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Best of Central Arkansas booze 2013 

Times readers select their favorite local watering holes and drinks.

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There's a new people's champ in Central Arkansas. The Hillcrest Fountain is the best bar around, according to the readers of the Arkansas Times. The low-key neighborhood bar — slogan: "the home you hit before you head home" — is a place where the regulars know the bartenders' cell phone numbers, David Ramsey reports.

The Fountain unseated another no-frills neighborhood bar, two-time winner White Water Tavern, though White Water remains beloved. It won Best Bar for Live Music and Best Dive Bar.

Despite Times readers' affinity for charmingly dingy watering holes, that paragon of high-class cocktails, Capital Bar and Grill, placed more often than any other bar throughout the list that follows.

A good Old Fashioned and homey dive bars will never go out of fashion. But a new trend we hope joins them as permanent fixture in our drinking scene is craft beer diversity. Arkansas distributors have upped the variety they're bringing in at the same time we're experiencing a craft brewery boom in the state. Lindsey Millar surveys the upstart small breweries in the state, most of which will appear at the beer drinkers event of the year, the annual Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival on Nov. 1. Even if you can't make it to the festival, our guide to the 50-plus brewers participating doubles as a near-comprehensive look at craft beer available in Arkansas.

Best bar

The Hillcrest Fountain

Runners-up: Maduro Cigar Bar, Capital Bar and Grill, Dugan's Pub

Best bartender

Aimee Stockton, Dizzy's

Runners-up: David Burnette, South on Main; Jack Lloyd, The Fold; Gene Lee, The Pantry

Best Wine bar

Crush Wine Bar

Runners-up: By the Glass, Zin Urban Wine and Beer Bar, Ciao Baci

Best sports bar

Dugan's Pub

Runners-up: Buffalo Wild Wings, West End Smokehouse & Tavern, The Tavern Sports Grill

Best pick-up bar

Cajun's Wharf

Runners-up: Bar Louie, Ciao Baci, The Hillcrest Fountain

Best Gay bar

Discovery Nightclub

Runners-up: Miss Kitty's Saloon, Trax, Triniti

Best bar for live music

White Water Tavern

Runners-up: Stickyz Rock 'n' Roll Chicken Shack, Revolution, Cajun's Wharf

Best dive bar

White Water Tavern

Runners-up: Midtown Billiards, Pizza D'Action, Grumpy's Too

Best Hotel bar

Capital Bar and Grill

Runners-up: Rocks in Crowne Plaza, Plaza Grille and Bar at the Doubletree Little Rock, Velvet Humidor Cigar Lounge at the Little Rock Marriott

Best Bar for pool, etc.

West End Smokehouse & Tavern

Runners-up: Town Pump, The Hillcrest Fountain, Flying Saucer

Best Bar food

Dugan's Pub

Runners-up: The Pantry, Capital Bar and Grill, Big Orange Midtown

Best Happy hour

Bar Louie

Runners-up: The Hillcrest Fountain, Maduro Cigar Bar, The Fold

Best Drinking brunch

YaYa's Euro Bistro

Runners-up: Loca Luna, The Fold, Afterthought

Best Patio for drinking

Cajun's Wharf

Runners-up: U.S. Pizza Hillcrest, YaYa's Euro Bistro, Ciao Baci

Best Beer selection

Flying Saucer

Runners-up: The Pantry, Big Orange Midtown, Cregeen's

Coldest beer

Twin Peaks

Runners-up: U.S. Pizza Hillcrest, Flying Saucer, Dugan's Pub

Best Tequila selection

Local Lime

Runners-up: Santo Coyote, Maduro Cigar Bar, The Fold

Best Bloody Mary

Capital Bar and Grill

Runners-up: Maduro Cigar Bar, YaYa's Euro Bistro, Dugan's Pub

Best Martini

Capital Bar and Grill

Runners-up: Ciao Baci, Maduro Cigar Bar, The Pantry

Best Margarita

Local Lime

Runners-up: Santo Coyote, The Fold, Cantina Laredo

Best Liquor store

Colonial Wines and Spirits

Runner-up: Springhill Liquor, Sullivant's Liquor Store, Rafferty's Liquors

Best Local brew

Diamond Bear

Runners-up: Stone's Throw, Vino's, CORE

Best National brew

New Belgium

Runners-up: Shiner, Schlafly, Boulevard

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