Best Lounge Act - 2004
Alex Failoni Jr. and Tom Kelly
Any restaurant/bar that has the guts to be closed on Saturday and Sunday has to be something special. Don't judge a book by its cover, though. Failoni's is located in an unassuming building on Manchester Avenue on the outskirts of Dogtown. As you might expect from an Italian-American joint, it's a decidedly family affair, with a few exceptions. Failoni's opened in 1916, and other than during Prohibition, it has been going strong ever since. People love Failoni's for many reasons, not the least of which is Rosemary Failoni's pan-fried chicken. But the real draw comes on Thursday nights until 9 p.m. and Friday nights until midnight (and usually well past), when Alex Failoni Jr. and crooner Tom Kelly transform the humble neighborhood restaurant into a mini-Vegas lounge. Armed with only a microphone and a karaoke-like machine that seems capable of playing every tune imaginable, these two talented singers take turns (Kelly does most of the performing, as Alex has to wait tables and chat up the regulars) performing everything from Rat Pack standards to '60s R&B classics to (later in the evening) disco and beyond. But enjoying this revelry ain't as simple as just dropping in. Here's the drill: First, call ahead early in the week and make a dinner reservation. The act doesn't start until around 8, but you want to arrive early to secure your table and to savor the dinner specials and a few glasses of wine. On a really good night, if you close your eyes during "My Way" or "Ain't That a Kick in the Head," you can imagine for a moment that you've been transported to Heaven and Ol' Blue Eyes and Dean Martin are singing just for you.