For 22 years
It’s here. We badgered you and prodded you and cajoled you and bugged the crap out of you to vote, and you did. Interns and fulltime employees alike have been counting and re-counting, all in the name of bringing the Absolute Best of Tulsa to you.
We asked (demanded), and you voted.
Now it’s time for us to tell you who you’ve chosen for the 2013 ABoTs.
You chose a bank, a charity, a best karaoke bar, your favorite band, the best place for a burrito, even a favorite hospital (since we all know that in a crisis, we want to be able to make an informed decision when telling the ambulance driver where to take you), and now, you hold in your hands the definitive guide to the Absolute Best of Tulsa.
If you were lucky enough to be at the ABoT party on Tuesday, then you already know all this information. If not, here’s your Map to the Stars. Find something on here you don’t know? Well, that’s your cue to head there and learn what the fuss is about.
Well? Get going!
–Bradley Morris, Editorial Manager
And now, for the Winners!
Movers, shakers, headline-makers
Advertising, Marketing & Branding Firm: Walsh Branding
With innovative approaches to their clients’ needs, Walsh creates branding campaigns that work. Witness the firm’s work with CFI Trucking, an international firm that was languishing in the middle of the pack. With a Walsh push, the company was able to move ahead, eventually selling to Con-way for $750 million.
Other favorites: Saxum, Brothers & Co.
Apartment Community: Westport on the River
You’re not thinking about a fireplace right now, but we all know winter is coming, and when it’s here, you’ll be glad this luxurious complex provided you with one. With easy access to the River Park trails and free bike rental (is it a rental if it’s free? Isn’t that just borrowing?) and a nice view of the river, this is that rare apartment that feels like a home.
Other favorites: Harvard Terrace, Mansions at Riverside
Architect: Selser Schaefer Architects
Want an eye-catching building that won’t show its trendy age in 30 years? You’re going to want to turn to Selser Schaeffer, the Native American-owned firm that has designed cool buildings like the Nathan Hale Branch Library, The Hardesty Arts Center, the Owasso Family YMCA, and many, many others.
Other favorites: W Design, 1 Architecture
With locations sprinkled here and there around Tulsa, ONB offers a hometown feel from a hometown bank. Tulsans know what they want, and they know they can get it at ONB. Why else vote them the Absolute Best?
Other Favorites: Bank of Oklahoma, Arvest Bank
Casino for Gambling: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
With nearly 3,000 electronic games and 70 tables with the best blackjack, craps, and poker dealers, it’s no surprise that Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has taken the cake again. I mean, this place gives away thousands (even millions) in their monthly promotions. Oh yeah, they like to give away cars and Polaris’ as well. It’s no mystery why they have again been voted ABoT winner for this year.
Other Favorites: Osage Million Dollar Elm, RiverSpirit Casino
Casino for Live Entertainment: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
The Joint amphitheater seats 2,700, and that doesn’t even seem to be enough for the sold-out shows that take place in this year’s reigning ABoT winner. Hosting Slash, Journey, and Lionel Richie, these guys continue to bring big names to Tulsa and put them in the best Vegas-style venue in the 918. Rock on, party people.
Other Favorites: RiverSpirit Casino, Osage Million Dollar Elm
Charity Event: Turn Tulsa Pink
Thanks to Judi Grove and her committee, Turn Tulsa Pink raised nearly $100,000 in 2012 for individuals and families fighting cancer as well as providing scholarships to four high school graduates, allowing them to attend college. Judi and her hardworking committee have accomplished so much in 2013 as well. Starting in 2011, so much has been done in such a short time and they continue to improve the lives of many on a daily basis. Hats off to Turn Tulsa Pink. We couldn’t be happier to crown this charity event the absolute best.
Other Favorites: Cancer Sucks, Drum Day Tulsa
Church: Holy Family Cathedral
Five weekend mass times, daily mass, and a prime downtown location is a recipe for spiritual success no matter what your schedule. Holy Family Cathedral provides the ultimate experience in the Catholic religion and is home to the Holy Family Cathedral School as well. By providing a strong sense of community, Holy Family Cathedral continues to excellently cater to the spiritual needs of many. And it’s lead by a cool new American Pope.
Other Favorites: LifeChurch, Church on the Move
Community Activist: Toby Jenkins
Not only being the director of OkEq (Oklahomans for Equality), but also an Oklahoma LGBT leader, Toby Jenkins has steered a fine course for championing the rights of our LGBT community. Since our country continually looks for the next boogeyman, and since we decided to replace Communists with homosexuals as our societal blight du jour, it’s improtant to have someone pushing for equality. Jenkins has been doing just that, and OkEq gives us the Pride celebrations every year. So there’s that.
Other Favorites: Blake Ewing, Sharon King-Davis
Cosmetology School: Paul Mitchell
Trained by only the finest, this cosmetology school is cranking out solely hair gurus guaranteed to turn your mane from bushy to beautiful. They also offer mani-pedis, facials, and make-up services. This school is the breeding ground for creativity and is sure to meet your needs. Not to mention you won’t need to take out a second mortgage to make sure your look is unique and up to date.
Other Favorites: Clary Sage College, Broken Arrow Beauty College
Entertainment District: Brady Arts
Cigar bars? Baseball games? Music venues? Clubs? Art? Yeah, it’s safe to say that the Brady Arts District wins this year’s ABoT fair and square. No matter what time of day it is or what you’re in the mood for, Brady Arts has something for you. With the Guthrie Green’s concerts, shopping for every style and the Gypsy Coffee House, we live for the events that go on in the Brady Arts district. Tulsa thanks you, keep being awesome.
Other Favorites: Blue Dome, Brookside
Farmers’ Market: Cherry Street Farmers’ Market
Helping Tulsa’s economy and being able to eat locally grown food sounds like a win-win to us. Every Saturday morning, vendors of all sorts (i.e. crafts, plants, vegetables, and dairy and protein) gather on Cherry Street to bring Tulsa the freshest produce and hippest products. The perfect place to find one of a kind finds, Cherry Street Farmers’ Market is the farmers’ market to be at this year. And not to worry, your favorite canine is welcome to come along for the ride.
Other Favorites: Broken Arrow Farmers’ Market, Guthrie Green
Tulsa’s Oktoberfest is more than just chicken dancing and beer, although those are two of the best reasons to go. The rich German heritage that is felt around the fest is one that must be experienced to understand. With authentic vendors, live musical performances and rides, Oktoberfest is fun for the whole family. But let’s not forget the most important part; the food. Bratwurst, Bavarian cheesecake, beer and wine gardens, and of course fair food is sure to fill you up to the brim with delicious novelties. (Stretchy pants are recommended. Or a chicken suit if you have one.)
Other Favorites: Tulsa International Mayfest, Blue Dome Arts Festival
Free Entertainment: Guthrie Green
Opening in 2012, the Guthrie Green is quickly working its way into the hearts of many Tulsans. Live nightly entertainment, exercise classes for the family, and festivals are sure to provide entertainment for those in all walks of life. Best part of it all, it’s free. The perfect family night or date night destination; all you need is a blanket or a few lawn chairs and you’re set. There is no question in this vote for best free entertainment.
Other Favorites: River Parks, Summer’s Fifth Night
Golf Course: LaFortune Park
What’s better than playing 18-holes of golf while overlooking one of Tulsa’s finest landscapes? Probably nothing. LaFortune Park Golf Course can provide you with just that and more — 18-hole 3-par course and a driving range, both equipped with lights, as well as a grill and Tulsa’s number one golf shop. Yeah, they’ve pretty much mastered the golfing experience to a tee.
Other Favorites: Southern Hills, Battle Creek Golf Course
Green-Friendly Business: Elote Café & Catering
Elote is devoted to using only fresh ingredients and it shows. Their food is delicious and healthy for you; that is a combination that is hard to find at a restaurant. They use only biodegradable napkins and to-go silverware and plates, they only print on 100 percent recycled paper, and they compost which is used to nourish gardens at Newsome Community Farms. They have really gone above and beyond to make sure that they are monitoring their carbon footprint.
Other Favorites: Whole Foods, PSO
Gun Range: 2-A Shooting Center
At 2-A, safety comes first. This range is specially equipped to eliminate lead exposure, keep a clean environment and have proper ventilation to keep shooters healthy and happy. Rent guns or bring your own, and the best part? You can bring your own ammunition. Shooters of all skill levels are encouraged to come and take aim. The best shooting range in Tulsa won’t disappoint.
Other Favorites: U.S. Shooting Academy, Tulsa Firearms
Hotel: The Mayo Hotel
Built in the ’20s yet still the coolest hotel to be, the Mayo is pretty much where it’s at. Glamorous and hip at the same time is something that has been perfected by this hotel and provides the perfect venue for weddings and events or even just for a romantic evening. A spectacular restaurant and Topeca Coffee only continue to convince Tulsa that this hotel is a cut above the rest.
Other Favorites: Campbell, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Landscape Design: AAA Landscape of Tulsa
The elite in landscaping companies in Tulsa most likely became that way from the over 100 years of combined experience within the company. Working on small residential jobs to huge commercial jobs, AAA has left its mark on Tulsa — literally. Providing irrigation, landscape lighting, and lawn maintenance are just a few of the services that make this landscape company the winner of this year’s ABoT.
Other Favorites: Southwood Landscape & Garden Center, Roark Landscaping
Local Record Label: Okie Tone Records
Okie Tone started right here in Tulsa to showcase the talent that was often overlooked if you weren’t going to places like The Colony or The Mercury Lounge. Just having released the label’s second mixtape in May 2013, the label has really made a name for itself. Sure to expose new talent, keep an eye out for Okie Tone Records. They didn’t win an ABoT award for nothing.
Other Favorites: Hard Work Records, Horton Records
Most Generous Corporation: Kaiser Foundation
What hasn’t the George Kaiser Family Foundation done for our fair city? The Gathering Place, the recently announced super park that’s coming soon to a riverside near you, is but the latest in a string of altruistic Kaiser-ness that helps make this a great city. Here’s hoping we all invest alongside the GKFF and keep this place happy and happening.
Other Favorites: QuikTrip, Bank of Oklahoma
Outdoor Entertainment: Admiral Twin
Burning to the ground in 2010, the Admiral Twin seemed like it might have seen its last days. But a rebuild and a re-opening have rendered the fire only another stepping stone in the landmark’s history. More of a social gathering than an actual cinephile’s retreat, the joint seems more popular than ever before. This vintage form of entertainment remains wildly popular and is a cherished part of Tulsa. Children, seniors and all ages in between share love for this perfect summer night meeting ground.
Other Favorites: Guthrie Green, River Parks
Outdoor Gathering Place: Guthrie Green
No matter if you’re meeting for lunch on food truck Wednesdays, a concert, or a play date at the splash pad, the Guthrie Green is the ultimate meeting place. It seems like more often than not, there is something going on at the Guthrie Green. Its prime location only encourages Tulsans to get there and enjoy the music, scenery, yoga, tai chi, juggling lessons, film classes, furniture-building, book clubs, fantasy football practice, lightsaber training, and everything else that goes on there from day to day. Family-friendly and date appropriate is a combination that isn’t often found, making the Guthrie Green a prime location for just about any event.
Other Favorites: River Parks, Mohawk Park
Park: River Parks
Providing Tulsa with miles upon miles of trails, splash pads, an outdoor amphitheatre, and hosting many festivals, River Parks blows most other parks out of the water. Turkey Mountain construction has been completed and it is now ready to be taken on by bikers and hikers alike. By offering so many activities and multiple ways to stay in shape to the citizens of Tulsa, River Parks is the place to be. Not to mention, you get a beautiful view of the Arkansas River no matter which park you choose. Win.
Other Favorites: LaFortune Park, Woodward Park
Private Career College: Platt College
By giving students the individual time and attention that they deserve, Platt College trains their students to be elite in their field of study. With flexible class schedules and offering a wide range of associates and bachelor’s degrees, going to college at Platt is Tulsa’s favorite when choosing a private career college.
Other Favorites: Community Care College, Tulsa Tech
Public Servant: Kathy Taylor
Whether she’s serving as mayor, spearheading the efforts to get the BOk Center built, or running for mayor to do it all over again, Kathy Taylor is on people’s minds as somebody who puts the servant in Public Servant. Thanks, Kate.
Other Favorites: Blake Ewing, Dewey Bartlett
Tulsa Landmark: Center of the Universe
If you’ve never been there, for heaven’s sake, put this magazine down now and go. It isn’t breathtaking, it isn’t thrilling, but it’s a part of Tulsa, and the whole whisper-and-everyone-can-hear-it aural phenomenon connected to this beloved landmark is best learned about from experience, not some paragraph in an alt-weekly. And there’s The Artificial Cloud, the official sculpture of the Center of the Universe.
Other Favorites: Golden Driller, Praying Hands
TV/Internet Service: Cox Communications
They offer TV, Internet, phone, home security and wireless — all at the same time on the same bill. Cox knows that we all hate paying bills, that’s why they make it easier on us. They bundle everything making bill pay easier as well as cheaper. They even put caller ID right on the TV screen. Now you can know that it’s your ex calling while you’re watching Cheaters with your current significant other. Awkward… Thanks Cox!
Other Favorites: AT&T, DirectTV
Venue for Private Party or Event: IDL Ballroom
Equipped with a full bar, it’s easy to turn this venue into the perfect party place for receptions, weddings, company parties, concerts, even reunions. In the historic Blue Dome district, this venue is in a prime location for any event. Bottom line: If you want your event to be fun, it’ll be at IDL. Even Grandma Pearl’s 80th birthday party. Maybe.
Other Favorites: Cain’s Ballroom, Stokely Event Center
Artist: Thom Self
The ubiquitous concert poster. More specifically, the ubiquitous Mercury Lounge concert poster. Self is the best, because he’s done damn near all of them–more than 1,500. Want him to do a poster for your band? Find him chilling at the bar at the Merc. Ask nicely. You never know.
Other favorites: Daniel Gulick, Steve Cluck
Arts Organization: Living Arts of Tulsa
From the Pechakucha programs to exhibitions to classes to the Day of the Dead celebration, Living Arts offers just about something arts-related for pretty much everybody. Steve Liggett and friends are helping to keep the Arts in the Brady Arts District.
Other favorites: The Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, Philbrook Museum of Art
Best Show of 12-13 Season: Nude:9
Daniel Gulick’s annual proof that sex sells. Erotic art celebrates love, lust, and the human form. This isn’t the Nude series’ first appearance on an ABoT winner’s list, and it doubtless won’t be the last.
Other favorites: Aida, The Lion King
Comedian/Comedy Troupe: Jay Dee
Still killing at the Loony Bin and still touring, Jay Dee continues building on the success as a standup comedian that he first gained here in Tulsa. As well known for his work ethic as his jokes, this is a guy whose star continues rising. We don’t see its trajectory changing much in the near future.
Other favorites: Kenny Nipp, Dan Fritschie
Commercial Art Gallery: Lot No. 6
How do we love Lot No. 6? Let us count the ways. (Hint: it’s more than six.) With an open-air feel, relaxed vibe, tons of interesting artwork, and a bar, well, there’s not much that could make this joint better, really. It’s in a great location, too, and has a nice variety of beers. Any place you can get a Lone Star and look at fine art at the same time is totally doing something right.
Other favorites: Colour, M.A. Doran Gallery
Local Actor: Bill Hader
Okay, Tulsa. The SNL alum (yes, he just did his final episode in May) isn’t local except that he grew up here. But he doesn’t perform here, boys and girls. Still, he’s so funny that you voted him your favorite local actor anyway. And why not? As Stefan, a Merryville robot, one of the guys in LaserCats, and the host of pretty much every game show sketch during his stint on SNL, he’s pretty great. And when he loses it in a sketch and starts laughing, that’s pretty hilarious, too.
Other favorites: Seth Paden, Robert Young
Local Author: P.C. Cast
She invented a boarding school for “fledgling vampyres” (with a “y” because FANTASY NOVELS!) and set it in Tulsa for her House of Night series of teen novels she wrote with daughter Kristin, and she’s also well known for her Goddess Summononing and Partholon books. The former English teacher keeps plugging away at her word processor, and will surely be on this list again in coming years.
Other favorites: Brian Douglas, Brett & Kate McKay
Local Dance Company: Tulsa Ballet
Literally one of the best ballet companies in the world, no amount of love for our troupe is too much. Under the masterful direction of Marcello Angelini, TBT has flourished over the past two decades. While three huge stars retired this season, Angelini is peerless when it comes to finding new talent and choosing meaningful, challenging, breathtaking works for his dancers, season after season.
Other favorites: Portico Dans Theatre, Eye Candy Burlesque
Local Theater Company: Nightingale/Midwestern
They did a show called Poona the Fuckdog. They are responsible for the heartbreaking/hilarious revelations that happen in Old Crow Confessions. They are putting up original theater at an alarming pace. How would the Nightingale NOT be on the list of Tulsa’s Absolute Best?
Other favorites: Theatre Tulsa, American Theatre Company
Movie Theater: Circle Cinema
With its brand-new addition, the Circle can show more movies and seat more moviegoers than ever before. Is there some flick you’re dying to see but it’s not at the local Movie Thousandplex? Chances are, it’s at the Circle. Also, the last time anyone in Tulsa got to see Raiders of the Lost Ark on a big screen was here. That’s reason enough for Circle to snag an ABoT, because Indiana Jones is the greatest person. Ever.
Other favorites: Cinemark, AMC Southroads 20
Museum: Philbrook Museum of Art
Sometimes the Philbrook puts on a show like Aphrodite and the Gods of Love, complete with a room for ancient pottery porn. Others, the Philbrook builds a satellite facility across the street from the Guthrie Green. Still other times, the Philbrook gets voted Absolute Best of Tulsa. This is one of those still other times.
Other favorites: Gilcrease Museum, Woody Guthrie Center
Performing Arts Organization: Tulsa PAC Trust
The PAC Trust’s annual gift to Tulsa is SummerStage, the music and theater smorgasbord we get in June and July. It’s a year-round process to put it all together, but PACT bigwigs Chad Oliverson and Shirley Elliot do fine work maintaining that in addition to bringing in touring acts throughout the rest of the year. There’s always something good going on thanks to this terrific organization.
Other favorites: Tulsa Oratorio Chorus, Tulsa Symphony Orchestra
Photographer: Casey Hanson
You see her work in Urban Tulsa Weekly almost every single week. With an eye for detail and a great idea of light and color, Hanson does great things with a camera, and Tulsa notices.
Other favorites: Heath Sharp, Jeremy Charles
18th and Boston: Mercury Lounge
This gas-station-turned-bar is the coolest place to be when looking for a good spot to grab a drink with friends and just relax. This dive bar is open 365 days a year and is equipped with a pool table and juke box. Mercury was also voted the bar with the cheapest drinks in last year’s ABoT awards. Need we say more? We thought not.
Other Favorites: Shrine, Tree House on Boston
Bar Broken Arrow: CJ Moloney’s
Fun live music, awesome drink specials, and daily lunch deals make this place a favorite among Broken Arrowites and Tulsans alike. The classic bucket o’ beer is also pretty terrific. Get there and enjoy the place. And the drinks. And the music. And the food.
Other Favorites: Main Street Tavern, Jameson’s Pub
Bar Brookside: 33Forty
Chill on the roof, catch a DJ, have a great night. Even if it’s 1,000 degrees outside, the rooftop is still pretty cool. 33Forty is one of the swankier joints, but certainly isn’t one of those places that only the beautiful people can get into.
Other Favorites: R Bar & Grill, Cosmo Café
Bar, Cherry Street: Gray Snail Saloon
Much like 33Forty, but located on, well, Cherry Street, the Snail is a place to catch a DJ, catch a band, catch a nice cocktail, and you have the opportunity to take in the evening on the Gray Snail’s relaxed patio.
Other favorites: White Owl, Kilkenny’s Irish Pub
Downtown: James E. McNellie’s Public House
This Irish pub is a great place for drinking, delicious food and more drinking. With a massive selection of draft and bottled beer, there is sure to be a beer to tickle even the pickiest beer lover’s fancy. Opened in 2004, McNellie’s has accumulated quite a following. But if you’ve been there, you can’t really blame them. (Let’s be real, you are one of them.) During the day, it’s a great place for families with their vast menu and at night, it turns into a full on pool, dart, and shuffleboard-equipped bar.
Other Favorites: Arnie’s, The Maxx Retropub
Bar, East Tulsa: Ole Memorial Lounge
You want to hear some sweet, live jazz? This is not the place for you. However, if you want the loud, balls-to-the-wall rock of a band like KickTree, this is the place for you. Sitting at E. 11st St. and S. Memorial, this joint is where you go to kick it old school and knock back a few. This is not where you go before a night at the opera. This is one hell of a bar.
Other favorites: Dirty Knuckle Tavern, Dixie Tavern
Midtown: The Colony
A hit spot to experience Tulsa’s music scene is just one of the few things that makes this bar an ABoT winner. Rumored to have been THE spot back in the day, The Colony has continued to carry the torch of awesome into 2013.
Other Favorites: The Alley, Buckaneer Bar
South Tulsa: Red Dirt Dancehall
Come grab a bite to eat and dance the night away where it’s ladies night twice a week. Red Dirt Dancehall features karaoke and live bands on Thursday and Friday. So put your cowboy boots on and get to two-steppin’.
Other Favorites: Infuzion Ultra Lounge, Baker Street Pub and Grill
Bartender: Beth Mosier (Mercury Lounge)
Everyone who knows the Merc knows Beth. She’s quick with the drink, she’s great with the customer service, and she wields one hell of a soda gun. Get down there, order a beer and a shot, and tip her. You know she deserves it.
Other Favorites: Rich Bielefeld (Dust Bowl), Noah Bush (Hodges Bend)
Bloody Mary Bar: Cosmo Café
Hair of the dog? You know you need it. Spicy or mild, the Bloody is the best thing for a painful Sunday morning, but it’s also something fantastic right after a hard day of editing Urban Tulsa Weekly. Or whatever less-cool job you have. Hey, we can’t all work here.
Other Favorites: James E. McNellie’s Public House, Smoke on Cherry Street
Cheapest Drinks: Buckaneer Bar
The diviest of dive bars (and that’s not an insult), the Buck’s bartenders pour a stiff drink, and the shotgun shack-style bar is just a fun spot to be. Darts and pool complete the dive vibe, and the clientele is diverse. And it so didn’t use to be.
Other Favorites: Mercury Lounge, The SoundPony
Cigar Bar: Cigar Box
Choose from hand-rolled stogies, high-end factory-made smokes, and enjoy a beverage in this cozy joint. When you don’t buy a cheap-ass cigar, that whole don’t-smoke-that-here-it-stinks thing doesn’t fly anymore. Smoke up, Johnny.
Other Favorites: Smoke on Cherry Street, Classic Cigars
Club for Original Music: Mercury Lounge
Some of the coolest bands no one has ever heard of rock the Mercury, but some of the coolest bands that everyone loves play there, too. Add the general, pervading Mercury vibe and the Thom Self concert posters, and you’ve got a great venue for connoisseurs of the live show. Oh, and there’s also an unbelievable amount of variety on that stage from night to night.
Other Favorites: The SoundPony, The Vanguard
Craft Beer Selection: James E. McNellie’s Public House
Millions of beers, and not just that one local brand that everyone spazzes out about. Add in the cheap burger nights and the genuine Irish pub feel, and you’ve a got a recipe for an Absolute Best of Tulsa award. Love beer? This is your new home.
Other Favorites: Fassler Hall, Bar 46
Craft Cocktail: Hodges Bend
Live jazz, old wines, and of course, satisfying crafted cocktails make Hodges Bend an Absolute Best, because anyone can make a screwdriver. Add some cheese and charcuterie, and you’ll wonder where Hodges Bend has been all your life.
Other Favorites: Valkyrie, The Vault
Dance Club: Club Majestic
Sure, it’s a cliché, but if the shoe fits: This place is fabulous. Lights, dancing, chest-rattling music, frilly drinks, dancing, the occasional drag show, and dancing. Get out for a great night at the Majestic.
Other Favorites: Electric Circus, Caravan
Happy Hour: R Bar & Grill
Hit Brookside after work, and Josh will hook you up. He’s a beer aficionado nonpareil, and the R Bar itself has a great ambience. Wanna sit outside? They’ve got that covered, too. It’s a great place to unwind after work, whether you want to talk with friends or veg out in front of SportsCenter.
Other Favorites: Mercury Lounge, Roosters Cocktails
Hole in the Wall: Buckaneer Bar
Is there anyone who doesn’t know the Buck? Nightly specials, cold beer, and one of those digital jukeboxes that can play pretty much any tune you can think of. And that’s always a very nice touch.
Other Favorites: Arnie’s, The Colony
Hookah Lounge: The Buzz
While you often see hookahs on 11th Street, they’re not usually as classy as the hookahs at The Buzz. Conceived of at a Village Inn one (presumably) drunken night, The Buzz has become a place to see and be seen. And smoke stuff out of giant pipes that I first saw when I watched Lawrence of Arabia for the first time. The goal is to provide a place where the customers feel at him, and in addition to the smoking activities, the staff hopes to meet all your hookah needs.
Other Favorites: Star Avenue, Fantasia
Karaoke Night: Market Pub
Usually filled with just the right amount of people, Market Pub has Tulsa’s favorite karaoke — not the kind that makes you believe karaoke is Japan’s revenge on us for The Bomb, but actual singers who are good at it. Even if you’re not one to sing karaoke, it’s nice to hear people who know what they’re doing. There’s also cheap drinks and a friendly staff. Both plusses.
Other Favorites: Lot No. 6, New Age Renegade
LBGT Bar: Club Majestic
Did we already call this place fabulous? Well, it bears repeating. Legendary parties and unisex bathrooms engender equanimity, and that almost never goes wrong.
Other Favorites: New Age Renegade, Yellow Brick Road Pub
Margarita: El Guapo’s Cantina
The margarita is one of those drinks that’s easy to make, but really tough to make well. Anyone can throw tequila and margarita mix in a glass, but the bartenders at El Guapo’s raise the drink — frozen or rocks — to an art form. And who doesn’t love a margarita, especially on a summer evening?
Other Favorites: Los Cabos Mexican Grill & Cantina, Senor Tequila
New Bar: Infuzion Ultra Lounge
Executive Chef Andrew Card serves up some great fare at this bistro, and when you add craft cocktails and an extensive wine list, you get Tulsa’s favorite new place. The “Ultra” part isn’t hyperbole, either. Put on a nice outfit and get down there.
Other Favorites: Red Dirt Dancehall, Blu
Pool Hall: Magoo’s
Miles of green felt welcome sharks and newbies alike, and there’s even Golden Tee. Add adult libations and a pleasant lack of hustlers, and you’ve got a recipe for a great night of pool and good times.
Other Favorites: Sharky’s, Q Spot
Sports Bar: Leon’s Restless Ribbon
The Bob Marley Dip alone is reason to head to Leon’s, and the 20-ish big screen tvs insist that you stick around when that’s all been munched. Catch your favorite team (or the Dallas Cowboys) and stay current on your SportsCenter knowledge while enjoying great food and tons of beer choices.
Other Favorites: Buffalo Wild Wings, Fox and Hound
Trivia Night/Pub Quiz: Joe Momma’s Pizza
It’s always great to school your friends with your encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture, current events, music, and sports (you could never completely school anyone on Star Wars knowledge unless you’re UTW’s editorial manager, because, damn, that guy knows it all), but when you can do so and support local nonprofits and eat some of the best pizza in town, well, that’s even better.
Other Favorites: The SoundPony, The Colony
Wine Bar: Vintage 1740
With a definite embargo against boxed wine, Vintage 1740 is the winester’s wine bar. By the taste, by the glass, or by the bottle (one of them is $650, so it totally ought to decant itself), the wine selection is vast and varied. Beer and cocktails, too, but ordering a Budweiser at a wine bar is kind of like eating chicken fingers at a steakhouse. Get it together, man.
Other Favorites: Cork Wine Café, Sonoma Bistro & Wine Bar
Authentic Mexican: El Rio Verde
Tucked away just north of 244, this hidden jewel makes a wet burrito so good, you’ll want to slap your mama. Seriously. Ask my mom. I totally smacked her.
Other favorites: Tacos El Rinconcito, Mariscos Costa Azul
Bakery/Sweets: Ann’s Bakery
Wedding cakes, cupcakes, pastries, donuts, cookies; is your mouth watering yet? Ann’s bakery makes all of the above in every flavor imaginable. Being Tulsa’s oldest scratch bakery, you can taste the love that is put into each sweet treat. Ann’s Bakery has been serving Tulsa since World War II and has gained quite a following that continues to grow today. Ann’s is the reason that those skinny jeans don’t fit anymore but there is no doubt that it was completely worth it.
Other Favorites: Merritt’s Bakery, Antoinette Baking Co.
BBQ: Burn Co.
Tulsans rave over the BBQ at this place and if everyone agrees, then there’s no way that they can possibly be wrong; right? This spot keeps their menu fun and delicious with options like the Fatty sandwich (sausage wrapped in brisket which is then wrapped in bacon). I’m positive the phrase “So good you wanna slap your momma” was invented while devouring the ribs at Burn Co. Everything on the menu has a the perfect smoky flavor and a taste that keeps Okies coming back time and time again.
Other Favorites: Billy Sims BBQ, Elmer’s
Breakfast: Brookside by Day
Brookside by Day was cool before Brookside was cool, and that’s saying something. BBD offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with breakfast available all day. Breakfast for dinner is a win; I don’t care who you are. This family owned joint is dedicated to providing the best quality food and a fun family atmosphere and they have done an astounding job so far. Now equipped with a bar, BBD has the breakfast scene on lockdown.
Other Favorites: Tally’s, Dilly Deli
Burger: Fat Guy’s Burger Bar
Think up the most outrageous burger combination. Got it? Okay, now head to Fat Guy’s so they can make it happen. With over 15 toppings that can be added to any burger, making your own one of a kind burger is as easy as pie. While there, you should go ahead and try Fat Guy’s Burger Bar Challenge. You can take down a two pound patty, fifteen bacon strips, two hot dogs, eight slices of cheese, and all the veggies that could possibly top that monster, right?
Other Favorites: McNellie’s Public House, Smoke on Cherry Street
Burrito: Chipotle Mexican Grill
If you want fresh everything in your burrito, Chipotle is the place to go. They serve up burritos about as large as your face and they do it well. A healthy option to suit every diet and taste bud is something that Chipotle masters. These larger-than-life burritos have really made a name for themselves and now they can add another one; the Absolute Best of Tulsa.
Other Favorites: El Rio Verde, Qdoba
Catering Company: Ludger’s
Every event that requires catering should be done by only the best. The best happens to be Ludger’s. By providing much more for your event than simply food, Ludger’s continues to be a Tulsa favorite. ADD MORE
Other Favorites: Just Catering by Orr, Lambruscoz
Chef: Trevor Tack (Bodean’s)
Doing amazing things with seafood in a state where “fresh seafood” means “only frozen once,” Chef Tack does much more than make do. Anyone who’s ingested even one of his creations at Bodean’s knows that just because we’re not on a coast, we can still have the finest the ocean has to offer. At least until we ruin it with another oil spill.
Other Favorites: Justin Thompson (Juniper, Prhyme), Grant Vespasian (The Tavern)
Chicken Fried Steak: The Bros. Houligan
Carrying on the torch from 2012 ABoT, The Bros. Houligan has maintained their chicken fried steak-y awesomeness into 2013. This comfort food staple paired with some potatoes and carrots topped with thick gravy has the ability to put anyone in a food coma.
Other Favorites: Nelson’s Buffeteria, The Brook Restaurant and Bar
Chinese: Golden Gate
This previous ABoT winner has regained its rightful place in the winners circle by being crowned Absolute Best Chinese restaurant of Tulsa. Serving Tulsans for nearly four decades, Golden Gate has served up the best quality and most authentic Chinese food this side of the Great Wall. You get mountains of food for a great price, a method that keeps Tulsa Chinese-food-lovers coming back time and time again.
Other Favorites: PF Chang’s China Bistro, Royal Dragon
Chips and Salsa: Los Cabos Mexican Grill and Cantina
The salsa offerings at this Tex-Mex eatery will make your taste buds burn with excitement. Serving up more than just one kind of salsa has made this cantina the winner for this year. Their chips are simply fried pieces of gold and dipping it in their fiery salsa makes for the perfect combination. Throw a margarita in the mix with the chips, salsa and the view and you may just think that you’re on the shores of a tropical Tex-Mexy island.
Other Favorites: El Guapo’s Cantina, Chimi’s
Coffee House: Phoenix Café
At this modern café, coffee is far from the only item on the menu. Serving up tons of gourmet sandwiches, salads and bagels, Blake Ewing has created a hipster magnet. Coming for lunch or a late night meet up with friends, Phoenix is definitely the place to go. The artsy vintage feel plays well into the quickly evolving Pearl District and Tulsans are taking notice. Did I mention that they serve beer? Oh, well they serve beer.
Other Favorites: Hodges Bend, Chimera
Dessert: Antoinette Baking Co.
This Brookside boutique offers more than just the typical white cake with vanilla icing. Among the selection of interesting flavors lie chocolate with bacon maple buttercream icing, vanilla with rose water buttercream and earl gray with lemon cream. The unique twist that Antoinette Baking Co. has taken on the average cake sets this bakery’s desserts far above the rest and it is obvious that all of Tulsa agrees.
Other Favorites: Mod’s, Cosmo Café
Serving up delicious and authentic American favorites continues to be a trend at this hometown diner. With delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner options, Tally’s has been dubbed the place for the “Ultimate Tulsa Experience.” Not to mention, there is no need to break the bank to eat here. Right along the historic Route 66, Tally’s is and will continue to be a Tulsa treasure.
Other Favorites: Brookside by Day, Family Diner
Food Truck: Lone Wolf
918-lovers continue to gush about the delicious food that comes off of this mobile feeding machine. Hot and crispy Kimchi fries and their famous Banh Mi make this food truck the hoppin’ place to be for lunch or dinner. Joining the food truck revolution in Tulsa, Lone Wolf has taken the liberty of serving more than the typical hot dog and chips. This Vietnamese and French fusion makes sure that your taste buds and your yearning for some spontaneity in your diet have been satisfied.
Other Favorites: The Dog House, Lola’s
French Fries: Fassler Hall
This German joint isn’t all sausage and beer. Fassler’s is the place to find Tulsa’s gold mine of duck fat fries. Awesome atmosphere, live shows and French fries are only a few of the attributes that make Fassler’s the German spot in downtown T-Town. Believing that they themselves have the best fries in Tulsa is spot on and Tulsa agrees. Duck fat fries and a cold beer is a deliciously-deadly combination.
Other Favorites: Fat Guy’s Burger Bar, The Brook Restaurant and Bar
Frozen Yogurt/Ice Cream: Braum’s
Braum’s is the epitome of farm-fresh food. With every scoop or twist of their frozen yogurt or ice cream, you can taste each homemade ingredient. Sure, they don’t have millions of toppings to add but all with good reason; it’s simply not needed. For the best down home fro-yo and ice cream, Braum’s takes the cake. No gimmicks or smoke and mirrors here, simply the freshest ingredients go into making their ice cream and frozen yogurt undoubtedly making Braum’s an ABoT winner.
Other Favorites: Cherry Berry, Yolotti
German Food: Fassler Hall
A short and precise menu filled with the most original German food make Fassler Hall a Tulsa winner. With duck fat fries and the pretzels being among the most popular, their hotdogs are to die for along with their massive beer and cocktail selection. Going to enjoy a show or grab dinner with friends, Fassler’s is sure to provide you with authentic German as well as a fun atmosphere to enjoy it in.
Other Favorites: Margaret’s German Restaurant, Siegi’s Sausage Factory
Hot Dog: The Dog House
Hotdog addicts and vegans alike can find something to love at The Dog House, with many choices of meat (or meatless) dogs, and even more incarnations of the hotdog. Go out on a limb and try something other than a dog you could get at the ball park — they’ve even got one that has peanut butter on it. And shut up, man. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
Other Favorites: Coney Island, Coney Islander
Hottest Wait Staff: Cosmo Café
Ah, the sweet satisfaction of eye candy on top of good food. Look but don’t touch. And keep your dollars to yourself. But yeah, look. Yummy.
Other Favorites: Twin Peaks, Hooters
Indian: India Palace
India Palace is known for providing Tulsans with the greatest Indian food. Tulsa’s oldest Indian restaurant offers delicious options from the buffet or any item off of the menu; it doesn’t really matter, anything you get from this place will be phenomenal. Heating up the tandoor 365 days a year, India Palace is the ideal restaurant to try everything on the menu.
Other Favorites: Desi Wok, Himalayas
Irish: Kilkenny’s Irish Pub
Located in the heart of Cherry Street, this Irish novelty has self-proclaimed beer and food critics coming back for more. Offering a special menu every month gives this pub the opportunity to provide guests with a unique experience; you never have to eat the same thing twice. Bangers and mash or fish and chips, this Irish gem is authentic to the tee.
Other Favorites: James E. McNellie’s Public House, George’s Pub
Italian: Ti Amo and Dalesandro’s
Talk about your one vote making a difference. We had equal amounts of voters who loved the ambience of Ti Amo and the feel of Dalesandro’s. We had perfect balance between lovers of Ti Amo’s pasta and pesto and Dalesandro’s lasagna and linguini. How to choose between purveyors of Italy’s favorite export? It’s hard to do so. So hard, in fact, that we Tulsans chose not to decide. But hey, next year, maybe just one of you could vote just one more time. It’s not like you didn’t have a month or so to vote, people.
Other Favorites: Mary’s Trattoria
Kids Eat Free: Andolini’s
When the little ones join you for a meal at Andolini’s, (at least if you go on Tuesdays) you don’t have to pay. Delicious and handmade pizza is a meal that the whole family enjoys, making Andolini’s the best kid’s eat free restaurant in Tulsa. Catch the food truck or on Cherry Street and you are sure to be served fresh handmade pizza. So bring the kids, without breaking the bank.
Other Favorites: Dilly Deli, Caz’s Chowhouse
Meal Under 10 Bucks: Cosmo Café
Urban and chic yet affordable; Cosmo Café has managed to keep up with the Brookside feel without the Brookside price attached. Nearly everything on their menu is under ten bucks but don’t let the price fool you. Delicious food and drinks are Cosmo Café’s specialty and with the fun and chill vibe, this place is an all around win.
Other Favorites: The Dog House, Hey Mambo
The Brady District’s newest Mediterranean restaurant just happens to be this year’s ABoT winner. The best falafel, kababs and cocktails in Tulsa can be found here, whether it’s for lunch, for dinner, or on the go from the Mediterraneanest walk-up window in town. Tulsans already agree — they have done it to perfection.
Other Favorites: Helen of Troy, Pita Place Mediterranean
New Restaurant: The Vault
Whether you’re enjoying retro dining cuisine in The Vault proper or are upstairs in the Tom Tom Room knocking back a hand-crafted, themed cocktail, The Vault — sister restaurant to perennial favorite Elote Café & Catering — is the place to be. That it’s new only makes it that much more fun, as you still have friends who haven’t been there yet, and you get to be the one that introduces them to Libby and Jeramy Auld’s latest endeavor.
Other Favorites: Laffa, Prhyme
Pizza: Hideaway Pizza
A reigning ABoT winner, Hideaway continues to make Tulsa happy with their diverse mix of pizza options. No matter which Hideaway location you choose, the staff is always friendly and the pizza is always out of this world. Pizza making perfection is what Hideaway is about. If you disagree, you’re obviously not from Tulsa.
Other Favorites: Joe Momma’s Pizza, Andolini’s
Place for Late Night Eats: Phat Philly’s
In need of some good grub late at night? Phat Philly’s has you covered. Mountains of meat and cheese always sound better after midnight, which is exactly why Phat Philly’s wins yet again for this year’s ABoT. This chill rasta themed spot has all that any late night snacker could dream of.
Other Favorites: The Dog House, Village Inn
Pub Food: James E. McNellie’s Public House
McNellie’s is at the top of the list when it comes to providing Tulsa with the best pub food. The ultimate pub experience can be had at McNellie’s. With five star meals and over 350 beers to choose from, it’s no mystery why this pub was selected by hundreds of Tulsans. Wings and French fries are only the tip of the iceberg; sweet potato fries, crab cakes and of course fish and chips are offered as part of their vast menu. Pub or not, McNellie’s is a hug for your taste buds.
Other Favorites: Kilkenny’s Irish Pub, Baker Street Pub and Grill
Restaurant if Someone Else is Paying: Smoke on Cherry Street
It’s a scientific fact: everything tastes better when someone else is paying for it. Smoke on Cherry Street dishes out plates that are incomparable, but your palate always does even more of a happy dance when the words “I’ll get this one” are muttered by someone other than yourself.
Other Favorites: Fleming’s, Mahogany’s Prime
Restaurant Overall: Smoke on Cherry Street
It’s no secret that Tulsans love Smoke. Having a win in almost every category, it’s not hard to see that Smoke is the Absolute Best of Tulsa. A delicious menu filled with local everything; even the paintings are from local artists. Paired with their food truck, Smoke only continues to take Tulsa by storm and the 918 continues to love it. A great place to eat dinner with family or friends, to grab a drink after work, or to go and enjoy one of the many cooking classes that they offer, Smoke is the go-to place in Tulsa.
Other Favorites: Hideaway, The Tavern
Restaurant, Broken Arrow: Main Street Tavern
Tucked away on historic Main Street in Broken Arrow, Main Street Tavern is anything but historic. Great food and great drinks are staples at this gastropub. Serving a wide selection of American favorites, this cozy spot has worked its way to the top for this year’s ABoT.
Other Favorites: Los Cabos Mexican Grill and Cantina, Ted’s Escondido
Restaurant, Brookside: Cosmo Café
Cosmo Café has it all; board games, a sophisticated menu and a bar. Prime location and affordable menu makes this café the top notch eatery/bar on Brookside. With amazing combinations of food that no one ever thought of, such as the Homemade Meatloaf Panini or the Thai Chicken Pizza, Cosmo Café has creations for the simple to the most adventurous tastes. Everyone loves Cosmo Café, isn’t it obvious?
Other Favorites: Doc’s, In The Raw
Restaurant, Cherry Street: Hideaway Pizza
An Oklahoma tradition starting way back in 1957, Hideaway has worked its way into the heart and stomach of many Tulsans.
Other Favorites: The Bros. Houligan, Chimi’s
Restaurant, Downtown: The ChalkBoard
It’s classy, it’s delicious, it’s close to work. What else could you ask for? Tulsans love this place that has seemingly been around since the second Adams administration. Eat up, kids.
Other favorites: Elote Cafe & Catering, The Tavern
Restaurant, East Tulsa: La Mansion Mexican
Hanging your own shingle and making Mexican food in east Tulsa is a tough order, because it better be good. Thankfully, nearly all of it is, and La Mansion Mexican takes the flan this year as Tulsa’s Absolute Best. If you haven’t been there (or any other outstanding Mexican joint in that part of town), you’re missing out. These places cook and serve circles around any chain.
Other favorites: Mariscos Costa Azul, Tacos San Pedro
Restaurant, South: Waterfront Grill
There aren’t many places you can get hand-rolled sushi or a burger or a steak or ribs in the same place, but that’s what you’ve got at the Waterfront Grill out in Jenks. And the Pick Any Two lunch option is pretty great, as well. There’s also something delightfully evil about visiting the Oklahoma Aquarium and then eating some seafood afterward. You know you were already thinking it.
Other favorites: Bistro at Seville, Redrock Canyon Grill
Sandwich Shop: Dilly Deli
Recently named the hands-down favorite (prefaced by exactly zero hesitation) by Lion King cast member Jelani Remy on a Tulsa morning show, the Dilly Deli has earned its praise. The Blue Dome restaurant offers hot and cold sandwiches, daily soup specials, and a favorite option, the Create Your Own Sandwich or Salad. Do yourself a favor: dash down to the Dilly Deli. Delish.
Other favorites: Cosmo Café, Bill & Ruth’s Subs
Seafood: White River Fish Market
This perennial Tulsa favorite never fails to disappoint, whether it’s fried catfish or something else sea-born that isn’t fried. While the general vibe is something between a market and a diner, the food is fantastic. Extra fun can be had when you take your kids there and they come face to face with the dead eyes of lunch on ice and behind glass. Whether they’re fascinated or horrified, it’s a good time. And great food.
Other favorites: Bodean Restaurant & Market, S&J Oyster Co.
Steaks: Smoke on Cherry Street
One of the reasons we humans learned to stand up on two legs was so we could catch a cow and eat a damn steak. Hit Smoke for a luxurious steak dinner, but there’s more to the place than just red meat. Sides? Got ’em. Desert? Yep. Fine wine? Absolutley. McAnything? Not a chance.
Other favorites: Prhyme, Fleming’s
Sunday Brunch: Palace Café
A plethora of egg choices, French toast, even green eggs and ham make the Palace the place to be for brunch. And there’s not even the hangup about brunch for anyone who’s not a couple. Go with your bro, go by yourself. Everybody wins, because brunch, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
Other favorites: Lucky’s, La Villa Philbrook
Sitting in the location of Tulsa’s last Most Awesome Sushi Joint, Yokozuna picked up the baton and has run with it. Innovative rolls (try the Hot Mess) along with more standard fare (it’s hard to go wrong with the elegant simplicity of a tuna roll) make life worth living. Great, well-trained sushi chefs will knock your socks off. Go for dinner before you hit the PAC for whatever show you’re lucky enough to catch that night.
Other favorites:In the Raw, Sushi Hana
Tex-Mex: El Guapo’s Cantina
We’re sort of working on a wet burrito theme this year, it would appear, because like another ABoT winner, El Guapo’s makes a great one. Situated downtown in close proximity to a lot of great spots, El Guapo’s also offers a rooftop dining experience that you can’t get at a Tex-Max chain. Oh, and the salsa is pretty fantastic, too.
Other favorites: Mexicali, Chuy’s
Thai: Lanna Thai
Seafood, curry, and of course, Pad Thai. Belly up, Tulsa, because this is your favorite Thai place. And with good reason. And any place you can go to and get a bigass bowl of delicious noodles, fill up completely, and get out for less than $20 is a place everyone wants to visit.
Other favorites: My Thai Kitchen, Thai Siam
Vegetarian: The Tropical
God made cows for a reason, but hey, there remains a group of people who prefer less protein in their diets. For years, vegetarian fare has often been perceived as being bland, but that is not the case at The Tropical. The tofu is terrific, and it is literally impossible to go wrong with garlic and edamame at the same time. Not a vegetarian? There’s chicken available, too. Yep.
Other favorites: Cafe Samama, Big Al’s
Vietnamese: Ri Le
Okay, so you like Asian food. But you’ve had your fill of this Chinese place or that Thai joint, so what to do? Vietnamese. Because it’s delicious. Like spicy? Covered. Not so spicy? Covered, too. Ri Le is a favorite place for lovers of Vietnamese cuisine, and also for those who aren’t all that familiar with it. Head over there now, because they’re totally waiting for you.
Other favorites: Viet Huong, Pho Da Cao
The quintessential sports-watching food, wings have become a delicious part of the sports fan’s life. WingStop offers a wide choice of seasonings and a great place to watch a game. Add a beer? Yes, please. Life is good, ain’t it?
Other favorites: Buffalo Wild Wings, Wings to Go
Workday Lunch: Blue Rose
Who doesn’t love the Blue Rose? The Dittus crew has Tulsa set up with a primo lunch joint, and evenings there ain’t half bad, either. Catfish, chicken, steak, and pasta are all prepared with equal aplomb, and there aren’t many people who leave the place unsatisfied.
Other favorite: Cosmo Café, Atlas Grill
Health & Body
Acupuncture: Dr. Michael Van Antwerp
Antwerp can boast of impressive academic credentials but it’s the Oral Roberts University grad’s full-body approach that may have won over patients. Acupuncture can be a part of physiotherapy for athletes or anyone looking to improve their wellness.
Other Favorites: Path to Wellness, Jeff Luker
Body Piercing: Just Another Hole
With owners trained as medics, you can bet that piercings done here will follow proper sterilization procedures. Body jewelry will also be new and sterilized. Sunday hours can’t be beat for body art enthusiasts.
Other Favorites: Brookside Tattoo and Piercing, Karma Tattoo and Body Piercing
Chiropractor: 918 Chiropractic
You might think of bones cracking into alignment when it comes to chiropractic treatments. But the doctors here understand it’s really about stabilizing the body’s nervous system to allow for healing. Expect to learn tips about leading a healthy lifestyle when scheduling an appointment here.
Other Favorites: Dr. Rick Huskey, Peterson Chiropractic, Dr. Michael Van Antwerp
Day Spa: Spa Lux
Massage and beauty treatments in chic surroundings can be just the thing to renew your body and soul. Expect lots of organic options for both men and women. Those looking to try something new can experience underwater LED therapy designed to improve skin and be a truly calming experience.
Other Favorites: Ihloff Salon & Day Spa, Clary Sage College
Dentist: My Dentist
Complete care dentistry means that the health care professionals can handle root canals, oral surgery and cosmetic procedures. With several locations in the Tulsa area, there’s something to be said for convenience as well.
Other Favorites: Utica Dental, Dentistry by Design
Fitness Instructor: Monique Washingtion w/Physiques by Monique
When it comes to getting in shape, we all need a little encouragement. Monique brings that energy and enthusiasm, along with a variety of spin classes offered pretty much every day. Other training techniques include options for all fitness levels.
Other Favorites: Christy Hayes, Kasey Kellough and Julie Courcier at Fitness Protection Program
Gym: 918 Crossfit
Championing getting in shape as a sport in and of itself, the crossfit craze certainly has taken Tulsa by storm. Expect the unexpected when you take on this mix of strength and cardio training. Work out in small groups to get big results.
Other Favorites: Sky Fitness & Wellbeing, Physiques by Monique
Hair Salon: Raw Elements
This salon is about style and culture, with a decidedly low-attitude approach to great hair. Like the name suggests, natural and low-maintenance, organic looks are emphasized by staff. The goal is not just to look great walking out of the salon, but being able to maintain that look in the weeks that follow.
Other Favorites: Ihloff Salon & Day Spa, Z Studio
Few things are as marvelous as modern medicine, and Tulsans have looked here for more than 90 years to find the best care possible. Whether it’s an emergency or chronic illness, the hospital’s many employees deliver their best with compassion and respect.
Other Favorites: Saint Francis, St. John
Massage: Clary Sage College
It might not be an obvious choice, but Clary Sage College offers top-notch spa treatments that involve students training in the industry. A good massage can be just the thing to rejuvenate both body and mind, and the healing hands at Clary Sage offer just the right touch.
Other Favorites: Ihloff Salon & Day Spa, Aquarian Age Massage
Medical Spa: Jara Herron
Whether it’s weight loss, laser therapies or some Botox to smooth out your problems, this medical spa offers a great setting for just the right treatment. The spa experience isn’t just for relaxing, but also about taking concerns and doing something about them.
Other Favorites: Emerge Medical Day Spa, Skin Care Institute
Stylist: Beau Barbee
The owner of Z Studio is all about continuing his education to stay up on the latest trends and techniques. Finding and applying just the right color treatments are part of his specialty, along with making sure it’s a look that lasts.
Other Favorites: Josh Perry, Ethan Monroe
Tanning Salon: Bahama Sun
Now with more than 10 years of experience, this salon has 16 beds and offers different levels of tanning — including a “magic” level for the fastest results. Spray booths can also be found here, but contracts aren’t required.
Other Favorites: At the Beach, Palm Tree Tanning and Spa
Tattoo Artist: Tony Carrera (Pen & Ink)
No design seems too intricate for this ink master, who also happens to share his artistic vision through several murals which can be found in local businesses. For those willing to endure a little pain to turn the body into a canvas, expect to be impressed.
Other Favorites: Jose “Ink Father” Sanchez (Outsiders Ink), Brando (6th St. Social Club)
Tattoo Studio: Brookside Tattoo and Piercing
Whether it’s tattoos or piercings, the staff here are very experienced. Their body jewelry selection comes from around the globe, while the inkers have a combined total of more than 40 years of tattoo experience.
Other Favorites: Outsiders Ink, Pen and Ink Tattoo
Yoga Studio: The Yoga Room
Name a type of yoga, and there’s an excellent chance you can find a class at this spacious studio. Classes are offered seven days a week, and beginners of all ages are more than welcome with gentle classes for those easing into yoga.
Other Favorites: Salt Yoga, Inner Peace Yoga
Art Program for Kids: Tulsa Girls Art School
This program offers elementary-age artists a chance to create their own works of art in a real studio environment, then participate — and even sell — their work at an art opening. Not only a cool idea, the program offers professional-level instruction to ensure that the girls have a great learning experience.
Other Favorites: Philbrook Museum of Art, Waterworks Art Center
Dance School: Tulsa Ballet
Dance is not only a physical skill, but an act of discipline. Young dancers receive top-notch training that will allow their talent to shine while also picking up on the harmony and soul that makes ballet such an enriching art form.
Other Favorites: Miss Shelly’s School of Dance, PC Dance Co.
Daycare: Mommy or Daddy at Home
Don’t get in an uproar. We know that many single-parent homes can’t live without daycare, and many two-parent homes just don’t get by with only one parent working. Still, mom and dad know best, and while research doesn’t show lasting damage to kids who sojourn in day care, we do know that the more individual attention kids get, the better. Thanks, mom and dad!
Other Favorites: Happy Campers, Riverfield
Kids Boutique: Ida Red
Tulsa’s “Rockin'” boutique also offers some adorable outfits for boys and girls, including an emphasis on Oklahoma-centric designs. It’s not just about a playground fashion statement, but having the whole family show some pride in where they live.
Other Favorites: Kathleen’s Kids, Lolly Garden
Music School: Barthelmes Conservatory
Violin, piano, jazz guitar — these are just some of the many musical options for young learners. With more than two dozen faculty members, this esteemed center for learning offers top-notch instruction both for those learning for fun and those trying to maximize their talent.
Other Favorites: Saied Music Company, Preslar Music
Place for a Play Date: Tulsa Zoo
Nothing quite compares to seeing the flesh and blood of exotic animals. Those visions make quite the impression on those seeing these wonderful creatures for the first time, an experience that, when shared with a friend, can be even more memorable.
Other Favorites: Guthrie Green, River Parks
Place for Family Fun: Oklahoma Aquarium
Yes, there are other fish in the sea, but families will still find plenty to observe and be amazed at during a blissfully-climate controlled excursion to view aquatic wildlife. The diversity of creatures living in oceans should be enough to occupy all ages.
Other Favorites: Tulsa Zoo, Tulsa Drillers
Preschool: Temple Israel
Children from six weeks through five years of age experience a learning experience based on respect. A true Jewish social experience, the classroom experience allows a child to learn at his or her own pace. Parents are never excluded as the goal is to establish strong relationships that ensure children have a great experience.
Other Favorites: Holy Family Cathedral School, Riverfield
Adult Adult Novelty Store: Patricia’s
To add a little spice to your romance, visit this shop in one of several locations around town. Known for carrying high-quality products as well as a selection of sexy clothing, it’s the place to go to make those private encounters truly sizzle.
Other Favorites: Midtown Adult, Christie’s Toy Box
Antique Store: River City Trading Post
In Jenks, this spot has become a haven for local vendors. Known for its size and thus its selection, you can find furniture, clothing, accessories — pretty much a little bit of everything. With so much variety, it truly is a great place to visit and find that perfect thing you had no idea you needed.
Other Favorites: The Retro Den, I-44 Antique Mall
Auto Dealer Sales: Fowler Chevrolet
This family-owned dealership brings together monthly specials with a commitment to service. Your lifestyle and budget come first when visiting this dealership. With plenty of cars and trucks to choose from, staff will do their best to find a match.
Other Favorites: Jackie Cooper, Chris Nikel
Auto Repair Service: Robertson Tire
Since 1962, Tulsans have been rolling in looking for help at this complete auto service shop. Expect to find top-quality tires, of course, with lots of specials to make the expense affordable. The pros at this shop will work with you to get you driving away with what you need.
Other Favorites: Fellers Auto, Jim Norton
Bicycle Shop: Tom’s Bicycles
Sales and service can be found at this local shop, a linchpin for the local cycling community. Even rentals are offered. Premium cycling brands can be found here, as well as the top-flight skill of mechanics and friendly staff.
Other Favorites: Lee’s Bicycles, G. Oscar
Floral Shop: Mary Murray’s
Flowers can brighten up any occasion, from birthdays to anniversaries. But how to choose what stems to make a statement? This shop has been in business for more than four decades, offering just the right advice.
Other Favorites: Toni’s Flowers and Gifts, Mrs. DeHaven’s
Furniture Store: Mathis Brothers
Whether for pick-up or delivery, to furnish an entire house or just to find that one perfect end table, Mathis Brothers can help. Expect to find brand-name products along with special clearance bargains that can brighten up a room.
Other Favorites: Sunshine Furniture, Snow’s Furniture
Garden Store or Nursery: Grogg’s Green Barn
This organically-focused nursery features all kinds of green plants and even tools and educational items just for kids. The selection includes a variety of native plants, with a commitment to being eco-friendly at the top of the list at this shop.
Other Favorites: Southwood Landscape & Garden Center, Under the Sun
Gift & Accessory Shop: Ida Red
Originally conceived as an outlet store for Cain’s Ballroom, there’s plenty of music-oriented merchandise at this shop. But there’s plenty more, whether it’s fashion, art or even toys that you’re trying to find. Here, you’ll find that something new can certainly be something local.
Other Favorites: Dwelling Spaces, Starship
Grocery Store: Reasor’s Foods
Milk, eggs and so much more can be found in the aisles of Reasor’s, with some locations open late to provide the utmost convenience. Combine that with friendly service and competitive prices, and it’s little wonder that Tulsans choose Reasor’s.
Other Favorites: Whole Foods, Sprouts
Jewelry Store: Moody’s Jewelry
More than just diamonds, this store offers great-looking watches and plenty of gifts under $500 to go along with a wide selection of stunning rings. It’s a great place to find just your style and admire the skill that goes into crafting such fashion-forward jewelry.
Other Favorites: Bruce G. Weber, Israel Diamond
Liquor Store for Beer & Wine: Ranch Acres Wine & Spirits
The finest in wine, spirits and beer can all be found here, with an eye always toward spotlighting new breweries and products along with making sure to have the most popular brands. It’s a great place to try something new or to quickly find what you’ve always enjoyed.
Other Favorites: Parkhill’s Liquor, BierGarden
Men’s Clothing: Style Lab
Find the latest trends and also classics that never go out of style at this trendy spot. Whether you can pick out by name the hottest designers or just need help finding clothes that match, it’s a safe bet you’ll find something to improve your wardrobe.
Other Favorites: Must Stash, Shoe Gypsy
Women’s Clothing: Must Stash
Yes, the name might imply a lot of things, but ladies of Tulsa know that they can find the cutest and freshest looks at this boutique. Find denim, dresses, tees and tanks, along with anything else that’s of the moment.
Other Favorites: Rope, Tag Boutique
Motorcycle Dealer: Myers-Duren Harley-Davidson
There’s nothing quite like riding a motorcycle. The sensation of speed provides its own kind of freedom, and the staff at this 20,000-foot mecca for Harley enthusiasts will make sure your experience in the showroom is also fulfilling.
Other Favorites: Route 66 Harley-Davidson, Honda of Tulsa
Music Store for Instruments: Guitar Center
Yes, it’s a big-box shopping experience. But there’s something to be said for the selection and price that a large store can provide. More than just guitars, musicians know they can find drums, amps, accessories and lots of other equipment.
Other Favorites: Saied Music Company, The Music Store, Inc.
Pawn Shop: Golden Pawn
Someone else’s treasure can be yours if the timing is right when shopping the pawn shop circuit. From guns to gold, sometimes it’s amazing to consider the variety of merchandise available. Not everything is priceless, that’s for sure.
Other Favorites: EZ Pawn, Rose Pawn Shop
Pet Store: PetSmart
Their slogan is “Happiness in Store,” and those of us devoted to four-legged friends (or other manner of animals) know that it’s great to keep them happy and healthy. More than just a place to buy stuff, the store offers grooming and training sessions.
Other Favorites: PetCo, Southern Agriculture
Place to Sell Your Gold: Tulsa Gold and Silver
When it’s time to get some cash quick, having gold in hand can solve that problem. There are plenty of routes to getting a fair deal, but the popular opinion of Tulsans seems to be that this spot is definitely a go-to place to make a deal.
Other Favorites: Tulsa Gold & Gems, Abby’s Cash for Gold
Place to Shop Healthy: Whole Foods
You won’t find a junk food aisle at this store known as a place to gather those sometimes hard-to-find specialty items. Big enough to provide a wide selection, it’s also a place to experience a community of like-minded eaters, with cooking classes and other events held frequently.
Other Favorites: Akin’s Natural Foods, My Fit Foods
Record Store: Starship
Yes, there’s still a soft spot in the hearts of Tulsans for brick-and-mortar businesses selling music. But this store offers much more than CDs and vinyl, with an impressive selection of music-themed DVDs and lots of other merchandise, even jewelry, that makes it always worth stopping in to take a look.
Other favorites: They Vinyl Countdown, Vintage Stock
Resale Shop: The Echo Shops
With separate stores for “gals” and “guys,” this business has been around since the 1960s. The motto here is “upscale resale,” so expect high-quality stuff. Whatever your style, there’s a good chance you’ll find something here that will fit right into your wardrobe.
Other Favorites: Plato’s Closet, Salvation Army
Sporting Goods Store: Fleet Feet
Whether a marathoner or someone just looking to hit the trail, this shop offers shoes and accessories to make sure you have the right gear. Along with selling the latest in running shoes and apparel, the store frequently hosts a variety of events for runners.
Other Favorites: Sun & Ski Sports, Dick’s Sporting Goods
Vintage Store: Cheap Thrills Vintage
It’s sort of a living museum you can wear. Make trends from decades past new again by shopping at this fun store filled with all sorts of finds for men and women. Everything is good quality, just remember: not every imperfection is a flaw.
Other Favorites: Groovy Threads, Silver Screen Vintage