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Best of Atlanta 2010

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Simply the best. Obvious though it might sound, that was our aim for this year's Best of Atlanta — to feature nothing but the city's most exemplary neighborhoods, bloggers, artists, galleries, bands, bars, restaurants, chefs, salons and shops, without the shackles of CL's traditional categories or our past affinity for overarching themes.

So we took it up a notch, not only by focusing on the truly cool or justifiably trendy, but by filling the entire site with our Critics Picks and your voted-upon favorites. In other words, while you won't find regular features such as the Blotter or our editorial page, you get an issue packed with award-winners worth your attention.

You'll notice that, along with our traditional Critics Picks, we've created special, critics-curated categories under which we've grouped the best in this year's public art, strip clubs, albums and so forth. And just like every year, we were amazed by your ability to tip us off to undiscovered gems such as Atlanta's best college bar or affordable day care, its most commendable visual artist or blogger — all while cracking us up at your pithy suggestions for winners such as Best Power Couple and Best Shooting Range. We've highlighted a few of your funniest votes in every section.

Speaking of how great you are, you helped us beat last year's record with more than 9,200 votes cast! That's what we call power to the people.

So, a big congrats — to you, to our winners and to our tireless staff. Without further ado, our 2010 Best of Atlanta edition. Simple is powerful, indeed.

— Mara Shalhoup and Chanté LaGon

Best of Atlanta 2010

Click on each section below to browse this year's awards:


Extras and Goodies


PDF Guides

We made available the print version of each section's winners as downloadable PDFs below:


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Best of Atlanta 2010

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Best of Atlanta 2010

Best 7-inch can of whoop-ass you'll open all year

Predator's 'Honest Man' (Rob's House)

Predator's debut single, "HONEST MAN" (Rob's House), catches the band at its anxiety-ridden finest. Three cuts of razor-sharp guitar, bass and drums collide with two-part »more

Best amenity-laden hotel

The Mansion on Peachtree

A decade ago, Atlanta was pretty much devoid of high-end boutique hotels. Sure, there was the Westin and Four Seasons and the Ritz, but the »more

Best annual release of aggression

Pillow Fight Day

Road races give you blisters. Beer festivals get you bloated. And, considering the state of some seats on public transit, the lovable urban prank No »more

Best antiques

Scott Antique Market

The two cavernous Atlanta Exposition Center buildings off the southern edge of I-285 that house SCOTT ANTIQUE MARKET one weekend a month have high-end pieces »more

Best art exhibit in a gallery

In Significance

Atlanta artist Pandra Williams presented a complex and meditative study in the biology of technology (and vice versa) with her moody installation "Radicis," one of »more

Best bag for a last-minute trip

Leather and Luggage Depot

What is it about the smell of leather that makes you feel like everything will be OK? That your upcoming trip won't be a complete »more

Best band to outlast the after party

The Constellations

By law, Atlanta's local watering holes have to close their taps at 2:30 a.m., but that doesn't mean the party's over. The after-hours scene is »more

Best band to rock the casbah

Noot d' Noot

No one gets a party started quite like NOOT D' NOOT. If the collective experience of eight musicians who've spent their time in the trenches, »more

Best banh mi

Uoc Huong Bahn Mi Fast Food

QUOC HUONG BANH MI FAST FOOD's banh mi will make you swear off all other "fast food" for good. A crusty Vietnamese-style baguette rains crumbs »more

Best bar for electronic/DJ music

The Sound Table

The folks from Top Flr have once again transformed an awkward slice of staircases and rooms into a fully functional restaurant and lounge. In the »more

Best bar snacks

The Sound Table

If the dudes over at THE SOUND TABLE know how to do one thing, it's make food to drink with. Belly up to the bar »more

Best barely ITP park

Whittier Mill Park

Tucked back into a quaint neighborhood and situated on a bluff overlooking the Chattahoochee River on the very northwestern edge of the city, WHITTIER MILL »more

Best bargain boutique for trend-setters

Fab'rik

Cash-strapped fashionistas used to be relegated to rummaging through the racks at Forever 21 to find trend on a budget. But FAB'RIK changed all that »more

Best bargain men's haircut

Axiom Salon for Men

Our city boasts a healthy supply of coiffeurs who know how to transform a hirsute mess into a dapper, clean-cut gent. Very few, however, can »more

Best bargain women's haircut

Aveda Institute

There's an old adage that you get what you pay for, but if you're like most people slogging through the recession, you'll take your chances »more

Best bet for next hot 'hood

Old Fourth Ward

It's been revving up for a while, fueled by a restaurant boom along Edgewood Avenue, but the OLD FOURTH WARD seems on the verge of »more

Best bikini wax

Wax Atlanta

A sleek space, staffers who can talk you through nerves or make pleasant conversation if you're an old pro, and a choice of two unused »more

Best bizarro news story

Ban on human microchipping

In saner states, legislative hearings to address the problem of involuntary implantation of microchips would easily score as the year's weirdest news story. But in »more

Best black box theater

Dad's Garage Top Shelf

An intimate venue even by the minuscule standards of black box spaces, DAD'S GARAGE TOP SHELF offers an incubator of raw local talent, notably Griefers, »more

Best blockbuster theater

Cobb Energy Performance Arts Centre

The corporate name may not be inspirational, but every other aspect of the COBB ENERGY PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE never fails to impress, from its sleek »more

Best bookstore

Eagle Eye Book Shop

Kindles and iPads may be killing traditional books but EAGLE EYE BOOK SHOP in Decatur proves there's still some life left — and that a »more

Best burger

Bocado

Pizza wars. Burger wars. Can't we all just get along? If there has to be a winner, the prize goes to BOCADO, ironically a restaurant »more

Best burlesque troupe

Blast-Off Burlesque

It doesn't get any sexier than a gal with dry wit — unless, of course, she's topless. Case in point: BLAST-OFF BURLESQUE, whose regular roster »more

Best cathartic 7-inch experience

'Georganne' (Double Phantom)

"GEORGANNE" (Double Phantom), the latest indie brat rant from the Balkans is a melodic ride where Frankie Broyles' musings on isolation bleed into a haze »more

Best CD store to satisfy your soul

Little 5 Soul

LITTLE 5 SOUL has not only survived, it's grown from a stall in the Bazaar at Little Five Points to its current location, where you »more

Best cheap eats

Lunacy Black Market

How he does it is a mystery, but at LUNACY BLACK MARKET, Paul Luna is serving some of the tastiest food around at prices that »more

Best Chinese noodles

Ming's Bar B Q

The family-owned MING'S BAR B Q is small and sparse, but the offerings overshadow any design follies. The window facing the parking lot houses a »more

Best collective artistic "Oh, hell naw!"

March on the Capitol

When artists, arts organizations and their supporters first learned last April that the Georgia House of Representative's proposed state budget for 2011 eliminated funds for »more

Best comic books

Oxford Comics & Games

The comic bubble burst in the '90s, but fanboys, geek girls and graphic novel enthusiasts still crowd OXFORD COMICS & GAMES every Wednesday for new »more

Best country music act

Sodajerk

When SODAJERK singer and guitarist Bucky Goldstein's slide, twang and ramped-up recollections ring out over the group's highway rock 'n' roll beat, it's obvious that »more

Best dance company

gloATL

The emergence of dancemaker Lauri Stallings' GLOATL over the past year has been the artistic equivalent of a fire alarm going off in the middle »more

Best dessert trend

Fried pies

Where better than Atlanta, home of the Varsity, to revive the tradition of FRIED PIES? Upscale restaurants such as Craft and Holeman & Finch are »more

Best dining deal

BLT Steak's 5 at 5

BLT STEAK'S 5 AT 5 outshines other dining deals for many reasons — because it's available every day, because it includes booze, and because there's »more

Best display of the power of the MSM

Susan Richardson TV Interview

This year's turnover in state House leadership wasn't brought about by voters, prosecutors or an act of God. Instead, it was due to the SUSAN »more

Best DJ to free your soul

DJ Kemit

You already know: Nowadays everybody's a damn DJ. But DJ KEMIT is so much more. A former founding member of early '90s alt/hip-hop group Arrested »more

Best doggie day care

Spot for Dogs

Is Nacho acting like a rabid wildebeest, devouring your recently acquired Ray-Bans and gnawing the painstakingly detailed woodwork right off that pristinely restored fainting couch? »more

Best doughnut

Sublime Doughnuts

Kamal Grant's doughnut shop, SUBLIME DOUGHNUTS, is big on flavor and personality. Grant, the sweet-talking Pharrell Williams look-alike, charmed his way into our doughnut-loving hearts »more

Best dumplings

Chef Liu's

CHEF LIU's new location has renewed the restaurant's cherished place in our dumpling-loving bellies. The expansion means a bigger kitchen and a larger menu that »more

Best electronic act

Sonen

No one has done more to foster a sense of community within the electro-rock scene than SONEN. The group's monthly Laserbeam Kitty nights at the »more

Best emerging visual artist

Lucha Rodriguez

LUCHA RODRIGUEZ's examination of the body as a web of thoughts and organs manifests itself in the ethereal delicacy of her voluminous hand-cut paper installations »more

Best evidence of social progress

Gay elected officials

They still can't marry in Georgia, but it's clear that GAY ELECTED OFFICIALS are finding more public acceptance than ever before. Voters have sent two »more

Best evolution of farm-to-table dining

Home Grown

For years, organics, slow food and locavorism have been struggling with their identity as a movement confined to high-end restaurants and high-priced marketplaces. But this »more

Best excuse to get drunk with your dad

Yacht Rock Revue

Soft, soaring guitars, sugary keyboards, insipid vocals — this ain't your daddy's rock 'n' roll! Wait, yes it is. For YACHT ROCK REVUE, the past »more

Best Experimental Music Act

The Back Pockets

It's easy to mistake the THE BACK POCKETS' ragged display of noise-folk and performance art for an urban art-hippie thing. But there's not a lot »more

Best falafel

Jerusalem Bakery Alpharetta

There are a lot of balls out there, but most don't deserve a place in your mouth. The crunchy golden balls of fried chickpea and »more

Best fiction author

Blake Butler

Scorch Atlas author BLAKE BUTLER doesn't just write fiction, he creates interlocking worlds, apocalyptic visions raining gravel or glass or glitter. His thin volumes swell »more

Best food event

Atlanta's Urban Picnic

The cry to "legalize Atlanta street food!" spread across the interwebs this year with surprising enthusiasm. The folks behind the Atlanta Street Food Coalition took »more

Best gallery

Whitespace

With its exposed brick walls and airy, modern layout, Susan Bridges' Inman Park carriage-house-turned-gallery WHITESPACE is at once nostalgic and modern. The same can be »more

Best gallery spotlighting local artists

Throughout its nearly five-year existence, Poncey-Highland hole-in-the-wall BEEP BEEP GALLERY has been a major factor in transforming Atlanta's underground and emerging art scenes, from shows »more

Best gay strip club

Swinging Richards

Word is that a handful of the strippers at SWINGING RICHARDS are actually straight, but no bachelorette parties allowed — just gays and the occasional »more

Best graf writer

Hense

Casting a critical eye at graf writers is a little counterintuitive. We're not about to impose a set of rules where they clearly don't belong, »more

Best graphic novelist

Andy Runton

Terms like "subtlety," "innocence," and "whimsy" seldom describe contemporary graphic novels, but of all the creators in our lively, local comic book scene, Lilburn's ANDY »more

Best guest actor to throw his money around

Mike Daisey

Powerhouse monologist MIKE DAISEY took the Alliance Theatre by storm last spring. Marrying the verbal and thematic ingenuity of the late Spalding Gray with the »more

Best gym deal

LA Fitness

You might think it's an odd choice, but LA FITNESS pretty much has the market cornered on the affordable workout. Less than $40 per month? »more

Best health trend

Boot camps

Burpees, anyone? Pushup drills? Suicide runs? It may seem torturous, but BOOT CAMPS such as Operation Boot Camp, BTB BootCamp, and the American Boot Camp »more

Best high-end vintage garb

Stefan's Vintage Clothing

STEFAN'S VINTAGE CLOTHING is held in high esteem for its orderly racks of formalwear, and for good reason. The Little Five Points institution has anchored »more

Best highfalutin furniture

Bungalow Classic

In recent years, the Westside has become a furniture-shoppers paradise, with big chain names like Room & Board opening as well as an impressive string »more

Best hometown Internet sensation

Scoutmob

Following in the footsteps of such Atlanta-based cyber-heroes as MailChimp and Regator, the eight-month-old SCOUTMOB has already become a must-have app on local smart phones. »more

Best hope for Atlanta gridlock

Regional transportation tax

After three years of trying and failing — and failing and failing — the Georgia General Assembly this year finally passed a REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION TAX »more

Best hotel bar

Drinkshop

The W Downtown watering hole DRINKSHOP is where you go when you're rich, beautiful or hoping to brush shoulders with either (or preferably both). The »more

Best ice cream flavor

Morelli's Salted Caramel

What's been missing from our ice cream all these years? Salt! OK, maybe not all of our ice cream needs it, but MORELLI'S SALTED CARAMEL »more

Best ice cream sandwich

Miller Union

When the restaurant opened for lunch earlier this year, MILLER UNION gave us more to celebrate than just a classy Westside midday option. For dessert »more

Best intown hipster hootenanny

Chomp and Stomp

Cold draft beer, live bluegrass and all the chili you can eat (until it runs out). What's not to love about Cabbagetown's annual CHOMP AND »more

Best intro to Atlanta history

Unseen Underground Walking Tour

Sherman might've burned the joint, but it was the automobile that truly destroyed Atlanta. Led by local architect Jeff Morrison, the UNSEEN UNDERGROUND WALKING TOUR »more

Best Karaoke Night

Yo! Karaoke

Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name — and your favorite karaoke jams. On a scale of neighborhood bars, Pal's Lounge falls somewhere »more

Best kids' radio show for non-kids

The Kids Are Alright

Airing Saturdays on 1690 (WMLB-AM), THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT touts itself as "kids' music for everyone." But that tag undersells the product. Each DIY-ish broadcast »more

Best local athlete you've never heard of

Evander Kane

Having recently celebrated his 19th birthday, EVANDER KANE's name probably doesn't ring any bells for most Atlantans — or maybe it's just because he plays »more

Best local blogger

Pecanne Log

Nowhere will you find more cleverly written posts on such Atlanta-centric topics as beer-swillin' 1930s circus elephants, the city's first parking deck or downtown's hidden »more

Best local celebrity

Kevin Gillespie's beard

What's red and bushy, has fancy W Hotel parties thrown in its honor, can be spotted at local joints including Morelli's Ice Cream and the »more

Best local comedian

Andy Sandford

It's been said that the best comedy comes from pain. If that's really the case, then somebody must have kicked the shit out of ANDY »more

Best Local DIY or die band

Carnivores

Since CARNIVORES released their debut LP, All Night Dead USA, the last year has taken them on a whirlwind East Coast and Midwest tour, earning »more

Best local female actor

Shelby Hofer

In recent years, Atlantans have been short-changed the charms of PushPush Theater co-founder SHELBY HOFER, primarily due to her having a child. Hofer renewed her »more

Best local mainstream artist to give the industry the middle finger

Big Boi

As track after track leaked from the unreleased Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, everyone within earshot (or a Wi-Fi hotspot) began »more

Best local male actor

E. Roger Mitchell

A mainstay of Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company, E. ROGER MITCHELL proves the best kind of utility player by putting fresh spins on vivid »more

Best Local overall music act

Zoroaster

Over the past year, ZOROASTER has become as mammoth a metal band as that other iconic act, the one that put Atlanta on the metal »more

Best local sports romance

Jason Heyward

Based simply on the ubiquity of Braves T-shirts with his name on the back — spotted at the mall, the grocery store, a friend's wedding, »more

Best martial arts studio

Madhouse Training

MADHOUSE TRAINING is where the practicing mixed martial arts pros go, but that doesn't mean you should be intimidated. The studio, headed by six-time world »more

Best men's clothing store

Drew Lewis

Having recently relocated to Midtown's stylish Metropolis building, DREW LEWIS is right at home. In fact, the scene is not unlike shopping at the loft »more

Best Mexican fusion

Holy Taco

Don't let the margarita-swilling EAV hipsters lounging on the patio fool you. Behind the any-old-taqueria façade of HOLY TACO lies a menu that will transport »more

Best Mixologist

Brian Stanger

The large square bar at Abattoir is a lovely place to hang out and eat, and it's the well-tended territory of barkeep BRIAN STANGER. Stanger's »more

Best mixtape to bump in your box Chevy

Trunk Muzik

Seems like we've been heralding Gadsden, Ala., transplant Yelawolf as the next big thing since he was hood-high to a Chevy. With TRUNK MUZIK, the »more

Best mixtape to play while assuming the lotus position

Supernova: A prelude to a journey

It's as if Sa-Roc materialized out of the ether. Without warning, the D.C.-bred MC with the metaphysical flow has overtaken Atlanta's underground scene, bearing lyrical »more

Best movie theater

Plaza Theater

None of Atlanta's slick corporate cinema chains feels as much like a picture show by and for the community as the 71-year-old PLAZA THEATRE. The »more

Best neighborhood for after-hours

Buford Highway

Atlanta's "last call" doesn't have to mean "good night." Just outside the city limits, late-night carousers and party animals flock to BUFORD HIGHWAY to seek »more

Best neighborhood for artists

West End

There's a fairly reliable life cycle applicable to artists' neighborhoods: In the beginning, no one gives a shit about them, not even the artists. The »more

Best neighborhood for ethnic eating

Duluth

DULUTH, Atlanta's unofficial Koreatown, may be the best thing to come out of Atlanta's monstrous urban sprawl since the venerated Korean barbecue house, Hae Woon »more

Best new kid behind the soundboard

Jonathan Rhum

A good soundman is hard to find. So when Curt Wells, the Earl's in-house man behind the board since 2007, decided it was time to »more

Best new park for catching air

Foundation Skate Park

For decades, Atlanta skateboarders have ducked rent-a-cops or schlepped OTP to grind curbs and ollie gaps. Thanks to the Beltline, they'll soon be able to »more

Best new restaurant and best pizza

Antico Pizza Napoletana

Which restaurant has changed the face of Atlanta dining the most since opening in the past year? The restaurant that finally brought us world-class pizza. »more

Best non-mainstream mixtape to mainline intravenously

1140: The Overdose

The aptly titled 1140: THE OVERDOSE paired Atlanta's up-from-dirt MC Pill with mixtape royalty DJ Drama in a release that is the polar opposite of »more

Best noncommercial radio station

WCLK

For 36 years, WCLK has been home to the city's best selection of jazz — from breezy vocals to funky grooves — in addition to »more

Best nonfiction author

Mara Shalhoup

After reading MARA SHALHOUP's vivid and kaleidoscopic exploration of the Black Mafia Family, BMF: The Rise and Fall of Big Meech and the Black Mafia »more

Best one-stop beer shop

Hop City

HOP CITY opened on the Westside in 2009 with an excellent selection of some 1,700 craft brews organized by style. Aisles are cramped with smoky »more

Best organic farm

Love is Love Farm

Judith Winfrey and Joe Reynolds could very easily have thrown up their hands and moved on after the 2009 floods nearly washed away LOVE IS »more

Best OTP park

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

You don't have to be a Civil War buff to appreciate the 2,900 acres and 18 miles of hiking trails at KENNESAW MOUNTAIN NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD »more

Best outdoor farmers' market

Peachtree Road Farmers Market

The Morningside Farmers Market used to be the only exciting produce spot in our city. That was until the PEACHTREE ROAD FARMERS MARKET pitched its »more

Best overall neighborhood

Poncey-Highland

In Atlanta, where a drive to the Westside can feel like a drive to the West Coast, a good neighborhood minimizes the necessity to hop »more

Best overall restaurant

Holeman & Finch

It may not be the fanciest restaurant in Atlanta, or the one with the most formal service, or even the one with the highest star »more

Best overlooked tourist spot

Westview Cemetery

Off the beaten path and underpublicized, WESTVIEW CEMETERY is one of the most picturesque spots in Atlanta. At nearly 600 acres, it's the largest cemetery »more

Best person you love to hate

Erick Erickson

Back in the olden days (2007 or so), we genuinely liked Maconite Republican blogger ERICK ERICKSON, even though the only political issue we've ever agreed »more

Best photo finish

Julian Cox

It's safe to say that the last five years JULIAN COX has spent as the curator of photography at the High have been some of »more

Best place to fix your bike

SoPo Bicycle Co-op

If you're going to brave the streets on two wheels, it will probably prove important to know how to change a flat or lube your »more

Best place to people-watch

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport

Generally, airports are considered unpleasant places — stuffy, crowded sumps of humanity where you get price-gouged for coffee and forced to slide around in stocking »more

Best play

Fair Use

Ironically, Alliance Theatre Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition finalist FAIR USE proved to be more felicitous and satisfying than any of the Kendeda's storied winners to »more

Best playwright

Peter Hardy

As artistic director of Essential Theatre, PETER HARDY has been Atlanta's de facto midwife of new local plays. In the summer of 2010, however, Hardy »more

Best po'boy

Star Provisions

Soft-as-a-cloud rolls lined with butter lettuce set the stage for STAR PROVISIONS' dreamy, unorthodox riff on the New Orleans classic. Texture is king as you »more

Best poet

Paul Guest

Using his own experiences as a quadriplegic, PAUL GUEST explores the way any of us — all of us — can or can't move and »more

Best popsicles

King of Pops

When former insurance company analyst Steven Carse, better known on the streets as the KING OF POPS, first showed up on the corner of North »more

Best public art event

Living Walls: The City Speaks

In August, more than a dozen of the world's most prolific and noted street artists descended on Atlanta for LIVING WALLS: THE CITY SPEAKS, a »more

Best public art performance

John Q's Memory Flash

Working with an old house in the historic Old Fourth Ward, a softball field, a vacant lot, and a growth of kudzu behind a strip »more

Best ramen

Yakitori Jinbei

Ramen lust has exploded all over Atlanta in the past couple of years. However, no ramen-ya exhibits such a level of quality as YAKITORI JINBEI. »more

Best reason to ditch your computer

Cheshire Bridge Road

With the Internet providing a seemingly infinite amount of free porn, adult video stores have taken a hit over the past decade — though you »more

Best reason to navigate the urban jungle

Art on the Beltline

Forget gallery walls, this year artists have been vying for representation in public spaces, most significantly as part of the sprawling, multidisciplinary project ART ON »more

Best reason to scrap Evites

Bumblebee Press

Yeah, it's convenient to ask your besties over for a dinner party using Evite or invite everyone you know to your friend's new band via »more

Best recession-proof neighborhood

Westside

The economy has taken a bite out of development all over town, but Atlanta's WESTSIDE is still humming. It's a hot dining destination — with »more

Best record store with actual LPs

Criminal Records

In the age of the download, no record store in Atlanta has held up with more grace under pressure than CRIMINAL RECORDS. Not only has »more

Best recording studio

The Living Room

THE LIVING ROOM sits in a 104-year-old house on the Westside, where owners/engineers Ed Rawls and Justin McNeight foster a relaxed vibe that's lost in »more

Best restaurant décor

Sauced

There's no shortage of design firms around these days, and no doubt you can hire someone to create a great-looking restaurant. But we prefer a »more

Best restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Empire State South

No restaurant this year has garnered as much anticipation as EMPIRE STATE SOUTH, Athens chef Hugh Acheson's foray into Atlanta dining. While it's still a »more

Best restaurant with a bar scene

Noni's Bar & Deli

"Bar" comes before "deli" in the name of this brave little establishment, and for good reason. A charming Italian restaurant in the respectable hours, a »more

Best rooftop view of lower Midtown

Georgian Terrace Hotel

You can get higher than the 19 floors occupied by the newer wing of the GEORGIAN TERRACE HOTEL, but you'll likely be looking out a »more

Best service

Miller Union

For years, Neal McCarthy set the feel and tone for service at Inman Park classic Sotto Sotto. Now, he's moved on to open his own »more

Best shaved ice

Suno Dessert

This ain't your daddy's snow cone. Towering mounds of finely shaved ice milk melt on your tongue at SUNO DESSERT. Suno makes the health claim »more

Best shooting range

Wild West Traders

Atlanta might be a liberal blue speck in a vast sea of right-wing red, neither color is bulletproof. In fact, Georgians without the slightest hint »more

Best shop to go nuts for candy

Greene's Fine Foods

Is it just us, or is everything cuter in Decatur? In the fall of 2008, the Brothers Greene (that would be Tommy and Phil Greene »more

Best sign that Atlanta's a new mini-Hollywood

"The Walking Dead"

Between Tyler Perry's Atlanta-based media empire, Georgia's financial incentives for film production, and Screen Gems' new deal to convert Lakewood Fairgrounds into a soundstage, the »more

Best sign that gay media is still alive

Project Q

Even before this year's shuttering of Southern Voice, the popularity of PROJECT Q stood as evidence that the new media (i.e., a website) can keep »more

Best sneaker store

Walter's

There's no better place than downtown Atlanta landmark WALTER'S for browsing Air Jordans, Air Force Ones, Adidas shell-toes and Chuck Taylors — all while brushing »more

Best soundtrack for two-fisting it in L5P

'Fucked up in Public' (Young Antiques Music)

Atlanta's consummate power-pop songwriter Blake Rainey takes a drunken stroll through the bars of Little Five Points on the 7-inch "FUCKED UP IN PUBLIC" from »more

Best stage director

Freddie Ashley

Actor's Express artistic director FREDDIE ASHLEY benefits from the law of averages in this category: He's such a prolific director that if you've seen a »more

Best strip club DJ

DJ DC The Brain Supreme

Whenever the economy goes south, strippers are the first to feel the pinch. Likely because, as Big K.R.I.T. raps, "[dudes] pay to get in, but »more

Best strip club event

Disco Funky with Romeo Cologne

Besides being Atlanta's oldest strip club (and featuring some of Atlanta's oldest strippers), Clermont Lounge remains the freakiest trip in town. And on Saturday nights, »more

Best tattoo studio

Only You Tattoo

A shitty haircut will eventually grow out, and an embarrassing sweater will, with the help of a good friend, find its way to the nearest »more

Best theater company

Aurora Theatre

Perhaps something's in the water in Lawrenceville. Since AURORA THEATRE debuted its new playhouse there in 2007, the once-tame suburban theater has seen increasing creative »more

Best thrift threads

Value Village

Everyone else's trash is your treasure at VALUE VILLAGE. A dogged dig through the seemingly endless racks and aisles will turn up hip plaids, tweed »more

Best throwback soul band

Soulphonics & Ruby Velle

Egomaniacal frontmen (and women) take note. Lest there be any doubt about magnanimity in the ranks of the classy and copious SOULPHONICS & RUBY VELLE, »more

Best tofu

Bishoku

BISHOKU is the brainchild of Jackie Fukuya-Merkel, the daughter of the former owners of the venerable Sushi Huku in Sandy Springs. Merkel's endeavor is a »more

Best torta

Taqueria La Oaxaquena

The Milanese torta at TAQUERIA LA OAXAQUENA is the kind of sandwich that, once you've had it, trumps all other meat and bread combinations. A »more

Best trend in the arts

Art parties

Atlanta's art scene has experienced a changing of the guard over the past couple of years: The collective has become king. And while the twenty- »more

Best tuna sandwich

Alon's Bakery

Each bite of the Tunisian tuna sandwich at ALON'S BAKERY transports you to a seaside café in a European coastal town. The sandwich smacks of »more

Best underestimated suburb

Marietta

Let's face it: MARIETTA gets a bad rap as surrounding Cobb County casts a sad shadow with its aging McMansions and soulless strip malls. But »more

Best underground art space

Mint Gallery

Tucked away in the nether regions of the Sampson Street Lofts, MINT GALLERY makes itself known with an unassuming orange door. The artist-run nonprofit gallery »more

Best use of Krog Street tunnel

FU BP Time-Lapse Video

As BP's busted well continued to gush oil into the Gulf of Mexico nearly two months after the Deep Water Horizon's "blowout preventer" failed to »more

Best validation of the big-city daily

Alan Judd and Heather Vogell

The ongoing coverage of the standardized test cheating scandal involving Atlanta schools by ALAN JUDD AND HEATHER VOGELL shows why a large daily newspaper is »more

Best vegetarian splurge

Woodfire Grill's Vegetable Tasting Menu

Kevin Gillespie may be pork-obsessed, but when it comes to budget-busting special occasion meals, America's favorite bearded, pig-tatted chef is an equal opportunity employer. WOODFIRE »more

Best vintage accessories

Frock of Ages

FROCK OF AGES shuttered the doors of its Candler Park outpost in 2008 after 18 years, but has since migrated to a sizable corner booth »more

Best volunteer program

Park Pride

It's no concrete jungle, but Atlanta isn't exactly known for a proliferation of public green space. In fact, before the Beltline increased per-capita parkland acreage »more

Best way for women to get over their Sid Mashburn envy

Ann Mashburn

At long last, ANN MASHBURN, wife to Esquire's best-dressed Sid and a style icon in her own right, opened her eponymously named boutique alongside her »more

Best way to deal with historic properties

Reuse them

Rather than simply razing Atlanta's most historic structures to make room for cookie-cutter condo buildings, some creative developers had a better idea: REUSE THEM. Consider »more

Best way to dig yourself out of the doghouse

Adaptation Floral Design

Did you stay out late and forget to call? Again? Inman Park's adorable ADAPTATION FLORAL DESIGN can be your ticket to redemption. Whether your girl »more

Best way to see the city in a new way

Beltline's Hiking and Bike Trails

After years of being promised connected neighborhoods via shiny, happy artist sketches, the Beltline has finally delivered on some of its pledged perks. Residents and »more

Best wine list

Craft Atlanta

With the shuttering of the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton and Joël, two of the great wine lists in our city are gone. But there's »more

Best yoga deal

Urban Body Studios

OK, so $89 for eight yoga (or pilates) classes per month is about the norm. Even factoring in the sheer number of classes offered a »more

Best young punks

Ralph

RALPH's buzz-bomb guitars and screaming tornado-punk whir sound more like gems plucked from the grooves of a Killed by Death '80s punk compilation than anything »more

Best 7-inch can of whoop-ass you'll open all year

Predator's 'Honest Man' (Rob's House)

Predator's debut single, "HONEST MAN" (Rob's House), catches the band at its anxiety-ridden finest. Three cuts of razor-sharp guitar, bass and drums collide with two-part »more

Best amenity-laden hotel

The Mansion on Peachtree

A decade ago, Atlanta was pretty much devoid of high-end boutique hotels. Sure, there was the Westin and Four Seasons and the Ritz, but the »more

Best annual release of aggression

Pillow Fight Day

Road races give you blisters. Beer festivals get you bloated. And, considering the state of some seats on public transit, the lovable urban prank No »more

Best antiques

Scott Antique Market

The two cavernous Atlanta Exposition Center buildings off the southern edge of I-285 that house SCOTT ANTIQUE MARKET one weekend a month have high-end pieces »more

Best art exhibit in a gallery

In Significance

Atlanta artist Pandra Williams presented a complex and meditative study in the biology of technology (and vice versa) with her moody installation "Radicis," one of »more

Best bag for a last-minute trip

Leather and Luggage Depot

What is it about the smell of leather that makes you feel like everything will be OK? That your upcoming trip won't be a complete »more

Best band to outlast the after party

The Constellations

By law, Atlanta's local watering holes have to close their taps at 2:30 a.m., but that doesn't mean the party's over. The after-hours scene is »more

Best band to rock the casbah

Noot d' Noot

No one gets a party started quite like NOOT D' NOOT. If the collective experience of eight musicians who've spent their time in the trenches, »more

Best banh mi

Uoc Huong Bahn Mi Fast Food

QUOC HUONG BANH MI FAST FOOD's banh mi will make you swear off all other "fast food" for good. A crusty Vietnamese-style baguette rains crumbs »more

Best bar for electronic/DJ music

The Sound Table

The folks from Top Flr have once again transformed an awkward slice of staircases and rooms into a fully functional restaurant and lounge. In the »more

Best bar snacks

The Sound Table

If the dudes over at THE SOUND TABLE know how to do one thing, it's make food to drink with. Belly up to the bar »more

Best barely ITP park

Whittier Mill Park

Tucked back into a quaint neighborhood and situated on a bluff overlooking the Chattahoochee River on the very northwestern edge of the city, WHITTIER MILL »more

Best bargain boutique for trend-setters

Fab'rik

Cash-strapped fashionistas used to be relegated to rummaging through the racks at Forever 21 to find trend on a budget. But FAB'RIK changed all that »more

Best bargain men's haircut

Axiom Salon for Men

Our city boasts a healthy supply of coiffeurs who know how to transform a hirsute mess into a dapper, clean-cut gent. Very few, however, can »more

Best bargain women's haircut

Aveda Institute

There's an old adage that you get what you pay for, but if you're like most people slogging through the recession, you'll take your chances »more

Best bet for next hot 'hood

Old Fourth Ward

It's been revving up for a while, fueled by a restaurant boom along Edgewood Avenue, but the OLD FOURTH WARD seems on the verge of »more

Best bikini wax

Wax Atlanta

A sleek space, staffers who can talk you through nerves or make pleasant conversation if you're an old pro, and a choice of two unused »more

Best bizarro news story

Ban on human microchipping

In saner states, legislative hearings to address the problem of involuntary implantation of microchips would easily score as the year's weirdest news story. But in »more

Best black box theater

Dad's Garage Top Shelf

An intimate venue even by the minuscule standards of black box spaces, DAD'S GARAGE TOP SHELF offers an incubator of raw local talent, notably Griefers, »more

Best blockbuster theater

Cobb Energy Performance Arts Centre

The corporate name may not be inspirational, but every other aspect of the COBB ENERGY PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE never fails to impress, from its sleek »more

Best bookstore

Eagle Eye Book Shop

Kindles and iPads may be killing traditional books but EAGLE EYE BOOK SHOP in Decatur proves there's still some life left — and that a »more

Best burger

Bocado

Pizza wars. Burger wars. Can't we all just get along? If there has to be a winner, the prize goes to BOCADO, ironically a restaurant »more

Best burlesque troupe

Blast-Off Burlesque

It doesn't get any sexier than a gal with dry wit — unless, of course, she's topless. Case in point: BLAST-OFF BURLESQUE, whose regular roster »more

Best cathartic 7-inch experience

'Georganne' (Double Phantom)

"GEORGANNE" (Double Phantom), the latest indie brat rant from the Balkans is a melodic ride where Frankie Broyles' musings on isolation bleed into a haze »more

Best CD store to satisfy your soul

Little 5 Soul

LITTLE 5 SOUL has not only survived, it's grown from a stall in the Bazaar at Little Five Points to its current location, where you »more

Best cheap eats

Lunacy Black Market

How he does it is a mystery, but at LUNACY BLACK MARKET, Paul Luna is serving some of the tastiest food around at prices that »more

Best Chinese noodles

Ming's Bar B Q

The family-owned MING'S BAR B Q is small and sparse, but the offerings overshadow any design follies. The window facing the parking lot houses a »more

Best collective artistic "Oh, hell naw!"

March on the Capitol

When artists, arts organizations and their supporters first learned last April that the Georgia House of Representative's proposed state budget for 2011 eliminated funds for »more

Best comic books

Oxford Comics & Games

The comic bubble burst in the '90s, but fanboys, geek girls and graphic novel enthusiasts still crowd OXFORD COMICS & GAMES every Wednesday for new »more

Best country music act

Sodajerk

When SODAJERK singer and guitarist Bucky Goldstein's slide, twang and ramped-up recollections ring out over the group's highway rock 'n' roll beat, it's obvious that »more

Best dance company

gloATL

The emergence of dancemaker Lauri Stallings' GLOATL over the past year has been the artistic equivalent of a fire alarm going off in the middle »more

Best dessert trend

Fried pies

Where better than Atlanta, home of the Varsity, to revive the tradition of FRIED PIES? Upscale restaurants such as Craft and Holeman & Finch are »more

Best dining deal

BLT Steak's 5 at 5

BLT STEAK'S 5 AT 5 outshines other dining deals for many reasons — because it's available every day, because it includes booze, and because there's »more

Best display of the power of the MSM

Susan Richardson TV Interview

This year's turnover in state House leadership wasn't brought about by voters, prosecutors or an act of God. Instead, it was due to the SUSAN »more

Best DJ to free your soul

DJ Kemit

You already know: Nowadays everybody's a damn DJ. But DJ KEMIT is so much more. A former founding member of early '90s alt/hip-hop group Arrested »more

Best doggie day care

Spot for Dogs

Is Nacho acting like a rabid wildebeest, devouring your recently acquired Ray-Bans and gnawing the painstakingly detailed woodwork right off that pristinely restored fainting couch? »more

Best doughnut

Sublime Doughnuts

Kamal Grant's doughnut shop, SUBLIME DOUGHNUTS, is big on flavor and personality. Grant, the sweet-talking Pharrell Williams look-alike, charmed his way into our doughnut-loving hearts »more

Best dumplings

Chef Liu's

CHEF LIU's new location has renewed the restaurant's cherished place in our dumpling-loving bellies. The expansion means a bigger kitchen and a larger menu that »more

Best electronic act

Sonen

No one has done more to foster a sense of community within the electro-rock scene than SONEN. The group's monthly Laserbeam Kitty nights at the »more

Best emerging visual artist

Lucha Rodriguez

LUCHA RODRIGUEZ's examination of the body as a web of thoughts and organs manifests itself in the ethereal delicacy of her voluminous hand-cut paper installations »more

Best evidence of social progress

Gay elected officials

They still can't marry in Georgia, but it's clear that GAY ELECTED OFFICIALS are finding more public acceptance than ever before. Voters have sent two »more

Best evolution of farm-to-table dining

Home Grown

For years, organics, slow food and locavorism have been struggling with their identity as a movement confined to high-end restaurants and high-priced marketplaces. But this »more

Best excuse to get drunk with your dad

Yacht Rock Revue

Soft, soaring guitars, sugary keyboards, insipid vocals — this ain't your daddy's rock 'n' roll! Wait, yes it is. For YACHT ROCK REVUE, the past »more

Best Experimental Music Act

The Back Pockets

It's easy to mistake the THE BACK POCKETS' ragged display of noise-folk and performance art for an urban art-hippie thing. But there's not a lot »more

Best falafel

Jerusalem Bakery Alpharetta

There are a lot of balls out there, but most don't deserve a place in your mouth. The crunchy golden balls of fried chickpea and »more

Best fiction author

Blake Butler

Scorch Atlas author BLAKE BUTLER doesn't just write fiction, he creates interlocking worlds, apocalyptic visions raining gravel or glass or glitter. His thin volumes swell »more

Best food event

Atlanta's Urban Picnic

The cry to "legalize Atlanta street food!" spread across the interwebs this year with surprising enthusiasm. The folks behind the Atlanta Street Food Coalition took »more

Best gallery

Whitespace

With its exposed brick walls and airy, modern layout, Susan Bridges' Inman Park carriage-house-turned-gallery WHITESPACE is at once nostalgic and modern. The same can be »more

Best gallery spotlighting local artists

Throughout its nearly five-year existence, Poncey-Highland hole-in-the-wall BEEP BEEP GALLERY has been a major factor in transforming Atlanta's underground and emerging art scenes, from shows »more

Best gay strip club

Swinging Richards

Word is that a handful of the strippers at SWINGING RICHARDS are actually straight, but no bachelorette parties allowed — just gays and the occasional »more