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Best of Atlanta 2017 Index

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2017 Index of Winners

Best patio dining

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Best hamburger

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Best french fries

Fred's Meat and Bread

Best landmark

The Fox Theatre The Fox Theatre

Best hotel

Hotel Indigo - Downtown

Best public skatepark

Old Fourth Ward Skatepark

Best reason to mix music and politics

WakeATL
Life in the shadow of the Trump presidency has everyone on edge. As social media continues its stranglehold on how we the people engage in ridiculously rigorous debate, it seems the war between good and evil has reached a stalemate on the digital battlefield. The semi-monthly WAKEATL events — hostedmore...
Life in the shadow of the Trump presidency has everyone on edge. As social media continues its stranglehold on how we the people engage in ridiculously rigorous debate, it seems the war between good and evil has reached a stalemate on the digital battlefield. The semi-monthly WAKEATL events — hosted by experimental hip-hop outfit Wake — give Atlantans an outlet to lobby for the forces of good in the real world by bridging music and art scenes with social justice activism. Everyone from mayoral hopeful Vincent Fort to the Housing Justice League have made appearances, while hip-hop and off-kilter rock acts such as Chew, Stacy Epps, Victor Mariachi, Working Class Music, Lingua Franca and more regularly tear up the stages from 529 to Aisle 5. The motivation is always to give people resources to become more socially conscious and active in their daily lives. Topics of discussion have focused on police brutality, gentrification and more affecting local communities. And while each event is high-intensity, it’s done more to engage the community and hold each other accountable for their actions than it is to celebrate. Viva la revolution! www.facebook.com/wakeATL. less...

Best caterer

South of Heaven BBQ

Best barber shop

Freedom Barber

Best CSA

Love is Love Farm

Best car wash

Mammoth Hand Car Wash & Detail Salon

Best auto shop

Johnny Fuller's Master Muffler

Best spot for bespoke suits (and bourbon)

Sid Mashburn Sid Mashburn
Just a heads up: SID MASHBURN isn’t the place you’re going to shop for an everyday suit. No, the Westside retailer is the place you go for the suit you’ll own for a lifetime — or the better part of it, since they start at $1,500. What’s more impressive than the quality and timelessness of themore...

Just a heads up: SID MASHBURN isn’t the place you’re going to shop for an everyday suit. No, the Westside retailer is the place you go for the suit you’ll own for a lifetime — or the better part of it, since they start at $1,500. What’s more impressive than the quality and timelessness of the threads is the peak service customers can expect when they walk in. That even includes a liquor cabinet so shoppers can sip bourbon (or other spirit of their choice) while shopping. 1198 Howell Mill Road. 404-350-7135. www.sidmashburn.com.

photo by: Eric Cash

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Best yoga instructor

Rutu Chaudhari
For too many people, yoga is seen as affluent white women wearing expensive pants indulging in pain-inducing poses. RUTU CHAUDHARI, however, is on a mission to change that perception. Through her All Life is Yoga studio, Chaudhari works to return the practice its self-referential roots by embracing mindfulnessmore...

For too many people, yoga is seen as affluent white women wearing expensive pants indulging in pain-inducing poses. RUTU CHAUDHARI, however, is on a mission to change that perception. Through her All Life is Yoga studio, Chaudhari works to return the practice its self-referential roots by embracing mindfulness over athleticism. And by focusing on training a new generation of instructors via her nonprofit organization the Dharma Project — i.e., people color, folks from the LGBTQ community, of all shapes and sizes — she further challenges exclusionary notions and moves forward her philosophy that yoga is a way of life, not a luxury. 27 Waddell St., Suite D. 404-491-9027. www.alllifeisyoga.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis/ CL File

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Best bookstore

A Cappella Books A Cappella Books
Against all odds, A CAPPELLA BOOKS has persevered the winds of change that Amazon and the internet hath wrought upon the land. Since 1989, owner Frank Reiss has maintained the small and seditious bookstore by keeping close ties with the community. From the folks behind the counter to the compelling titlesmore...
Against all odds, A CAPPELLA BOOKS has persevered the winds of change that Amazon and the internet hath wrought upon the land. Since 1989, owner Frank Reiss has maintained the small and seditious bookstore by keeping close ties with the community. From the folks behind the counter to the compelling titles that line the shelves, A Cappella is, as the website boasts, “the smartest bookstore in town.” It’s that word quality that keeps the operation moving in strides, as the small but well-stocked Inman Park shop doesn’t offer a whole lot of elbow room while negotiating the aisles. But when dust jackets boasting tales about the life and times of jazz provocateur Sun Ra, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, the myriad problems defining America’s sordid politics, and loads of top-shelf fiction practically jumping into your grasp, it’s impossible to walk out empty-handed. When everyone from local and up-and-coming touring authors to David Sedaris needs someone to sell a whole bunch of their books at their signing events, A Cappella is on speed dial. The shop is woven into the fiber of city’s literary culture, and one of few remaining, truly independent institutions keeping intown Atlanta well-read. 208 Haralson Ave. N.E. 404-681-5128. www.acappellabooks.com. less...

Best skin and hair care products

Yamerra
When artist/artisan Maryam Moma relocated from New York to Atlanta, she brought YAMERRA, her growing line of hair and skin care products, with her — and boy are we glad she did. Her proximity gives folks the chance to get their hands on her fragrant shea butter-based soaps (in flavors like lemon grass,more...
When artist/artisan Maryam Moma relocated from New York to Atlanta, she brought YAMERRA, her growing line of hair and skin care products, with her — and boy are we glad she did. Her proximity gives folks the chance to get their hands on her fragrant shea butter-based soaps (in flavors like lemon grass, honey vanilla and tangerine grapefruit, among many others), hair and body oils, moisturizers and more at pop-up shops and markets all over town — not just on her website, where she sells her wares to shoppers all over the world. Yamerra products are advertised as being made from “traceable natural and organic ingredients,” and you can feel that sentiment when you use the gentle-to-the-touch items for yourself. And, on top of that, it’s all sold at prices that are gentle to your wallet, as well. www.yamerra.com. less...

Best album

Portrait by Deaux

www.moredopemusic.com/deaux

photo by: Lindsey Max

Best jazz night

Third Friday Jazz at High Museum of Art

Best nightlife event

Whiskey Blue's Full Moon Party

Best drag queen

Brigitte Bidet

www.facebook.com/missbrigittebidet

photo by: Dustin Chambers

Best live band

Material Girls
This year, Atlanta boasts a surplus of new and genuinely groundbreaking artists, as the city's DIY aesthetics evolve to reflect the political catastrophe that's unfolding across the country. When it comes to live shows, MATERIAL GIRLS stand head and shoulders above the rest, captivating crowds with snarlingmore...

This year, Atlanta boasts a surplus of new and genuinely groundbreaking artists, as the city's DIY aesthetics evolve to reflect the political catastrophe that's unfolding across the country. When it comes to live shows, MATERIAL GIRLS stand head and shoulders above the rest, captivating crowds with snarling cabaret/punk theatrics, dressed in drag. Tyler Jundt and David Iduate lead the charge blaring through trumpet and saxophone, while John Restivo Jr. pounds away on bongos and drums. The group's latest addition, Meghan Dowlen, struts on bass, while Robbie Rapp sears on guitar, and Ben Presley growls his sultry vocals. The group cuts through the subservience of boring, old street wear, as their stage presence and instrumentation rise above the trappings of just another Best local rock band. Since breaking the group's minimal online presence with the arrival of its debut album, MS VS IQ (released July 2016 via Irrelevant Records), Material Girls emulsify on stage with elements of glam and grit, hunky brass and dildos, wigs and pacifiers, and an attitude so natural the group doesn't give a shit if you buy it or not. www.soundcloud.com/materialgirlsusa

photo by: Rick Campbell

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Best way to get down and do good

La Choloteca
You can almost hear the screams of delight emanating from Atlanta's Latinx community and beyond anytime LA CHOLOTECA announces another new party. Creating safe(r) spaces for the late-night dance crowd, La Choloteca's organizers and party revelers abide by rules such as no groping, no hate and no bodymore...
You can almost hear the screams of delight emanating from Atlanta's Latinx community and beyond anytime LA CHOLOTECA announces another new party. Creating safe(r) spaces for the late-night dance crowd, La Choloteca's organizers and party revelers abide by rules such as no groping, no hate and no body shaming. Along the way, they wrangle a formidable lineup of DJs boasting Best local talents such as Esme, Florista, Santiago Paramo and more on the turntables, blasting the soundtrack to the party's unspoken rule: "Dance hard, all night." The party's tagline is "La Choloteca: Ley de Latinx" „ Atlanta's Latinx community and their rights to party „ but all are welcome, and the word is out. The last year witnessed exponential growth for La Choloteca. After settling into its new home at MJQ, hosting events such as the YA QUE?! cross-country tour of radical resistance, and hosting parties in New York City, La Choloteca raised the bar high for active activism and filling up a room with more beautiful people, inside and out, than anywhere else in the city. www.facebook.com/Choloteca. less...

Best place to take a selfie

The Pink Trap House
All right, that title's a little misleading, but who would have thought that a marketing idea for the latest 2 Chainz album, Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, would have created such a buzz around a craftsman home in Berkeley Park? 2 Chainz, born Tauheed Epps, and his team rented a home and blasted it inmore...

All right, that title's a little misleading, but who would have thought that a marketing idea for the latest 2 Chainz album, Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, would have created such a buzz around a craftsman home in Berkeley Park? 2 Chainz, born Tauheed Epps, and his team rented a home and blasted it in hot pink paint, creating a hot spot for like-hunting social media savants, and serving as much more than a selfie backdrop that drew people from across the country. THE PINK TRAP HOUSE, as it came to be known, at different points during its brief lifetime, acted as a nail salon, art gallery, church and even a Best locale to utilize the Fulton County Health Department's mobile HIV testing truck. All in all, this served as great promo for one of 2 Chainz's best albums. Turns out, the guy can make a hit. www.2chainz.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best hip-hop incubator

Controllerise
The cutting edge of underground hip-hop shines every Thursday night when the CONTROLLERISE vibe session takes over Slice Pizza. Weekly regulars such as LeemLizzy, Funk.Shu, Triiip the Hippy, house DJ Empress Rah and more may not be household names yet, but each one is a staple of the thriving beat showcasemore...

The cutting edge of underground hip-hop shines every Thursday night when the CONTROLLERISE vibe session takes over Slice Pizza. Weekly regulars such as LeemLizzy, Funk.Shu, Triiip the Hippy, house DJ Empress Rah and more may not be household names yet, but each one is a staple of the thriving beat showcase where young DJs, producers and intrepid MCs roll out their latest concoctions for a gathering of peers and like-minded Best locals. Controllerise was conceived by Chris Wilkes, aka STLNDRMS, and Mike Harr as a grass-roots effort to facilitate the overwhelming amount of raw talent they saw brewing around them. Over the last year, attendance has grown, while a revolving cast of beatmakers sharpen their skills with quick excursions to the outer limits. The communal vibe of the weekly party functions as an incubator for ideas where hip-hop heads bounce ideas off of each other, give feedback and provide a critical support system where everyone grows mutually. A fresh batch of instrumental music is always on blast, but an appreciation for all things anime binds the room together. Cartoons such as Ghost in the Shell play out in the periphery, and attendees register to win anything from action figures to T-shirts and other manga-related gear. Giveaways aside, this is ground zero for Atlanta's most creative young minds in hip-hop. Slice Pizza, 75 Piedmont Ave. S.E.
www.controllerise.com

photo by: Lindsey Max

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Best band keeping old-school punk ethics alive

Antagonizers ATL
In times of overt bigotry and social unrest, ANTAGONIZERS ATL's songs offer uncompromising messages of unity and positivity. This street punk credo echoes as loud in these contentious times as jokey provocation or political sloganeering. Such anthems as "Hold Your Ground" and "Dead to Us" extol the valuesmore...

In times of overt bigotry and social unrest, ANTAGONIZERS ATL's songs offer uncompromising messages of unity and positivity. This street punk credo echoes as loud in these contentious times as jokey provocation or political sloganeering. Such anthems as "Hold Your Ground" and "Dead to Us" extol the values of self-respect and not taking shit off known enemies and false friends. The band's positive message resounds with listeners for two reasons. First, singer Bohdan Zacharyj, guitarist Richard Henderson, bassist Billy Fields and drummer Eric Antell perform loud and fast rock 'n' roll with roots that dig deep into U.S. and U.K. punk history. Second, and more importantly, all four members come across as genuinely well-intentioned old-school punks, sharing the music that changed their lives every time they take the stage. www.antagonizersatl.bandcamp.com

photo by: Shooting The Shot Photography

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Best modern classical composer

Chris Childs
Former Hello Ocho pianist/percussionist and Faun and a Pan Flute marimba player CHRIS CHILDS didn't take much time off over the last year. In June, Childs released a 30-minute composition, titled "If I Were a Little Boy, I'd Be a Girl." He composed the music amid a tight schedule bookended by touringmore...
Former Hello Ocho pianist/percussionist and Faun and a Pan Flute marimba player CHRIS CHILDS didn't take much time off over the last year. In June, Childs released a 30-minute composition, titled "If I Were a Little Boy, I'd Be a Girl." He composed the music amid a tight schedule bookended by touring with Hello Ocho, while also staying on the road with and releasing Faun's second album, 2014-2016. When not working on his own material, Childs wrote pieces for Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Somewhere in there he found time team up with cellist Ben Shirley and English horn player Carolyn Johnston as the Chris Childs Trio. The outfit was assembled to perform "If I Were a Little Boy, I'd Be a Girl," placing Childs' modern classical work on stages everywhere from dive bars to DIY venues along the East Coast. The music embraces the freeness of a small ensemble, while facing the musical challenges inherent in boiling the music down to just three instruments. But the ability to adapt is Childs' strong suit, as he shuns the notions of academic stagnation by allowing the piece to continue growing with each performance, no matter what obstacles life stacks in front of it. www.chrischildsmusic.com. less...

Best debut record

Pallas
PALLAS has garnered an impressive amount of national press on the heels of releasing the group's debut seven-song 12-inch via Drop Medium Recordings. Everyone from Impose to Clrvynt has weighed in on the band's lo-fi art-punk aesthetic. Everyone from Impose to Clrvynt has weighed in on the band's lo-fimore...
PALLAS has garnered an impressive amount of national press on the heels of releasing the group's debut seven-song 12-inch via Drop Medium Recordings. Everyone from Impose to Clrvynt has weighed in on the band's lo-fi art-punk aesthetic. Everyone from Impose to Clrvynt has weighed in on the band's lo-fi art-punk aesthetic. From the opening bass rumble of and high-speed rhythms of "Render (Location 13)" to vocalist Danielle Brutto's consistently unintelligible, but undeniably catchy shouts, the group's sound occupies a musical terrain that falls between post-punk and no-wave „ reminiscent of Sonic Youth, Palm or closer-to-home acts such as Warehouse, Red Sea and Hellier Ulysses. Bass player Valentina Tapia leads the charge here; her performance is especially impressive throughout "Cast a Lion, Cured a Crow." Guitarist Zane Durfee and drummer Decker d'Alesio are also at the top of their game in songs such as "Itchy Feet (Location 12)" and "Lavender Lout." It's a joyous experience to witness how experimental and fluid these seven songs are, while remaining grounded to melodies that are far beyond the group's years. www.facebook.com/pallasatl. less...

Best punk enabler

Josh Feigert
JOSH FEIGERT wears many hats: State Laughter label owner, guitarist for GG King, Uniform, and at least one or two new groups that may or may not get off the ground. He's also Atlanta's trusted punk and hardcore show promoter, regularly booking out-of-town acts with Best locals in rooms from 529 in Eastmore...
JOSH FEIGERT wears many hats: State Laughter label owner, guitarist for GG King, Uniform, and at least one or two new groups that may or may not get off the ground. He's also Atlanta's trusted punk and hardcore show promoter, regularly booking out-of-town acts with Best locals in rooms from 529 in East Atlanta to Eyedrum Downtown. It seems there just aren't enough hours in the day for Feigert. His motivation is simply a desire to continue making punk and hardcore music, and to support others who do as well. And for Feigert, punk's not dead, and this is no nostalgia trip. A thriving network of young and outraged musicians is alive and thriving outside the typical rock club circuit in 2017, and we the people need it now more than ever. So when Hank and the Hammerheads from New York need to book a last-minute show, or when Best local acts such as Nag and Mutual Jerk need a home for their new 7-inches, tapes and LPs, Feigert is a pillar of the community with aspirations to keep building his network of recording, pressing, distributing and enabling punk rock. Feigert is there working the door at his own shows, and hustling to make it all happen, for the love of the music, the ideology and the community. www.statelaughter.storenvy.com. less...

Best album

Mastodon's Emperor of Sand
It's true. MASTODON was relegated to CL's Best of Atlanta Trophy Case in 2016. What else could the pride of Atlanta metal do to impress us after already receiving so many awards? In March, the arrival of the group's seventh proper album, Emperor of Sand, achieved what many thought couldn't be done: Themore...
It's true. MASTODON was relegated to CL's Best of Atlanta Trophy Case in 2016. What else could the pride of Atlanta metal do to impress us after already receiving so many awards? In March, the arrival of the group's seventh proper album, Emperor of Sand, achieved what many thought couldn't be done: The album reinvented the group's sound by expanding upon an already established snarl. Drummer Brann Dailor stepped up his role as vocalist fleshing out sharp and vivid new dimensions in Mastodon's sound, and the rest of the band adjusted its tangled metallic dirge to suit a recalibrated sound palette. The album's lead single, "Show Yourself," served as an easy access point for what shaped up to be an impressive return. Singer/guitarists Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher and bass player Troy Sanders exude a focused, fully charged presence in songs such as "Sultan's Curse," "Andromeda," "Steambreather" and more. BONUS: While the album was making waves around the world, here on the home front, the group unveiled Ember City Rehearsal Studios, a new Westside practice facility for a town that sorely needs practice spaces. It was a stellar year for the band that just keeps giving. www.mastodonrocks.com. less...

Best soul/jazz songstress

Brenda Nicole Moorer
BRENDA NICOLE MOORER is having one hell of a year. The sweet-voiced singer-songwriter kicked things off in April by releasing Brand New Heart, her second full-length „ and most critically lauded „ collection of jazz, soul and folk tunes. Then in May, she earned her first solo shot performing at themore...

BRENDA NICOLE MOORER is having one hell of a year. The sweet-voiced singer-songwriter kicked things off in April by releasing Brand New Heart, her second full-length „ and most critically lauded „ collection of jazz, soul and folk tunes. Then in May, she earned her first solo shot performing at the Atlanta Jazz Festival and, in the months that followed, played venues like City Winery and Variety Playhouse, opening for drummer Brandon Williams and other musical heavyweights. On top of all that, she recently struck a deal with P-Vine Records to get Brand New Heart distributed in Japan „ so we can only imagine that even bigger things are on the horizon.
www.brendanicolemoorer.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best food hall

Krog Street Market Krog Street Market

Best ice cream

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

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