Best Bar - 2004
At some point, people in this city must come to terms with pretension. It works both ways, you know. Denizens of downscale hangouts such as Duke's or Champps scorn people decked in the latest Michael Kors. Folks slurping drinks at Republic or other Uptown joints refuse to accept guys with shirts tucked in. The infamous membership list at Sense is just another way to define the audience. What makes this place a great bar is the vibe. In many bars, friends enter in pairs or groups and form separate fortresses throughout the room. At Sense, people mingle--as individuals or groups. Suburbanites chat with Uptown types, professionals with students, white with black. Even birthday gatherings with reserved seating invite strangers to join in. The list (if your name's not on the clipboard, entry can be a bit more challenging) generates that vibe: Insiders accept other patrons equally, simply because they entered the room. By setting itself up as a pretentious place, Sense created the least conceited atmosphere. Can't get on the list? 'Bout time you ditched the old tank top and khakis.