents

Best holdout in Durham

Best HB 2 fact-check

Best place to believe in the state's future

Best place to despair about the state's future

Best avant-garde bathrooms

Best place to die a fiery death

Best building that shouldn't be where it is

Best local politician keeping it real

Best boondoggle

Best thing Paul Stam is actually right about

Best place to find the worst people in the Triangle

Best place to learn the difference between a sousaphone and a euphonium

Best new liberal lion

Best DPD foil

Best place to get lost in local sci-fi and fantasy

Best place to smoke weed in public

Best local reporter we'd like to see interview Governor McCrory

Best pawn shop at which to buy an electric guitar

Best store that has a "holiday sale" on 4/20

Best vision for expansion

Best place to buy an Edgar Allan Poe prayer candle

Best place to get hitched

Best place to buy poetry books

Best place to buy a Mark Jacobson Toyota

Best art gallery

North Carolina Museum of Art

2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh

Finalists: The Carrack, FRANK Gallery, Pleiades Gallery

Best barista in Durham County

David Chapman, Bean Traders

105 West N.C. 54, #249, Durham

Finalists: Areli Barrera de Grodski, Cocoa Cinnamon; Ali Linn, Respite; Susie Locklier, Cocoa Cinnamon

Best barista in Orange/Chatham County

Rajeev Rajendran, Caffe Driade

1215 East Franklin Street, Chapel Hill

Finalists: Rashed Arafat, Joe Van Gogh; Josh Kimbrough, Open Eye Cafe; Spencer Lee, Open Eye Cafe

Best barista in Wake County

Larz Robison, Café de los Muertos

300 West Hargett Street, Raleigh

Finalists: Ross Gongaware, Cup A Joe; Klay Misenheimer, Bittersweet; AJ Viola, BREW

Best bartender in Durham County

Shannon Healy, Alley Twenty Six

320 East Chapel Hill Street, Durham

Finalists: Katy Creech, The Glass Jug; Leslie Matista, The Bar; Daniel Sartain, Bar Virgile

Best bartender in Orange/Chatham County

Jamie McPhail, Orange County Social Club

108 East Main Street, Carrboro

Finalists: Cynthia Burkins, YesterYears Brewery; Wayne Jordan, City Kitchen; Ari Sanders, Mystery Brewing

Best bartender in Wake County

Mark Connor, Slim's

227 South Wilmington Street, Raleigh

Finalists: Lucius Cyrus, Person Street Bar; Tom Fisher, Person Street Bar; Garrett Waddell, Stanbury

Best comedy club

Goodnights Comedy Club

861 West Morgan Street, Raleigh

Finalists: ComedyWorx, DSI Comedy Theater, Neptune's Parlour

Best gay or lesbian bar

The Pinhook

117 West Main Street, Durham

Finalists: The Bar, Flex Nightclub, Legends

Best karaoke

The Pinhook

117 West Main Street, Durham

Finalists: Flex Nightclub, Kingdom Karaoke, The Northside District

Best live theater company

Raleigh Little Theatre

301 Pogue Street, Raleigh

Finalists: Little Green Pig, Paperhand Puppet Intervention, PlayMakers Repertory Company

Best live theater venue

Durham Performing Arts Center

123 Vivian Street, Durham,

Finalists: Carolina Theatre, Manbites Dog Theater, PlayMakers Repertory Company | Paul Green Theatre

Best museum

Museum of Life + Science

433 West Murray Avenue, Durham

Finalists: Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, North Carolina Museum of Art, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Best neighborhood bar in Durham County

Motorco

723 Rigsbee Avenue, Durham

Finalists: Dain's Place, The Glass Jug, Surf Club

Best neighborhood bar in Orange/Chatham County

The Wooden Nickel

105 North Churton Street, Hillsborough

Finalists: The Baxter, Linda's Bar and Grill, Orange County Social Club

Best neighborhood bar in Wake County

Players Retreat

105 Oberlin Road, Raleigh

Finalists: The Green Monkey, Lynnwood Grill, Person Street Bar

Best open mic night

The Pinhook

117 West Main Street, Durham

Finalists: Deep South The Bar, Local 506, Nash Street Tavern

Best outdoor music venue

Koka Booth Amphitheatre

8003 Regency Parkway, Cary

Finalists: Duke Performances Music in the Gardens, North Carolina Museum of Art, Red Hat Amphitheater

Best place for indoor fun

Museum of Life + Science

433 West Murray Avenue, Durham

Finalists: The Baxter, Boxcar Bar + Arcade, Sky Zone

Best place to get specialty cocktails in Durham County

Alley Twenty Six

320 East Chapel Hill Street, Durham

Finalists: Bar Virgile, Counting House, The Durham Hotel

Best place to get specialty cocktails in Orange/Chatham County

The Crunkleton

320 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill

Finalists: Lantern, Laplace Louisiana Cookery, Peccadillo

Best place to get specialty cocktails in Wake County

Foundation

213 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh

Finalists: Bittersweet, C.Grace Cocktail Bar, Fox Liquor Bar

Best place to hear bluegrass

Cat's Cradle

300 East Main Street, Carrboro

Finalists: The Blue Note Grill, Community Church Coffeehouse, PineCone

Best place to hear blues

The Blue Note Grill

709 Washington Street, Durham

Finalists: C.Grace Cocktail Bar, Lincoln Theatre, The Pour House

Best place to hear hip-hop or soul

Cat's Cradle

300 East Main Street, Carrboro

Finalists: Motorco, The Pinhook, UNC Cypher

Best place to hear jazz

Beyù Caffè

341 West Main Street, Durham

Finalists: C.Grace Cocktail Bar, Neptune's Parlour, The Shed

Best place to hear rock 'n' roll

Cat's Cradle

300 East Main Street, Carrboro

Finalists: Kings Barcade, Lincoln Theatre, The Pinhook

Best place to hear world or international music

Duke Performances

Multiple locations, dukeperformances.duke.edu

Finalists: Cat's Cradle, Lincoln Theatre, Motorco

Best place to shoot pool

The Green Room

1108 Broad Street, Durham

Finalists: Circa 1888, Speakeasy at Tyler's, West End Wine Bar & Billards

Best strip club

Capital Cabaret

6713 Mount Herman Road, Morrisville

Finalists: The Men's Club, Pure Gold, Teasers Men's Club

Best theater to see an indie film

Carolina Theatre

309 West Morgan Street, Durham

Finalists: Chelsea Theater, The Rialto, Silverspot Cinema

Best trivia night in Durham County

Fullsteam Brewery

726 Rigsbee Avenue, Durham

Finalists: Bull McCabe's, The Pinhook, Tomato Jake's Pizzeria

Best trivia night in Orange/Chatham County

Mystery Brewing

437 Dimmocks Mill Road, Hillsborough

Finalists: The Baxter, Linda's Bar and Grill, YesterYears Brewery

Best trivia night in Wake County

Flying Saucer

328 West Morgan Street, Raleigh

Finalists: High Park Bar & Grill, House of Hops, Woody's at City Market

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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