ALSO, BEST BAR and BEST PLACE TO HEAR LIVE MUSIC
Earlier this year, during the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, the Top Hat hosted a solo show by alt-country queen Lydia Loveless as part of the screening for her documentary, Who is Lydia Loveless?
People sat at tables on the dance floor in the intimate setting, while others hovered round the bar sipping drinks. A few weeks later, the Lil’ Smokies and Grant Farm stirred the room up into a frothy dance party of progressive bluegrass. That’s the thing about the Top Hat—you can catch solid gold shows of the soft or heavy, sweet or salty variety, almost any day of the week. Recent acts have included Brooklyn funk band Turkuaz, old-school psychedelic rockers Brian Jonestown Massacre and beloved locals The Caroline Keys Band. The venue shows no sign of letting up with a future lineup featuring acts like Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, Fruit Bats and Steep Canyon Rangers.
Owner Nick Checota’s major remodel of the former blues venue has paid off in more ways than one. Its repeat win as Best Bar means it continues to woo the drinking crowd even when there’s no live music, serving as a favorite watering hole for college students, professionals and everyone in between. In addition, the bar wins Best Happy Hour—an upset from Jakers’ previous wins. The Top Hat’s happy hour runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily and offers specials like $2.50 craft beers, $3 well drinks and food specials such as $6 flatbreads. But it’s the weekly Grateful Dead- and Phish-themed happy hours where DJs spin classic music for fans that gives the Top Hat’s happy hours extra allure. Top Hat Lounge
134 W Front St •
Finalists, Best Happy Hour
2. Jakers Bar & Grill
3515 Brooks St • 721-1312 •
3. Mustard Seed
2901 Brooks St, Southgate Mall •