Best Live Music Venue - 2012
From the outside, there's no sign of life. Long curtains hinder any attempt to spy through the windows of midtown's ever-expanding strip mall on North Miami Avenue. In fact, there's really nothing — aside from the packed parking lot — to indicate you have arrived at your destination in an otherwise desolate area. Late at night, there is only this bar and Gigi's, both owned by Amir Ben-Zion, who is building a local empire. Bardot reminds us of a cross between the coolest music venue in NYC's East Village and your best friend's basement. There's good booze, plenty of beer, and programming that ranges from local performers to more established names. The lineup is impossibly diverse, from sonic jazz to Latin fusion, classic hip-hop, vintage funk, electronic trance, reggae, alternative rock, and more. Bardot curates an amazing rotating selection that definitely has something for every taste. Plus there's a fantastic sound system in this rectangular, railroad-style space. Music fills the bar without speaker backlash, delivering the lyrical voice of whoever is at the microphone. There are plenty of couches in dark corners and new friends making out like crazy. Bardot manages to be a bar where both community and privacy are respected. But in the end, it's all about the music.