2018 Best of GayHRVA Readers’ Poll Winners: Nightlife & Entertainment

Best of Gay HRVA 2018 QUICK LINKS

Best Gay Bar, Neighborhood Hangout & Happy Hour

MJ’s Tavern

Once again, MJ’s Tavern wins in three separate categories for best gay bar, neighborhood hangout and happy hour.  Since its opening in 2012, the Granby Street establishment has become the community’s de facto community center for social groups, political meet and greets and a convivial atmosphere.

Best Gay-Friendly Bar


Streats has become a magnet for those who enjoy international street food and drinks in an open, welcoming atmosphere – especially on warm days when the red door is open on West 21st in Ghent.  Owner Neil Boden and his staff work hard to make everyone feel like a regular.

Best Bartender

Burt McManus, The Hershee Bar

Photo courtesy of Beth Austin. www.bethshoots.com

Competition for best bartender was fierce, but Burt McManus beat out 16 other challengers for the 2018.  McManus has been serving drinks to patrons of the Hershee Bar 1985 and a friendly face for many in the community.

Best Place to Drink Outdoors

Grain @ The Hilton Main

Norfolk’s only rooftop beer gardens set a new standard for lounges in the area when it opened last year.  Grain offers one of the best selections of craft beer in Norfolk and brings the indoors out and the outdoors in with an open air patio and fire pit set against views of the Elizabeth River.

Best Drag Brunch

Drag Yourself to Brunch @ Croc’s 19th St. Bistro

As drag has become more mainstream and traditional venues for drag performances dwindle, drag brunches have proliferated, offering queens opportunities to perfect their art.  Several drag brunches are held regularly in the area each weekend.  Drag Yourself to Brunch is the oldest and favorite of the bunch, with two shows held each Sunday at Croc’s 19th Street Bistro in Virginia Beach’s Vibe District.

Best Drag Performer

Jennifer Warner

Jennifer Warner is this year’s favorite drag performer in our readers’ poll.  While she calls Hampton Roads home, she regularly performs nationwide and around the world.  In addition, she is a cancer survivor, activist and former Miss GUS ICON 2012.  Look for her to appear locally and follow her on social media to find out where she will perform next.

Best Dance Company

Todd Rosenlieb Dance

Todd Rosenlieb Dance is located in downtown Norfolk and performs an original modern dance repertoire. This company of seasoned professionals has been presented locally by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Virginia Arts Festival, the Virginia Opera Association, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Choreographers Festival, the Regional High School Dance Festival, Virginia Musical Theatre and Lyric Opera of Virginia

Best Comedy Club

The Funny Bone

Located in the Town Center area of Virginia Beach, the Funny Bone showcases nationally known and local comedians.  In addition to the laughs, the Funny Bone also offers a full bar and menu.

Best Local DJ

Matty Elixson

DJ Matty Elixson can be found providing the musical backdrop at many events in the area and at the Rainbow Cactus in Virginia Beach.  In addition to his talents as a DJ, you can also find him behind the bar at MJ’s Tavern in Norfolk, serving patrons with a smile.

Best Theater Company

Virginia Stage Company

Virginia Stage Company is the premier professional theatre in southeastern Virginia, founded in 1978 by members of the Hampton Roads community who had a deep desire to make live theatre a part of the area’s cultural life. For its home, VSC chose the Wells Theatre in downtown Norfolk, which was fully restored in 1986 and is now a National Historic Landmark.

Best Museum

The Chrysler Museum of Art

The Chrysler Museum of Art is one of America’s most distinguished mid-sized art museums, with a nationally recognized collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the great glass collections in America. The museum also operates the Perry Glass Studio and two historic homes in Norfolk.

Best Place for Live Music


Downtown Norfolk’s live music club with a hot tub is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s best concert venues.  Since its opening in 2000, the venue has played host to such artists as Prince, James Brown and Justin Timberlake.

Best Local Festival

Hampton Roads PrideFest

Hampton Roads Pride is a 501(c)3 non-profit, community-based organization whose mission is to unite Hampton Roads LGBT community in support of inclusion, dignity and equality of all people.  Hampton Roads Pride is the largest pride celebration in Virginia, featuring the nation’s only Pride boat parade. 2018 marks the 30th PrideFest that will take place on June 30, 2018 in Norfolk’s Town Point Park.  Hampton Roads Pride also endows a scholarship program.

Best Party Band/Singer

The Deloreans

The Deloreans is a seasoned showband comprised of 6 distinct vocalists that cover the most memorable artists and nostalgic songs of the ‘80s. Each band member is featured throughout the show, making this band’s most notable attribute its unmatched variety. The Deloreans is known for their dynamic ‘80s costumes,unstoppable energy, and their ability to bring down the house EVERY time.

Best of Gay HRVA 2018 QUICK LINKS