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Best Venue 

Fox Theater

Wow! What a difference $75 million makes. The Fox, built in 1928 as a movie house and closed in 1996, reopened in February with red-carpet hoopla and fanfare, and Oakland's new and most impressive venue has been selling out shows with top-name class acts ever since. It's easy to see why, because the redo of this Uptown icon and city landmark to its gold-leafed, jewel-bedecked Moorish splendor is fantastic, from the domed chandeliers and painted ceiling down to the curtains and carpet. Stunning restoration, smart modern touches. Everything about the new Fox is well planned: Three tiers on the ground level and comfy balcony seats mean there's not a bad spot in the house. The acoustics are great, and the sound system rocks, as does backstage. Bars are in abundance, so service is easy, and frigid, air-blasting floor vents keep the atmosphere circulating, even on the dance floor.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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