Best New Bar - 2008
Somewhere between lounge, bar, and club sits The Vagabond, a lovably comfy new hangout in the old I/O space on NE 14th St. This is a place with a mission statement unlike no other in town: Everybody is welcome here as long as they dance and have a good time. Just see the club's official slogan: "You are no one. You are every one." Rock kids can come in scruffy Converse sneakers; house heads can show up to jam without worrying about not having an asymmetrical haircut. That's because there's a vibe for everyone in this indoor/outdoor playground, from the mod-futuristic main room to the bohemian-styled front bar to the urban-tiki weirdness of the back patio. The soundtrack can be anything from a mix of cutting-edge dance sounds to throwback soul to garage rock to all of the above, depending on the hour of the evening and the mood of the crowd. Prices, too, are superrelaxed: Well drinks go for $6, a better deal than at the bar's downtown neighbors. Chilled-out and familiar but still fresh and funky, The Vagabond feels like ... well, home.