You asked for it. We gave it to you. You voted. The results are in. Q-Notes’ first annual QList — Best of the Carolinas, Readers’ Pick garnered hundreds of submitted ballots and nominations for some of the best restaurants, bars and clubs, community organizations, business and community leaders across the Tar Heel and Palmetto States.

Click to results…
Carolinas | Charlotte | Triangle | Triad | Columbia


Best gay dance club
Winner: Scorpio (Charlotte)
Runner-up: The G&G Club (Charlotte)

Best gay bar
Winner: Scorpio (Charlotte)
Runners-up: The Cabaret (Columbia), Woodshed Lounge (Charlotte)

Best lesbian club/bar
Winner: Hartigan’s (Charlotte)
Runner-up: The L Word (Cayce/Columbia)

Best Leather/Levi club/bar
Winner: Eagle (Charlotte)
Runner-up: Woodshed Lounge (Charlotte)

Best straight, gay-friendly club/bar
Winner: Art Bar (Columbia)
Honorable Mention: G&G Club (Charlotte), Night Owls (Gastonia), Noma’s Bar & Grill (Winston-Salem), Tutto Mondo (Charlotte)

Club/bar with best drink value
Winners: Hartigan’s Irish Pub (Charlotte), Scorpio (Charlotte)
Honorable Mention: Central Station (Charlotte), Night Owls (Gastonia), Woodshed Lounge (Charlotte)

Club/bar with hottest bartenders
Winners: The G&G Club (Charlotte), Scorpio (Charlotte)

Club/bar with hottest dancers
Winner: Chasers (Charlotte)
Runner-up: Scorpio (Charlotte)

Best place to hook-up
Winner: Online
Several nominations were given for various hook-up websites. They all tied and included a general answer of “online,” Craigslist and Manhunt.

Best place to meet a husband
Winner: Online
Again, several nominations were given for various websites. Combined, the internet was the best place to meet a husband. Nominations included a general answer of “online,”, MySpace and Craigslist.

Best place to meet a wife
Winner: Hartigan’s Irish Pub (Charlotte)
Runner-up: Night Owls (Gastonia)

Best drag show
Winner: Scorpio (Charlotte)
Runner-up: The Cabaret (Columbia)

Best overall club/bar in North Carolina
Winner: Scorpio (Charlotte)
Runner-up: Hartigan’s Irish Pub (Charlotte)

Best overall club/bar in South Carolina
Winners: Art Bar (Columbia), The Cabaret (Columbia), The Castle (Greenville, SC), Hide-A-Way (Rock Hill)
All four winners tied.

Best LGBT non-profit, North Carolina
Winner: Equality NC
Runners-up: Regional AIDS Interfaith Network, RAIN (Charlotte),
Metrolina AIDS Project, MAP (Charlotte)

Best LGBT non-profit, South Carolina
Winner: South Carolina Pride Movement

Best HIV/AIDS service organization, North Carolina
Winner: Regional AIDS Interfaith Network, RAIN (Charlotte)
Runner-up: Alliance of AIDS Care Services-Carolina (Raleigh)

Best HIV/AIDS service organization, South Carolina
Winner: Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services, PALSS (Columbia)

Most effective grassroots advocacy
Winners: Equality NC (Raleigh), Charlotte Rainbow Action Network for Equality, CRANE (Charlotte)

Most effective youth outreach efforts
Winner: Time Out Youth (Charlotte)

Best LGBT young adult leader (under 30)
Winner: Ricky Burns II (Charlotte)
Runner-up: Ryan Wilson (Columbia)

Best LGBT leader (Male)
Winner: Ian Palmquist (Raleigh)
Runner-up: Ryan Wilson (Columbia)

Best LGBT leader (Female)
Winner: Mandy Carter
Honorable Mention: Pamela Jones (Charlotte), Janet Joyner (Winston-Salem), Addison Ore (Greensboro), Terri Pheonix (Chapel Hill), Tonyia Rawls (Charlotte)

Best LGBT politican/elected official
Winner: Wade Boyles (Winston-Salem)
Runner-up: Mike Nelson (Carrboro)

Best Pride celebration
Winners: NC Pride Fest and Parade (Raleigh/Durham), Pride Charlotte, SC Pride (Columbia)
All three winners tied.

Best LGBT-specific store
Winner: White Rabbit (Charlotte, Raleigh)
Runner-up: Paper Skyscraper (Charlotte)

Best LGBT-friendly department store
Winner: Target
Runners-up: Nordstrom, Belk

Best gay-friendly, mainstream specialty store
Winner: Paper Skyscraper (Charlotte)

Best adult-oriented store
Winner: White Rabbit (Charlotte, Raleigh)
Runners-up: Our Place (Raleigh), Adam and Eve

Best pet store
Winner: Petsmart
Runner-up: Dogma and Fetch (York, S.C.)

Local/Regional: Charlotte

Best LGBT-friendly, locally-owned restaurant
Winner: Dish
Runner-up: 300 East

Best LGBT-friendly, late-night restaurant
Winner: Skyland
Runner-up: Hartigan’s Irish Pub

Best LGBT-friendly cheap eat
Winner: The Penguin
Runner-up: Hartigan’s Irish Pub

Best LGBT-friendly, locally-owned coffee shop
Winner: Smelly Cat Coffee House
Honorable Mention: Caribou Coffee (East Blvd.)
Caribou Coffee actually received more votes than Smelly Cat. Technically, Caribou isn’t locally-owned, but it got so many votes, it definitely deserves an honorable mention.

Best gay/lesbian club/bar
Winner: Scorpio
Runner-up: Hartigan’s Irish Pub

Best drag performer
Winner: Roxy C. Moorecox
Runner-up: Tiffany Storm

Best LGBT non-profit
Winner: Regional AIDS Interfaith Network, RAIN
Runner-up: Time Out Youth

Best LGBT young adult leader (under 30)
Winners: Ricky Burns II, Clay Smith

Best LGBT leader (Male)
Winner: Clay Smith

Best LGBT leader (Female)
Winners: Pamela Jones, Debbie Warren

Best LGBT-affirming faith institution
Winners: Metropolitan Community Church of Charlotte, New Life Metropolitan Community Church

Local/Regional: Triangle
(Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill)

Best LGBT-friendly, locally-owned restaurant
Winners: Blue Corn Café (Durham), The Burough (Raleigh), Mad Hatter’s Bake Shop (Durham), Rue Cler Restaurant and Bakery Café (Durham), Frazier’s Bistro (Raleigh)

Best LGBT-friendly, late-night restaurant
Winner: The Borough (Raleigh)
Runner-up: Dain’s Place (Durham)

Best LGBT-friendly cheap eat
Winner: The Borough (Raleigh)
Runners-up: Elmo’s Diner (Durham), Mediterranean Deli (Chapel Hill)

Best LGBT-friendly, locally-owned coffee shop
Winner: The Third Place Coffee House (Raleigh)

Best gay/lesbian club/bar
Winners: CC (Raleigh), Steel Blue (Durham)
Runner-up: Legends

Best drag performer
Winners:Liliana, Dana St. James

Best LGBT non-profit
Winner: Equality NC

Best LGBT young adult leader (under 30)
Winner: Justin Smith

Best LGBT leader (Male)
Winners: Brian Ammons, Ian Palmquist

Best LGBT leader (Female)
Winners: Mandy Carter, Terri Pheonix

Best LGBT-affirming faith institution
Winners: Pullen Memorial Baptist Church (Raleigh), St. John’s Metropolitan Community Church (Raleigh)
Runner-up: Calvary United Methodist Church (Durham)

Local/Regional: Triad
(Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point)

Best LGBT-friendly, locally-owned restaurant
Winner: West End Café (Winston-Salem)

Best LGBT-friendly, late-night restaurant
Winner: Jan’s House (Greensboro)

Best LGBT-friendly cheap eat
Winner: Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers (Winston-Salem)

Best LGBT-friendly, locally-owned coffee shop
Winner: Caffe Prada (Winston-Salem)

Best gay/lesbian club/bar
Winner: Club Odyssey (Winston-Salem)
Runner-up: Warehouse 29 (Greensboro)

Best drag performer
Winner: Cass Westbrook
Runner-up: Paisley Parque

Best LGBT non-profit
Winner: PFLAG Winston-Salem
Runner-up: Triad Health Project

Best LGBT young adult leader (under 30)
Winner: Kate Mabe

Best LGBT leader (Male)
Winner: Wade Boyles
Runner-up: Thomas Farmer

Best LGBT leader (Female)
Winner: Susan Parker

Best LGBT-affirming faith institution
Winner: Wake Forest Baptist Church (Winston-Salem)

Local/Regional: Columbia

Best LGBT-friendly, locally-owned restaurant
Winner: Hunter Gatherer

Best LGBT-friendly, late-night restaurant
Winner: The Whig
Runner-up: Pop’s NY Pizza

Best LGBT-friendly cheap eat
Winner: The Whig

Best LGBT-friendly, locally-owned coffee shop
Winner: Adriana’s Café and Gelateria

Best gay/lesbian club/bar
Winner: H20
Runner-up: The Cabaret

Best drag performer
Winner: Patti O’Furniture
Runner-up: Prince Dryden

Best LGBT non-profit
Winner: Impact Columbia
Runner-up: South Carolina Pride Movement

Best LGBT young adult leader (under 30)
Winner: Santi Thompson
Runner-up: Ryan Wilson

Best LGBT leader (Male)
Winner: John Dawkins
Runner-up: Ed Madden

Best LGBT leader (Female)
Winner: Beth Sherouse
Runners-up: Harriet Hancock, Nekki Shutt

Best LGBT-affirming faith institution
Winner: Garden of Grace United Church of Christ
Runner-up: Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia

— Results compiled by Q-Notes staff from qualified online ballots collected April 3-May 13.

• • • • • • • • • • •

…to Q-Notes production intern Tim Dill, who has diligently worked with our staff for the past eight weeks. The QList logo you see gracing the pages of this issue — and so many other behind-the-scenes accomplishments — are the result of Tim’s imaginative work and creativity. Thanks so much, Tim, for all your hard work!

• • • • • • • • • • •

Ed. Note: Readers might notice that there are no results for four geographic areas originally included in the voting process: Eastern N.C., Western N.C., Coastal S.C. and Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C. These areas did not produce an adequate sample with which we could effectively compile results and feature winners. This explanation didn’t appear in this issue’s print edition. Please excuse us for our oversight; this note will appear in our next print edition on July 11. Feedback can be sent to our editor, Matt Comer, via email at

14 replies on “The QList – Best of the Carolinas, Readers’ Pick”

  1. Looks like someone is trying really hard to keep SCORPIOS as their advertiser. And when did Nights Owls become a “Straight, Gay-Friendly bar”. No results for Eastern Carolina? I am sure that few through some votes in for Jamie Seabolt, Community Leader, but I guess those involved with competing projects are not eligible. Ryan Wilson… that name echos through South Carolina, but runner-up? I think the only way anyone can take this entire contest seriously is for Q-Notes to make the votes public, otherwise, it simply looks like your own company needed an ego boost for the White Rabbit to win 3 categories. SHARE YOUR RESULTS TO BACK UP THE CLAIMS.

  2. no matter how many votes are cast the results should still be featured. Most of the areas that weren’t listed are the ones who are never spoken about in the q-notes. Sure fire way to make people feel like they aren’t part of the gay community in this state, Just act like there not here.

  3. Gville Voter, is so right, Qnote doesn’t reach out to the other gay community in NC, face it if you live east of 95 you don’t count.. you are treated like the unwanted stepchild.. Q-notes could do more to bridge this gap, but doesn’t.. How I long for the front page.. which now is no longer… Maybe it time for a new paper..

  4. Eric… Scorpio is already an advertiser, dimwit. Sounds like we’ve got another conspiracy theorist around town. Care to talk to us a bit about Charlotte’s roge helicopter pilot?

  5. Hey sickntired there is a gay newspaper based East of 95 in Myrtle Beach actually. It’s called OnQ and I see it on myspace. Brandon… If you actually read what Eric said, he says “trying really hard to keep SCORPIOS as an advertiser”… so your comment really doesn’t make much sense. Personally, why do so many regions in the Carolinas get over looked by Q-Notes… after all these years you’d think it would be monopolized… but it’s so concentrated on just Charlotte. I guess the Q in Q-Notes really still means Queen City!

  6. All of you who are bitching make a regular effort to contact the staff to let them know what’s going on in your so-called “stepchild” cities, right? Of course, you do! You wouldn’t be on here slinging accusations if you weren’t *personally* doing something to make sure your city’s news is brought to the editor’s attention for coverage. No, definitely not, because that would make you freakin’ crybaby do-nothings. No, I’m sure you send in news items regularly and the mean old staff just won’t cover it. Poor dears…

  7. hey bryan, Myrtle beach isn’t in NC now is it. Face it the LGBT community in Eastern NC doesn’t count matter to the rest of the state.. Do you see any business from the Eastern NC in Qnote, stories are very rare, and if you check their list where you can find Q-notes the only place is in Wilson, at a pagan shop. Please face it, Q-notes only care for Charlotte and surrounding area, any thing east of 95 doesn’t matter to the owner of q-note.. Unless they need our dollars $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  8. Dammit sickntired. All you do is fucking complain. I read this site to get news and info not to hear bitching and moaning. I’ve never, not once, seen you offer any sort of constructive criticism or suggestion. All you do is just bitch, bitch, bitch.

    Well, bitch, time to move on if you ain’t got nothing to add.

    Oh… and funny thing… I went to wilmington to see RuPaul and saw White Rabbit and Q-Notes’ owner and some other folks there all weekend long. I guess they do care about east of 95, after all.

  9. Oh… and another thing. onq carolina. what a fucking joke. It ain’t nothing but a damn bar rag with pretty white boys. Wonder when or if they’ll even feature anythign but white people with dicks inside their pages. cuz it certainly has no news and nothing except white peopele.

  10. Brandon The only reasont hey were to there was to cover pride, that is it. Al by the way Wilmington is in the South area of NC, My complaint is that there is no Coverage for EASTERN NC Area.. However i do agree with you on ONQ,, nothing more then a meat rack paper/site///

  11. BRANDON – Did you not attend NC Pride in October? OnQ Carolina’s first issue every had a black guy on the cover. As for it being a bar rag… well, that is exactly what it is and has always claimed to be. At least they have a better layout, more coverage, a real list of places that all gay people can be safe to visit – oh – and they actually donate money to the community. I just wish THIS “news”paper would step up to the plate like the rag does.

  12. I am sorry if many of the readers are displeasured with the outcome of the vote. But look at it this way not to many years ago an LGBT news publication was not heard of espeacly here in the Bible belt… Gays, Lesbians and trnagenders alike were scared to death to surface because of persecution by the police and mainstream. Remember Greensboro NC when 32 gay men were picked up and tried for crimes against nature in the 1950ty’s and as a result 5 got 20year sentences, Think about where we were as a community just 20 years ago when most of the LGBT lived in poverty because of discrimination. I can remember when society viewed me as a sick person because I dressed like a girl. We have come along way, so I applaud Q-Notes for recognizing our brothers and sisters. This does not mean that these winners were the only active businesses or people in our community. But it’s a step in the right direction that’s what counts. Just my 2 cents.

    Janice Covington

  13. I sincerely respect the work that Q-Notes does to be the “face” of the LGBT community in North and South Carolina. Matt Comer, Q-Notes Editor, is a personal friend and colleague – and I respect his contributions to the LGBT community by both his journalism and his advocacy/activism. Matt has earned his credentials as an activist and subsequently as a journalist.

    Having said that, I personally relate to many sentiments that folks have expressed concerning the “Q-List.” As a resident of the Catawba Valley (aka the Unifour area, or the Foothills) of NC, I have raised concern for lack of coverage by both LGBT publications that serve the State of NC.

    Prior to Matt’s tenure as Editor at Q-Notes, I hardly EVER heard our region of NC mentioned in the paper. In fact, the only coverage I recall was directly related to my own activism and advocacy. Since Matt’s tenure, I have seen a handful of articles concerning this region. I account this as progress.

    Having said that, I again feel some what ostracized by Q-Notes. We were not represented in this survey and it’s been a while since I’ve seen an article about events happening in the Unifour.

    I join others in requesting Q-Notes to publish the tally results of this survey. This could be accomplished by publishing a PDF of the various categories, a list of nominees and number of votes each nominee received. It would also be interesting to know how many people participated in the survey.

    Like Janice, I believe Q-Notes does an overall good job and I am grateful for whatever coverage they do have of my portion of NC. Reporting on the news is tough work (as a freelance journalist myself, I speak from experience), especially for LGBT media. I commend the level of professionalism and diversity that Matt has brought to Q-Notes and I look forward to seeing how Matt & Mr. Yarbrough continue to mold the face of our community through Q-Notes.

    One thing that I know, is that Matt & Mr. Yarbrough sincerely enjoy to hear from readers and they have always welcomed my praise & criticisms. So, I guess what I’m saying, voice your displeasure… but at least offer a solution!

  14. Clay smith as a leader? Give me a break. I heard from the Pride charlotte committee that he didn’t do crap as co-chair this year. Being a drag queen and an emcee doesn’t make you a leader.

Comments are closed.