Best of East County 2016 — Entertainment

Lewis & Church Expeditions Performing at Nissi’s.

Place to Dance
2675 Northpark Drive, Lafayette, 303-665-2757
Longmont Winner: Dickens Opera House
Lyons Winner: Oskar Blues Grill & Brew
Louisville Winner: Waterloo
Honorable Mention: The Speakeasy (Longmont)

We’ve all been there. We’ve watched Saturday Night Fever, and now the souls of our feet are itchin’ and our hips are swingin’. We’re sashaying down the hall and hustlin’ while we make dinner.  We’re twistin’ as we’re whiskin’ and doing the mashed potato as we … mash the potatoes. Basically our body is telling us it’s time to dance, and our readers say the best place to do that is Nissi’s. The venue hosts a variety of different acts playing a plethora of musical styles. Whether you’re a fan of Tony Manero or Michael Jackson, your dancing shoes will be happy at Nissi’s.

Place to WiFi
Locations throughout East Boulder County
Runner Up, East County: Brewing Market Coffee (Longmont, Lafayette)
Louisville Winner: Bittersweet – Café & Confections
Honorable Mention: Ziggi’s Coffee (Longmont); Panera Bread (Longmont, Superior)

When WiFi first came on the scene, many people were stumped at what the abbreviation stood for. Wig Firmer? Wiggle Finger? Wing Fibers? Winter Fiddle? Funnily enough, most people still don’t know what WiFi stands for. We just hungrily search for a connection to it and panic when we can’t find it. Turns out, WiFi doesn’t stand for anything. It was just a name and logo created for trademark purposes. That may be anticlimactic, but still doesn’t curb WiFi’s importance in everyday life. Our readers say Starbucks is the best place to WiFi, so head on over and start your angry googling of, “Seriously, what does WiFi stand for?”

Live Jazz Venue
2675 Northpark Drive, Lafayette, 303-665-2757
Longmont Winner: The Speakeasy
Honorable Mention: Bittersweet – Cafe & Confections (Louisville); Gravity Brewing (Louisville); Ziggi’s Coffee (Longmont)

There’s no question in our readers’ minds: when they want live jazz, they head to Nissi’s. This award-winning music venue is owned by Marc Gitlin, who worked in New York’s entertainment scene for years before bringing his experience and savvy to Colorado. He’s been using Nissi’s to funnel his passion for great entertainment since he took over in 2009. Check out Nissi’s entertainment calendar to see when they’re hosting one of Colorado’s best jazz acts — think Hazel Miller, Holly and the Husbands and Nelson Rangell.   

Place to Play Pool
935 Pine St., Louisville, 303-665-9966
Lafayette Winner: Dillingers Food & Spirits
Longmont Winner: Breakers Grill
Honorable Mention: Eagle Grill (Longmont)

As if on cue, Boulder County voters chose Henry’s Bar & Grill as the best place to play pool. It’s the perfect venue for billiards, beer and a great time. Bridge. Break. Corner-Hooked. Jump shot. Rack. Rails. Snake. Snookered. Split Shot. Spot. Spot shot. Stop shot. Striker. Stroke. Are we speaking your language? Get your pool face on at Henry’s. Have no idea what we’re saying? Henry’s the perfect place to learn all the ins and outs of the game. Can’t make it out to Louisville? Breakers Grill in Longmont and Dillingers in Lafayette have plenty of great tables to offer as well.

Public School (9-12)
329 Campus Drive, Louisville, 720-561-4200
Lafayette Winner: Centaurus High School
Longmont Winner: Longmont High School
Niwot Winner: Niwot High School
Honorable Mention: Peak to Peak Charter (Lafayette)

Ah, high school. The time in our lives when adults try to pigeonhole us and we rebel, resist and break all boundaries. They ask us who we are. In the process we discover that “each one of us is a brain… and an athlete… and a basket case… a princess… and a criminal…” Or at least that’s what John Hughes tells us about high school. At Monarch High School, there is something for everyone. With more than 200 classes in varied subject matter, plenty of sports programs and even more activities, clubs, counseling and college prep resources, Monarch is this year’s best public high school according to our readers. “Does that answer your question?”

staff-pick-logoBest Auditorium
400 Quail Road, Longmont, 303-651-8374

The Stewart Auditorium opened its doors last year, and since then it has upped the entertainment game in East County. With a diverse schedule of events happening frequently throughout the week, The Stewart Auditorium provides it all: music, performances, movie screenings, cultural celebrations and more. It’s only been open a year, but we barely remember a time without it.

Art Gallery
667 Fourth Ave., Longmont, 303-651-2787
Lafayette Winner: pARTiculars Art Gallery & Teaching
Louisville Winner: Creative Framing Art Gallery
Honorable Mention: Arts Longmont Gallery (Longmont, formerly Muse Gallery); Curating the Cool (Lafayette)

The Firehouse Art Center has been described as a hidden gem nestled in downtown Longmont. But the Firehouse isn’t just one of the best art galleries in East County, it’s one of the best in all of Colorado. In their frequently rotating shows, they feature the best of local, national and international arts. The artists are diverse, the mediums are varied and the art is always thought provoking and interesting. Whether the Firehouse is your main destination or something you happen upon, it’s always worth venturing inside for whatever they have on display.

Public School K-8
800 Merlin Drive, Lafayette, 303-453-4600
Louisville Winner: Louisville Elementary
Honorable Mention: Lafayette Elementary (Lafayette); Monarch-PK8 (Louisville); Louisville Middle School

You always want the best for your children, and when it comes to education, you want the best of the best. The formative years of school set children up for the future. Good teachers and strong curriculums can inspire your kid to learn and fall in love with school. Our readers voted Peak to Peak Charter School as the best public school K-8. Set your kids up for success and watch them flourish.

Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Cha’s perform at the Louisville downtown Street Faire
Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Cha’s perform at the Louisville downtown Street Faire Susan France

Festival/Event (non music)
Downtown Louisville, 720-722-2044
Lafayette Winner: Lafayette Peach Festival
Longmont Winner: Longmont Farmers Market
Honorable Mention: Longmont Oktoberfest (Longmont); Art Night Out (Lafayette)

The summertime sun urges you out of the indoor cocoon that you’ve gotten used to all winter. When those rays of sunshine spill into the evening, it’s time to venture out and find out where the fun is. Our readers say that fun is at the Louisville Downtown Street Faire, which is why they voted it the best festival/event. For multiple Fridays throughout summer, downtown Louisville hosts a guaranteed good time with a bevy of fun options from food, drinks, crafts, children’s activities and music. Stop on by and celebrate the good times.

Bank/Financial Institution
1900 W. South Boulder Road, Lafayette, 303-443-4672
777 21st Ave., Longmont, 303-772-7776
1079 S. Hover Road, Suite 100, Longmont, 303-443-4672
300 S. McCaslin Blvd., Louisville, 303-443-4672
Runner Up, East County: Chase Bank (Various Locations)
Honorable Mention: FirstBank (Various Locations); Wells Fargo (Various Locations); Premier Members Credit (Various Locations)

If you’re looking for local, personal banking services, look no further than Elevations Credit Union. The friendly tellers and officers here help you with everything from financing big purchases such as cars and homes to money management services, insurance options and financial education resources for young and old. There are many benefits to choosing a friendly nonprofit credit union, and Elevations exemplifies all of those. These folks focus on the individuals and their needs and are therefore just the kind of financial institution our readers can get behind.

Advanced Education
2190 Miller Drive, Longmont, 303-678-3722
Runner Up, East County: Southwest Acupuncture College (Gunbarrel)
Honorable Mention: Rolf Institute of Structural Integration (Boulder); Roma’s Catering (Longmont)

What did you want to be when you grew up? An astronaut?  A physicist? An astrophysicist? Or maybe a nurse, a doctor, lawyer or architect? Or maybe an artist, a teacher, mechanic or veterinarian? You get the point. Front Range Community College can start you on your way. Offering dozens of programs in a variety of fields, Front Range is once again our readers’ choice for best advanced education. Whether you need to take continuing education courses, pre-requisites or just want to finish your degree or certification, this is the place for you.

Open Mic
1555 S. Hover Road, Longmont, 303-485-9400
Lafayette Winner Cannon Mine Coffee
Louisville Winner: Waterloo
Honorable Mention: The Speakeasy (Longmont); The Dickens Tavern (Longmont)

Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids and Solids hosts an open mic unlike most others. Head out to Longmont every Sunday afternoon to watch folks of all ages and skill levels thrown down during a bluegrass pick with Bonnie and Taylor Sims, or on Mondays for an open blues jam with Boa & the Constrictors. If you pick yourself into a mighty fine hunger, clearly Oskar Blues has got you covered with a few homemade solids so you can regain your strength and get back up on that stage to pick some more.

Music Venue
2675 Northpark Drive, Lafayette, 303-665-2757
Longmont Winner: Dickens Opera House
Louisville Winner: Waterloo
Lyons Winner: Oskar Blues Grill & Brew
Honorable Mention: The Roost (Longmont)

Looking to listen to some live tunes? Well then head on over to Nissi’s in Lafayette. It’s a solid music venue with great food and drink. It’s always been a great venue, but now there’s even more room to move around. In the recently remodeled venue, listen to some classic rock cover bands, live blues and jazz, and local favorites like Face and Hazel Miller. Get your live-music fill at Nissi’s most nights of the week (closed Mondays). And enjoy what it feels like to dance  to great music without feeling like a sardine.

A Dawson School student works on the construction of a robot.
A Dawson School student works on the construction of a robot. Courtesy of Dawson School

Private School
10455 Dawson Drive, Lafayette, 303-665-6679
Longmont Winner: Mountain Peak Private School
Louisville Winner: St. Louis Catholic School
Honorable Mention: St. John the Baptist (Longmont); Patchwork School (Louisville)

When we send our children off to school, we aren’t just sending them off to learn math or study literature or practice science; we’re sending them off to socialize. We want them to get out of the classroom and have real world experiences — to see the world, even! And our readers know that the best place in East Boulder County to ensure kids get the best education possible is Dawson School. Kids from kindergarten through 12th grade can take part in the many academic and experimental opportunities Dawson offers. Dawson students can take advantage of immersion programs in Spain, China and France, or use the school’s computer labs to study coding, engineering, robotics or digital media.

WOW! Children’s Museum
110 N. Harrison Ave., Lafayette, 303-604-2424
Longmont Winner: Longmont Museum
Honorable Mention: Leanin’ Tree Museum of Western Art (Gunbarrel); Agricultural Heritage Center (Longmont)

Museums are meant to fill the visitor with wonder and awe. Museums also strive to teach in a way that leaves visitors hungry for more. WOW! Children’s Museum does all this and more. Their mission is to “inspire learning through play,” and their method is by making learning fun. The interactive activities cover a variety of subjects that appeal to kids and stimulate their imaginations. And even though WOW! may be for “children,” you’ll have a hard time getting parents to leave too.

Sports Bar
540 Main St., Longmont, 303-702-0881
Erie Winner: The Lazy Dog Sports Bar & Grill
Lafayette: Dillingers Food & Spirits
Louisville Winner: Mudrock’s Tap & Tavern
Honorable Mention: Buffalo Wild Wings (Longmont, Superior)

Bars are pretty great. There’s only one thing that can make them better and that’s sports. While we’re enjoying an ice cold beer and a plate of nachos, we want to be cheering on our favorite team. Pumphouse Brewery & The Red Zone has once again been chosen as best sports bar in East County. It’s easy to see why — the Pumphouse boasts a loaded food and drink menu and multiple screens playing multiple games. Plus, it’s been scientifically proven that if you watch your team play at the Pumphouse, they will win. Well, at least sometimes…

9595 Nelson Road, Longmont, 303-772-1232
Lafayette Winner: Sister Carmen Community Center
Louisville Winner: The Art Underground
Honorable Mention: Wow! Children’s Museum (Lafayette); Community Holistic Health Center (Lafayette) 

It’s an admirable thing when you donate your hard-earned dollars to a good cause. Anything you manage to give creates a ripple effect of goodness in society, and we need as much of that as possible. Our readers chose the Longmont Humane Society as their favorite nonprofit. The Humane Society does so much compassionate work for all kinds of animals, improving the lives of our furry friends and the people who love them. Thanks to all the nonprofits for all the work they do.

staff-pick-logoTheater Group
513 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-5200

Local theater is essential for any community. It brings thought-provoking plays and joyous musicals to the people, without necessitating a trip to the Great White Way. Longmont Theatre Company has been doing just that since 1957. They’ve made us laugh, they’ve made us cry, they’ve drenched us in “blood” during last year’s production of Evil Dead the Musical. Do yourself a favor and buy a ticket today.

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