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Best New Thing About Atlanta: Georgia Aquarium

Reader Pick

Hungry for Sushi

Best 'Hood to Get a House for a Steal

Capitol View

In 2007, a shit storm hit the real estate market. Credit dried up. Sales tumbled. Prices collapsed. If there’s an upside, it’s that one person’s »more

Best Acoustic Music Club

Eddie's Attic

EDDIE’S ATTIC isn’t just the best acoustic music venue in our area, it’s one of the best in the country. The seriousness afoot is conveyed »more

Best Advocate for the Arts

Lisa Cremin

When it comes to standing up for the arts in Atlanta, the key is putting your money where your mouth is. No one is in »more

Best After-Hours Fueling Station

Bodega Nights

Atlanta is filled with prime late-night spots to satisfy the drunken munchies, but driving there can be such a daunting task. It’s about time someone »more

Best Al Fresco Market

East Atlanta Village Farmer's Market

There are markets in town with more variety, more stands and more ambition. But the EAST ATLANTA VILLAGE FARMERS MARKET has many things those others »more

Best Antique-Browsing Experience

Kudzu Antiques

Somewhere between the pre-WWII Chinese tourism posters and the 19th-century bridal trunk, it becomes clear that KUDZU ANTIQUES has a hard time saying no. This »more

Best Art Event

At First Sight II

We were blown away by the chutzpah of Denise Lira-Ratinoff's AT FIRST SIGHT II – a series of light boxes and videos displayed not in »more

Best Art Exhibit in a Museum

Cinema Remixed and Reloaded

CINEMA REMIXED AND RELOADED at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art did pretty much everything right. The massive, two-part exhibit brought together a frequently »more

Best Artist on the Brink of World Domination

Jiha Moon

Down here south of the 35th parallel, there's no shortage of peach-related imagery. But no one's quite got the angle on it like painter JIHA »more

Best Bar Food

The Glenwood

The latest restaurant trend in our city is inarguably the gastropub, which has rendered the usual negative associations with “bar food” archaic. THE GLENWOOD ATLANTA »more

Best Barbecue

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

After serving their barbecue to fanatical enthusiasts at Smith's Olde Bar, the brothers behind FOX BROS. BAR-B-Q finally secured their own space complete with outdoor »more

Best Bartender

Donald Durant

Step into MJQ on any weekend night and it feels like a scene from Night of the Living Dead. The place is packed with semiconscious »more

Best Beach Retreat

Jekyll Island

J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, Joseph Pulitzer and Cornelius Vanderbilt were onto something when, inspired by the “splendid isolation,” they snatched up Georgia’s JEKYLL ISLAND for »more

Best Best-Looking Waitstaff

Nam

Beauty and elegance congregate at NAM. This contemporary Vietnamese restaurant has a uniquely beautiful interior whose art celebrates the female form. The servers are immediate »more

Best Bizarro Local News Graphics

AccessNorthGa.com

When you click on a news story at ACCESSNORTHGA.COM, the website of Gainesville’s WDUN-AM (550), there’s a good chance the image that accompanies it will »more

Best Blues Gunslinger

Tinsley Ellis

Back in the early ’80s when he was just starting out in the nightclubs of Atlanta, TINSLEY ELLIS would dig into a long solo on »more

Best Blues With Barbecue

Fat Matt's Rib Shack

Stepping inside FAT MATT’S RIB SHACK is like being transported to a Delta roadhouse. The smell of barbecue sauce looms large, and a honking blues »more

Best Book by a Local Author

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II

As the Atlanta bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, Douglas A. Blackmon's no stranger to coverage of the interconnecting issues of race, economy and »more

Best Breakfast

West Egg

In the quest for a perfect breakfast, the question is always sweet or savory. WEST EGG ingeniously solves this problem by serving cinnamon butter alongside »more

Best Burlesque Dancer

Vagina Jenkins

In burlesque, it’s less about what you take off and more about how you do it: the coy glances, the fluttering feather fans and, yes, »more

Best Changing of the Guard

Hope Cohn

Though we'll miss former Spruill Art Center exhibitions director Julia Fenton, we're excited to ring in the reign HOPE COHN. We love that she pulled »more

Best Cheap Eats

Your Dekalb Farmers Market

The setting, inside a no-frills alcove next to the freezer section, is less than ideal. But people don't come to the cafeteria at YOUR DEKALB »more

Best Chinese

CAFE 101

CAFE 101 hasn't had as much attention as some other places, but absolutely deserves its share of the spotlight. Located in the quintessential Buford Highway »more

Best Cigar Bar

Highland Cigar Co.

Eschewing the smoke-filled backroom for a well-ventilated Inman Park storefront, HIGHLAND CIGAR CO. delivers the best of both worlds. Private humidors, a pre-mium international cigar »more

Best Clothes For Hipsters On a Budget

Rag-O-Rama

They handle such a large volume of used duds at RAG-O-RAMA that you’re almost guaranteed to find something you like at a price that’s sweet »more

Best Club DJ

DJ Klever

Forget the dance floor – if you really want to know when DJ KLEVER is ripping it up, keep your eyes fixed on him. Like »more

Best Club Event

Fringe Factory

Tune in, turn on and slip into your dancing boots, brothers and sisters. It’s time to take a trip. The FRINGE FACTORY girls Vikki V »more

Best Cocktails

Beleza

The art of mixing cocktails has made a quantum leap in Atlanta over the past year, with mixologists presenting us with ever-yummier ways to get »more

Best Coffee

Batdorf & Bronson

As commonplace as it is, a tremendous amount of work and skill goes into making a perfect cup of coffee. Slight fluctuations in water temperature, »more

Best Columnist Not Found in the Pages of the AJC (or Creative Loafing)

David O'Brien's Braves Blog

It’s been a tortured season for the Atlanta Braves, who are out of playoff contention for the first time since 1991. One consolation in these »more

Best Comeback Club Event

Broke & Boujee

Somewhere between Atlanta’s done-to-death black Hollywood vibe and the neo-boho set, Fadia Kader carved out a niche where the stepkids of the scene could ball »more

Best Concert Venue

Variety Playhouse

Going to a show at the VARIETY PLAYHOUSE is like going to a friend’s living room – it feels good to be there. There’s not »more

Best Cookies

Cookie Studio

It can be hard to find a cookie that lives up to the nostalgic memories of the ones popped fresh out of dear ol' Mom's »more

Best Cuban

Palomilla's Cuban Grill House

What makes the Cuban cooking at PALOMILLA'S CUBAN GRILL HOUSE special? For one thing, its chef, Javier Salas, is Peruvian. Tidier than the usual cafe, »more

Best Cupcakes

Sweet Pockets

Also located at 4338 Paces Ferry Road, 770-431-6611

Puppies, babies, iPods. People love mini versions of things, and cupcakes are no exception. The little bundles »more

Best Dance Club

El Bar

Somewhere along the way, megaclubs learned to cater to exhibitionists at the expense of those seeking shadowy dance floors to shed their inhibitions. Thankfully, DJ »more

Best Desserts

Southern Sweets Bakery

Nancy Cole's family-run SOUTHERN SWEETS BAKERY remains a favorite thanks to her staff's dedication to creating home-style sweets minus the muss and fuss. Rustic cherry »more

Best Dive Bar

Southern Comfort Restaurant & Lounge

Even if Atlanta’s night owls weren’t trying to get around the city’s 2 a.m. bar curfew, SOUTHERN COMFORT RESTAURANT & LOUNGE, a red-blooded honky-tonk in »more

Best DVD/Video Rental For Film Snobs

Videodrome

A video store with thousands of titles isn't worth much if it doesn't have anything you want to see – or if you have to »more

Best Effort to Preserve a Local Landmark

Save the Buckhead Library

Over the past year, Facebook has been more than just an excuse to play Scrabulous (R.I.P.) and a way to say “How ya been?” to »more

Best Emerging Visual Artist

Cullen Washington Jr.

The first time we saw CULLEN WASHINGTON JR.'s work, we thought, “Where have you been all our life?” It was in an unassuming corner at »more

Best Established Visual Artist

Rocio Rodriguez

Although ROCÍO RODRÍGUEZ has been a fixture in the community for years, there was a definite all-time-high vibe in her March solo show at Fay »more

Best Ethiopian

Desta

The big difference at DESTA is that the chef, Titi Demissie, calls her cooking “modern Ethiopian” and only uses high-quality meats. She prefers to highlight »more

Best Experimental Music Act

Zano

To win this category, one must challenge the notions of accepted musical boundaries, or exist so far outside the norm that a new art form »more

Best Film Festival

Atlanta Film Festival

For sheer variety, quantity and quality of films, the 32-year-old ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL still belongs on the top of the bill of local movie-related events. »more

Best Film Series

Splatter Cinema

More so than the average big Southern city, we've shown an increasing appreciation for the slasher movie, where buckets of blood bring bundles of entertainment. »more

Best Flower in Atlanta's Lapel

Fox Theatre

Concert promoter Alex Cooley tells a great story of how he was walking around the nosebleed section of the FOX THEATRE one afternoon. He was »more

Best French

Atmosphère Restaurant

ATMOSPHÈRE RESTAURANT is that hidden gem that proves good French food in an authentic setting is not a pipe dream. Classics such as escargot dotted »more

Best Gallery

Saltworks Gallery

We almost called this the “Speak softly and carry a big stick” award. Brian Holcombe and Christina Caudill's SALTWORKS GALLERY generally steers clear of the »more

Best Gallery Spotlighting Local Artists

Whitespace

Inside a converted carriage house on Edgewood, Susan Bridges' Inman Park gallery WHITESPACE has been supporting and showcasing local talent since its inception in October »more

Best Gay Bar

Blake's on the Park

Over the past few years, new gay joints have disappeared as quickly as they’ve emerged. But BLAKE’S ON THE PARK has maintained a steady clientele »more

Best Heaven On Earth For Fresh-Food Lovers

Alon's Park Place

We've always loved the original Alon's, but the shiny new ALON'S PARK PLACE has what the original lacks: space. And that space allows for more »more

Best High-Fashion, Low 'Tude Hair Salon

Mariemarie Hair Salon

Finding a stylish but unpretentious salon in Atlanta ain't easy. Some spots are so snooty, they may as well have a velvet rope outside. Others »more

Best Hope for the Braves

Yunel Escobar

Between persistent injuries to slugger Chipper Jones and starting pitchers John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Mike Hampton and Tim Hudson, the Braves suffered a serious setback »more

Best Hope for the Hawks

Al Horford

Is there hope for the Hawks? They made the playoffs for the first time in forever this year and took the eventual champions to the »more

Best Ice Cream

Morelli's Gourmet Ice Cream

Ice cream has been geared exclusively toward the kiddies for way too long. That's why we love MORELLI'S, where all age groups and palates are »more

Best Improv Show

The Doug Dank Project

Atlanta's had a healthy, lively improv scene for so long that it can support some unusual, creative variations on the off-the-cuff comedy style. THE DOUG »more

Best Independent Bookstore

Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse

When OUTWRITE BOOKSTORE & COFFEEHOUSE opened in 1993, it filled a major void in Atlanta's independent book scene. Outwrite didn't just have a gay/lesbian section »more

Best Indian

Udipi Cafe

Decatur is an Indian-food paradise, and while many neighboring restaurants battle to be the Raj, no restaurant creates more exciting and satisfying Indian fare than »more

Best Indie Jewelry Crafter

Jen Boaz

Sure, her delicate, dangly earrings – made from semiprecious stones, briolettes and champagne pearls – are sweet and special. But what really makes JEN BOAZ »more

Best Ink-Stained Wretches

Andy Miller and Alan Judd

The 18-month Atlanta Journal-Constitution series about Georgia’s piss-poor mental-health system achieved what all good investigative journalism should: It shed light on a serious problem and »more

Best Intown Park

Freedom Park

It’s easy to underestimate the sheer magnitude of FREEDOM PARK, the biggest urban park created in the United States over the past 100 years. Freedom »more

Best Italian

Sotto Sotto

Chef/owner Riccardo Ullio has expanded his culinary empire this year to include Spanish and “Brazilian-inspired” restaurants, but SOTTO SOTTO is still the shining star for »more

Best Japanese

Nakato Japanese Restaurant

There are few Japanese restaurants in Atlanta that offer various styles of the cuisine under one roof, but NAKATO JAPANESE RESTAURANT fits the bill. Home-style »more

Best Jazz Act to Bridge the Gap

Jaspects

In the jazz age, a musician’s worth wasn’t determined by his output alone, but also by his level of in-fluence among peers. By that standard, »more

Best Jogging Path

Grant Park

Go running, you say? But what about the code orange smog alert? And the blazing Georgia heat? Excuses, excuses. GRANT PARK is a shady, tree-filled »more

Best Jukebox

El Myr

The CDs on the jukebox at EL MYR are an ever-shifting lot that reflect the eclectic tastes of Little Five Points. Metal, punk, disco, old-school »more

Best Karaoke

Metalsome Inc.

The difference between regular karaoke and METALSOME INC. at 10 High is the difference between playing Guitar Hero and being an actual guitar hero. Instead »more

Best Korean

Hanil Kwan

Korean food – especially barbecue – has become one of our city's most prevalent cuisines, but where do you go when the choices are so »more

Best Live Hip-Hop Act

Yelawolf

In a city where mediocre rappers regularly bum-rush less-than-stellar open-mic nights, pinpointing the best live hip-hop act is a little like finding a rapper in »more

Best Local Actor with a National Platform

Jack McBrayer

Hailing from Macon, JACK MCBRAYER achieves the impossible on a week-by-week basis. As “Kenneth the page” on NBC's “30 Rock,” he routinely has the funniest »more

Best Local Art-Punk Act

Vera Fang

Like a thief in the night, VERA FANG emerged from the house-show and DIY-gallery scenes with a debut 7-inch that rocked. The kids who comprise »more

Best Local Beatmaker

Shondrae "Bangladesh" Crawford

Every rapper and his grandmother has hopped on SHONDRAE “BANGLADESH” CRAWFORD’S infectious “A Milli” beat, making the song the biggest hit thus far from Lil »more

Best Local Bloggers

Pecanne Log

In less than a year, a trio of young ladies with fine eyes for art, snark and Atlanta’s eccentricities has managed to make us both »more

Best Local Country Music Act

Anna Kramer

Local fixture ANNA KRAMER has secretly dominated Atlanta’s country, folk and under-ground rock scenes for the last decade via her various solo and band efforts. »more

Best Local Do-Gooder

Dennis Creech

Want to do something about global warming and save money? Start at home. Our humble abodes are responsible for an estimated 20 percent of carbon »more

Best Local Electronic Act

Judi Chicago

Freaky white funk, thrift-store dada and vintage house beats are the calling card of JUDI CHICAGO. Sure, the dynamic duo of Travis Thatcher and Ben »more

Best Local Female Actor

Courtney Patterson

One of the funniest and most effervescent actresses in Atlanta, COURTNEY PATTERSON frequently proves that she has the dramatic chops to match her lighter fare. »more

Best Local Filmmaker

Rainforest Films

Giving Tyler Perry all due respect as a phenomenally successful filmmaker, king of all media and coveted employer, is it too much to ask that »more

Best Local Folk Act

R.I.S.E.

Sisters Leah and Chloe Smith grew up in Little Five Points, but were raised by parents who are traditional Appalachian musicians. And that heritage – »more

Best Local Instrumentalist Who Deserted Atlanta

Adron

ADRON is a young, self-taught maestro with a nylon-stringed guitar. Her self-titled debut CD on New Street Records is a gorgeous reminder why it’s a »more

Best Local Label

Douchemaster Records

It seems like every week there’s an upstart record label coughing out 7-inches, CDs and the latest from the local punks and indie-rock fashionistas. None »more

Best Local Lyricist

Killer Mike

KILLER MIKE is a rapper with an agenda, and usually those make for the most focused MCs. In Mike’s case, it makes him one of »more

Best Local Male Actor

Chris Kayser

CHRIS KAYSER has long enjoyed a reputation as one of Atlanta's finest leading men, giving a particularly memorable performance in Actor's Express' enigmatic Thom Pain »more

Best Local Music-Scene Mayor

Randy Castello

RANDY CASTELLO was born to take on the role of mayor of Atlanta’s music scene. Ask him what he’s going to do for the city »more

Best Local New Music Act

Noot d' Noot

NOOT D’NOOT has taken the Atlanta party scene by storm. What began as a studio project in which members of psych-rock jammers Good Friday Experiment »more

Best Local Online Visual Arts Writing

Jerry Cullum

JERRY CULLUM started dropping poetic science about art at his blog Counterforces and Other Little Jokes last year. Cullum beats back the darkness of art »more

Best Local Performing Monsters

Zombies

What does it say about the Atlanta area that ZOMBIES have become such popular subjects for the arts? The past year saw the national release »more

Best Local Political Newcomer

Stacey Abrams

Georgia is in dire need of fresh leadership, improved ideas and new directions. Though her political career only began in 2007, state Rep. STACEY ABRAMS »more

Best Local Promoter

Alex Weiss

OK Productions’ main man ALEX WEISS has done a lot for this town. As a free-agent pro-moter, his shows land everywhere from the Variety Playhouse »more

Best Local Rabble-Rouser

John Woodham

Don’t get us wrong: We’re all for the Beltline. So it might come as a surprise that we’re honoring JOHN WOODHAM with this award. The »more

Best Local Singer/Songwriter

Caroline Herring

When CAROLINE HERRING left Austin, Texas, for Decatur in 2003, she exchanged a budding mu-sical career for marriage and children. But in March of this »more

Best Local Vocalist

Chantae Cann

There’s transformative power in CHANTAE CANN’s voice. The background singer for India.Arie has been seducing Atlanta for the past year with her lilting covers of »more

Best Locally Brewed Beer

5 Season's Brewing

Glenn Sprouse's love of beer came from his childhood visits to Germany. After he became an engineer, he began to brew his own beer in »more

Best Locally Produced TV Show

"This Is Atlanta with Alicia Steele"

At first glance, WPBA/Channel 30's “THIS IS ATLANTA WITH ALICIA STEELE” might seem like your typical homegrown, community-friendly local TV show, complete with a cheery »more

Best Mainstream Rock Act Reunion

The Black Crowes

After Kate Hudson stopped being Chris Robinson’s real-life Penny Lane, Robinson retreated to the place he felt most comfortable: THE BLACK CROWES. The band’s comeback »more

Best Menswear For Future Lottery Winners

Sid Mashburn

Don’t look for the season’s hottest trends at SID MASHBURN. The overriding aesthetic of this clubbish haberdashery is stylish durability – a “best in class” »more

Best Mexican

Taqueria La Oaxaqueña

TAQUERIA LA OAXAQUEÑA stands out among the tasty yet ubiquitous Mexican competitors because of its wide variety of specialties. The tlayuda (a large tortilla covered »more

Best Middle Eastern

Rumi's Kitchen

Not all cities can boast about their fantastic Persian cuisine, but Atlanta is lucky enough to be home to RUMI'S KITCHEN, where the food of »more

Best Mixtape

Hi! My Name is B.O.B.

When rapper B.O.B. employs his redneck twang on the LRG-sponsored HI! MY NAME IS B.O.B. mixtape, it’s as liberating as it is comical. The 32-track »more

Best Mountain Escape

Blood Mountain

It’s easy to forget here in our sprawling asphalt jungle that we’re just a couple hours south of some of the oldest mountains in the »more

Best Neighborhood for Art

Castleberry Hill

In such a sprawling city, with its culture thrown like paint across a Jackson Pollock canvas, CASTLEBERRY HILL is the concentrated, multiculti focal point of »more

Best Neighborhood for Nightlife

East Atlanta Village

When it comes to the most diverse – and least pretentious – place to party, EAST ATLANTA VILLAGE reigns supreme. For starters, the Village is »more

Best Neighborhood to Live In Without a Car

Midtown

After two decades as a glorified office park, Atlanta’s intown is looking like a city core should: vibrant, energized and brimming with first-rate amenities that »more

Best New High-End Hotel

Twelve Centennial Park

Of all the boutique-style luxury hotels to open in Atlanta of late – the modern and surreal W in Midtown, the hip and exclusive Glenn »more

Best New Place to Carry a Concealed Weapon

Restaurants that serve alcohol

Prior to July 1, Georgia law presented the state’s 300,000 gun-permit holders with a stark choice: Dine without a gun and risk being defenseless in »more

Best Non-Chaotic Consignment Shop

B Chic

While some shoppers relish the chance to pore over rack after rack of second-hand jackets in search of just the right find (read: the one »more

Best Non-Mad Dog Wine Deals

Sherlock's Wine Merchant

Bordeaux junkies need look no further. SHERLOCK'S WINE MERCHANT sends reps to the French wine-making region every year to hang out at chateaus and buy »more

Best Off-the-Beaten-Path Tourist Destination

Michael C. Carlos Museum

Because of its convention business, Atlanta has ample tourist attractions. The downtown museums are fine, and so are Zoo Atlanta and the Atlanta Botanical Garden. »more

Best One-Stop Shop For Naughty Adults

Inserection

It's oddly appropriate that this former plumbing-supply store now boasts similarly shaped pipes – but these days they're ribbed. Perched at the edge of Cheshire »more

Best Opening

Something Like a Fahamenon

We didn't think Fahamu Pecou could go any further over the top, but Vaknin Gallery aided and abetted the painter/performance artist in scaling still higher »more

Best OTP music venue

Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park

The new outdoor home to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, VERIZON WIRELESS AMPHITHEATRE AT ENCORE PARK, is perfect for north Atlantans overwhelmed with $4 per gallon »more

Best Overall Radio Station

WRAS-FM (88.5)

Sure, you can justify the wild popularity of Georgia State University’s WRAS-FM (88.5) because of its long-running and refreshingly unique programming. Oldies but goodies include »more

Best Overrated Thing About Atlanta

Atlantic Station

So much hype surrounded ATLANTIC STATION before it opened that a letdown was inevitable. Presented to Atlantans as a monument of new urbanism, upon arrival »more

Best Passing of the Poet Gene

Theresa Davis

There's no shortage of appreciation for Alice Lovelace in Atlanta. She first made her mark on the city in the '70s and has received a »more

Best Patio Dining

Shaun's

There's an Old World charm to the courtyard at SHAUN'S. Snugly enclosed by aged brick walls and climbing vines, the 50-seat patio is a fitting »more

Best Person For Waxing Your Junk

Tamara Townsend at Natural Body Midtown

Those of us who take our beauty seriously enough to let someone put us in a compromising position while ripping out our short hairs know »more

Best Person You Hate to Love

T.I.

Nobody turns lemons into Hennessy like Atlanta-born rapper and actor T.I.. Last October, T.I., the convicted felon, attempted to purchase illegal machine guns and silencers »more

Best Person You Love to Hate

John Fitzgerald Page

Last year, boastful Atlanta financial analyst JOHN FITZGERALD PAGE became an unwitting ce-web-rity after his extraordinarily douchey response to a Match.com rejection found its way »more

Best Pizza

Pizzeria Fortunato

Driving to Smyrna for a slice of New York pie may seem mad given the outrageous gas prices, but PIZZERIA FORTUNATO is worth the trek. »more

Best Place For a Mani/Pedi

Highland Nails

Part of the reason why HIGHLAND NAILS has remained a secret for so long is its location. Tucked in a nook behind San Francisco Coffee »more

Best Place for Author Readings/Signings

Wordsmiths Books

The folks at WORDSMITHS BOOKS are rethinking the traditional author-reading-from-a-podium setting. The store recently moved across Decatur Square into a 3,000-square-foot space, making it Georgia's »more

Best Place for Civil Disobedience On The Go

Critical Mass

On the last Friday of every month at 6 p.m., an estimated 400 cyclists gather in Woodruff Park and start a slow-rolling tour of Atlanta »more

Best Place For Old-School Ink

East Atlanta Tattoo

When Dirk Hays opened EAST ATLANTA TATTOO in 2001, his was the only tattoo parlor on the stretch of Glenwood Avenue that led hipsters into »more

Best Place For Reviving Your Sole

Trio Shoe Service

You wouldn't bring a Rolls-Royce to a gas-station car wash, would you? Well, the same logic applies to your Manolo stilettos or Prada loafers. To »more

Best Place To Encounter a New Booze

Pearson's Wine of Atlanta

The best liquor store is usually the one that's closest. But if you're looking for a wider selection or savvy staff recommendations – or if »more

Best Place to Hear Local Music

Drunken Unicorn

As one of the only 18-and-up music venues in town, the DRUNKEN UNICORN plays host to scores of local bands. Many twentysomethings in Atlanta experienced »more

Best Place to Hear Music for Free

Criminal Records

It’s not unusual to wander into CRIMINAL RECORDS during any day of the week and find yourself in the middle of a free concert by »more

Best Place to Hear Spoken Word

Java Monkey

Some are quibbling that Atlanta's poetry scene is dead. They must not have checked the vibe at JAVA MONKEY lately. Special slams held on the »more

Best Place to Hike and Bike

Arabia Mountain and Rockdale River Trails

It took a small group of conservation-minded Georgians nearly 12 years to secure 2,000 protected acres in south DeKalb County and create a nature preserve »more

Best Place to People-Watch

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

For its sheer size, number of people and variety of social circles, there’s no better place than HARTSFIELD-JACKSON ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT to gawk and fawn. »more

Best Place to See a Movie

Starlight Six Drive-In

What better way to celebrate the nation's 75th anniversary of the drive-in movie theater than to honor the STARLIGHT SIX DRIVE-IN? Once considered a dinosaur, »more

Best Place to See What Atlanta was Like Before Humans Trashed It

Fernbank Forest

Before the Internet, electricity, roads, Scarlett O’Hara, George Washington or Christopher Columbus, metro Atlanta was a hardwood forest. Although Atlanta is full of wooded areas, »more

Best Place To Stock Up For your Gay Lifestyle

Brushstrokes

BRUSHSTROKES is basically a Hot Topic for the LGTB set. Whether you're a queen, a bear or a baby butch, Brushstrokes has you covered – »more

Best Public Art Wrangling

A (New) Genre Landscape

Thank goodness artist and curator Stuart Keeler hightailed it out of cold Chicago to land squarely in the center of Atlanta's fitful and fractious public »more

Best Public Institution to Cheat Death

Grady Memorial Hospital

Hobbled by a lack of public support, atrocious leadership and a clientele unable to keep up with exploding health-care costs, the region’s top trauma hospital »more

Best R&B/soul act

Rahbi

He has yet to attain Liberace’s jewels or Little Richard’s legacy, but it may only be a matter of time before RAHBI takes his place »more

Best Radio DJ

Jamal Ahmed

Now that JAMAL AHMED has returned to the airwaves of WCLK-FM (91.9), Atlanta can exhale. The DJ/on-air personality of 12 years left in early 2007, »more

Best Reason Atlanta Should Secede From Georgia

Liquor laws and various other human rights infringements

It’s just like the Georgia Legislature to beat us while we’re down – struggling with absurd traffic and perpetual sprawl, and gasping for the air »more

Best Reason Atlanta Shouldn't Secede

We need more water

Don’t tell anybody, but WE NEED MORE WATER, and we’re going to do whatever the hell we can to get our hands on it. One »more

Best Reason To Become a Danish Modernist

City Issue

Relocated from Buckhead to Inman Park, CITY ISSUE has evolved into a sanctum of midcentury furniture design. The store offers sectional sofas, sleek dining tables, »more

Best Reason To Go From iPod To Low-Tech

Criminal Records

It's startling how quickly CRIMINAL RECORDS made the transition from selling no vinyl at all to having a corner on the market. Where once there »more

Best Resource For Would-Be Rock Stars

Guitar Center

There are many fine independent music stores across Atlanta, but for sheer inventory none of them can match GUITAR CENTER. The store is a guitar »more

Best Restaurant For A First Date

Spoon

There's only one chance to make a first impression, and the right restaurant is essential. You're looking for atmosphere – lighting that's seductive and cozy, »more

Best Restaurant For Late-Night Dining

Top Flr

Late night is all about attitude, and the best attitude in town can be found at TOP FLR, where the clientele is cool and the »more

Best Restaurant To Bring The Kids

O K Cafe

OK CAFE offers the best combination of cuisine and atmosphere if kids are a factor. If the wait for a table is long, kids will »more

Best Restaurant Trend

Farm-to-table cooking

The hottest trend this year is also the best: FARM-TO-TABLE COOKING has finally taken off like wildfire, from such swank establishments as Home to neighborhood »more

Best Restaurant Worth The Long Trip

Five and Ten

Until the state builds the much-needed Brain Train from Atlanta to Athens, you can be excused for not wanting to stray too far from home »more

Best Rock Club

Star Community Bar

Once the gruff Little Five Points redneck roost, STAR COMMUNITY BAR has transformed back into a viable music locale and is giving a stage to »more

Best Sandwiches

Parish Food and Goods

We've been waiting a long time for a truly fantastic po' boy in this town, and now PARISH FOOD AND GOODS has finally given us »more

Best Soul Food and Best Fried Chicken

Busy Bee Cafe

No other soul/Southern food spot can hold a candle to the perennially bustling and boisterous BUSY BEE CAFÉ, an Atlanta institution since 1947. The “beelicious” »more

Best Source For "Tobacco" Supplies

42 Degrees South

Atlanta boasts plenty of places to purchase a water pipe – to smoke tobacco, of course! One friend of this writer even scored a bong »more

Best Source For Funny Books

Oxford Comics

No comic-book store in the Atlanta area has the quantity of new titles of comics and graphic novels, or breadth of geek-centric merchandise, as the »more

Best Source For Not Dressing Like All Your Girlfriends

JAC.

JAC.’s cute-as-a-button proprietor and namesake, Jaci Effron, welcomes newbies into her one-year-old Inman Park boutique with open arms, chatting up guests in a sweetly curious »more

Best South-Of-The-Border Food Store

Supermercado Chicago

Buford Highway is full of places that transport you to another country. If Mexico is your preferred destination, take a trip to SUPERMERCADO CHICAGO, where »more

Best Southern

Restaurant Eugene

New Southern cooking is a trend we applaud, and this year has certainly seen a rise in the number of chefs and restaurants embracing regional »more

Best Spanish

Cuerno

Finally, Atlanta has a Spanish restaurant that takes the food way beyond the tapas trend. CUERNO opened this year with rich and filling paellas, entrees »more

Best Stage Director

Richard Garner

The best stage directors breathe life into material that might seem far removed from the audience's daily experience. Georgia Shakespeare producing artistic director RICHARD GARNER »more

Best Steaks

Bone's Restaurant

When it comes to steaks, sexy and sleek contemporary digs are all well and good, but there's something to be said about old-school steakhouses that »more

Best Store For Finicky Stationery Enthusiasts

Artlite

OfficeMax is fine for those who like to buy their notepads or ballpoint pens in bulk, but for those who prize quality over quantity, only »more

Best Strip Club

Pink Pony South

The new gold standard for mainstream strip clubs in Atlanta is the PINK PONY SOUTH in Forest Park. Situated with southside customers and Hartsfield-Jackson travelers »more

Best Suburb

Chamblee

With a reasonable downtown commute, whether along I-85 or on MARTA; an impressive selection of shops, particularly along “antique row”; and plenty of affordable housing, »more

Best Sunday Brunch

Pura Vida

For years, PURA VIDA has been one of Atlanta's most popular tapas restaurants, but who knew the approach to Sunday brunch would prove so equally »more

Best Sushi

Taka

Chef/owner Takao Moriuchi's Buckhead sushi bar, TAKA, is a favorite among sushi connoisseurs for its affordability, artistry and quality. He consistently sources pristine fish and »more

Best Tacos

El Rey del Taco

There are three components that make a taco superb: the tortillas, the filling and the salsa. TAQUERIA EL REY DEL TACO gets them all right. »more

Best Thai

Tamarind Seed

There are about a zillion Thai restaurants in town and most of them taste alike. One notable exception is TAMARIND SEED, owned by chef Nan »more

Best Theater

Alliance Theatre

As Atlanta's largest playhouse, the ALLIANCE THEATRE usually commands such big audiences and so many resources, it doesn't seem to need a boost from anywhere »more

Best Theater Premiere

As I Lay Dying

For sheer gonzo creativity, combined with an impressive grounding in American literature and Southern culture, AS I LAY DYING revealed a more fertile imagination than »more

Best Theatrical Closing

Peachtree Battle

It's difficult to envision an Atlanta theater scene without PEACHTREE BATTLE in it. Premiering Sept. 7, 2001, the comedy about a Buckhead socialite's son getting »more

Best Theatrical Eulogy

A Song for Coretta

When Atlanta playwright/novelist Pearl Cleage paid theatrical tribute to the late Coretta Scott King, she chose to focus on the Civil Rights leader's legacy rather »more

Best Underrated Thing About Atlanta

MARTA

We’ve been typecast as the poster child for sprawl, and it’s long been popular among cynics to deride MARTA as a joke of a transit »more

Best Unwelcome Tourist

Tornadoes

Like a drunken giant stumbling home from the bar, the March TORNADOES that ravaged Atlanta left a staggered footprint stretching from Vine City to East »more

Best Urban-Music Club

Cenci

Located in East Atlanta, CENCI has become one of the coolest places to hear live music, particularly for hip-hop and electro heads in search of »more

Best Use of a Screen

Plaza Theatre

PLAZA THEATRE co-owners Jonathan and Gayle Rej often find themselves squeezed out of the market when it comes to booking current top-notch indie films. So »more

Best Use of Public Transit in a YouTube Video

Soulja Girl

In early May, a four-minute video hit the Internet that single-handedly brought together MARTA security, mental illness and the eloquent prose of Soulja Boy. The »more

Best Vegetarian

Dynamic Dish

David Sweeny's DYNAMIC DISH would be one of our favorite restaurants even if it weren't healthy and meat-free. The Old Fourth Ward cafe has the »more

Best Veggie Burgers

Burger Joe's

Veggie burgers are like decaffeinated coffee, nonalcoholic beer and Paul McCartney's music since the Beatles – even when you're enjoying them, it's hard not to »more

Best Veggie Meal at a Nonvegetarian Restaurant

JCT Kitchen

Vegetables are not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the new Southern cuisine served at chef Ford Fry's JCT KITCHEN »more

Best Vietnamese

Pho Dai Loi Restaurant

There's little more satisfying than a big bowl of pho, and PHO DAI LOI RESTAURANT makes the best. The broth is clear with no sediment »more

Best Waitstaff

The National

OK, we know THE NATIONAL is in Athens, and this is Best of Atlanta, but we love the waitstaff there so much we're asking that »more

Best Weekly Club Night

Wednesdays

Despite the ongoing gentrification of Ponce de Leon Avenue and its surrounding areas, it’s nice to know some things remain the same. BRITPOP WEDNESDAYS at »more

Best Wine Bar

Krog Bar

The wine list is well-cultivated Italian-Spanish, with a dash of French. The menu is sophisticated-yet-simple Mediterranean finger food. And the mood is modern hunting lodge, »more

Best Wine List

Joel

Chef Joel Antunes may have left his namesake restaurant for the challenges of New York City, but the wine list at JOEL hasn't suffered in »more

Best Women's Shoes

Sole

Our shoe obsession may not be on the Carrie Bradshaw level, but whenever we feel the urge to decorate our feet with a new strappy »more

Best Yoga Guru

Doug Eifrid

Behind any serious yogi lies a beloved instructor, which makes picking the city's best yoga instructor a little like picking best mom. That said, there's »more

DARK HORSE: Best Gallery Best Poised for a Sneak Attack

Kiang Gallery

With or without the Beijing Olympics, all eyes in the post-American century are destined to turn to China. KIANG GALLERY, with its wide and deep »more

DARK HORSE: Best Local Rock Act

Zoroaster

No band in Atlanta is more qualified to pen the soundtrack to our year of the raging election than ZOROASTER. The band’s live shows reign »more

DARK HORSE: Best Restaurant of the Year

Holeman and Finch

This is the first year we've named a Restaurant of the Year. HOLEMAN AND FINCH prompted us to add the category. The Buckhead gastropub represents »more

DARK HORSE: Best Street Character

Prophet Love

When the economy sucks, gas prices blow and the Atlanta summer heat makes you sweat bullets, nothing brightens your day like a man in a »more

DARK HORSE: Best Vinyl From Another Era

Full Moon Records

With a new generation of kids getting into the groove of old vinyl – and with worsening inflation robbing us of buying power – what »more

FAVORITE DAUGHTER: Best Overall Music Act

Janelle Monae

Look around, Toto. JANELLE MONÁE is not in Kansas anymore. Over the past 12 months, whirlwind success has swept her into an industry filled with »more

FAVORITE SON: Best Dance Performance

big

Before it even hit the stage, the Atlanta Ballet's season-closing production of big, featuring OutKast's Big Boi, was the subject of a New York Times »more

FAVORITE SON: Best Local Politician

Nan Orrock

For decades, she’s fought the good fight, starting in the ’60s with the March on Washington and her work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. »more

FAVORITE SON: Best Overall Restaurant

Bacchanalia

The flagship restaurant of Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison still delivers like nowhere else in town. BACCHANALIA serves pristine ingredients, many of them from Quatrano's »more

FAVORITE SON: Best Way to Dress Like You Live in Another Era

Stefan's Vintage Clothing

It says something about the staying power of STEFAN’S VINTAGE CLOTHING that it remains at the top of the heap despite the continued (and impressive) »more

Best 'Hood to Get a House for a Steal

Capitol View

In 2007, a shit storm hit the real estate market. Credit dried up. Sales tumbled. Prices collapsed. If there’s an upside, it’s that one person’s »more

Best Acoustic Music Club

Eddie's Attic

EDDIE’S ATTIC isn’t just the best acoustic music venue in our area, it’s one of the best in the country. The seriousness afoot is conveyed »more

Best Advocate for the Arts

Lisa Cremin

When it comes to standing up for the arts in Atlanta, the key is putting your money where your mouth is. No one is in »more

Best After-Hours Fueling Station

Bodega Nights

Atlanta is filled with prime late-night spots to satisfy the drunken munchies, but driving there can be such a daunting task. It’s about time someone »more

Best Al Fresco Market

East Atlanta Village Farmer's Market

There are markets in town with more variety, more stands and more ambition. But the EAST ATLANTA VILLAGE FARMERS MARKET has many things those others »more

Best Antique-Browsing Experience

Kudzu Antiques

Somewhere between the pre-WWII Chinese tourism posters and the 19th-century bridal trunk, it becomes clear that KUDZU ANTIQUES has a hard time saying no. This »more

Best Art Event

At First Sight II

We were blown away by the chutzpah of Denise Lira-Ratinoff's AT FIRST SIGHT II – a series of light boxes and videos displayed not in »more

Best Art Exhibit in a Museum

Cinema Remixed and Reloaded

CINEMA REMIXED AND RELOADED at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art did pretty much everything right. The massive, two-part exhibit brought together a frequently »more

Best Artist on the Brink of World Domination

Jiha Moon

Down here south of the 35th parallel, there's no shortage of peach-related imagery. But no one's quite got the angle on it like painter JIHA »more

Best Bar Food

The Glenwood

The latest restaurant trend in our city is inarguably the gastropub, which has rendered the usual negative associations with “bar food” archaic. THE GLENWOOD ATLANTA »more

Best Barbecue

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

After serving their barbecue to fanatical enthusiasts at Smith's Olde Bar, the brothers behind FOX BROS. BAR-B-Q finally secured their own space complete with outdoor »more

Best Bartender

Donald Durant

Step into MJQ on any weekend night and it feels like a scene from Night of the Living Dead. The place is packed with semiconscious »more

Best Beach Retreat

Jekyll Island

J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, Joseph Pulitzer and Cornelius Vanderbilt were onto something when, inspired by the “splendid isolation,” they snatched up Georgia’s JEKYLL ISLAND for »more

Best Best-Looking Waitstaff

Nam

Beauty and elegance congregate at NAM. This contemporary Vietnamese restaurant has a uniquely beautiful interior whose art celebrates the female form. The servers are immediate »more

Best Bizarro Local News Graphics

AccessNorthGa.com

When you click on a news story at ACCESSNORTHGA.COM, the website of Gainesville’s WDUN-AM (550), there’s a good chance the image that accompanies it will »more

Best Blues Gunslinger

Tinsley Ellis

Back in the early ’80s when he was just starting out in the nightclubs of Atlanta, TINSLEY ELLIS would dig into a long solo on »more

Best Blues With Barbecue

Fat Matt's Rib Shack

Stepping inside FAT MATT’S RIB SHACK is like being transported to a Delta roadhouse. The smell of barbecue sauce looms large, and a honking blues »more

Best Book by a Local Author

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II

As the Atlanta bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, Douglas A. Blackmon's no stranger to coverage of the interconnecting issues of race, economy and »more

Best Breakfast

West Egg

In the quest for a perfect breakfast, the question is always sweet or savory. WEST EGG ingeniously solves this problem by serving cinnamon butter alongside »more

Best Burlesque Dancer

Vagina Jenkins

In burlesque, it’s less about what you take off and more about how you do it: the coy glances, the fluttering feather fans and, yes, »more

Best Changing of the Guard

Hope Cohn

Though we'll miss former Spruill Art Center exhibitions director Julia Fenton, we're excited to ring in the reign HOPE COHN. We love that she pulled »more

Best Cheap Eats

Your Dekalb Farmers Market

The setting, inside a no-frills alcove next to the freezer section, is less than ideal. But people don't come to the cafeteria at YOUR DEKALB »more

Best Chinese

CAFE 101

CAFE 101 hasn't had as much attention as some other places, but absolutely deserves its share of the spotlight. Located in the quintessential Buford Highway »more

Best Cigar Bar

Highland Cigar Co.

Eschewing the smoke-filled backroom for a well-ventilated Inman Park storefront, HIGHLAND CIGAR CO. delivers the best of both worlds. Private humidors, a pre-mium international cigar »more

Best Clothes For Hipsters On a Budget

Rag-O-Rama

They handle such a large volume of used duds at RAG-O-RAMA that you’re almost guaranteed to find something you like at a price that’s sweet »more

Best Club DJ

DJ Klever

Forget the dance floor – if you really want to know when DJ KLEVER is ripping it up, keep your eyes fixed on him. Like »more

Best Club Event

Fringe Factory

Tune in, turn on and slip into your dancing boots, brothers and sisters. It’s time to take a trip. The FRINGE FACTORY girls Vikki V »more

Best Cocktails

Beleza

The art of mixing cocktails has made a quantum leap in Atlanta over the past year, with mixologists presenting us with ever-yummier ways to get »more

Best Coffee

Batdorf & Bronson

As commonplace as it is, a tremendous amount of work and skill goes into making a perfect cup of coffee. Slight fluctuations in water temperature, »more

Best Columnist Not Found in the Pages of the AJC (or Creative Loafing)

David O'Brien's Braves Blog

It’s been a tortured season for the Atlanta Braves, who are out of playoff contention for the first time since 1991. One consolation in these »more

Best Comeback Club Event

Broke & Boujee

Somewhere between Atlanta’s done-to-death black Hollywood vibe and the neo-boho set, Fadia Kader carved out a niche where the stepkids of the scene could ball »more

Best Concert Venue

Variety Playhouse

Going to a show at the VARIETY PLAYHOUSE is like going to a friend’s living room – it feels good to be there. There’s not »more

Best Cookies

Cookie Studio

It can be hard to find a cookie that lives up to the nostalgic memories of the ones popped fresh out of dear ol' Mom's »more

Best Cuban

Palomilla's Cuban Grill House

What makes the Cuban cooking at PALOMILLA'S CUBAN GRILL HOUSE special? For one thing, its chef, Javier Salas, is Peruvian. Tidier than the usual cafe, »more

Best Cupcakes

Sweet Pockets

Also located at 4338 Paces Ferry Road, 770-431-6611

Puppies, babies, iPods. People love mini versions of things, and cupcakes are no exception. The little bundles »more

Best Dance Club

El Bar

Somewhere along the way, megaclubs learned to cater to exhibitionists at the expense of those seeking shadowy dance floors to shed their inhibitions. Thankfully, DJ »more

Best Desserts

Southern Sweets Bakery

Nancy Cole's family-run SOUTHERN SWEETS BAKERY remains a favorite thanks to her staff's dedication to creating home-style sweets minus the muss and fuss. Rustic cherry »more

Best Dive Bar

Southern Comfort Restaurant & Lounge

Even if Atlanta’s night owls weren’t trying to get around the city’s 2 a.m. bar curfew, SOUTHERN COMFORT RESTAURANT & LOUNGE, a red-blooded honky-tonk in »more