I’m always in search of the best local hangouts, and the newly renovated 3 Kings Tavern is definitely on the short list now. The spot at 60 South Broadway was formerly known as the Cherry Pit, but the new incarnation brings a much-needed influx of fresh ideas.

Owner Jim Norris and his business partners Jeff Campbell and Martin Killorin (aka the 3 Kings) split from local promoters NIPP in order to open their own club, and 3 Kings is a great addition to the South Broadway district. They knocked out a few walls to open the space up, and it feels much larger without the cramped pool room that formerly hogged up half the bar area and blocked the view of the dance floor and DJ or band in the back. Now it’s more open, and the addition of a couple of coats of red paint and a few new bars stools gives the space a fresh look without taking away from its charmingly borderline dive bar atmosphere. I popped by on Monday night for my friend Fil’s DJ night, and the crowd was a bit sparse but totally quality. My gal pal and I met half the people at the bar thoughout the night, which makes for a guaranteed return on my part. Tonight is another DJ night, where Kevin K and his sidekick will break out their dueling iPods and explore their 20,000 song collection of danceable tunes. Expect an anything-goes soundtrack of retro pop tunes, quirky rarities, and anything else they have on hand.

Weekends bring live, mostly local bands of the rock/punk/country variety. This week it’s Cephalic Carnage on Friday, The Mansfields on Saturday, and coming up on March 4 is the rockabilly stylings of 18 Wheeler. Want a preview? Hear them all on the 3 Kings web site.