Readers' Poll

arts and entertainment some characters and modeled sisters Beatrice, Antonia and Leonata on the real-life Andrews Sisters, a trio from the swing/boogie-woogie era. A good time was had by all. BEST MOVIE THEATER Lighthouse Cinema 525 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove (831) 641-0747, At least 18 films have been made from Steinbeck’s novels and short stories, including two from Of Mice and Men (1939 and 1992) and The Red Pony (1949 and 1973). Sounds like a great idea for a movie festival, and readers know just where to host it: Lighthouse Cinema in Pacific Grove. Lighthouse Cinema nearly shut down in 2023 after the company leasing the theater stopped paying its rent, but was rescued by the building’s owners, the Enea family who built the theater in 1987. Staff members are working hard to keep the four-screen theater in business, promoting it as an events space and hosting theme parties for the public. A special Barbie premiere attracted hundreds of patrons decked out in pink. Fun fact: The theater that was around when Steinbeck lived in P.G. in the 1930s and 1940s was Grove Theater. BEST MUSEUM Monterey Museum of Art 559 Pacific St., Monterey 720 Via Mirada, Monterey (831) 372-5477, Sure, writing is an art. But there are other forms. And artwise, MMA is an important fixture in Monterey County—and the biggest space for visual arts in the county. In addition to an archive of local art, MMA has an ambitious annual calendar of multi-month exhibits. One of the best exhibits in 2023 was “You’ve Got to be Kidding: Humor and the Absurd in Contemporary California Art.” Always looking for new ways to engage with audiences, MMA organized its first block party in 2023, inviting people not just to see art but to immerse in it—dancing at the museum into the night. Museum treasures include works by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and photographers Edward Weston and Ansel Adams. BEST PERFORMING ARTS VENUE Sunset Cultural Center San Carlos between 8th and 9th, Carmel (831) 620-2048, In 1931, as John Steinbeck was putting the finishing touches on Pastures of Heaven, a 718-seat auditorium was built for what was then the Sunset School. After the school moved, the city of Carmel decided to purchase the site and change it into a cultural center we all enjoy today—the home of Carmel Bach Festival and a favorite venue for concerts, comedy, theater plays and dance. Sunset Center is the main venue for Carmel Music Society, Chamber Music Monterey Bay and the Monterey Symphony, as well as the Carmel Adult School Pottery Studio, Center for Photographic Art, Harrison Memorial Library Book Drop, Sally Russel Art Studio and Yoga Shala. BEST DANCE STUDIO The Dance Center 26135 Carmel Rancho Blvd., Suite B6, Carmel Mission and 8th, Carmel Big Sur Grange, Highway 1, Big Sur (831) 625-3262, What do you reach for to teach students about greed and guilt? Well, John Steinbeck’s The Pearl of course! And where do you go to teach students about plies and pirouettes? In Monterey County, readers have chosen The Dance Center since 2019—the first year this category began! From kids just learning to walk to pre-professional ballet students, this studio has long been instrumental in introducing local youth to this poetic form of artistic expression. BEST ART GALLERY Carmel Art Association Dolores between 5th and 6th, Carmel (831) 250-3347, This is possibly the most eclectic place to visit when one does a Carmel art tour. While other galleries present one or a handful of artists, or specialize in 38 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 Rock the row! 653 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940 (831) 920-2327 live music large patio fire pits heat lamps pool tables dartboard foosball sports bar BEST Outdoor Dining BEST Drink with a View 400 Cannery Row Monterey WINNER Monterey County Weekly Thank you to the voters of Monterey County Weekly for making Schooners Monterey a two-time winner