Best Of Tucson®

Best Martini (TIE)

The Shelter / Sullivan's Steak House

The light is lava-lamp ookey. The air is murky; the 1961-preserved-in-amber thing is weirdly cool; the martinis are dirty. Actually, they're any way you like them, and very good. If you crave that extra dimension that only the tickle of cigarette smoke, the click and rumble of billiard balls and a dark room full of friendly, laid back regulars can give to the taste of cold, clear spirits, get on over to The Shelter, plant yourself at the big, circular bar and live your dreams to the max.

And in very much the opposite corner, fighting it out--as usual--with The Shelter (and Kingfisher) is the bar at Sullivan's, the sleek, mahoganied perch of gin-and vodka-swilling River Road professionals. The full rack of gussied-up signature martinis is headed up by the delicious, pineapple-infused, not-that-alcoholic Knockout, the perfect martini for people who don't actually like them--and we do mean that in the nicest way. The fast, kindly and utterly professional bartenders undoubtedly make terrific real martinis, too. We've just never been able to get past the Knockout jar to find out.

Runner up:

3. Kingfisher Bar and Grill, 2564 E. Grant Road, 323-7739,