BEST LGBT CLUB/NIGHT: THE DARK LADY
17 Snow St, Providence | 401.272.6369 | @thedarkladypvd | There are many reasons why the Dark Lady Bested this category. Phat Ass Fridays, with Sabrina Blaza and DJ Joey Dee, is at the top of the list. The Tuesday night karaoke sessions get the weekend started early. And things get really rowdy on Pong ’n’ Thong Thursdays. And we haven’t even mentioned the gogo boys, drag shows, and pole dancers? As they proudly proclaim, “There’s always something going on.”
BEST MOVIE THEATER: CABLE CAR CINEMA
204 South Main St, Providence | 401.272.3970 | cablecarcinema.com | Every midsize city needs its art house (or two; the Avon was a very close runner-up). Since 1976, the Cable Car has been a key part of the College Hill cultural scene. Their fare is ever-challenging and captivating (they’re not afraid of taking chances), they host a dizzying array of film fest screenings (Rhode Island International, SENE, Providence Children’s, and Providence French), and quite a few directors have been on hand to show and tell about their films. Skip Netflix (or Amazon Prime) (or Hulu) tonight and head to South Main St. And pass the popcorn.
BEST MUSEUM: RISD MUSEUM
224 Benefit St, Providence | 401.454.6500 | risdmuseum.org | First there’s the encyclopedic depth of the RISD Museum’s collection. Then there are the temporary exhibits featuring ancient Egypt, Andy Warhol, hot-off-the-presses graphic design, and last year’s “Locally Made” showcase of 300 artists who make stuff around these parts. On top of that, the fashion curators — clearly some of the best in the nation — knock you out, intellectually and sensually, with a show like “Artist/Rebel/Dandy.” Is there any question why the museum is winning this prize for the 17th consecutive year?
BEST OPEN MIC: THE PARLOUR
1119 North Main St, Providence | 401.383.5858 | facebook.com/ParlourRI | “Open” means open at the Parlour: a recent Facebook post said, “Sign ups start at 730. Sing, dance, tell jokes. The mic is OPEN!” Every Tuesday from 7:30 to 10 pm, creativity and freedom of expression is the draw. If you want to share it, they want to hear it. The Parlour’s overall mission statement certainly applies to the weekly free-for-all: “Everyone is welcome as long as you are keeping up the vibes.”
BEST PLACE TO BOWL: LANG’S BOWLARAMA
225 Niantic Ave, Cranston | 401.944.0500 | langsbowlarama.com | A Cranston institution since 1960, Lang’s Bowlarama still has the lively look of a retro alley but has been totally tricked out for the modern age. Their pristine lanes are open to anyone, or you can start a team and play on league nights with your pin pals. Enjoy a full food menu and an extensive bar featuring Lang’s Signature Cocktails and an array of craft beers on draft, including selections from Allagash, Foolproof, Revival, and more. With trivia, karaoke, and live music under the same roof at the Skyline Lounge, even non-bowlers will be happy.
BEST PLACE TO PLAY POOL: RHODE ISLAND BILLIARD BAR & BISTRO
2022 Smith St, North Providence | 401.231.2020 | ribbb.com | RIBBB is a seasoned victor in this category for its multiple tables, tournaments, reasonable rates (and what‘s more reasonable than free games on Sundays from 6 pm-close), and many other distractions — the 108 beers! The bands on weekends! Poker! The full menu with all-you-can-eat pasta and pizza deals! The dart league! You’ll feel right at home whether you’re an oft-scratching novice or billiard ball veteran.