Best Gay Bar for Locals: Good Friends Bar & Queens Head Pub
740 Dauphine St.
While most LGBT tourists flock to the flashy sensations of Oz and its nightclub vibes, there is another gay bar right around the corner that caters to local clientele like no one else. Good Friends Bar has been a "Fruit Loop" staple for years for its casual, friendly atmosphere and strong drinks—like the "Separator," a frozen chocolate concoction sure to hit the spot no matter what season it is. The bar also calls its upstairs section "Queens Head Pub," which has a balcony with some of the best views in the Quarter. Whether you're looking for a casual night on the town or a quiet evening with a group of friends, Good Friends Bar is the absolute perfect pick! Be sure to visit Jeremy upstairs and tell him Michael sent you. -Michael Fulkerson
Best Place for Bubbles: Effervescence
1036 N. Rampart St.
Everyone needs a little sparkle in their lives, and some of us like it in our wine. Effervescence is a new champagne bar on N. Rampart Street that offers a great selection of champagnes and sparkling wines by both the glass and the bottle. They have champagne flights (with three flutes-full), bubbly cocktails, and tapas-style dishes enough to satisfy all your champagne wishes and small plate dreams. Try the Prosecco and a Popsicle, which is a glass of bubbles with a homemade frozen treat floating within. And if you have champagne taste on a beer budget, don’t worry. Effervescence has many very affordable options. You can do a half flight of champagne or half a glass of sparkling wine for, appropriately, half the price. And the unlimited fresh popcorn is free! -Kathy Bradshaw
Best Way To Eat At A Police Station Without Getting Arrested: Rosedale Restaurant
801 Rosedale Dr.
Built inside a former 3rd District police station, Rosedale offers far superior cuisine than what's on the menu at OPP. Owned by famous local chef Susan Spicer and helmed by chef Brett Duffee, this small, casual joint offers shaded outdoor dining, bathrooms instead of cells, and dishes like Shrimp Puppies or Panéed Pork Chops instead of wannabe bologna on no-name bread. -Kim Ranjbar
Best Place to Shop for Unconditional Love: No Fleas Market
4228 Magazine St.
You just love those shoes you saw in that pricey boutique, and you just love that purse. But unfortunately, they’ll simply never love you back. Well, now you can shop for all the clothes and accessories you want and pick up something that will reciprocate your affections, all in the very same store. No Fleas Market is a resale shop run by the Louisiana SPCA that helps support animals and provide veterinary care by donating part of their profits to local animal shelters and rescue organizations. And they even have kittens up for adoption onsite in their shop. So, you can bring home something cute and cuddly to snuggle that’s more than just another fluffy sweater. But a word of warning: though those sexy jeans you covet don’t eat much, your new kitten surely will. -Kathy Bradshaw
Best Place to Get Your Wheels Turning: Rouler
601 Baronne St., Suite C1
New Orleans has a pension for successfully blending things that you wouldn’t normally think to combine: like alcohol and athletic events (or alcohol and everything), and bars with laundromats. Rouler is the latest to mix two unusual elements into one fun combo with its bike shop and café. The place offers pick-me-ups for you as well as your two-wheeled friends, so you can have a cup of coffee or a beer and a snack while getting your bike seat adjusted or chain oiled. Grab a sandwich or a new bike helmet; check your email or your tire pressure. With caffeine, booze, and bike repairs and supplies, you’ll find whatever you need here to get both your bike and yourself ready to roll. -Kathy Bradshaw
Best Perfect Date: City Park
1 Palm Dr.
Take off your Capezios and put on your walking shoes; park your ride at the gate and promenade the big lake; take your honey for a walk-about through the Sculpture Garden and then over to Morning Call for café au lait and beignets. Feed the ducks (beware of the geese), chill out, and enjoy each other’s company in the fifth largest public park in the country. Don’t you think that you’re both overdue for a dose of amnesia? C’mon. It’s a real civilization out there, and sometimes you just need to “stroll around the grounds until you feel at home,” Mrs. Robinson. Back in the day, we would even strip down and sit and splash in a fountain. Find your inner cool. -Phil LaMancusa
Best Place to Be Stood Up: Barcadia
601 Tchoupitoulas St.
It’s time to face the truth, he (or she) isn’t going to show up for your date. It’s at least 35 minutes since your scheduled meeting time, and still no sign of Mr. Bumble or Ms. Tinder. But that’s okay, you’ve been having so much fun that you hardly even noticed. At Barcadia, there’s plenty to do while you wait, even if you’re waiting all night. You can drink to forget, get something to eat (their fried PB&J sandwich is great comfort food when you’re feeling like a rejected loser), watch the game on TV, or entertain yourself with pinball machines or giant, life-sized Connect Four and Jenga games. The place is busy enough that no one can even tell you’re there alone, and you might meet someone else who is a much better match than the one who just stood you up. But if your date ever does show up, try playing a little Skeeball to break the ice. -Kathy Bradshaw
Best Spot for Thick, Hand-Cut French Fries: Fat Boy Pantry
1302 Magazine St.
Though extremely common, French fries tend to be an afterthought at many restaurants. But not at Fat Boy Pantry! If you're a fan of steak fries, these beauties will knock your socks off. Sure, they have homemade ice cream, coffee from Chicago-based roaster Dark Matter, fried lobster po-boys with drawn butter, and fresh-squeezed juices, too … but those French fries! -Kim Ranjbar
Best Taste of the Caribbean: Latitude 29
321 N. Peters St.
New Orleans’s summers have tropical heat, and if you are looking for a beach to cool down, the Mississippi River just isn’t a substitute. Latitude 29 in the French Quarter may be the next best thing. Delightfully decorated with bamboo and assorted island accouterments, this tiny island getaway immediately whisks you back in time with its fun retro-surf-rock soundtrack thumping as you walk in the door. Chill out with one of their many World War II-era inspired tiki drinks: The Zombie and the Suffering Bastard are two personal favorites, if not for the names alone. Hungry? The Banh Mi Sandwich and Tahitian Steak Frites are delicious and well worth the trip. If you’re loving the vibe and plan on staying a while with your friends, try one of their communal drinks—the Plantocracy Punch comes with a baller price tag ($180), but may very well be the only drink you need (or can handle) for the day. -Greg Roques
Best Costumer: Jenny Campbell, NOLA Costumes
Have you ever actually stood back and thought about the time and effort it takes to create some of the dazzling costumes you see during Mardi Gras, let alone the person behind the spectacular ensembles? Jenny Campbell moved to New Orleans after catching the costuming bug in Baltimore, Maryland, and has since been working with burlesque dancers, Mardi Gras float riders, ball kings and queens, and more, around the Crescent City. Campbell is available for all types of costume creations—from working snow globe headpieces to a six-foot-wide octopus—and you can see some of her work on her Instagram page. -Michael Fulkerson
Best Church: Immaculate Conception
130 Baronne St.
St. Louis Cathedral is wonderful and it rightfully garners a lot of attention for its beauty. But a long walk away on Baronne Street (just off Canal) is Immaculate Conception, a.k.a. “Jesuit Church.” It may not look like much on the outside, but once you enter, the towering nave, the exquisite stained-glass windows, and the 24-karat gold-plated altar take your breath away. While the church is often open to visitors and you may encounter a few souls inside during the day, it is often blessedly quiet (no pun intended). Even if you’re not religious, it’s a wonderful place to sit, think, and escape from the chaos of the CBD. -Fritz Esker
Best Spot on Tulane Avenue for Food, Family, and Friendliness: Avery’s On Tulane
2510 Tulane Ave.
Five years ago, Christy and Justin Pitard opened their own restaurant, which took some kind of courage, not to mention talent and vision. Tulane Avenue is slowly recovering from years of the doldrums, thanks to energetic and creative entrepreneurs like the Pitards. Avery’s On Tulane (named after their daughter) has made the commitment to bring excellent New Orleans food to their dining tables (and to-go boxes). They are keeping it real, grounded, and local, with inspired twists (even a vegan red bean burger that rocks). We bemoan how many family-owned and -run eateries and businesses have left us, but now we have the pleasure of supporting what is sure to become a New Orleans tradition. -Debbie Lindsey
The Best Vet Practice in Town: DeSoto Park Veterinarian Clinic
2569 DeSoto St.
DeSoto Park Vet is more than an excellent clinic for the health, care, and repair of pets—it also dispenses a wealth of compassion and knowledge. It feels like an old-fashioned country doctor’s practice, yet with precise, spot-on, encyclopedic knowledge. Doctors Andrea and Nicole Larroque, plus every member of the staff, are caring, warm, and relentlessly professional. This family practice treats you like family. Pets are remembered by name, quirks, and needs, without even a reference to their files. They put the welfare of animals ahead of profits—never taking on more clients than those to whom they can give 100% of themselves. When your dog rushes ahead of you to enter this clinic, you know there is love there … and some treats! -Debbie Lindsey
Best Woman-Owned Bike Shop and Repair: Dashing Bicycles
1234 N. Broad St.
Dashing Bicycles is open every day for bike sales, rentals, and repairs. This woman-owned bike shop is old school in today’s world of toss-n-replace. Here, bikes are diagnosed for free and repairs and adjustments are offered at good, old-fashioned, sensible prices. But if you prefer new and shiny, she also sells state-of-the-art bikes. The attitude of this shop and its employees is open, inviting, and full of fun twists. Dashing is community-involved and always hosting fun events and pop-ups. Visit them on Facebook to see what’s happening. -Debbie Lindsey
Best Place to Art-Flix and Chill: Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center
1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
Many movie theaters around town these days are hip to the latest indie flicks. However, only Zeitgeist has the truly unknown art house, documentary, and foreign flicks you won’t find out about on IMDB’s homepage or even your most obscure Netflix recommendations. Had I not discovered this hidden gem, I would have missed the excellent documentaries Saving Banksy (2014) and The Witness (2015) this past year. Complementary to its lineup, the “theater” has a total DIY vibe: It’s housed in a large, open room full of assorted couches (I wouldn’t be surprised if they were donated or collected off the side of the road), and the films are shown on a projector that looks like it was borrowed from a local university. Some may find this cheap, but I find it charming—the environment makes it easier to mingle with like-minded moviegoers, and the couches are perfect for cuddling when you’re making it a date night. -Greg Roques
Best Way to Go Off-Road: Q50 Trail Races
Q50 Races take the typical road race and turn it on its head in more ways than one. First and foremost, all of their runs are organized on nature trails. Q50 wants to bring urban runners together who have a shared love for nature by introducing them to a wide range of parks and public wildlife preserves all throughout the state. Runs accommodate athletes of all levels … and I mean ALL levels. Races range from 5k’s to two-day ultra-marathons. Q50’s other unique features include after-dark races and a canine run, where runners compete alongside their best four-legged friends. And 2017 will see the debut of Q50’s most ambitious race yet. On October 7, Q50 is partnering with The National World War II Museum to host a 30+ mile race in Normandy, France, that retraces the path the U.S. troops followed during WWII after landing at Omaha Beach. Plans are to make this an annual event, with each race adding to the subsequent year’s path. -Greg Roques
My Food Go-To-Me Guy: Ian McNulty
I love Judy Walker; I follow Ann Maloney. But when I get a Facebook message from Ian, it’s like a telephone call that I’m surely going to pick up. Ever since the time he hipped me to what I found is the very best fried chicken in the city, I am his food biatch. He swings high, he swings low, and his contradiction of what, at the time, I believed was the quintessential boiled-in-oil avian made me a believer. More than just a staff writer, he’s an inside/outside food 411 (and no, I’m not telling you where to get that chicken). -Phil LaMancusa
Best Food Tour for Ya Mama and Dem: Destination Kitchen
7211 Regent St., 2nd Floor
Starting Destination Kitchen tours eight years ago, tri-lingual local chef, instructor, and spice maven Julie Barreda has enlisted a staff of culinary wizards to give in-the-know locals and visitors three hours of real New Orleans food, facts, and fun. The walking jaunt covers food history, architecture, and tastings, with a little inside information and gossip thrown in for good measure. No one gets off the tour hungry, for sure, and the company has steadily been racking up accolades in tour circles. Forget ghosts, vampires, and cemeteries; don’t you want Aunt and Uncle from out-of-town to sip and sup the real deal? Visit their website because the food tour is only a portion of what’s offered. -Phil LaMancusa
Best Place for a Sundowner: Moss Street
It’s been a long day. Rather than going up to the rooftop at Whole Foods (a kick-ass sunset viewing spot), take a trip to the pedestrian bridge or a piece of adjacent lawns on the bayou; bring a lawn chair, a snack, and something to drink; and see the sun complete its act for the day. I’m a fan of a tall cool one while watching the decoloration of the sky when the celestial curtain is coming down for the day. If you squint your eyes, you can picture Helios piloting his chariot, waving as he tows old Sol to bed. Think lovely thoughts and believe that Neverland is real and Peter is coming back for you. -Phil LaMancusa