You voted for your favorites, and now here are your winners of the 2012 City Weekend Readers' Choice Awards. Do you have a regular hangout that you think should have been in the running? Let us know in the comments below.
Bar of the Year
The Bar at Migas
It's been a spectacular year for the folks at Migas. In addition to winning Best Spanish Restaurant in our Restaurant awards, they took home one of our biggest awards for Nightlife—Bar of the Year for newly opened Bar at Migas. The opening party was a huge success, bringing the Migas regulars indoors from the cold for a raging night with all the high-fliers in the Sanlitun set. Their success continued through the winter and earned them a place front and center in your minds and hearts.
Editor's Pick: Mokihi - Despite its awkward Lucky Street location, this is one of Beijing's best Japanese-style cocktail bars.
Honorable Mention: Q Bar
Nightlife Newcomer of the Year
The Bar at Migas
In addition to moving their legendary rooftop parties inside, Migas booked chilled-out live music nights during the week, garnering them a new and different type of popularity. Made out of found objects like driftwood and corrugated iron, it's one of the most interesting spaces to contemplate over one of their ever-evolving cocktails.
Editor's Pick: Temple - With international acts coming through and the promise of a terrace this summer, it can only get better.
Honorable Mention: Spark
One of the reasons The Bar at Migas won big this year is the parties they throw. Last year, Funk Fever was synonymous with the rooftop parties at Migas, and they continued their legacy and celebrated their third anniversary at The Bar. The team of local legends Suiki, Bite-Size Buddha, Soulspeak, Perman, Martin Star and Sammy Slazenger guarantees a good night out with their funk and soul-infused parties.
Editor's Pick: Split Works - These indie kids brought over Ludacris and Grandmaster Flash for 2011's Black Rabbit Festival, as well as Death Cab for Cutie for this year's JUE Festival.
Honorable Mention: O2Culture/Yen
Best Hotel Bar
There's no denying that The Opposite House delivers when they set out to create a space to relax and enjoy the finer things in life. And you fashionable City Weekend readers voted it as the best Beijing's hotels have to offer. CW user juzzy said it best: "I love this place. Over-priced, but I don't care. I am willing to pay a bit more than usual to enjoy a nice cocktail in a lovely environment with well-dressed people." We couldn't agree more. And though their backless sofas have caused a bit of a stir, most of you are willing to overlook that for the lovely, intimate setting. They've also got some of the city's best cocktails with their signature martinis including a very refreshing summer drink, the Watermelon & Chilli Martini (RMB80). The mixologists at Mesh are so good, in fact, that we asked them to make the flaming concoction on our cover.
Editor’s Pick: Scarlett (Hotel G) - The warm, inviting atmosphere of Scarlett just asks us to sit at the bar with a glass of wine. And we do.
Honorable Mention: Mix (Westin Chaoyang)
The name of the game at Apothecary is quality, and it shows. It's been our winner for Best Cocktails three years in a row. They're a pricey sip at ¥70-80, but it's well worth it knowing that almost all of their ingredients are fresh and homemade. In the past, they've been most well-known for their gargantuan list of cocktails, but they've pared it down to a smaller menu of seasonal drinks and a selection of classics that will never disappoint. Their "seating room only" policy has been widely debated by readers, but in the end, "The drinks were outstanding and a well-deserved break from my usual Tsingtaos. Would highly recommend," writes CW user jyngl. If you haven't yet, try some of their new warm-weather cocktails like the aromatic Chrysanthemum (RMB75) or the very savory Big Red (RMB75).
Editor’s Pick: Mai Bar - This new Beiluoguxiang addition is fast becoming our new favorite hangout for reasonably priced cocktails.
Honorable Mention: Flamme
Best Live Music
Standing out more than 40 votes ahead of the closest contender, Yugong Yishan is once again your pick for Best Live Music. Over the last year, they've gotten bigger and better international live acts from all genres, including Steve Aoki, Simple Plan, Maximillian Hecker and Jorma Kaukonen. But they haven't left behind the local scene, welcoming big names and indie acts alike—Hedgehog release their new album Sun Fun Gun on June 16, and DJ Wordy & Soulspeak throw their first live set on June 15. They've hosted performances for the Ninegates Jazz Festival, Section 6's legendary hip-hop shows, and the packed-out Tuvan world music act Huun Huur Tu last September. Despite this eclectic taste—or perhaps because of it—it seems to be everyone's favorite place. "For the music talent they promote, full marks to them. I got a chance to listen to some good raw talent I otherwise would never get a chance to see," writes lovespicey.
Editor’s Pick: 2 Kolegas - Yeah, it's a down and dirty dive, but that's the way we like it. With friendly owners and great acts, it's our favorite for live music.
Honorable Mention: MAO Live House
Best Hutong Bar
Mao Mao Chong
After winning three awards in 2011, Mao Mao Chong held down Best Hutong Bar by only 17 votes. Over the last year, the hutongs have seen a lot of newcomers, but Mao Mao Chong still has some of Gulou's best-mixed cocktails, as well as some of the most inventive infusions around. "Mao Mao Chong has fabulous, creative drinks and a great vibe to boot," writes CW user pastiche. We couldn't agree more. Mixologist/proprietress Stephanie Rocard stays on the ball, mixing up some inventive cocktails for neighbors Saveurs de Coree, as well as participating—and placing in the top five—in the Diageo World Class competition in Beijing. They're ones to watch as they up their game in 2012.
Editor’s Pick: Modernista - They keep things interesting with burlesque performances and art house movie screenings.
Honorable Mention: Great Leap Brewing
Local Band of the Year
Hot Club of Beijing
Nominating groups in this category was an exercise in restraint. Not only did the bands have to be good, but they had to represent a wide range of styles and listeners. This made the votes close, but in the end, your love of gypsy jazz won out over rock, punk and rockabilly. The Hot Club of Beijing has been kicking around the hutongs for a few years now, but if you haven't caught them yet, they have a standing date at Modernista, our Editor's Pick for Best Hutong Bar, every Wednesday night.
Editor’s Pick: Residence A - These guys were one of our picks for Hottest Bands of 2011, and since then they have released an album and toured around China. Catch them when you can.
Honorable Mention: The Randy Abel Stable
Best Sports Bar
This is the third time Paddy O'Shea's has won this category, and it's easy to see why. "The bar itself is really well done—just like a real Irish pub, with high stools, tons of sports décor, etc.," writes dgtowne. They're currently broadcasting the Euros every night at 11pm at 2:45am, and we know it'll be our Olympics hotspot.
Editor’s Pick: Grinder's - Booths and big screens make for a comfy place to watch the game.
Honorable Mention: Tim's Texas BBQ, Eudora Station
DJ of the Year
Eddie Lv received the highest number of votes for any nominee in any nightlife category. And the win is definitely deserved. He's been DJing since 1995, but he's been shooting to the top over the last couple of years. As he transitioned into production as well as getting on the decks every weekend, he was invited to produce the music for the Adidas Beijing Marathon in 2010. He upped the ante in 2011, starting two new party series in Sanlitun. The weekly Eddie's Weekend series at Mo Lounge put the Tianjin native alongside some of China's top DJs, and at the Infused series at the now-closed Punk, he also hosted an old school vinyl-only party to get back to basics on the decks. Get his original EP Chinese Attitude/Alright, which launched at Haze this year, through iTunes and Beatport.
Editor’s Pick: DJ Blackie - This drum 'n' bass DJ's stellar efforts not only on the decks but also with promotions crew The Syndicate earn him a place in our hearts.
Honorable Mention: Mo Bass
Club of the Year
It doesn't come as much of a surprise that Haze was so eagerly welcomed into the Beijing scene. It's the long-awaited reincarnation of legendary White Rabbit, which put on the best shows Beijing's burgeoning electronic scene had ever seen. And while at first glance we were taking bets on how soon someone would fall down the almost-vertical staircase, Haze has turned out to be just as popular as its predecessors, and for all the same reasons. You can still see your favorite local legends spinning on the weekends, but they've also hosted some huge international names. From their Take Me To Belgium night to Fritz Kalkbrenner to Ellen Allien, they've brought the sounds of European discotheques to Beijing.
Editor’s Pick: Lantern - You can't really deny that Acupuncture knows how to put on a party. Their underground lair of electronic music has already hosted some of the biggest parties in town.
Honorable Mention: Mix