Meet the Sweet 16

By KJ Philp, May 2016 Issue

An annual Echo tradition, the Readers’ Choice Awards were developed as a spinoff from the magazine’s Pride of Phoenix Awards that were, once upon a time, presented each year as part of the Phoenix Pride festival.

For this year, Echo made the decision to bring the awards ceremony back to its place of origin and presented the 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards on the Phoenix Pride festival’s Community Stage April 2.

The awards – dubbed the Sweet 16 in honor of both 2016 as well as the 16 all-new categories – continue the tradition of recognizing community favorites – from local leaders and performers to destinations for arts and entertainment – all of which were nominated and voted on by you.

During this year’s nomination period we received more than 7,000 individual nominations totaling more than 700 nominees. Needless to say, the competition is fierce.

Then, with more than 14,500 total votes for our 83 finalists, we’re proud to report that 2016 was one of the most competitive and successful years to date.

Now, it is with great pride and immeasurable gratitude that we introduce you to the 2016 Echo Readers’ Choice Award winners.

We’ve said it before but it bears repeating: thank you to all the readers, voters, nominees and finalists – and congratulations to this year’s winners – our community wouldn’t be nearly as amazing without you!

Photo courtesy of

Amazing Ally: LGBTQ allies are everywhere. We wouldn’t be the community we are today without them. This year our readers voted to recognize Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton as the best of the best. Thank you, Mayor Stanton, for taking a stand with us and for us!

Photo by

Get Involved: Paying it forward. Volunteering. Giving Back. Getting Involved. No matter what you call it, one in ten is your favorite LGBTQ non-profit organization or cause to be a part of.

Photo by

Local Trailblazer: They lead. They fundraise. They volunteer. They organize. They do it all. We asked you to nominate those you felt deserving of this honor and, of the top five finalists, you voted Barbra Seville the local trailblazer of 2016.

Take The Stage: While local music groups, theater troupes, countless drag shows/pageants and a variety of other staged productions were nominated in this category you told us The Barbra Seville Show at The Rock was your favorite.

The Star of the Show: From hosts/hostesses to DJs and drag performers to emcees, this was your chance to get your favorite local entertainer – Barbra Seville  – recognized.

Photo by

Raise the Bar: Our local bars serve as much more than just watering holes and Stacy’s @ Melrose is no exception. Voted as this year's favorite, you'll find a wide variety of events and specials (even a church service) recurring here.

Photo by

Happiest Happy Hour: Before heading home from a long day at work, our readers prefer to stop and wet their whistle at Kobalt's happy hour.

Photo by

FUNdraiser: Raising funs is a integral part of any organization, we asked you which local charity best puts the FUN in fundraising and you answered loud and clear: Phoenix Pride.

Mark Your Calendar: Of all the community events and festivals that take place throughout the year in the Valley of the sun, you enthusiastically proclaimed that the Phoenix Pride Festival is on your can’t-miss list.

Photo by

Mind, Body, Soul: When it comes to fellowship, support, worship, spirituality or Zen (center, church, group, congregation), you told us you prefer to head to the Community Church of Hope.

Photo by

Dazzling Advertiser: For more than 26 years, our advertisers have made Echo possible (and kept it free to you). This year, we you which ad campaign (featured in our pages) wowed you the most. Congratulations, Easley’s Fun Shop on a job well done.

Savor Local Flavor: You don’t have to be a professional foodie to know the most delicious spots to wine and dine, and according to our readers it's Fez.

Retail Therapy: From retail and services to entertainment and accommodations, our readers said the best place to spend their money locally is "shopping the curve" with Seventh Avenue Merchants Association (Melrose District).

Get Your Art On: We asked you to let us know the best places for taking in all forms of creative expression (galleries, museums, events, venues, shows) and First Friday, Artlink Phoenix came in No. 1.

Politically Correct: This was your ballot to let us know which elected official, political movement or campaign had the biggest impact on you throughout the past year and the U.S. Supreme Court’s Marriage Equality Ruling was the winner by a long shot.

Get Sweaty: Everyone has a favorite team, athlete, gym, sporting event or league, and you voted the Arizona Cardinals as your top pick.

WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less