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Welcome to CL's Best Of 2005!

War. Tsunamis. Hurricanes. Runaway brides. News over the last 12 months has been unbelievable! But it ain’t nothing compared to the real story.

In this year’s Best of Atlanta issue, Creative Loafing does what we always do: tell you the stories behind the news — even if we have to make ‘em up!

Who else discovered the lowdown on the Loch Ness monster’s cousin lurking in Atlanta’s sewers? Who else learned how the world-famous bat-boy ended up in a cave in North Georgia? Who else snuck highly guarded secrets out of the Georgia Aquarium — and then ate ‘em! Nobody else did!

Well, OK. We didn’t either. But, in a year of more-sensational-than-fiction headlines, we had fun coming up with our own unbelievable stories.

Then, we got down to the real business of Best of: finding the true stories behind the best people, places and things in Atlanta.

We investigated leads, interrogated sources and beat the pavement. We checked out bands and bars, shops and restaurants, art galleries and parks until we were woozy. And as always, you readers weighed in, too, voting on your favorites.

A new feature this year recognizes a select group of people whose contributions to the city have made it a better place to live.

We’ve proclaimed them better than the best — they’re downright amazing — Amazing ATLiens.

We didn’t make them up. Really. You may even see them around town this week. And if you do, be sure to tell them that, according to Creative Loafing, the Piedmont Park parking deck site is a UFO landing pad.

Best 24-hour Restaurant

Majestic Diner

For all the debauchery and bleary-eyed clubbing that ordering a plate of hash browns at 4 a.m. entails, THE MAJESTIC is the only place to »more

Best Acoustic Music Club

Eddie's Attic

Following a few shaky years of gradually shifting musical focus, EDDIE’S ATTIC returns to form and retains the title as best place to hear acoustic »more

Best All-Around Play

Topdog/Underdog

The Alliance Hertz Stage’s TOPDOG/UNDERDOG broke out from the pack to emerge as the year’s undisputed can’t-miss theatrical event. Our best “guest actors,” Joe Wilson »more

Best Antique Store

Victory Vintage

The recent explosion of interest in midcentury modern relics has antiques dealer Lee Cuthbert knocking on wood (Heywood-Wakefield, of course). Her young Decatur store, Victory »more

Best Appetizers and Best Pizza

Fritti

Appetizers are a transcendental experience at FRITTI. Anyone who has ever ordered the funghi fritti (fried mushrooms) knows what we’re talking about. Just thinking about »more

Best Art Event

Art, Beats, & Lyrics

Word. As part of the College Night at the High series, ART, BEATS & LYRICS brought together some of the city’s most promising young street »more

Best Art School

Atlanta College of Art

Considering the pending merger with the Savannah College of Art and Design, now seems as good a time as any to celebrate the iconoclastic, artist-centered »more

Best Art Trend

Indie Craft

A new generation of artists, DIY types, post-feminists, lowbrow fans and out-of-the-box thinkers are erasing the usual high vs. low art world hierarchies, but no »more

Best Art World Exit

Helena Reckitt

Always leave them wanting more. Atlanta Contemporary Art Center curator HELENA RECKITT weathered some hairy financial uncertainty at the Atlanta art institution and still managed »more

Best Artist With Staying Power

Philip Carpenter

PHILIP CARPENTER has been a fixture on the Atlanta scene for more than 20 years now, offering painting instruction at the Chastain Arts Center and »more

Best Bakery

Bread Garden

Katharine Krasnow’s BREAD GARDEN is not the biggest bakery in town. But it’s been our favorite since it opened and instantly transferred 15 pounds of »more

Best Band Reunion

Pylon and Love Tractor

It’s a tie: PYLON and LOVE TRACTOR, two of Athens’ most influential ’80s new-wave bands, returned to dynamic duty this year following lengthy periods of »more

Best Band to Go Disco

Of Montreal

Kevin Barnes’ Athens psych-pop crew OF MONTREAL has worked from the backbone of Beach Boys’ vocals and Beatles’ straight strum to make records that run »more

Best Band to See Live

We Versus the Shark

Though almost unknown in Atlanta, WE VERSUS THE SHARK has blown the mind of the college town to our east several times over the last »more

Best Band Whose Members Broke Up but the Band Didn’t

I am the World Trade Center

If you read the Vibes section of this venerable rag a year ago, you know all about the troubles that haunted I AM THE WORLD »more

Best Bar Food

The Earl

Fattening, messy, burger-centric: These are all the things good bar food should be about. And it’s exactly what THE EARL dishes out while some of »more

Best Barbecue

Swallow at the Hollow

The folks at SWALLOW AT THE HOLLOW may not be purists, but that’s the reason we crave their ’cue. The chopped pork, scrumptious without any »more

Best Beach Retreat

Tybee Island

It may catch a lot of flack for its campy boardwalk and dated motels, but TYBEE ISLAND is a nostalgic alternative to the more highbrow »more

Best Beer Bar

Decatur’s Brick Store Pub's Belgian Beer Bar

Decatur’s Brick Store Pub has long been a favorite haunt for beer lovers, but the local spot stepped it up earlier this year with its »more

Best Beer Selection

Green's Beverages

To sample some of the world’s finest beer, the place to go is GREEN’S BEVERAGES on Ponce, where a trip to the beer section is »more

Best Big Company To Work For

United Parcel Service

When United Parcel Service went public in 1999, its generous employee stock option made millionaires out of longtime employees, from managers to delivery truck drivers. »more

Best Bikini Wax

Institut' Dermed

The only thing more embarrassing than getting naked in front of a stranger is having pesky pubes sticking out of a cute bikini. Hence the »more

Best Biscuits

Pastries a go-go

PASTRIES A GO-GO has located to sunnier digs across the street from its original location on Ponce, and now the weekend breakfast line ripples even »more

Best Bizarro Local News Story

"Runaway Bride"

Last spring, the world’s media focused itself like a laser beam on the saga of Jennifer Wilbanks, the ditzy, bug-eyed, Gwinnett County “RUNAWAY BRIDE” who »more

Best Blues Club

Blind Willie's

Co-founders Eric King and Roger Gregory built BLIND WILLIE’S in 1986 with the generous help of the local blues music community. King’s background includes an »more

Best Body Treatment

Acupuncture Works

It might not sound soothing to get needles shoved into your body, but at ACUPUNCTURE WORKS it is, and you’ll come out feeling balanced. The »more

Best Bookstore

Chapter 11 Books

The best thing about CHAPTER 11 BOOKSTORES is what they aren’t. Though often located in strip malls, they manage to avoid being big-box stores. With »more

Best Bowling Alley

Chamblee Lanes

Located conveniently between the International Village of Doraville and the modern shopping of the Ashford-Dunwoody corridor, the venerable CHAMBLEE LANES stands as a bridge between »more

Best Breakfast

Radial Cafe

Going out to breakfast should be relaxing, not cutthroat. RADIAL CAFE is one of the few places left in Atlanta where jockeying for a table »more

Best Budget Menswear

Filene's Basement

Yes, they’ve got the usual Tommy, Ralph and Nautica out the wazoo, but what sets FILENE’S BASEMENT apart from the rest of the discount pack »more

Best Budget Women’s Wear

Loehmann's

It’s down to one store now in Atlanta, but give LOEHMANN’S credit for updating its selection to include some of the hottest brands for the »more

Best Burger

U.S. Cafe Express

Diehard burger fiends in the know agree that the best versions of this most American of all meals can be had at U.S. CAFE EXPRESS. »more

Best Burlesque Performer

CALU

One of the most striking of this fair city’s cornucopia of comely burlesque queens is the delightful CALU. Whether she’s commanding attention as a member »more

Best Burrito

Matilda Bean

Though some might still say there is no such thing as a good burrito in Atlanta, others get on I-85 and head south to MATILDA »more

Best Buy Anytime Cuz It’s Online

Inserection

All you shy closet kinks can keep your dirty little secrets safe by shopping on INSERECTION’s website. The adult fantasy superstore’s site is easy to »more

Best Cable Guy

Lance Krall

LANCE KRALL, former Atlantan and alumnus of Whole World Theatre, leveraged his breakout performance on Spike TV’s “The Joe Schmo Show” to his own self-titled »more

Best Campsite You Can Drive To

Black Rock Mountain State Park

Named for its sheer, dark-hued cliffs, BLACK ROCK MOUNTAIN STATE PARK sits in the far northeast corner of the state, where Georgia meets the Carolinas. »more

Best Carryout and Best Cookies

Star Provisions

After peeking through half-covered windows for months, we were giddy to finally traipse through the gleaming take-out expansion of STAR PROVISIONS, nicknamed Provisions to Go. »more

Best Caterer

Bold American

Attention bridezillas: Knock the stress down a few notches by calling Bold American Catering. Nerve-racking details are the specialty here, from placing chairs perfectly to »more

Best Cheap Eats

Food Court at Chinatown Square

Got a hankering for a giant bowl of brothy seafood noodles? How about some soy-lacquered duck that melts in your mouth? The FOOD COURT AT »more

Best Chef and Best Resaurant When Someone Else is Paying

Guenter Seeger at Seeger's

Hey, why didn’t anyone tell us before that there’s a picture of GUENTER SEEGER in the dictionary next to the word “genius”? Not that we’re »more

Best Chinese Barbecue

BBQ Corner II

If barbecue isn’t something you’ve ever associated with Chinese cuisine, it’s time you became initiated. There’s no smoky, sweet sauces or traditional sides (other than »more

Best Club DJ

Brandon Sutton

It’s not easy being DJ BRANDON SUTTON’s stalker. Yes, there are plenty of chances to ogle him each week, with his residency at Halo and »more

Best Club Event

Sol-Fusion

Promoters J. Carter and Kenny Burns may describe their popular nightclub event SOL-FUSION as an “intercontinental love fest,” but really it’s just one hell of »more

Best Coffeehouse

Joe's East Atlanta Coffee Shop

It’s a rare coffeehouse in Atlanta that serves an A-plus cup of java and features ambiance that wasn’t ordered from a corporate headquarters. But JOE’S »more

Best Comedian

Courtney Patterson

COURTNEY PATTERSON excels in such serious roles as Stella in Georgia Shakespeare’s A Streetcar Named Desire or a secretive sister in the Jewish Theatre of »more

Best Comedy Club

Punchline Comedy Club

For the past two decades, THE PUNCHLINE COMEDY CLUB has been Atlanta’s one-stop comedy shop. The unpretentious little club in Sandy Springs has hosted nearly »more

Best Comfort Food

What a Crock!

A woman we know going through a tough divorce swears the chicken potpie at WHAT A CROCK! saved her sanity. Indeed, the super-rich, flaky-crusted pies »more

Best Comic Book Store

Titan Games and Comics

A haven for comics, cards, games, figures and accessories, TITAN GAMES AND COMICS offers nearly everything a hardcore geek could ever want or need. Three »more

Best Compromise With a Big Box

Underwood Hills Neighborhood Association

It takes a tenacious neighborhood group to get Wal-Mart to listen. But UNDERWOOD HILLS NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION did just that, making sure the store’s developers heard »more

Best Concert Venue

Variety Playhouse

It can be all things to almost all people. It’s a rock and folk showcase, a jazz venue, a country bar, an acoustic club, a »more

Best Consignment/Resale Shop

Plato's Closet

OK, so it’s a national chain, but PLATO’S CLOSET has more of the feel of a neighborhood boutique than your typical big-box retailer. Though the »more

Best Convention

Bronner Bros. International Hair Show

This year, Atlanta lost several trade shows, some of whose organizers blamed an economic slump for diminished interest in the events. Despite the losses, the »more

Best Cosmetics

Chameleon Cosmetics

Over at CHAMELEON COSMETICS, we’ve found the kind of personalized service that’s difficult to get when you’re fighting crowds at the mall. The Virginia-Highland boutique »more

Best Country Act

Sonoramic Commando

Sure, the band is named after Plymouth’s Ram-tough engine from the early ’60s, but SONORAMIC COMMANDO’s V-8 powered country can outrun any competitor on the »more

Best Country Music Club

The Swallow at the Hollow

Sure, there a few big-ass cowboy discos out in the ’burbs, but to hear the best of what country music has to offer (the songs, »more

Best Cuban

Las Palmeras

We lost our chance at the Pulitzer for investigative reporting when we announced earlier this year, quite wrongly, that LAS PALMERAS had closed. For once, »more

Best Cupcakes

West Egg Cafe

Cupcakes are springing up on more and more menus these days, but the best of the bunch can be found off Howell Mill at WEST »more

Best Dance Club

Django Gypsy Kitchen and Saloon

Imagine hailing a gypsy cab on New York’s Lower East Side. Inside, the decorations are Bangladeshi-meets-Brooklyn and the cabby raps to Jay-Z in Bengali. And »more

Best Dance Company

Coriolis Dance Project

Artistic director Elizabeth Dishman’s newfound mission is to create dances that even you double-left-footed movement newbies can at least partially appreciate (you seem to be »more

BEST DANCE VINYL

Satellite Records

For those who didn’t know, SATELLITE RECORDS used to be an actual satellite, one of an East Coast chain of dance music vinyl stores. Now, »more

Best Dating Service

Manhunt

Maybe we’re using the word “date” too generously, but MANHUNT is one Internet success story that’s left countless numbers of local guys smiling. Some swear »more

Best Deli

Muss & Turner's

The perennial complaint of New York transplants is the lack of a good deli in the Atlanta area. Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner changed that »more

Best Desserts

Aria

Since the day chef/owner Gerry Klaskala’s ARIA opened, his secret weapon has been pastry chef Kathryn King. Her sweets have an unerring sense of harmony »more

Best Dim Sum

China Delight

With Canton House just emerging from renovation and Oriental Pearl transformed into a buffet, it might seem that CHINA DELIGHT would win the dim sum »more

Best Dive Bar

Lenny's

In terms of live venues, LENNY’S can be considered Atlanta’s CBGB because of the bar’s support of up-and-coming bands, including experimental improv, punk, freestyle MCs »more

Best Doggie Day care

Camp Woof

The girls who love girls who love dogs at Camp Woof have the city’s best hound playground. Your pooch can expect personalized attention and shameless »more

Best Eclectic Furniture

Retromodern

Stepping into RETROMODERN feels a whole lot like stepping into the coolest dec-arts exhibit in the coolest museum you’ve ever seen, only you can touch »more

Best Electronic Act

Larvae

Nobody stomps harder in the local electronic scene than Matthew Jeanes’ mostly solo, sometimes three-man electro outfit, LARVAE. This year, Jeanes launched sonic assaults on »more

Best Emerging Neighborhood Retail District

Edgewood Avenue

Over the last year, we’ve been pleased to find that the beautiful buildings lining EDGEWOOD AVENUE are being put to increasingly good use, with retailers »more

Best Expense Account Lunch

Nan Thai Fine Dining

How can you tell where the power brokers dine? Check out a restaurant’s parking lot around noon. If the cheapest car on the blacktop is »more

Best Experimental Music Act

Hubcap City (from Belgium)

Banjo/trumpet-playing singer/poet Bill Taft has been one of Atlanta’s most musically interesting and creative fringe dwellers ever since the days of the legendary Mudd Shack. »more

Best Falafel

Ali's Mediterranean

Although its name has changed and the interior has undergone a much-needed redecoration, ALI’S MEDITERRANEAN is still a one-man operation run by owner Fakhir Ali. »more

Best Farmers Market

Buford Highway Farmers Market

There is much to love about shopping at the Buford Highway Farmers Market. Somewhere between a Wal-Mart Supercenter and an international grocery, it offers a »more

Best Female Actor

Carolyn Cook

In 2005, the acting awesomeness of CAROLYN COOK had a globe-trotting scope. For Georgia Shakespeare’s summer repertory, she played fading aristocrats on two continents: New »more

Best Flea Market

Lakewood Antiques Market

The crazy thing about the Lakewood Antiques Market is that, with its 1,500 dealer booths, you really do need the full three days that it’s »more

Best French and Best Wine List

Joel

“Will you trust me?” master sommelier Philippe Buttin often inquires of intrepid wine adventurers at JOËL. If you give the nod, Buttin will slip away »more

Best French Fries

Woodfire Grill

French fries are hot right now, have you noticed? And not just at the city’s burgeoning burger joints: Every serious eatery around seems to be »more

Best Fried Catfish

Geraldine's Fish & Grits

Few foods evoke a flood of memories in a Southerner as much as fried catfish. At GERALDINE’S FISH & GRITS, this flaky-tender favorite is delicately »more

Best Fried Chicken

Watershed

We might as well retire this category — at least until WATERSHED stops offering its Tuesday night fried chicken special (which we pray won’t be »more

Best FrouFrou Martini

Roy's Hawaiian Martini

Say aloha to ROY’S HAWAIIAN MARTINI. The heady mix of plain vodka, vanilla vodka and coconut rum is punctuated with a chunk of fresh pineapple »more

Best Gay Bar

Jungle Club

Brad Williams must be a genius. Last year, the owner of Red Chair launched what looked like a risky venture, renovating the former Chamber nightclub »more

Best Gothic Delight

The Death Show

While we wish it hadn’t turned out to be such an appropriate year for THE DEATH SHOW, (re: Iraq, London, Niger, Indonesia, the Gulf Coast, »more

Best Graffiti

Krog Street Tunnel

Atlanta’s own Berlin Wall and the city’s favorite soapbox, the KROG STREET TUNNEL is a trippy kaleidoscope of politics and explosive color thankfully overlooked by »more

Best Hard-Working, Drink-Slinging Bartender

Carla, at the Vortex

“It’s the name of the car, not me!” Sure, CARLA, we believe you ... maybe. “Ms. Kitty” is her convertible, and in our estimation, her »more

Best Hardware Store FOR WOODWORKERS

Highland Hardware

Though the big-box chains certainly sell everything under the sun, we’ve always preferred the mom-and-pop shop feel of HIGHLAND HARDWARe, with its faint smell of »more

Best Hetero Meat Market

Whole Foods Market

Back in the day, before Midtown became Buckhead, you’d never hear a respectable yuppie couple bragging that they met on Ponce. These days it’s not »more

Best Hip-hop Act

Psyche Origami

In a town where hip-hop super-stardom reigns supreme, PSYCHE ORIGAMI subverts the blingin’ and big pimpin’ of the drrty paradigm with sheer brainpower. Remaining commercially »more

Best Historic Downtown

Buford

As small-town main streets go, one of the most charming in these parts belongs to the city of BUFORD, nestled in the northern tip of »more

Best Ice Cream

Hank's

We’re blessed with some irresistible ice cream and gelato shops, but ever since we tasted the rose-petal ice cream at HANK’S last Valentine’s Day, we’ve »more

Best Illegal After-Hours Spot

NUNYA BIZNASS

A city ain’t a city if it sleeps. Regardless of what the government may say, this city’s party class knows the deal: After the show, »more

Best impression of Marc el Duchamp on a piece of public art

The Vandalizing of "54 Columns"

In 1919, French artist Marcel Duchamp decorated a postcard of the Mona Lisa with a moustache and goatee. For some reason, it became a famous »more

Best Improv Group

Dad's Garage Theatre

The novelty of improvisational comedy is that it’s always a surprise to performers and audiences alike. Also the Reader’s Choice for Best Improv Group, DAD’S »more

Best Indian

Madras Saravana Bhavan

No matter how you mispronounce it, MADRAS SARAVANA BHAVAN continues to serve unequalled South Indian cuisine. Yeah, yeah, it’s all vegetarian. But if you eat »more

Best Instrumentalist

Terri Onstad

A life of classical training has given TERRI ONSTAD a unique set of tools in her role as Atlanta’s musical journeyman, providing cello, rhythm guitar, »more

Best International/World Music Act

Hair of the Dog

Before any purists cry “Foul!” and claim that Cajun and zydeco don’t count as “world music,” last time I checked my atlas, Louisiana was part »more

Best Intown Beer Selection

Brick Store Pub

The beer list at Decatur’s BRICK STORE PUB is so extensive that you have to download a PDF file to view it online. The outstanding »more

Best Intown Car Wash

Cactus Car Wash

Could we take our beat-up economy cars to someplace other than Cactus Car Wash? Probably. But why would we? When we come in early in »more

Best Intown Festival

Inman Park Festival

Held the last weekend in April, the INMAN PARK FESTIVAL has all the offerings you’d expect from a such an event: a goofy parade, a »more

Best INTOWN Hair Salon

Grow

There was once a time when we could call on a Wednesday to book a Saturday appointment with Robin at GROW. But with a move »more

Best Intown Jogging Path

Lullwater Park

Emory University’s 185-acre LULLWATER PARK, nestled between Clifton Road and Emory’s Clairmont Campus, is home to a scenic lake, mature trees, and well-developed paths. Venture »more

Best Intown Karaoke Night

Metal-some Mondays

p>Are you ready to rock? Or are you ready to shout along lyrics with a drunken slur from the audience as others belt out rock »more

Best Intown Neighborhood

Whittier Mill Village

After the textile boom hit Atlanta in the 1870s, villages started cropping up around the city’s cotton mills. When the mills closed, many of the »more

Best Intown Neighborhood Bar

Euclid Avenue Yacht Club

For spirited conversation, great bar food and an adult beverage or three, there’s no better intown gathering spot than the EUCLID AVENUE YACHT CLUB. With »more

Best Intown Spa

Dobel Salon and Spa

The trickling fountain and New Age music in its ultra-modern Buckhead spa are just the beginning of the soothing experience at DOBEL SALON AND SPA. »more

Best Intown Tattoo

Black Cat Tattoo

An inky paradise of perverse pain and pleasure, BLACK CAT TATTOO is located in Decatur and attracts and employs a number of L5P regulars. An »more

Best Italian

Sotto Sotto

SOTTO SOTTO has won Critics’ Choice for six years now, but try as we might, we can’t come up with another place that can touch »more

Best Japanese

Soto Japanese Restaurant

A year after the exultant reopening of SOTO JAPANESE RESTAURANT, chef/owner Sotohiro Kosugi recently made another intriguing change to his Japanese fusion format. Mondays, Tuesdays »more

Best Jazz Act

Takana Miyamoto

Sure, pianist TAKANA MIYAMOTO is known around town as a “sideman” for soul singers Julie Dexter and Gaelle, but her talent on the keys is »more

Best Jewelry Artisans

Turq Jewelry

With their creations divided into categories like Tuesday Supper Club, Saturday Shoe Shopping, Dancing Till Dawn and Meeting His Parents, TURQ DESIGNS takes the guesswork »more

Best Keeping it Real Gallery

Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery

EYEDRUM ART AND MUSIC GALLERY’s continued presence since opening in 1998 is a reassuring reminder that the indie spirit lives on despite the rising rents »more

Best Kinetic Political Cattle Prod

America! Question!

Here’s something we noticed immediately after Several Dancers Core’s performance of AMERICA! QUESTION: Even people who weren’t so sure they had liked the dance were »more

Best Kitchen Gadgets

The Cook's Warehouse

When we want our attempts in the kitchen to turn out right, we turn to THE COOK’S WAREHOUSE for the tools that will get us »more

Best Korean

Hae Woon Dae

Several terrific Korean soup shops exist around town, but when we crave Korean barbecue, we head to HAE WOON DAE. Located in a shopping center »more

Best Last-Minute Gifts

Metropolitan Deluxe

When rushed to find those last-minute gifts for a Mother’s Day brunch, friend’s engagement party or brother’s birthday dinner (how did we manage to forget »more

Best Legal After-Hours Spot

Underground Atlanta

When the city’s bars shout last call, people who still want a drinky-drink post-2 a.m. head for UNDERGROUND ATLANTA. Not only is Underground one of »more

Best Lesson in Rock History

Stonehenge

You’re not going to hear the hits of the ’60s and ’70s on WREK’s classic rock show STONEHENGE, thank God, but you will learn about »more

Best Lingerie

Oh! Fine Lingerie

What we really like about Oh! Fine Lingerie is that a visit to the west Buckhead shop is like a trip into the kinds of »more

Best Liquor Store

Mac's Beer and Wine

Surrounded by newly erected condos and just blocks from Georgia Tech, MAC’S BEER AND WINE has been inciting a big Mac attack, so to speak, »more

Best Literary Event

Poetry at Tech

It’s been going on long enough that we’ll dispense with the old jokes regarding what do engineers know about poetry (and poets about engineering). POETRY »more

Best Local Author Who Tells the Truth, the Whole Truth

Mark Bixler

The thousands of young male refugees who fled genocide in Sudan, walking first to Ethiopia, then to Zaire, have been co-opted as the poster boys »more

Best Local Blog

www.extremecraft.com

There were, at press time, about 14.9 jillion gazillion blogs on the Internet, most of them indulgences in mental masturbation. One that is not is »more

Best Local Brew

Terrapin Rye Pale Ale

TERRAPIN RYE PALE ALE was first introduced in Athens in April 2002 at the Classic City Brew Fest. Later that year, it won an American »more

Best Local Celebrity

Vernon Jones

He’s known for his police-escort posse, designer-label suits and a jet-setting lifestyle that included a secret junket to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. It’s »more

Best Local Columnist

Bill Shipp

Seventy-two-year-old BILL SHIPP has been kicking ass for more than five decades. His column is syndicated in 85 Georgia newspapers and regularly beats the AJC »more

Best Local Do-Gooders

Riverwood High School

Senior proms are awkward, expensive, pretentious affairs. Isn’t there anything better to do with your time and money? That’s what RIVERWOOD HIGH SCHOOL students asked »more

Best Local Hero

Rosalynn Carter

It’s hard to stand in the shadow of a Nobel Peace Prize-winning former president. But ROSALYNN CARTER has been a leader in her own right »more

Best Local Intellectual

Deborah Lipstadt

DEBORAH LIPSTADT, a professor of modern Jewish and Holocaust studies, is one of the most popular faculty members at Emory. But what really sets her »more

Best Local Magazine

Atlanta Jewish Life

You don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate ATLANTA JEWISH LIFE. The magazine, which first published in the spring of 2001, comes out every other »more

Best Local Playwright

Karen Wurl

A terrific slam poet and winner of the 2005 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award for new local writers, KAREN WURL debuted deliciously witty dark comedy Miss »more

Best Local Podcast

Skepicality

Of the growing number of local podcasts — an MP3 file that can be downloaded into an iPod — we’re particularly fond of SKEPTICALITY, the »more

Best Local Politico

Bobby Baker

Few politicians have stood up for the little guy better than Public Service Commissioner BOBBY BAKER. The Public Service Commission sets rates for utility companies »more

Best Local Professional Athlete

Andruw Jones

The man who defies a traditional spelling of his first name finally is having the kind of year that shows off his natural talents. ANDRUW »more

Best Local Singer/Songwriter

Anna Kramer

ANNA KRAMER is a little lady with a great big guitar who has more in common with the Rolling Stones and Gram Parsons than anyone »more

Best Local Troublemaker

Carl Roland

Forty-one-year-old CARL ROLAND performed a Flying Wallenda act last May, when he sat atop a 25-story crane in Buckhead for 57 hours to avoid an »more

Best Loft Project

Troy-Peerless Lofts

With so many lofts and loft-style developments going up these days, it’s possible to get picky. For those who are holding out for a reclaimed »more

Best Male Actors

Cast of Take Me Out

No single male performance knocked it out of the park like the CAST OF TAKE ME OUT at Theatre in the Square’s Alley Stage. The »more

Best Mexican

Taqueria La Oaxaquena

TAQUERIA LA OAXAQUEÑA serves some of the most soulful Mexican food we’ve ever had the good fortune to shovel in our mouths. The draw may »more

Best Middle Eastern

Imperial Fez

At IMPERIAL FEZ, chef/owner Rafih Benjelloun asks you to take off your shoes, lounge on pillows on the floor and eat his multicourse, prix-fixe Moroccan »more

Best Mixologist Bartender

Govantez Lowndes

Opened by local restaurateur/self-proclaimed Anglophile GOVANTEZ LOWNDES, Technology Square-situated bistro the Globe celebrates the fresh-from-the-garden multidimensional cuisine of chef Joshua Perkins in a space-age, unfussy »more

Best Mojito

Park 75 Lounge and Terrace

As if the Cuban drink-of-the-moment didn’t go down easily enough in its classic mint-and-rum incarnation, the passion fruit mojito at the PARK 75 LOUNGE AND »more

Best Museum Makeover

High Museum of Art

The HIGH MUSEUM OF ART is hoping to pull some serious attendance with the Nov. 12 unveiling of its $130 million expansion designed by revered »more

Best New Album

Prom

Singer/songwriter Amy Ray began exploring self-image and social injustice with her bittersweet folk duo Indigo Girls. She continued with her first rebellious rock solo album, »more

Best New Art Neighborhood

Decatur

Galleries in the rising art hood of DECATUR run the gamut. Two new venues include the sleek Function Gallery, exhibiting a range of primitive and »more

Best New Building

1180 Peachtree

The 41-story glass tower rising on the corner of Peachtree and 14th streets marks the tallest construction in Atlanta in more than a dozen years. »more

Best New CDs

Criminal Records

Can two music stores survive on the same street in a small hipster enclave? In Little Five Points, the answer is a resounding yes. Eric »more

Best New Gallery

Romo Gallery

With a nose for cutting-edge artists and a willingness to take chances, Sam Romo’s eponymous venue, ROMO GALLERY, has added a fresh new conceptual-art voice »more

Best New Music Act

Tenement Halls

The Rock*A*Teens had a ragged, reverberating wail that was easy to imagine cascading down the time-tattered streets of Cabbagetown. That sound had much to do »more

Best New Play Incubator

Alliance Theatre

You usually see hot new plays emerge from little black box theaters, not a city’s biggest playhouse. But this year, the ALLIANCE THEATRE served as »more

Best New Radio Station Format

Dave FM

People laughed when Infinity Broadcasting dumped its tired classic rock formula on Z-93 and created something called “DAVE FM” at 92.9, promising “rock without rules.” »more

Best New Restaurant

The Globe

Govantez Lowndez is a restaurateur who learns from his past. Where his defunct Commune was tucked away in a dark (though admittedly sexy) back corner »more

Best New Store

IKEA

When we first saw the blue and yellow building hovering on 17th Street, we almost thought we heard angels singing. For Atlanta’s broke, thrifty and »more

Best Off-Peachtree Museum

Museum of Design Atlanta

MUSEUM OF DESIGN ATLANTA, affiliated with the Smithsonian and über-cool Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, has revved up downtown with an exhibition roster that just keeps »more

Best OTP Festival

Georgia Apple Festival

Make sure you show up hungry to the GEORGIA APPLE FESTIVAL just outside Ellijay, the state’s apple capital. The annual event, now in its 34th »more

Best OTP Hair Salon

Don and Sylvia Shaw

With locations stretching from Lenox Square to the Mall of Georgia, Don and Sylvia Shaw Salons have been keeping Atlanta’s suburban citizens sleek and stylish »more

Best OTP Karaoke Night

International Bowl and Arcade

Tucked beside the lanes at Buford Highway’s INTERNATIONAL BOWL AND ARCADE are a hallway of private, by-the-hour rooms from which emanate all kinds of moans, »more

Best OTP Music Club and Best All-ages Club

Swayze's

OK, so you are a kid in the suburbs who loves loud rock and roll. Where do you go? Get your punk ass to SWAYZE’S, »more

Best OTP Neighborhood

Mountain Park

Sitting on the border of Cobb and Cherokee counties, many of MOUNTAIN PARK’s 250 cottages were built in the early 20th century as summer retreats »more

Best OTP Neighborhood Bar

Ye Olde Dunwoody Tavern

Located in the heart of historic Dunwoody, the gregarious folks at YE OLDE DUNWOODY TAVERN have been slingin’ the suds since opening in ’96. A »more

Best OTP Spa

Apropos Skin Therapies

For feeling refreshed and revived, we find that the facials and peels at APROPOS SKIN THERAPIES are worth the trip. With a focus on state-of-the-art »more

Best Out of Town Play

The Mystery of Chung Ling Soo

By booking midsized touring shows, 14th Street Playhouse has tapped into a huge Atlanta audience and attracted such appealing one-man plays as Leslie Jordan’s Like »more

Best Outdoor Music Venue

Lanierland

With its “no alcohol” policy and well-organized venue management, LANIERLAND’s Concerts in the Country is the sort of place you can safely take your grandma »more

Best Outlet

North Georgia Premium Outlets

This may give our Best of Atlanta fans a case of déjà vu, but it’s not our fault that the NORTH GEORGIA PREMIUM OUTLETS (aka »more

Best Overall Music Act

Blame Game

Any given performance from BLAME GAME offers a glimpse of a group driving toward complex, tonal perfection. Along with bassist Chris Ware, guitarists/vocalists George Asimakos »more

Best Overall Restaurant

Bacchanalia

BACCHANALIA continues to bedazzle as the consummate Atlanta fine dining destination. This town digs a little industrial grit with its foie gras terrine, so we »more

Best Park for a Romantic Picnic

Springvale Park

SPRINGVALE PARK is small, and therein lies its charm. The peaceful atmosphere is unlikely to be disturbed by a pickup game of any sort, because »more

Best Patio Dining

Piebar

Thank God someone finally did something interesting with the futuristic Trust Company bank branch that’s been decaying on Monroe for a decade. Local restaurateur Bob »more

Best Person You Hate to Love

Ty Pennington

Ooh, look at TY PENNINGTON take off his shirt and swing a hammer for the cameras on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Isn’t he dreamy? Well, »more

Best Person You Love to Hate

Ralph Reed

Baby-faced super-Christian RALPH REED is running for lieutenant governor, and while the campaign is Reed’s first bid for public office, he’s said to have his »more

Best Photography Store

Showcase Photo and Video Superstore

Perfect for the beginner and novice shooter, and pretty good for experts, SHOWCASE PHOTO AND VIDEO SUPERSTORE has equipment and supplies for both digital and »more

Best Place For A Cheap Date

IKEA

She’s coy before the first date, as those Southern belles tend to be. “I just want to spend time with you,” she says via text »more

Best Place for a Romantic Cheap Date

Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival at Fox Theatre

The city too busy to hate is also the city where it’s expensive to date, so finding options that are both affordable and romantic is »more

Best Place for an Expensive Date

Quinones at Bacchanalia

To impress a big date with your astute sensitivity, you want somewhere you can talk and somewhere you can talk about. QUINONES AT BACCHANALIA — »more

Best Place to Bike

Arabia Mountain Trail

A few years back it was the poor man’s Stone Mountain, but thanks to DeKalb’s much-touted greenspace program, ARABIA MOUNTAIN TRAIL has come into its »more

Best Place to Commune With Nature

Ignatius House

Standing on the grounds of IGNATIUS HOUSE, one can’t help but evoke the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” »more

Best Place to Get Over the Fact that Your Landlord Doesn’t Allow Dogs

Piedmont Park Dog Park

Located just north of where Park Drive crosses from Monroe Drive into Piedmont Park, the PIEDMONT PARK DOG PARK is where the city’s pooches, from »more

Best Place to Hear Local Music and Best Rock Club

The Earl

Listening to the earnest heartland rock of Bob Seger makes us want to drink PBR. So does THE EARL. We’re not saying Seger and the »more

Best Place to Hear Music for Free

A Cappella Books, Criminal Records, and The Five Spot

In America, freedom is the most valuable possession. And in Bush’s America, free is an equally prized, if far more elusive, commodity. By that reasoning, »more

Best Place to Hear National Acts for Free

Downtown Rocks

After a few years of battling free concert series, DOWNTOWN ROCKS emerged as the winner when On the Bricks hits the bricks after losing its »more

Best Place to Hear Spoken Word

Apache Cafe

The old brick building is rough and raw, but the gem-colored fancy drinks are smooth and refined at the APACHE CAFE. All preceding adjectives (except »more

Best Place to Imagine You’re On Acid When You’re Not

Vision

When VISION originally opened, it was cast almost entirely in white and served as a blank canvas to the fashion-forward who go there. Now, following »more

Best Place to Pick Up a Gay Boy

Wetbar's College Night

Maybe it’s the proximity of Georgia Tech, or it might be crossover from nearby Halo’s popular gay night, but WETBAR’S COLLEGE NIGHT comes with cuties »more

Best Place to Pick Up a Lesbian

Lowe's Home Improvement

Some folks howled when a new shopping center landed just south of Little Five Points, but the renovating residents of nearby neighborhoods have embraced the »more

Best Place to Register for Your Wedding

Crate and Barrel

Crate and Barrel has come a long way since 1962, from a unique mom-and-pop shop in Chicago to a 130-store mega-chain that embodies the word »more

Best Place to See a Play

Balzer Theatre

The Atlanta theater scene’s most impressive newcomer of the past year wasn’t a person but a place. Theatrical Outfit’s new permanent home, the 200-seat BALZER »more

Best Place to Shop for Hard-to-Find Labels

Bella Azul

Tucked into a corner on West Marietta Street in the hip west side district, BELLA AZUL is the place to shop if you want to »more

Best Place to Shop for Local Designers

Beehive Co-op

It’s all too easy to find knock-off handbags, home furnishings and more that claim to be unique, yet inexplicably line every window and display case »more

Best Poetry Slam Series

Poetry Atlanta

For several years now, one of the greatest cities for spoken word poetry failed to field a team for the National Slam Competition, but Atlanta »more

Best Pool Hall

Mr. Cue's Billiards & Burgers

Ya think ya got balls enough to play where the pros play? Well, roll on over to MR. CUE’S BILLIARDS & BURGERS and put some »more

Best PR Fiasco

Choicepoint

We have to hand it to CHOICEPOINT. The company spent years buying information on virtually every American while assuring privacy advocates that the information was »more

Best Promising Young Artist

Heidi Geldhauser

Though she’s still just a pup, recent Atlanta College of Art grad HEIDI GELDHAUSER really goes out on a limb. Her thesis exhibition, Fluff, at »more

Best Promoter

Alex Weiss

The concert business has gone from bad to worse in terms of customer exploitation through ticket brokers and price gouging, and the industry has suffered »more

Best Pseudonym

Ron Mexico

His friends call him Mike; his driver calls him Mr. Vick; and his doctor calls him RON MEXICO. At least that’s the name that Falcons »more

Best Public Art

Art in Freedom Park

Though the range of work in the summer-long ART IN FREEDOM PARK exhibition ran the gamut from so-so to sublime, it was nice to see »more

Best Quick Thinking by a Newspaper Reporter in Peril

Don O'Briant

People often wonder how well they’ll perform in a life-and-death situation. On March 11, DON O’BRIANT, a reporter at the AJC, found out firsthand. With »more

Best R&B/Soul act

Slick & Rose

If one thing defines Atlanta, it’s our contrasts. We’re the New York of the South, a healthy drop of Blue in a sea of Red. »more

Best Radio Station For Boomin’ Bass and 26-inch Spinners

WHTA-FM

For all your crunk desires, you can’t beat Hot 107.9. Riding in your old-school Olds, listening to everything from the Ying Yang Twins to T.I., »more

Best Radio Station that Keeps on Getting Better

Album 88

It might be well into its 30s, but ALBUM 88 hasn’t lost a shred of edge. In what can be a somewhat despairing sea of »more

Best Reason To Leave Atlanta

Gentrification

No, this isn’t a misprint. In the midst of intown’s renaissance, GENTRIFICATION has wreaked severe side effects. Rampant development has burdened Atlanta’s already strained sewage »more

Best Reason To Live In Atlanta

Gentrification

Flash back 15 years ago. The words “East Atlanta” described little more than the swath of land on the far side of Moreland Avenue. Freedom »more

Best Recurring Retail Event

Kraftwork

On the first Thursday of each month from 7-10 p.m., local designers and artisans converge at Grant Park’s Young Blood Gallery for Kraftwork, a night »more

Best Restaurant for a First Date

Pura Vida

Candlelight, cozy tables and sultry Latin music make PURA VIDA an especially good choice for a first date. Chicken-stuffed empanadas, cremini mushrooms in chipotle-garlic butter »more

Best Restaurant to Take Visitors

Two Urban Licks

Eating at TWO URBAN LICKS is as much about the spectacle as it is about the meal. With so much competing for your attention — »more

Best Retail Makeover

Phipps Plaza

For a time, Phipps Plaza was off our browsing radar. It wasn’t so much the divine designer offerings, it was that so little seemed to »more

Best Retail Surprise

YoYo Boutique and Art Space

When Cabbagetown’s YOYO BOUTIQUE AND ART SPACE opened up, we all kept wondering what was in store. Though the shop offers a small selection of »more

Best Sandwich/Sub

Fabiano's Italian Deli

There’s so much to love at Midtown’s FABIANO’S ITALIAN DELI, but you can’t do any better than the “#1.” A double-fister of a sandwich, the »more

Best Seafood

Kyma

“Where can we go for good seafood?” is the most common restaurant question we field. And we always have the answer: KYMA. The Buckhead Life »more

Best Shoes for Shoestring Budgets

Saks Fifth Avenue Semi-Annual Clearance Sale

If you’ve got a Carrie Bradshaw-size designer shoe fetish but a salary more like a grad student’s, we recommend a trip to Saks Fifth Avenue’s »more

Best Sign of the New South

IKEA

As if people making pilgrimages here from hundreds of miles away wasn’t enough evidence that Atlanta has reached a new milestone, how about $19.99 for »more

Best Signature Cocktail

Eclipse di Sol

Poised beneath the Highland Inn, ECLIPSE DI SOL is as equally suited for party couples to launch their evenings as it is for same duos »more

Best Silly Class To Change Your Life

Jeff Justice’s Comedy Workshop

During the past 15 years, nearly 1,400 Atlantans have learned the rudiments of stand-up comedy in Jeff Justice’s Comedy Workshop. Justice teaches students how to »more

Best Snacks Served at a Dance Performance

Cake

We’re pretty sure we would have enjoyed the dancing even without the woman who walked the aisles serving us from a tray laden with jars »more

Best Soul Food

Son's Place

The routine at SON’S PLACE is classic: Grab your tray, pour yourself a glass of sweet tea, and get in line for fried chicken, meatloaf, »more

Best Southern

Greenwood's on Green Street

When we want the culinary equivalent of old-time religion, we make a beeline up Ga. 400 to chow down at the church of Bill Greenwood. »more

Best Southwestern

Agave

There was a time when if someone mentioned Cabbagetown, you thought of our own little slack-jawed patch of Appalachia in south Atlanta. No more. The »more

Best Splurge Food Shopping

Star Provisions

When it comes time to wine and dine our significant other, we’ve yet to find a place supplying better accoutrements than STAR PROVISIONS. Their picnic »more

Best Sporting Goods store

Phidippides

Both novice and expert runners know that if they want to save their soles (and ankles, or calves) they need to head to PHIDIPPIDES. Staffed »more

Best Sports Bar

Dugan's Bar & Restaurant

The outside of DUGAN’S on Ponce is like a big screen TV, with all the neon signs boasting wings and cold beer. It gets busy »more

Best Steaks

Bones

BONES. The name says it all. Macho. Old school. Meat. When the primal urge arises to violate your wallet and spend a week’s pay on »more

Best Street Character

Baton Bob

That’s street “character,” not street person. Bob Jamerson, 53, may work as a florist, but he spends his free time trying to cheer up his »more

Best Strip Club

Blue Flame Lounge

If you know anything about chemistry, you know the blue flame burns hottest. And in Atlanta, THE BLUE FLAME LOUNGE proves the point. Talk about »more

Best Stripper

Sugar

Stripper-turned-actress White Chocolate may get the lion’s share of attention in the media, but Strokers’ other superstar dancer, SUGAR, is truly the best at what »more

Best Sunday Brunch

Watershed

WATERSHED is, and has been for the past several years, the final word in Sunday brunch. Airy, light-filled and baby-friendly, the dining room hosts families »more

Best Surf/Instrumental Band

The Surge

Surf music is a quirky, guitar-driven, instrumental force of rock that comes in waves. Of course, it’s been around for years with artists like the »more

Best Sushi

MF Sushi

Atlantans can throw down on some sushi. We even snap up California rolls at Publix when we’re on the fly. But when it’s time to »more

Best Taco

El Rey Del Taco

Tacos — mini-tacos, no less — are king at EL REY DEL TACO. The hard-to-beat price of around $1 each allows you to munch on »more

Best Tapas

Pura Vida

Hey, do y’all know where the tapas craze originally came from? They were invented by the Spanish as an inexpensive taste to accompany wine. There »more

Best Thai

Tamarind

The carefully crafted cuisine at sweetly plain TAMARIND has a memorable complexity, even though it’s not giddily garnished with an orchid spray, a la Tamarind’s »more

Best Theater

Actor's Express

For its second full year under artistic director Jasson Minadakis, ACTOR’S EXPRESS lived up to its rep as Atlanta’s most vital theatrical venue. Bookended by »more

Best Thrift Store

The Salvation Army

Shopping at any thrift store is a crap shoot: Sometimes you luck out, sometimes you go home empty-handed. But the fact that lots of nice, »more

Best Tourist Spot

Georgia Aquarium

Although it doesn’t open until Nov. 23, we’re pretty sure the GEORGIA AQUARIUM deserves this honor — not least of all because the facility will »more

Best Traditional Folk Act

Daniel Clay

DANIEL CLAY doesn’t travel the same dusty roads as folk shouters Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan. His stark and stylish strumming and ominous songwriting offer »more

Best Traditional Southern Cocktail

Floataway Cafe

The mint julep is mistakenly thought of as genteel, but a poorly poured mint julep can be either too strong or too syrupy. Thankfully, lively »more

Best Trashy Festival

Corndogorama

Screw the face-painting and arts and crafts booths. Each summer, the Earl’s CORNDOGORAMA mixes hot bands and white trash for the perfect indie-rocker brouhaha. During »more

Best Unexpected Wine Selection

Buddy's

When friends come to town, there are few things we enjoy more than taking them on a quick drive by BUDDY’S and saying, “That gas »more

Best Untrue Rumor

A Local Restaurant Was Serving Rats, Mice, Kittens, Puppies, and a Large Frozen Hawk

In January, an e-mail began popping up in inboxes claiming A LOCAL RESTAURANT WAS SERVING RATS, MICE, KITTENS, PUPPIES AND A LARGE FROZEN HAWK. While »more

Best Urban Music Club

Apache Cafe

When APACHE CAFÉ rose from the ashes of the legendary Yin Yang Café years ago, denizens of Atlanta’s soul music scene predicted that the spot »more

Best Used Bookstore

A Cappella Books

We’ve said it once and we will say it again: A CAPPELLA BOOKS is the smartest bookstore in town. Its wide selection of progressive, counter-culture »more

Best Used CDs

Ella Guru

While the CD market is fading in the MP3 era, you wouldn’t know it at ELLA GURU, an expansive storefront tucked into a pleasant corner »more

Best Vestige of the Old South

Cabbagetown

In the 1880s, CABBAGETOWN was built to accommodate Fulton Bag & Cotton Mill workers. In the ensuing century, the neighborhood developed into an enclave of »more

Best Vietnamese

Com Vietnamese Grill

There are dozens of Vietnamese restaurants in our city, including those that cater to gourmet-minded American palates. This year, we have to cite COM VIETNAMESE »more

Best Vintage Clothing

Stefan's

When it comes to the best selection of vintage clothing, STEFAN’S in Little Five Points reigns supreme. The carefully selected and immaculately preserved clothing for »more

Best Vinyl

Wax n' Facts

Crowded into a narrow space in the heart of Little Five Points, WAX ‘N’ FACTS is home to thousands of vinyl records, new and used »more

Best Vocalist

Heather Luttrell

Lately, HEATHER LUTTRELL, the lovely, heavily inked rock and blues performer, has been collecting quite a bit of printer’s ink for her appearance on CBS’ »more

Best Waitstaff

Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead

The DINING ROOM AT THE RITZ-CARLTON BUCKHEAD may be searching the globe for a new powerhouse chef to helm its kitchen, but that’s no reason »more

Best Weekly Club Event

Fever

Throw out your thermometers and forget about aspirin: FEVER promises a sickening good time every Saturday night at Django. The DJ rotation features a cast »more

Best Weekly Club Event

Sol-Fusion

Promoters J. Carter and Kenny Burns may describe their popular nightclub event SOL-FUSION as an “intercontinental love fest,” but really it’s just one hell of »more

Best Window of Opportunity to Renovate

Bazzaar

If you’ve ever been to a wedding, you know Midnight Star’s “No Parking (On the Dancefloor)” is a guaranteed floor filler. Except it’s not meant »more

Best-Looking Waitstaff

Thompson Brothers Barbecue

The gosh-wow handsome brothers who own THOMPSON BROTHERS BARBECUE take your order, chop the saucy pork and ring you up with flawless, heartfelt smiles. Although »more

Pet Supply Store

Highland Pet Supply

You can find everything your pet needs at a chain store, but what about everything that your darling leg-humper could ever desire? Shop Paris-and-Tinkerbell style »more

Best 24-hour Restaurant

Majestic Diner

For all the debauchery and bleary-eyed clubbing that ordering a plate of hash browns at 4 a.m. entails, THE MAJESTIC is the only place to »more

Best Acoustic Music Club

Eddie's Attic

Following a few shaky years of gradually shifting musical focus, EDDIE’S ATTIC returns to form and retains the title as best place to hear acoustic »more

Best All-Around Play

Topdog/Underdog

The Alliance Hertz Stage’s TOPDOG/UNDERDOG broke out from the pack to emerge as the year’s undisputed can’t-miss theatrical event. Our best “guest actors,” Joe Wilson »more

Best Antique Store

Victory Vintage

The recent explosion of interest in midcentury modern relics has antiques dealer Lee Cuthbert knocking on wood (Heywood-Wakefield, of course). Her young Decatur store, Victory »more

Best Appetizers and Best Pizza

Fritti

Appetizers are a transcendental experience at FRITTI. Anyone who has ever ordered the funghi fritti (fried mushrooms) knows what we’re talking about. Just thinking about »more

Best Art Event

Art, Beats, & Lyrics

Word. As part of the College Night at the High series, ART, BEATS & LYRICS brought together some of the city’s most promising young street »more

Best Art School

Atlanta College of Art

Considering the pending merger with the Savannah College of Art and Design, now seems as good a time as any to celebrate the iconoclastic, artist-centered »more

Best Art Trend

Indie Craft

A new generation of artists, DIY types, post-feminists, lowbrow fans and out-of-the-box thinkers are erasing the usual high vs. low art world hierarchies, but no »more

Best Art World Exit

Helena Reckitt

Always leave them wanting more. Atlanta Contemporary Art Center curator HELENA RECKITT weathered some hairy financial uncertainty at the Atlanta art institution and still managed »more

Best Artist With Staying Power

Philip Carpenter

PHILIP CARPENTER has been a fixture on the Atlanta scene for more than 20 years now, offering painting instruction at the Chastain Arts Center and »more

Best Bakery

Bread Garden

Katharine Krasnow’s BREAD GARDEN is not the biggest bakery in town. But it’s been our favorite since it opened and instantly transferred 15 pounds of »more

Best Band Reunion

Pylon and Love Tractor

It’s a tie: PYLON and LOVE TRACTOR, two of Athens’ most influential ’80s new-wave bands, returned to dynamic duty this year following lengthy periods of »more

Best Band to Go Disco

Of Montreal

Kevin Barnes’ Athens psych-pop crew OF MONTREAL has worked from the backbone of Beach Boys’ vocals and Beatles’ straight strum to make records that run »more

Best Band to See Live

We Versus the Shark

Though almost unknown in Atlanta, WE VERSUS THE SHARK has blown the mind of the college town to our east several times over the last »more

Best Band Whose Members Broke Up but the Band Didn’t

I am the World Trade Center

If you read the Vibes section of this venerable rag a year ago, you know all about the troubles that haunted I AM THE WORLD »more

Best Bar Food

The Earl

Fattening, messy, burger-centric: These are all the things good bar food should be about. And it’s exactly what THE EARL dishes out while some of »more

Best Barbecue

Swallow at the Hollow

The folks at SWALLOW AT THE HOLLOW may not be purists, but that’s the reason we crave their ’cue. The chopped pork, scrumptious without any »more