2008 Readers' Choice Bars & Nightlife

BEST LOCAL BAR

Neurolux

Well-known fact: the Neurolux keeps its smoky doors open later than most bars in town. Maybe that's why we see packs of bikes speeding around downtown corners at 1:30 a.m., trying to make last call. And who are we to judge? With ridiculously strong well drinks, a packed, sweaty dance floor and a patio full of familiar folk, the Neurolux is a late-night recipe for a hazy, hair-of-the-dog morning. And for our readers who prefer daylight to late-night imbibing, Neurolux has a happy hour that runs every day from 1 to 8 p.m. That gives you ample time to annoy the daytime bartenders by playing the entire Patsy Cline and Buddy Holly collections on the jukebox before the band starts up its soundcheck. Hey, and as long as you've made it that far, you might as well stick around for last call. 111 N. 11th St., 208-343-0886, neurolux.com.

Second Place: Pengilly's Saloon

Third Place: Bardenay Restaurant and Distillery

BEST LOCAL KARAOKE BAR

44 Club

We were going to list 44 reasons why you should squeeze into your acid-washed jeans, dust on some electric blue eyeshadow, feather your bangs and head down State Street to the rickety 44 Club (um, and 11 of them have to do with Devo), but it seems like you don't need to be told. Seven days a week, you, our dearest and most beloved readers pile into this little dive and rattle the walls with your off-key warbles and whiskey-soaked serenades. We're surprised you can even find the room to do the epic air guitar solos that Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" requires. And for those times when you get caught up in the moment and forget a lyric, just remember: when a good time turns around, you must whip it. And whip it good. 4340 W. State St., 208-344-0693.

Second Place: Terry's State Street Saloon

Third Place: The Overland Bar

BEST LOCAL DANCE CLUB

The Balcony Club

The Balcony is like an episode of Saved by the Bell: The Disco Years. Jocks, preps, nerds and fashion divas convene at Boise's version of the Max for sweaty dance-offs and booze-filled bingo games led by the lovely and statuesque Minerva Jayne. And if you pull a Jesse Spano by downing too many vodka Red Bulls, you can always calm your caffiene-induced excitement on the Balcony's outdoor patio before you have a breakdown, or worse, decide to make the movie Showgirls. 150 N. Eighth St., Suite #226, 208-336-1313.

Second Place: Neurolux

Third Place: China Blue

The Torch - CHARLES FOREST

BEST LOCAL STRIP CLUB

The Torch Lounge

Our readers have taken the rhino by the horn and passed the torch for the honor of Boise's Breast, er, Best Local Strip Club. Let the Torch's pink and purple neon lights guide you to Boise's kingdom of coconut body oil and glitter. The place is seriously a Lisa Frank sticker in a bikini and clear heels, and that's why you love it. 1826 W. Main St., 208-344-0218, thetorchlounge.com.

Second Place: Night Moves

Third Place: Torch 2

BEST LOCAL MARTINIS

Red Feather Lounge

The most important part of appreciating an excellent martini is being able to transport it from the bar to your table without spilling half of it on your brand new shoes. Good thing Red Feather's martini glass has you covered with an upturned lip that, like support hose, locks all your precious booze in place while in transport. It's impossible to truly enjoy the smoky, cotton candy essence of their SoHo martini when most of it is lying in a puddle at your feet. So our readers would like to thank you, Red Feather, for not only knowing how to shake a killer martini, but also for looking out for the unsteady hands of your inebriated patrons. 246 N. Eighth St., 208-343-3119, redfeatherlounge.com.

Second Place: Bardenay Restaurant and Distillery

Third Place: Pair

BEST LOCAL COCKTAILS

Red Feather Lounge

Red Feather puts the local in Best Local Cocktails. Their Violet Fizz is made with fresh egg whites from Treasure Valley farms, and their Manhattan comes with bing cherries plucked from local orchards soaked in Maker's Mark. And with the bounty of Idaho-made liquors popping up—like 44 North and Blue Ice—Red Feather can pour a potent cocktail made entirely from ingredients grown in our great state. Thanks to Red Feather's community agriculture focus, our readers don't just eat local, they drink local, too. We all know how important it is to think about our environment, and Red Feather helps us do it while we drink. 246 N. Eighth St., 208-343-3119, redfeatherlounge.com.

Second Place: Bardenay Restaurant and Distillery

Third place: Neurolux

Mark Allen, Red Feather Lounge - PHOTO BY JOYCE ALEXANDER

BEST LOCAL BARTENDER

Mark Allen, Red Feather Lounge

Cutie patootie Mark Allen has owned Best of Boise bartender bragging rights for two years running. He serves a mean straight-up dry Grey Goose martini, but he's also known for researching the ways to put interesting ingredients together (we have fond memories of an herb-infused lemony martini that blew our socks off). Allen pours a glass of merlot as perfectly as he whips up a cilantro margarita, and we weren't at all surprised to see his name float to the top of the best-bartenders-in-Boise list. Of course, it could have something to do with the bottomless weekend brunch mimosas, too. 246 N. Eighth St., 208-343-3119, redfeatherlounge.com.

Second place: David Stanciu, Pengilly's Saloon

Third place: Jacob Detweiler, Happy Fish Sushi and Martini Bar

BEST LOCAL SPORTS BAR

Busters Sport Bar

Sporting is served several ways at Busters. Sporting, as in athletics, is dished up with memorabilia or the dozen TV screens (Busters does load up a bus occasionally and head to Treasure Valley Roller Derby bouts). It's also a good place to hear someone say, "My those are short skirts those waitresses are sporting." Regardless of the context, BW readers have singled out Busters as the best place to cheer your team. 326 Broadway Ave., 208-345-5688, busterssportsbar.com.

Second place: Crescent No Lawyers Bar and Grill

Third place: Hyde Park Pub

BEST LOCAL GAY FRIENDLY BAR

The Balcony Club

Is it any surprise the Best Local Dance Club is also the Best Local Gay Friendly Bar? We think not. Boise's LGBTQIAs know where to go to dance the night away. With potent drinks and killer dance beats, the Balcony is a destination for anyone with a spring in their step and Madonna in their hearts. 150 N. Eighth St., Suite #226, 208-336-1313, thebalconyclub.com.

Second Place: The Emerald Club

Third Place: Lucky Dog Tavern

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