CVIndependent

Thu11262020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

We here at the Independent debated postponing our annual Best of Coachella Valley readers’ poll this year.

Why? Well, COVID-19 has rocked the Coachella Valley—and a fair number of the businesses and organizations that are often winners and finalists in the Best of Coachella Valley are either closed or severely limited due to the pandemic. To put it mildly: It’s been a tough year.

There’s also a financial aspect. To be frank, this issue is normally a money-maker—something that helps fund our operations during the leaner times of the year. This year, we predicted—correctly—that we’d see a marked decrease in revenue for this Best of Coachella Valley issue, and wondered whether it was worth doing, given the amount of time, energy and money we put into it.

However, the more we thought about things, the more it became apparent: Postponing the Best of Coachella Valley poll would be a terrible idea—as there’s never been a more important time to shine a light on the valley’s best businesses, individuals and organizations, precisely because so many of us are struggling right now.

We also feel an obligation to present the Best of Coachella Valley as an antidote, of sorts, to the other publications’ “Best Of” polls—which sometimes have, well, odd results. For our Best of Coachella Valley poll, we ask each reader to vote only once per round, because our goal is to come up with a slate of truly excellent finalists and winners. The other polls have no such prohibition, because the goal of those polls is not to get a great slate of finalists and winners—the goal is for the publications to get as much web traffic as possible from readers visiting their websites over and over again to vote.

To the many, many readers out there who voted this year: Thank you. And to the winners and finalists whose names appear in the following pages: Congratulations, and thank you helping make the Coachella Valley such an amazing place to live.

Welcome, everyone, to the Best of Coachella Valley 2020-2021.

—Jimmy Boegle, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Arts

 

Best Art Gallery

TIE

CODA Gallery

Shag

 

Runners up:

3. AutoErotica/Michael Weems Collection

4. Heather James Fine Art

5. Melissa Morgan Gallery

 

Best Indoor Venue

Palm Springs Art Museum

 

Runners up:

2. McCallum Theatre

3. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

4. Purple Room

5. The Hood Bar and Pizza

6. The Show at Agua Caliente

 

Best Outdoor Venue

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

 

Runners up:

2. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

3. Empire Polo Club

4. Fantasy Springs Rock Yard

5. Rancho Mirage Amphitheatre

 

Best Local Arts Group/Organization

Palm Springs Art Museum

 

Runners up:

2. McCallum Theatre

3. Palm Springs Public Arts Commission

4. CREATE Center for the Arts

5. Old Town Artisan Studios

 

Best Local Band

The Gand Band

 

Runners up:

2. Giselle Woo and the Night Owls

3. Desert Winds Freedom Band

4. The Flusters

5. Avenida Music

 

Best Local DJ

DJ Galaxy

 

Runners up:

2. DJ Baz/Barry Martin

3. Femme A

4. DJ Zephyr

5. Guy Worden

 

Best Local Musician (Individual)

Keisha D

 

Runners up:

2. Jesika von Rabbit

3. Giselle Woo

4. Chris Lomeli

5. Kal David

 

Best Local Visual Artist

Shag

 

Runners up:

2. Phillip K. Smith III

3. Tysen Knight

4. Adam Enrique Rodriguez

5. Zach Fleming-Boyles

 

Best Local Movie Theater

Mary Pickford Is D’Place

 

Runners up:

2. Camelot Theatres at the Palm Springs Cultural Center

3. Century La Quinta and XD

4. Century at The River and XD

5. Regal Rancho Mirage Stadium 16 and IMAX

6. Tristone Palm Desert 10 Cinemas

 

Best Museum

Palm Springs Art Museum

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Springs Air Museum

3. Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert

4. Cabot’s Pueblo Museum

5. Coachella Valley History Museum

 

Best Producing Theater Company

Palm Canyon Theatre

 

Runners up:

2. CVRep

3. Desert Rose Playhouse

4. Coyote Stageworks

5. Desert Ensemble Theatre Company

6. Dezart Performs


Life in the Valley

 

Best Local Activist/Advocacy Group/Charity

Palm Springs Animal Shelter

 

Runners up:

2. Desert AIDS Project

3. LGBT Community Center of the Desert

4. FIND Food Bank

5. Well in the Desert

6. AAP-Food Samaritans

 

Best Gym

World Gym

 

Runners up:

2. EOS Fitness

3. In-Shape

4. Planet Fitness

5. 24 Hour Fitness

 

Best Yoga

Urban Yoga

 

Runners up:

2. Bikram Yoga Plus

3. Power Yoga Palm Springs

4. Desert Yoga Therapy

5. Hot Yoga Plus Palm Springs

 

Best Bowling Alley

Palm Springs Lanes

 

Runners up:

2. Fantasy Lanes Bowling

3. Canyon Lanes at Morongo

 

Best Sex Toy Shop

Skitzo Kitty

 

Runners up:

2. Not So Innocent

3. Gear Leather and Fetish

4. Bear Wear

5. Q Trading Company

 

Best Auto Repair

Exotic Car Service

 

Runners up:

2. Sergio’s Automotive

3. Kennard’s Automotive

4. Starrs Auto Repair

5. Cam Stone’s Automotive

 

Best Car Wash

TIE

Elephant Car Wash

Quick Quack Car Wash

 

Runners up:

3. Airport Quick Car Wash

4. Desert 100 Percent Hand Car Wash

5. La Quinta Car Wash

 

Best Plant Nursery

Moller’s Garden Center

 

Runners up:

2. Moorten Botanical Garden

3. Desert Hot Springs Florist and Nursery

4. California Desert Nursery

5. Bob Williams Nursery

 

Best Pet Supplies

Bones-N-Scones

 

Runners up:

2. PetSmart

3. Petco

4. EarthWise Pet

5. PoshPetCare

 

Best Annual Charity Event

Faux Fur Ball (Palm Springs Animal Shelter)

 

Runners up:

2. Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards (Desert AIDS Project)

3. Desert AIDS Walk

4. Evening Under the Stars (AAP-Food Samaritans)

5. Concert for Autism

6. McCallum Theatre Annual Gala

 

Best Place to Gamble

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa Rancho Mirage

 

Runners up:

2. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa Palm Springs

3. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino

4. Augustine Casino

5. Morongo Casino Resort

 

Best Local TV News

KESQ News Channel 3

 

Runner up:

2. NBC Palm Springs (KMIR Channel 6)

 

Best Local TV News Personality

Patrick Evans, KESQ News Channel 3

 

Runners up:

2. Bryan Gallo, formerly of NBC Palm Springs (KMIR Channel 6)

3. Karen Devine, KESQ News Channel 3

4. Gino LaMont, NBC Palm Springs (KMIR Channel 6)

5. Thalia Hayden, NBC Palm Springs (KMIR Channel 6)

 

Best Radio Station

KGAY 106.5

 

Runners up:

2. 107.3 Mod FM

3. 106.9 The Eagle

4. Mix 100.5

5. 93.7 KCLB

 

Best Local Radio Personality

Patrick Evans, CV 104.3

 

Runners up:

2. John Taylor, I Love Gay Palm Springs Podcast

3. Bradley Ryan, Mix 100.5

4. Jimi “Fitz” Fitzgerald, CV 104.3

5. TK, 93.7 KCLB

 

Best Retail Music Store

Palm Springs Vinyl Records and Collectibles

 

Runners up:

2. Record Alley

3. Guitar Center

 

Best Comics/Games Shop

Desert Oasis Comics

 

Runners up:

2. Interstellar Comic Books

3. Comic Asylum

 

Best Hotel Pool

Ace Hotel and Swim Club

 

Runners up:

2. Kimpton Rowan

3. The Saguaro Palm Springs

4. Renaissance Esmerelda Resort and Spa

5. Renaissance Palm Springs

 

Best Indoor Fun/Activity

Escape Room Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Fantasy Lanes Bowling

3. Get Air Trampoline Park

4. Escape Games at The River

 

Best Marijuana Dispensary

Joy of Life Wellness Center

 

Runners up:

2. PSA Organica

3. West Coast Cannabis Club

4. The Lighthouse

5. The Leaf El Paseo

 


Valley Professionals

 

Best Doctor

Dr. Laura Rush

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. Michael Jardula

3. Dr. Amanda Curnock

4. Dr. Tulika Singh

5. Dr. David Morris

 

Best Eye Doctor

Milauskas Eye Institute

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. Gregory McMahill (Costco)

3. Dr. David Esquibel (Desert Vision Optometry)

4. Dr. Keith Tokuhara (Desert Vision Center)

5. Dr. Gregory McFarland (Desert Eyecare Center)

 

Best Dentist/Orthodontist

Dr. Scott Shepherd (Palm Springs Family and Cosmetic Dentistry)

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. Bruce Baumann (Palm Desert Smiles)

3. Dr. Carolyn Izu (Desert Dental Excellence)

4. Lake Dental Palm Springs

5. Hospitality Dental and Orthodontics

 

Best Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Mark Sofonio

 

Runners up:

2. TIE

Dr. Scott Aaronson

Dr. Suzanne Quardt

4. Dr. Bruce Chisholm

5. Dr. Maria Lombardo

 

Best Attorney

Walker Clark

 

Runners up:

2. Christopher Heritage

3. Eric Rudolph

4. Renell Burch

5. Thurman Arnold

 

Best Air Conditioning Service

Comfort Air

 

Runners up:

2. General Air Conditioning

3. Timo’s Air Conditioning and Heating

4. Blair Heating and Air

5. Hyde’s Air Conditioning

 

Best Personal Trainer

Ted Guice

 

Runners up:

2. Jaime Jimenez

3. Derek Falk

4. Jay Nixon

5. Michael Butler

 

Best Chiropractor

TIE

Dr. Gina Davis

Dr. Stephanie Nazemi

 

Runners up:

3. Dr. Jim Cox

4. Dr. Naota Hashimoto

5. Dr. Terre York

 

Best Real Estate Agent

Shann Carr

 

Runners up:

2. Barbara Carpenter

3. Scott Histed

4. Paul Zapala

5. Gary Pisula

 

Best Public Servant

Rep. Raul Ruiz

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Springs Mayor Geoff Kors

3. Palm Springs Councilmember Lisa Middleton

4. Sheriff Chad Bianco

5. La Quinta Councilmember Steve Sanchez


Fashion and Style

 

Best Clothing Store (Locally Owned)

Trina Turk

 

Runners up:

2. Wil Stiles

3. R&R Men’s Wear

4. Kimbals

5. Riga Designs

 

Best Resale/Vintage Clothing

Revivals

 

Runners up:

2. Angel View

3. The Frippery

4. Plato’s Closet

5. Iconic Atomic

 

Best Furniture Store

Revivals

 

Runners up:

2. H3K Home

3. West Elm

4. Mathis Brothers

5. Erik’s Furniture

 

Best Antiques/Collectables Store

Antique Galleries of Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Misty’s Consignments

3. The Estate Sale Co.

4. Sunny Dunes Antique Mall

5. Consign Design

 

Best Jewelry Store

Leeds and Son Fine Jewelers

 

Runners up:

2. Tiffany and Co.

3. El Paseo Jewelers

4. Hephaestus Jewelry

5. The Fine Jewelry Bar

 

Best Hair Salon

TIE

Brien O’Brien Salon

J. Russell! The Salon

 

Runners up:

3. Dishwater Blonde Salon

4. Palm Springs Fine Men’s Salon

5. Jake Turner Salon

 

Best Spa in a Resort/Hotel

Palm Springs Yacht Club at the Parker Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Sunstone Spa at Agua Caliente

3. Spa at the Ritz-Carlton

4. Agua Serena Spa at Hyatt Regency Indian Wells

5. Omni Rancho Las Palmas

 

Best Day Spa (Non-Resort/Hotel)

Palm Springs Fine Men’s Salon

 

Runners up:

2. Massage Envy

3. Studio M Salon and Spa

4. La Quinta Medspa

5. Bliss Chakra Spa

 

Best Florist

My Little Flower Shop

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Springs Florist

3. Jensen’s Foods

4. Rancho Mirage Florist

5. Vaso Bello Celebrations

 

Best Tattoo Parlor

Cactus Tattoo Parlor

 

Runners up:

2. Anarchy and Ink Tattoo

3. Adornment Piercing and Private Tattoo

4. Heatstroke Tattoo

5. Strata Tattoo Lab

 

Best Eyeglass/Optical Retailer

Desert Vision Center

 

Runners up:

2. Ooh La La De Paris Eyewear

3. America’s Best

4. Panache Optical Gallery

5. CV Optometry


Outside!

 

Best Public Garden

Sunnylands

 

Runners up:

2. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

3. Moorten Botanical Garden

4. Wellness Park at Ruth Hardy Park

5. Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden at the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert

 

Best Place for Bicycling

CV Link

 

Runners up:

2. Tahquitz Creek Loop

3. La Quinta Cove

4. Joshua Tree

 

Best Recreation Area

Joshua Tree National Park

 

Runners up:

2. Indian Canyons

3. Whitewater Preserve

4. Mount San Jacinto State Park

5. Lake Cahuilla Recreation Area

 

Best Hike

Indian Canyons

 

Runners up:

2. Bump and Grind Trail

3. Cross Trail Loop

4. Museum Trail

5. Art Smith Trail

 

Best Park

Ruth Hardy Park

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Desert Civic Center Park

3. Whitewater Park (Rancho Mirage Community Park)

4. La Quinta Civic Center Park

5. Panorama Park

 

Best Outdoor/Camping Gear Store

Big 5 Sporting Goods

 

Runners up:

2. Running Wild

3. Dick’s Sporting Goods

4. Yellow Mart

 

Best Bike Shop

Palm Springs/Palm Desert Cyclery

 

Runners up:

2. Bike Palm Springs

3. Joel’s Bicycle Shop

4. Tri-A-Bike

5. BikeMan

 

Best Sporting Goods

Dick’s Sporting Goods

 

Runners up:

2. Big 5 Sporting Goods

3. Pete Carlson’s Golf and Tennis

4, Yellow Mart

 

Best Public Golf Course

Desert Willow Golf Resort

 

Runners up:

2. Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort

3. Indian Wells Golf Resort

4. Classic Club Golf

5. Desert Dunes Golf


For the Kids

 

Best Playground

Ruth Hardy Park

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Desert Civic Center Park

3. Demuth Park

4. La Quinta Civic Center Park

5. Ironwood Park

 

Best Place to Buy Toys

Target

 

Runners up:

2. The Lumpy Bunny

3. TIE

JadaBug’s Kids Boutique

Walmart

 

Best Kids’ Clothing Store

TIE

JadaBug’s Kids Boutique

Target

 

Runners up:

3. The Lumpy Bunny

4. The Children’s Place

5. Carter’s

 

Best Restaurant for Kids

Chuck E. Cheese’s

 

Runners up:

2. Red Robin

3. Old Spaghetti Factory

4. Jackalope Ranch

 

Best Place for Family Fun

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

 

Runners up:

2. Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert

3. Boomers

4. Escape Room Palm Springs

5. Get Air Trampoline Park

 

Best Place for a Birthday Party

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

 

Runners up:

2. Chuck E. Cheese’s

3. Boomers

4. Get Air Trampoline Park

5. Shakey’s Pizza


Food and Restaurants

 

Best Casual Eats

Bongo Johnny’s

 

Runners up:

2. Trio Restaurant

3. Lulu California Bistro

4. Eureka!

5. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Best Caterer

Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

 

Runners up:

2. Lulu California Bistro

3. Lynn Hammond Catering

4. Carousel Catering

5. Fusion Flair

 

Best Diner

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

 

Runners up:

2. Rick’s Restaurant

3. Keedy’s Fountain Grill

4. John’s Restaurant

5. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Best Organic Food Store

Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods Market

 

Runners up:

2. Nature’s Health Food and Café

3. Whole Foods

4. Luscious Lorraine’s

5. Sprouts Farmers Market

 

Best Delicatessen

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

 

Runners up:

2. Manhattan in the Desert

3. The Real Italian Deli

4. On the Mark

5. TKB Deli and Bakery

 

Best Custom Cakes

Over the Rainbow

 

2. TIE

Nothing Bundt Cakes

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

4. Pastry Swan Bakery

5. Exquisite Desserts

 

Best Desserts

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

 

Runners up:

2. Over the Rainbow

3. Pastry Swan Bakery

4. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

5. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Best Ice Cream/Shakes

Kreem

 

Runners up:

2. Great Shakes

3. Ben and Jerry’s

4. Lappert’s Ice Cream

5. Ice Cream and Shop(pe) at Arrive

 

Best Date Shake

Shields Date Garden

 

Runners up:

2. Hadley’s

3. Great Shakes

4. Windmill Market

5. Palm Greens Café

 

Best Frozen Yogurt

Jus Chillin’

 

Runners up:

2. Tutti Frutti

3. Beach House

4. TIE

Yogurt Island

Yogurtland

 

Best Bakery

Peninsula Pastries

 

Runners up:

2. Aspen Mills

3. Townie Bagels, Bakery and Café

4. French Corner Café

5. Carousel Bakery

 

Best Barbecue

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

 

Runners up:

2. Smoke Tree BBQ

3. Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse

4. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

5. Jackalope Ranch

6. CV BBQ

 

Best Burger

Tyler’s Burgers

 

Runners up:

2. Tony’s Burgers

3. Eureka!

4. Grill-A-Burger

5. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Best Veggie Burger

Chef Tanya’s Kitchen

 

Runners up:

2. Native Foods Café

3. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

4. MidMod Café

5. Palm Greens Café

 

Best Sandwich

The Real Italian Deli

 

Runners up:

2. Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

3. The Sandwich Spot

4. TKB Deli and Bakery

5. On the Mark

 

Best Pizza

Bill’s Pizza

 

Runners up:

2. Stuft Pizza Bar and Grill

3. The Hood Bar and Pizza

4. Piero’s PizzaVino

5. Norma’s Italian Kitchen

6. Papa Dan’s Pizza and Pasta

 

Best Wings

Smoke Tree BBQ

 

Runners up:

2. Wingstop

3. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

4. TIE

Billy Q’s

The Village Palm Springs

 

Best Bagels

Townie Bagels, Bakery and Café

 

Runners up:

2. Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

3. Manhattan in the Desert

4. Panera Bread

 

Best Smoothies

Fresh Juice Bar

 

Runners up:

2. Jamba

3. Palm Greens Café

4. Nature’s Health Food and Café

5. Fruit Wonders

 

Best Buffet

Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Three Palms Buffet at Agua Caliente

3. Fresh Grill Buffet at Fantasy Springs

4. Emperor Buffet

5. Potrero Canyon Buffet at Morongo

 

Best Local Coffee Roaster

Koffi

 

Runners up:

2. Joshua Tree Coffee Company

3. Coachella Valley Coffee Company

 

Best Coffee Shop

Koffi

 

Runners up:

2. Ernest Coffee

3. IW Coffee

4. 4 Paws Coffee Co.

5. Just Java

 

Best California Cuisine

Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

 

Runners up:

2. Spencer’s Restaurant

3. Lulu California Bistro

4. Trio Restaurant

5. Acqua California Bistro

 

Best Breakfast

Wilma and Frieda’s

 

Runners up:

2. Cheeky’s

3. Sunshine Café

4. Louise’s Pantry

5. Bongo Johnny’s

 

Best Brunch

Jake’s Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Wilma and Frieda’s

3. The Tropicale

4. Trio Restaurant

5. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Best Chinese

Roly China Fusion

 

Runners up:

2. City Wok

3. PF Chang’s

4. JOY at Fantasy Springs

5. New Fortune Asian Cuisine

 

Best Greek

Evzin Mediterranean Cuisine

 

Runners up:

2. Nina’s Greek Cuisine

3. Santorini Gyro

4. Athena Gyro

5. Koutouki Greek Estiatorio

 

Best French

Le Vallauris Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. Pomme Frite

3. L’Atelier Café

4. Cuistot Restaurant

5. Chez Pierre’s Bistro

 

Best Indian

Monsoon Indian Cuisine

 

Runners up:

2. India Oven

3. Its Taste of India

 

Best Italian

Il Corso

 

Runners up:

2. Ristorante Mamma Gina

3. Castelli’s Palm Desert

4. Mario’s Italian Cafe

5. Il Giardino

 

Best Japanese

Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey

 

Runners up:

2. Kobe Japanese Steakhouse

3. Okura Robata Grill and Sushi Bar

4. Shabu Shabu Zen

5. Joyce’s Sushi

 

Best Korean

Sam’s Korean BBQ and Teriyaki Grill

 

Runners up:

2. Umami Seoul

3. JOY at Fantasy Springs

4. Maru Korean BBQ and Grill

5. K-Tofu House

 

Best Sushi

Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey

 

Runners up:

2. Okura Robata Grill and Sushi Bar

3. Dragon Sushi

4. Kiyosaku Restaurant

5. Joyce’s Sushi

 

Best Seafood

Fisherman’s Market and Grill

 

Runners up:

2. Pacifica Seafood Restaurant

3. Ruben and Ozzy’s Oyster Bar and Grill

4. Eddie V’s Prime Seafood Restaurant

5. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Best Steaks/Steakhouse

LG’s Prime Steakhouse

 

Runners up:

2. Ruth’s Chris Steak House

3. The Steakhouse at Agua Caliente

4. Kaiser Grille

5. Morton’s The Steakhouse

 

Best Thai

Thai Smile Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Pepper’s Thai Cuisine

3. Le Basil

4. My Thai

5. Blue Orchid

 

Best Vietnamese

533 Viet Fusion

 

Runners up:

2. Rooster and the Pig

3. Pho Vu

4. JOY at Fantasy Springs

5. Fuzion Five

 

Best Vegetarian/Vegan

Chef Tanya’s Kitchen

 

Runners up:

2. Native Foods Café

3. Palm Greens Café

4. Nature’s Health Food and Café

5. Luscious Lorraine’s

 

Best Upscale Restaurant

Spencer’s Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. Copley’s on Palm Canyon

3. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

4. Le Vallauris Restaurant

5. Jillian’s

 

Best Outdoor Seating

Spencer’s Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

3. Jackalope Ranch

4. The Tropicale

5. State Fare Bar and Kitchen at the Ritz-Carlton

 

Best Late-Night Restaurant

Paul Bar/Food

 

Runners up:

2. Blackbook

3. The Tropicale

4. Revel Public House

5. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Best Mexican

TIE

El Mirasol

Las Casuelas Terraza

 

Runners up:

3. La Tablita

4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

5. Rincon Norteño

 

Best Salsa

El Mirasol

 

Runners up:

2. Las Casuelas Terraza

3. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

4. Rincon Norteño

5. Armando’s Dakota Bar and Grill

 

Best Burrito

El Mirasol

 

Runners up:

2. El Ranchito Taco Shop

3. Las Casuelas Terraza

4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

5. Los Pepes Mexican Grill and Bar


Spirits and Nightlife

 

Best Beer Selection

Yard House

 

Runners up:

2. Revel Public House

3. Eureka!

4. The Beer Hunter

5. Burgers and Beer

 

Best Local Brewery

La Quinta Brewing Co.

 

Runners up:

2. Coachella Valley Brewing Co.

3. Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse

4. Las Palmas Brewing

5. Desert Beer Company

 

Best Place to Play Pool/Billiards

The Hood Bar and Pizza

 

Runners up:

2. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

3. The Beer Hunter

4. AMP Sports Lounge

5. Neil’s Lounge

 

Best Cocktail Menu

Seymour’s

 

Runners up:

2. The Tropicale

3. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

4. Trio Restaurant

5. Mr. Lyons Steak House

 

Best Craft Cocktails

Paul Bar/Food

 

Runners up:

2. Bootlegger Tiki

3. Seymour’s

4. Truss and Twine

5. Del Rey at the Villa Royale

 

Best Gay/Lesbian Bar/Club

Hunters Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Blackbook

3. Chill Bar Palm Springs

4. Streetbar

5. The Roost

 

Best Happy Hour

Blackbook

 

Runners up:

2. The Tropicale

3. Trio Restaurant

4. La Quinta Cliffhouse

5. Stuft Pizza Bar and Grill

 

Best Dive Bar

The Hood Bar and Pizza

 

Runners up:

2. Tool Shed

3. Fireside Lounge

4. Neil’s Lounge

5. Club 5

 

Best Margarita

Blue Coyote Grill

 

Runners up:

2. Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill

3. El Mirasol

4. Las Casuelas Terraza

5. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

6. La Tablita

 

Best Martini

Paul Bar/Food

 

Runners up:

2. Melvyn’s Restaurant

3. The Tropicale

4. Spencer’s Restaurant

5. Lulu California Bistro

6. Zin American Bistro

 

Best Nightclub

Purple Room

 

Runners up:

2. TIE

Chill Bar Palm Springs

Hunters Palm Springs

4. The Nest

5. Copa Palm Springs

 

Best Sports Bar

Big Rock Pub

 

Runners up:

2. The Beer Hunter

3. The Village Palm Springs

4. AMP Sports Lounge

5. Revel Public House

 

Best Wine Bar

V Wine Lounge

 

Runners up:

2. Zin American Bistro

3. Dead or Alive

4. La Fe Wine Bar

5. Counter Reformation

 

Best Wine/Liquor Store

Total Wine and More

 

Runners up:

2. BevMo!

3. On the Mark

4. Bouschet

5. Desert Wine Shop on 111

 

Best Bar Ambiance

The Tropicale

 

Runners up:

2. Paul Bar/Food

3. Stacy’s Palm Springs

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5. Del Rey at Villa Royale

Published in Readers' Picks

At a show I watched fairly recently (back when live music shows were still a thing), I witnessed a display of flashiness and soul unlike anything I had ever seen. The singer had immaculate pitch—and she created one of the most unique and pleasurable concert experiences I’ve ever experienced.

I got to meet the artist after the show, and her name was Keisha D—this year’s choice, by readers of the Independent, as the Best Local Musician.

I spoke to “Keisha D” Mimms over the phone recently—and had the pleasure of telling her about her win.

“Oh my goodness. That was worth waking up and taking a shower for!” Mimms said. “We’ve had COVID going on, and most people know I’ve been quite ill. Just to be thought of, and not forgotten, after trying to give something to them that they would enjoy—that just means a lot.”

Throughout her career, Mimms said she’s always strived to make her performances positive.

“I started singing at 13, and all I ever wanted to do was perform,” Mimms said. “I’ve been so blessed, because I’ve been able to do it since I was a kid, and travel and give back to communities. I did missionary work where I was a featured vocalist in different spots. It started out with singing ministry, and then I got into the classics and some pop music. It was always a positive spin.”

Keisha D has now been performing in the Coachella Valley for more than two decades.

“I didn’t come here to start a music career,” Mimms said. “I came here to slow down. I had always done real estate; my parents always told me to have a backup. I did commercial real estate with my family’s business. When I came out here, I ran a brokerage firm. I got started singing again through volunteering for a dance-team program. They would do musicals, and I would help with the musicals, and sing. The mothers would always ask if I was a professional, or why I wasn’t singing out here. The next thing you know, one of the mothers told me to do the McCallum Theatre’s Open Call. I didn’t even know what that was, so I looked it up. I got my entry in at 4:45—and it was a 5 o'clock cutoff time. I stood there in the office filling out forms and making sure I got in. I ended up winning for best vocals. That’s what really got me started here, singing those nights and having people go, ’Who’s that girl?’ Once I won, people started calling, and the McCallum asked for my permission to give my phone number out.

“After that, I hit the ground running. I was saying, ‘Sure I can sing for this; sure I can sing for that.’ The mayor of Palm Springs would ask me to sing at an event. I’ve even sung for his own wedding anniversary. I just started booking for all types of functions. Then I started working at a school, mentoring for music, theater and dance.”

Keisha D has kept performing despite struggles with serious illnesses.

“I’m under doctors’ care,” Mimms said. “It’s complicated, because there are so many things going on at once. I have pancreatic issues, and now I’m really suffering terribly with autoimmune disease, and it’s debilitating. I thought fighting with pancreatic cancer was brutal, but this has become outrageous. I’m still plugging away, though! They’re keeping me as comfortable as possible, and hopefully I’ll be able to do what I have to do until it's time.

“I really need all the positives, because I live in pain every day. It’s a bit devastating. I look at footage from last year, and I’m onstage going back and forth, dancing, singing and laughing. Today, I wouldn’t be able to do that. It’s difficult, but I’m positive that I still can do what I can do. I’m doing some virtual concerts, where now I just sit with my band. It’s a little more calm—not as much gyrating.”

The pandemic has not stopped Mimms from using her music as a positive force: Recent virtual concerts have benefited other musicians.

“When I’m asked, I’ll do things at Frankie’s (Old World Italian Bakery and Café),” she said. “They are doing this thing called Project Bread, where they help musicians who don’t have income and are struggling. Some of us other musicians are going in and performing, and people are donating gift cards and money. Any musician can go over there and ask for $50 for groceries, or whatever they need. I’ve been doing shows for that cause. I’ll be performing there again Dec. 18.”

Her Keisha D Scholarship Fund, via the Foundation for the Palm Springs Unified School District, benefits “under-served minority students who are interested in pursuing their education in music and performing arts.”

“When I became sick, I realized I may not be singing or performing that much, so I wanted to leave something that would be ongoing forever,” Mimms said. “That’s when I created the Keisha D Scholarship Fund, when I realized that a lot of these kids in school don’t have the opportunity to get everything they need for college.

“It’s through the Palm Springs Unified School District. Every year, seniors can apply for the music scholarship and are allotted a certain amount of money, as long as they are going to a four-year university and have an acceptance letter. Anybody can go there (to www.psusdfoundation.net/donate) and donate any time they want. We always need to keep funds in there. My first recipient was Oliver Trinidad; he’s a horn player, and he went to Biola University. I wanted to be able to put something out there that will make a difference for young people.”

Keisha D expressed sadness about the way in which artists have been treated during the pandemic.

“It has been really difficult,” Mimms said. “Never in my lifetime would I think I’d see something like this, where we are not allowed to sing out in public—then to be told that musicians, on the totem pole of essential, are last. There are a lot of ways to do this thing safely, and keep us on the mark, especially if you’re doing things outside. I wish they would let us at least set up some Plexiglass and give the musicians an opportunity to get back out there. Then again, I understand, and my doctor just told me I can’t even go out, because it’s that bad right now.

“It’s really funny, because I laugh at some of the artists who said that they couldn’t perform without an (in-person) audience in front of them. They must not be real performers then. It’s like television: How many times have you watched a live concert on TV and had a great time, because you got to see the artist you love performing? If you have the resources to do a virtual show, then get out there and reinvent yourself! There were over 3,000 views at my livestream show at Frankie’s, and I had many people say how great it was to see me, or how happy I made them. That’s what it’s about.”

Both fans and people unfamiliar with Keisha D can look forward to experiencing her talents on an upcoming live album.

“We’ve taken all the different venues I’ve sung at, cleaned up the music, and put it into a CD,” Mimms said. “Part of the proceeds will go to the Kiesha D Scholarship Fund, and another part will go to all of the musicians who participated in it. It was supposed to come out in October, but that didn’t happen, so now we’re shooting for January.”

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/keishad.sings or www.heartsofsoul.com.

Published in Features

Bella da Ball is one of the valley’s most ubiquitous (in a good way) entertainers.

The hostess with the mostess can be found every Monday hosting Trivia Night at the Amigo Room at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club. (Full disclosure: The Independent usually has a strong contingent present at the Ace Trivia Night.) Every Tuesday, Bella hosts a Cabaret Variety Revue at Georgie’s Alibi Azul Patio. And since January, Bella has hosting a brand-new show each week—Lipstick Thursdays, at the Copa.

“It’s a high-energy, fun mix,” said Bella da Ball—whose alter ego is Brian Wanzek (or is it the other way around?)—about the 90-minute show. “It’s primarily drag, and there are vocalists who come in and do some numbers.”

Bella said the performers primarily work the main floor, rather than the Copa’s long stage, so they can get up-close and personal with the audience.

“It’s a fun, audience-participation type of thing,” she said. “People love the costumes, the headdresses, the sequins, and the props, like hula hoops and guitars.”

Whereas the long-running Tuesday show at Georgie’s Alibi features a variety of musical genres and multiple vocalists, Lipstick Thursdays at the Copa focus more on drag and contemporary pop music.

“It’s more high-energy, more in-your-face, and more of a party,” Bella said.

Even though drag is the focus at Lipstick Thursdays—regular performers include Marina Mac, Jersey Shore, Pinkie Meringue Shimmer (all of whom will perform on April 30), Sassy Ross, Rickie Lee and Cherilyn—vocalists are also a key part of the show, including a rotation among talents including Carol Kamenis, Keisha D. and Thursday, April 30, performer Charles Herrera.

Don’t let the drag focus fool you: Bella said Lipstick Thursdays draw a mixed crowd—even including corporate parties.

“They brought boas and light sticks, and were singing, and clapping, and dancing, and partying,” Bella said about a recent corporate group. “The vast majority of people who go out to shows can appreciate this. It’s music, drag, comedy and fun.”

Bella noted that in addition to happy-hour drink specials until 9 p.m., attendees can order pizzas from Tropicale, the Copa’s sister restaurant next door. She said she hosts a great show for people to enjoy before or after Palm Springs VillageFest, too.

“People can come and relax,” Bella said. “Everybody wants to get involved.”

Lipstick Thursdays take place at the Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, in Palm Springs. Doors open at 6 p.m., with an 8 p.m. show time; a DJ follows at 9:30. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-866-0021, or visit www.copapalmsprings.com.

Published in Local Fun

Bubblegum’s Anonymous: Chew on This—From CV Rep’s Summer Cabaret Series

This show is a fast-paced, lighthearted twist on 12-step programs for people who love bubblegum music, and stars Gilmore Rizzo; at 7 p.m., Friday, July 18; 2 and 7 p.m., Saturday, July 19; and 2 p.m., Sunday, July 20. $25. Also, at 7 p.m., Saturday, July 26, CV Rep’s Conservatory Writers’ Group presents Tales From the Twilight Café, a staged reading of new works. $10. At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-296-2966; www.cvrep.org.

Children’s Theatrical Series at the Annenberg Theater: Dream Carver

The Annenberg Theater of the Palm Springs Art Museum offers a summer series of children’s live theatrical productions. At noon and 3 p.m., Saturday, July 5, Swazzle Inc. presents Dream Carver, a 55-minute bilingual musical based on the book by Diana Cohn. $15 children 16 and younger; $20 for adults. At the Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-4490; www.psmuseum.org/annenberg-theater.

A Doll’s House—From Theatre 29

Torvald Helmer loves his wife, Nora, but he considers her a child and a possession. When a secret debt comes back to haunt her, Nora’s seemingly idyllic domestic existence becomes a fraught battleground. Shows at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, through Saturday, July 19, with 2:30 p.m. matinees on Sunday, July 6 and 13. No show on July 4. $12; $10 seniors and military; $8 students. At 73637 Sullivan Road, Twentynine Palms. 760-361-4151; theatre29.org.

Fiddler on the Roof—From Green Room Theatre Company

This production of the classic musical stars young actors, age 13 to 24, and is preceded by a short showcase of lighthearted scenes featuring 8- to 12-year-olds, at 6 p.m., Wednesday, July 16; and 1 and 6 p.m., Thursday, July 17. $18 general; $10 students and seniors. At the Indian Wells Theatre at CSU San Bernardino Palm Desert, 37500 Cook St., Palm Desert. 760-696-2546; www.greenroomtheatrecompany.org.

Seussical the Musical—From Palm Canyon Theatre

Inspired by Dr. Seuss’ most famous tales, this lively musical is performed at 7 p.m., Thursday through Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, July 11, through Sunday, July 20. $25 general; $10 children and students. At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-5123; www.palmcanyontheatre.org.

The Stops—From Desert Rose Playhouse

Three women (played by men) embark on a mission after their friend and mentor, an Evangelical Christian composer and organist, is ousted from his music-minister position—because he’s gay; at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, through Saturday, July 19. $28 to $30. At 69260 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage. 760-202-3000; www.desertroseplayhouse.org.

Sundays in Summer Series

Let Me Be Frank is an original live show, created by and starring Angelo Divino, honoring Frank Sinatra with his story and songs, spanning five decades; at 2 p.m., Sunday, July 6. Born to Sing stars Keisha D in a musical cabaret show also featuring Charles Herrera, Michael Bolivar, John Bolivar and Charlie Creasy; at 2 p.m., Sunday, July 13. $11; cash only at the box office. Call for information about other Sunday shows. At the Arthur Newman Theatre in the Joslyn Center, 73750 Catalina Way, Palm Desert. 760-325-2731.

Published in Theater and Dance