The Hottest Clubs In Town

If you're like most people who enjoy visiting new cities but don't always know where the best nightspots are located for hoisting a cold one, Nightclub & Bar magazine can be of assistance.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the magazine's Top 100 Clubs:

32 Degrees, Philadelphia
Ampersand, New Orleans
Avalon & Spider Club, Los Angeles
B&G Oysters Ltd., Boston
B.B. King's Blues Club, Memphis
Baja Sharkeez/Newman Hospitality, Manhattan Beach, CA
Banana Joe’s, Marion, OH
Bar Anticipation, South Belmar, NJ
Bar Twenty 3, Nashville
Barmuda Corp.: Becks, Coconuts, Jokers, Voodoo, Cedar Falls, IA
Barracuda/Concept Entertain Group, Portland, OR
Billy Bob's Texas, Fort Worth, TX
Blue Note, New York
Bobby McGee's, Phoenix
Boogie Nights, Fort Lauderdale
Café Iguana, Fort Lauderdale
Cafe Sevilla, San Diego
Caramel Bar and Lounge at Bellagio, Las Vegas
Casbah/Trump Taj Mahal Casino, Atlantic City, NJ
Catalina Bar & Grill, Hollywood, CA
Churchill's Pub, Miami
Club Chameleon / Chameleon Studios, Las Vegas
Club Clau, Cincinnati
Club Deep, Miami Beach
Club La Vela, Panama City Beach, FL
Copacabana, New York
Crobar, Miami
Crocodile Cafe, Seattle
Dakota Jazz Club, Minneapolis
Dave & Buster's, Dallas
Denim, Philadelphia
Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, Seattle
Dream, Washington, DC
Elements, The Lounge, Sea Bright, NJ
Excalibur/Ala Carte Entertainment, Chicago
GameWorks, Glendale, CA
ghostbar (Palms Casino), Las Vegas
Green Parrot Bar, Key West, FL
House of Blues, Hollywood, CA
Howl at the Moon, Covington, KY
ICE, Las Vegas
Infinity Room, Minneapolis
Jazz At Pearl's, San Francisco
Jazz Bakery, Culver City, CA
Jillian's, Louisville, KY
Jocks & Jills and Frankie's Sports Grill, Atlanta
Kahunaville, Wilmington, DE
Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub, Portland, OR
Key Club, West Hollywood, CA
Le Passage, Chicago
Long Street, Columbus, OH
Manitoba's, New York
Marquee, New York
Matrix, Orlando, Fl
Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ
McDuffy's Sportsbar, Tempe, AZ
Mercy Wine Bar, Addison, TX
Metropolis, Orlando, FL
Mickey's Hangover, Scottsdale, AZ
Mike's Treehouse, Dallas
NASCAR Cafe, Greensboro, NC
Pin-Up Bowl, St. Louis
Polly Esthers (The Danceplex), New York
Rain In the Desert (Palms Casino)m, Las Vegas
Raleigh Hotel/Oasis Lounge, Miami Beach
Red Star, Houston
Roostertail, Inc., Detroit
Rudy's Bar and Grill, New York
Scott Gertner's Skybar, Houston
Senses, Memphis
Shooters, Saginaw, MI
Sloppy Joe's, Key West, FL
Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, New Orleans
Studio 54/MGM Grand, Las Vegas
T.J. Mulligan's, Memphis
Tabu Ultra Lounge/MGM Grand, Las Vegas
The Beach, Las Vegas
The Bluebird Cafe, Nashville
The Bosco, Ferndale, MI
The Cafe Wha?, New York
The Derby, Los Angeles
The Fillmore, San Francisco
The Funky Butt At Congo Square, New Orleans
The Highlands, Hollywood. CA
The Library Bar & Grill, Tempe, AZ
The Longbranch Entertainment Complex, Raleigh, NC
The New Crown & Anchor, Provincetown, MA
The Polo Lounge/Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA
The Potion Lounge, New York
The Swamp, Ft. Walton Beach, FL
The Viper Room, Los Angeles
The Water Tank , Austin, TX
Tipitina's, New Orleans
Tonic Night Club, Pontiac, MI
Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Nashville
Velvet, St. Louis
Village Vanguard, New York
Whisky A Go-Go. West Hollywood, CA
Zeldaz Nightclub & Beachclub, Palm Springs, CA

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These Brewers Get Prickly

Just when you thought vodka mavens might have run out of ideas comes High Spirits Prickly Pear Vodka, Arizona's finest.

The first distillery in the state is believed to be producing the only such vodka on the globe. Co-owners Dave Williamson and Dana Kanzler decided to branch out at their Flagstaff micro-brewery, Mogollon Brewing Co., because the beer business had been going a little flat.

As the Arizona Republic newspaper noted, "For Williamson, 48, and Kanzler, 39, a 3 1/2-year struggle to get their $115,000 state-of-the-art German still legalized and approved for human consumption is almost over. The partners are one small federal approval away from stocking their product in liquor stores and supermarkets across the country."

"We should be in the stores sometime in November," Williamson, a former liquor salesman, told the newspaper.

The still can produce up to 5,000 six-bottle cases a month for their Arizona High Spirits brand. The initial product will be the 70-proof prickly pear vodka, a slightly sweet, pale pink vodka. Next will come a more traditional 80-proof vodka and a mesquite-smoked whiskey called Lawless Arizona Sippin' Shine.

Their goal: a slice of the $25-$30 per bottle high-end market that has been growing rapidly in recent years.

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Hops To It

August Busch IV, or at least the Most Recent, was on my TV screen riffing about the quality of hops used in his family's beer products.

"What do you think," I mused aloud, "hops are used for except in beer making?"

When commercial pitchpersons talk to us about various ingredients used in their products, they're usually items we know can be used in a variety of ways. For example, TV pitchman Billy Mays loves to shout at us about his orange-tinged cleaning products. We also know oranges are used for one or two other things. But, hops?

I checked with the Purdue University Web site because it is a treasure trove of agronomy data. What I found out was that while hops is grown in many parts of the world exclusively for the brewing industry, and have been used in folk medicine for centuries, they can be used in ways one wouldn't normally expect. There is one German patent for adding hops to sausages as a "natural" preservative. Oil of hops also is used in perfumes, skin creams, cereals, mineral waters and -- uh, oh -- tobacco. The fiber part of the hops vine also is used for filler material in corrugated paper or board product.

Be the first on your block to serve an all-hops lunch: some of those German sausages; young hops shoots treated like asparagus (the Romans perfected that); young bleached tops used in a vegetable salad (very popular in Belgium); chopped very fine and dressed with butter or cream (a French thing), plus a few cold ones.


Using Hops In Home Brewing
Knowing Hops Varieties
Common Homebrewing Pitfalls

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Another Rheingold Revival

“My beer is Rheingold the dry beer.
Think of Rheingold whenever you buy beer …”

That commercial jingle was a popular one back in the 1940s, ‘50s and ’60s, particularly in the New York City metropolitan area, before Rheingold stopped brewing beer and while it still was running the wildly popular Miss Rheingold contest.

Those weaned on today’s brewpub brands won’t remember this bit of pop culture, but there was a time when the Miss Rheingold contest drew as many or more local votes as the presidential election. The event was created in 1940 by Philip Liebmann, president of the Liebmann Brewery that made Rheingold. His idea was to get pretty girls to vie for the title, then they would be used in Rheingold ads.

After two years, says author Will Anderson in his book “From Beer to Eternity,” Liebmann decided to let the public vote. That first year saw 200,000 votes. By 1959, the number hit its all-time high of 22 million.

Anderson says the contest was dropped after Sharon Vaughn won the crown in 1965. The announced reason: marketing problems.

“The unofficial -- and probably truer -- reason was that Liebmann was rapidly sliding into a no-win situation. If they were to continue to have only lily-white Miss Rheingold contestants, the important black and Hispanic markets would feel cheated; but if a black or Hispanic were to win, the company could genuinely fear white backlash. If there's no way to win, why bother to play? Liebmann decided not to. And so ended one of New York's most famous -- and certainly most fun -- annual traditions.”

This all comes to mind because Drinks America has signed a letter of intent with Rheingold Brewing Co. Inc. for the acquisition of Rheingold. The company was restarted in 1998 after being out of business for two decades, but hasn’t made a strong showing in its old market where it once held 35% of New York City’s beer sales.

“Rheingold fits well into our distribution network since many of our non-alcoholic distribution partners are beer wholesalers,” said Drinks Americas CEO Patrick Kenny. “Rheingold will benefit in a number of ways from the synergy which comes from being a brand within Drinks as opposed to an independent company.”

No financial details were revealed.

The Miss Rheingold contest was briefly revived in 2003, when Kate Duyn was crowned. Stay alert for it to come one more time. When, we don't know, but in an era of "American Idol," "So You Think You Can Dance" and other popularity contests dreamed up by marketing people, Miss Rheingold seems like a winner.

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Lemonade and Carb Counting

Now, That's Hard Lemonade -- A small Bavarian brewing company has come up with a fermented lemonade called Bionade that is all the rage in Hamburg clubs. It's being touted as the new Red Bull.

On the Book Shelf -- Carb-conscious drinkers may want to check out a new book called "The Low-Carb Bartender: Carb Counts for Beer, Wine, Mixed Drinks and More" (Adams Media, $9.95). We'll save you the money if you only want to know the bottom line: Virtually all distilled beverages have zero carbs, or close to it.

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