White Water Tavern, the nearly 40-year-old dive bar, reclaimed its crown this year as Arkansas Times‘ readers pick for the best bar in Central Arkansas. Last year’s winner, the Hillcrest Fountain, picked up one win — for best pick-up bar — and five runners-up, while a couple of still-young restaurants, Big Orange Midtown and South on Main, received a lot of recognition for their bar scenes.

When Arkansas Times readers get a hankerin’ to tie one on in the morning at Sunday brunch, they think … U.S. Pizza? That’s what the ballots tell us; David Koon investigates. For our staff pick for “Favorite ‘Twin Peaks’ Setting Had David Lynch Channeled Stoned George Jones,” Will Stephenson profiles Jimmy Doyle’s Country Club’s owner and namesake and discovers he and his honky-tonk are one of a kind.


Speaking of colorful bar owners, they don’t get much more fun-loving than Larry “Goose” Garrison, the long-time White Water Tavern owner who died in September. Lindsey Millar tells his story.

Finally, since this is a survey of Central Arkansas bars and booze, what better place than to preview the Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival coming to Argenta Oct. 24? There’ll be 50 breweries and more than 250 beers there. Try to read ahead and not get thirsty.



White Water Tavern


Runners-up: Dugan’s Pub, Big Orange Midtown, The Pantry


Jarrod Johnson (Big Orange)

Runners-up: David Burnette (South on Main), Kevin Creasy (White Water Tavern), David Timberlake (The Pantry)


Wine bar

Zin Urban Wine and Beer Bar

Runners-up: Crush Wine Bar, By the Glass, Cache Restaurant

Sports bar

West End Smokehouse and Tavern

Runners-up: The Tavern Sports Grill, Gusano’s Chicago-Style Pizzeria, Buffalo Wild Wings

Pick-up bar

Hillcrest Fountain

Runners-up: Bar Louie, Cache Restaurant, Town Pump


Gay bar


Runners-up: Triniti, 610 Center, Discovery

Best bar for live music

White Water Tavern

Runners-up: The Rev Room, Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, Juanita’s

Dive bar

Midtown Billiards

Runners-up: White Water Tavern, Town Pump, Pizza D’Action

Hotel bar

Capital Bar

Runners-up: One Eleven, Heritage Grille, Table 28

Neighborhood bar

South on Main

Runners-up: Hillcrest Fountain, Dugan’s Pub, White Water Tavern

Bar for pool, darts, shuffleboard or other games

West End Smokehouse and Tavern

Runners-up: Hillcrest Fountain, Town Pump, Zack’s Place

Bar for food

South on Main

Runners-up: The Pantry, Dugan’s Pub, Big Orange

Happy hour

Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack

Runners-up: Cache, Local Lime, Hillcrest Fountain

Drinking brunch

YaYa’s Euro Bistro

Runners-up: U.S. Pizza (Hillcrest), Loca Luna, Red Door Restaurant

Patio or deck for drinking

Cajun’s Wharf

Runners-up: U.S. Pizza (Hillcrest), Ciao Baci, Hillcrest Fountain

Beer selection

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium

Runners-up: The Pantry, Big Orange, Mellow Mushroom

Coldest beer

Twin Peaks

Runners-up: The Tavern Sports Grill, Hillcrest Fountain, U.S. Pizza (Hillcrest)

Tequila selection

Local Lime

Runners-up: Santo Coyote, Maduro Cigar Bar, Cantina Laredo

Bloody Mary

Dugan’s Pub

Runners-up: Big Orange Midtown, Capital Hotel, YaYa’s Euro Bistro


Capital Bar

Runners-up: The Pantry, Bar Louie, SO Restaurant Bar


Local Lime

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

Liquor store

Colonial Wines and Spirits

Runners-up: Grapevine Wines and Spirits, O’Looney’s Wine and Liquor, Sullivant’s Liquor Store

Local brew

Diamond Bear Brewing Co.

Runners-up: Core Brewing & Distilling Company, Stone’s Throw Brewing, Moody Brews

National brew

Boulevard Brewing Co.

Runners-up: Green Flash Brewing Co., Summit Brewing Co., Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Co.)