Loading...
 

Best of Atlanta 2017 Index

Poets Critics Dolls Main Large





2017 Index of Winners

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

less...

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

less...

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 dark horse in the running

J.I.D
Following the critical success of this year's The Never Story, J.I.D is firmly planted in hip-hop's conscious. The Spillage Village MC is the latest spitter to align himself with J. Cole's Dreamville imprint and may be the first out of the broadening collective to make a true move toward the mass appreciationmore...
Following the critical success of this year's The Never Story, J.I.D is firmly planted in hip-hop's conscious. The Spillage Village MC is the latest spitter to align himself with J. Cole's Dreamville imprint and may be the first out of the broadening collective to make a true move toward the mass appreciation of their label head. Hailing from East Atlanta, J.I.D, born Destin Route, describes his music as a true-to-life depiction of his early experiences in dealing with and overcoming the struggles of growing up amid drugs, violence and gang life. He matches this realism in subject matter with a knack for rhyme that places him at the top of the heap of the city's most respected and most talented lyricists. Pair that with an innate ear for melody, and it's looking like J.I.D might just be next to blow up. www.dreamville.com/artist/j-i-d. less...

Best overall music act

6lack
6LACK, the artist born Ricardo Valdez Valentine, took the city by storm in 2017. The sounds of his thick-as-molasses debut album, Free 6lack (Love Renaissance/Interscope), are more R&B than hip-hop, but when Valdez raps, his lyrics and delivery are on point in songs such as "Rules," "PRBLMS" andmore...
6LACK, the artist born Ricardo Valdez Valentine, took the city by storm in 2017. The sounds of his thick-as-molasses debut album, Free 6lack (Love Renaissance/Interscope), are more R&B than hip-hop, but when Valdez raps, his lyrics and delivery are on point in songs such as "Rules," "PRBLMS" and "Alone / EA6." 6lack's slow lyrical glide through dense, atmospheric production courtesy of Singawd, FWDSLXSH and Nova paint a chilly, nocturnal landscape that crept up on the city and the rest of the country, earning platinum sales for "PRBLMS." To celebrate his victory Valdez chopped off his dreads, which sent the public into a bit of a tizzy. It wasn't enough to hinder his phoenix-like ascent, though. 6lack's allure, presence and gravitas transcend simple vanity. Free 6lack is the spearhead of an artistic renaissance for Atlanta in the post-trap era, leading a return to mellow melodies and unconditionally excellence in the name of Southern aesthetics. www.free6lack.com. less...

Best established visual artist

Greg Mike

www.gregmike.com

photo by: Lindsey Max

Best gallery for otherground art

Kai Lin Art Kai Lin Art Gallery
Attend an opening at KAI LIN ART and you’ll be struck by the diversity of the folks in attendance: a congregation of all races, ages and levels of artistic expertise. That audience diversity is undoubtedly due to the divergent range of art that hangs on the gallery’s walls — which this past yearmore...

Attend an opening at KAI LIN ART and you’ll be struck by the diversity of the folks in attendance: a congregation of all races, ages and levels of artistic expertise. That audience diversity is undoubtedly due to the divergent range of art that hangs on the gallery’s walls — which this past year displayed the surreal paintings of Thomas Turner, the pop art of Chris Hobé, the patterned portraits of Lela Brunet and many more. Founded in 2008 by owner/director Yu-Kai Lin, Kai Lin Art’s mission to promote “emerging and established artists in the Southeast and beyond” is one that adds to the richness of Atlanta, on a cultural and a social level. 999 Brady Ave. N.W., Suite 7. 404-408-4248. www.kailinart.com.

(art by Tim Kent)

photo by: Joeff Davis

less...

Best comedic mover and shaker

Ian Aber
A good comedian can make any audience laugh and an even better comedian can create opportunities for others to make people laugh. All a comic needs is wits and a stage and IAN ABER has been building up stages left and right across Atlanta. Blink and the busy jokesmith will have a new show with a new,more...

A good comedian can make any audience laugh and an even better comedian can create opportunities for others to make people laugh. All a comic needs is wits and a stage and IAN ABER has been building up stages left and right across Atlanta. Blink and the busy jokesmith will have a new show with a new, innovative angle. Whether it’s an audience-swap experiment in a ballroom, an LGBTQ-themed variety show in a club, or a grilled-cheese-studded affair in an alt room, Aber is growing the comedy scene and growing his career in the process. It’s not just the quantity of rooms Aber puts together that’s impressive, but the deliberate and thoughtful way he builds his lineups, seeking to lift up those who sometimes are not as visible in comedy. www.comedyian.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

less...

Best theatrical artistic director

Kenny Leon
Although KENNY LEON garnered national interest again this past December when he directed NBC’s live-TV rendition of the musical Hairspray, it’s the Tony Award winner’s work with the Atlanta-based True Colors Theatre Company that earns major props from us. Founded in 2002, True Colors has been amore...
Although KENNY LEON garnered national interest again this past December when he directed NBC’s live-TV rendition of the musical Hairspray, it’s the Tony Award winner’s work with the Atlanta-based True Colors Theatre Company that earns major props from us. Founded in 2002, True Colors has been a catalyst behind some of the city’s most relevant and topical theatrical productions, with Leon — the company’s artistic director and co-founder — at the helm. Its most recent season of plays, for example, touched on the nation’s public school system and mental illness, among other real-life issues — but done in a way that’s not heavy-handed or preachy. Add to that the fact that True Color’s productions are held at the Southwest Arts Center, bringing quality theater to communities that have often been overlooked, and it’s clear Leon’s influence reverberates well beyond the stage. www.kennyleon.com. less...

Best (freaky) free outdoor art gallery

Doll's Head Trail
Out past the Starlight Drive-In Theatre, heading south on Moreland Avenue is an Atlanta cultural gem: the mythical DOLL’S HEAD TRAIL. Created by ATL’s Joel Slaton, the trail is an outsider art exhibit with enough weirdness and compelling art made from refuse to leave you contemplating its existencemore...

Out past the Starlight Drive-In Theatre, heading south on Moreland Avenue is an Atlanta cultural gem: the mythical DOLL’S HEAD TRAIL. Created by ATL’s Joel Slaton, the trail is an outsider art exhibit with enough weirdness and compelling art made from refuse to leave you contemplating its existence for days. The trail is part of a bigger path at Constitution Lakes, a DeKalb County park that includes some wonderful boardwalks across swampy terrain and hiking trails. Among bird songs and occasional train whistles, discombobulated dolls, broken TVs and rusted car parts have been repurposed into ingenious monuments to modern follies. Found objects, which otherwise might litter the trail, are reconstructed into thought-provoking moments. Freaky and provocative, cheesy and authentic, the Doll’s Head Trail is completely original and strangely beautiful. Constitution Lakes Park, 1305 S. River Industrial Boulevard.

photo by: Joeff Davis

less...

Best YouTuber

Qaadir F. Howard
QAADIR F. HOWARD is one of Atlanta’s master “draggers” — i.e., he excels at taking people, places and things to task in front of a camera in the most hilarious ways. Click on over to his popular YouTube channel and check him ripping the Real Housewives of Atlanta, Donald Trump and even his co-workers,more...
QAADIR F. HOWARD is one of Atlanta’s master “draggers” — i.e., he excels at taking people, places and things to task in front of a camera in the most hilarious ways. Click on over to his popular YouTube channel and check him ripping the Real Housewives of Atlanta, Donald Trump and even his co-workers, all served up utilizing his trademarked rapid-fire delivery style. His clips are straight-up confessional vlogs with minimal editing, but what they lack in bells and whistles, Howard makes up for in uncensored, no-holds-barred reading. Bottom line: Dude is a trip. www.youtube.com/user/Timaya. less...

Best food hall

Krog Street Market Krog Street Market

Best ice cream

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

Best soup

Steamhouse Lounge Steamhouse Lounge

Best overall restaurant

8arm 8ARM
After the sad and sudden death of chef/partner Angus Brown in early January, the fate of four-month-old 8ARM was uncertain. But with deep love and tenacity, the tight-knit, uber-talented staff — including partner Nhan Le, pastry maestro Sarah Dodge and chefs Keith Remes, Wilson Gourley and Brooks Raymanmore...

After the sad and sudden death of chef/partner Angus Brown in early January, the fate of four-month-old 8ARM was uncertain. But with deep love and tenacity, the tight-knit, uber-talented staff — including partner Nhan Le, pastry maestro Sarah Dodge and chefs Keith Remes, Wilson Gourley and Brooks Rayman — managed to get the restaurant back up and running the next day … and every day since. From early mornings to late nights, cinnamon rolls to ceviches, they’ve been cooking and serving an ever-changing kaleidoscope of locally sourced culinary magic, keeping things fresh while loyally maintaining Brown’s earthy, funky vibe. The recently finished patio finds Joshua Fryer slinging drinks for the cool kids from a repurposed, tropical-themed shipping container late into the night. For all these reasons and more, 8arm is our pick for 2017’s best restaurant. We miss you terribly, Angus, but we think you’d be pretty proud of what you left behind. 710 Ponce de Leon Ave. 470-875-5856. www.8armatl.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

less...

Best unexpected expansion

Yet Tuh Yet Tuh
If we had to guess which Atlanta restaurants might add a second location, YET TUH would have been near the bottom of the list. The original eatery, hidden a block off Buford Highway, is just so homey and unassuming that the very idea that it could multiply seemed implausible. But here they are, withmore...
If we had to guess which Atlanta restaurants might add a second location, YET TUH would have been near the bottom of the list. The original eatery, hidden a block off Buford Highway, is just so homey and unassuming that the very idea that it could multiply seemed implausible. But here they are, with a shiny new location in Duluth off Pleasant Hill Road, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Yet Tuh continues to offer some of the most soulful Korean fare around, from heartwarming stews to the delightful omurice (fried rice tucked inside an omelet blanket). We’ll still frequent the original location, but we now have a new favorite among the bevy of Korean restaurants buffering I-85 in Duluth. 2605 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth. 470-488-5000. 3042 Oakcliff Road, Doraville. 770-454-9292. less...

Best dinner party secret weapon

Bakkal International Foods
Middle Eastern cuisines are in the spotlight, and there’s no better place in Atlanta than BAKKAL INTERNATIONAL FOODS, located just inside the Perimeter on Roswell Road, to source the hard-to-find ingredients necessary for cooking up these cuisines at home. Though Bakkal excels in Turkish products,more...
Middle Eastern cuisines are in the spotlight, and there’s no better place in Atlanta than BAKKAL INTERNATIONAL FOODS, located just inside the Perimeter on Roswell Road, to source the hard-to-find ingredients necessary for cooking up these cuisines at home. Though Bakkal excels in Turkish products, their wares cover a wide swath, from Bulgaria across the Mediterranean to Lebanon and Egypt. Here, you’ll find plentiful options for tahini or pomegranate syrup — a critical component in recreating the famous lamb shoulder in the Zahav cookbook, which is guaranteed to impress any and all dinner guests. Sip a cold mint yogurt soda (made in California, though Persian by heritage) while perusing fresh breads from Grand Prix Bakery in Lawrenceville and pistachio tahini helvasi by Turkish brand Koska, which will turn you on to the joys of this unfairly maligned Middle Eastern sesame dessert. 5690 Roswell Road, Suite 100, Sandy Springs. 404-847-9942. www.bakkalinternational.com. less...

Best restaurant group revolution

The Canteen
Why have one when you can have four? That’s the theory in play at Midtown newbie THE CANTEEN, which pushes the boundaries of the term “food hall” by splitting up a space that formerly housed one restaurant (the Spence) into three food stalls (Yalla, Fred’s Meat & Bread, TGM Bagel) and a fullmore...
Why have one when you can have four? That’s the theory in play at Midtown newbie THE CANTEEN, which pushes the boundaries of the term “food hall” by splitting up a space that formerly housed one restaurant (the Spence) into three food stalls (Yalla, Fred’s Meat & Bread, TGM Bagel) and a full bar (Square Bar). It’s a bold and, dare we say, revolutionary repurposing of the real estate overlooking the Centergy One plaza in Tech Square — and clearly one built off lessons learned by partners Todd Ginsberg, Jennifer and Ben Johnson and Shelley Sweet at their Krog Street Market locations of Yalla and Fred’s. From coffee and a bagel in the a.m. to decadent sandwiches at lunch to a burger and a beer as the sun sets, the Canteen packs plenty of punch to keep both residents and office-goers well fed all day. 75 Fifth St. N.W., Suite 170. www.thecanteenatl.com. less...

Best place to feast when you’re stoned

Food Terminal Food Terminal
Buford Highway has long been a bastion for fantastic Asian cuisine, but one of its most recent arrivals takes the scene to new heights. Uber-modern Malaysian food hall-style eatery FOOD TERMINAL has been racking up accolades ever since chef Amy Wong and partner Howard Ewe of bakery mini-chain Sweet Hutmore...
Buford Highway has long been a bastion for fantastic Asian cuisine, but one of its most recent arrivals takes the scene to new heights. Uber-modern Malaysian food hall-style eatery FOOD TERMINAL has been racking up accolades ever since chef Amy Wong and partner Howard Ewe of bakery mini-chain Sweet Hut opened doors this past spring. And when you have the munchies, there’s really no better spot to make your feasting fantasies come to life (trust us). The glossy, magazine-style menu boasts 50 pages of pan-Asian food options, from unctuous bone marrow ramen to barbecue pork noodles to a sizzling skillet of tomato-braised, Spam-studded rice covered in melty cheese that puts whatever brand of delivery chain pizza you ordered in college to shame. There are pictures of every item and a convenient menu form to fill out that cuts down on anxiety-inducing human contact, plus cold and creamy Thai tea for your dry mouth. Oh happy daze. 5000 Buford Highway, Chamblee. 678-353-6110. www.foodterminal.com. less...

Best gas station snack

Rap Snacks
Although obvious genius James “Fly” Lindsay invented RAP SNACKS in Philadelphia back in 1994, the self-described “official snacks of hip-hop” didn’t go mainstream until last summer, when a regional re-launch brought them to shelves up and down the East Coast (including Atlanta). Migos, ourmore...
Although obvious genius James “Fly” Lindsay invented RAP SNACKS in Philadelphia back in 1994, the self-described “official snacks of hip-hop” didn’t go mainstream until last summer, when a regional re-launch brought them to shelves up and down the East Coast (including Atlanta). Migos, our hometown heroes, helped with the brand’s reinvention, lending both their faces and an auto-tune-happy promotional jingle dubbed “Dab of Ranch” to accompany their signature potato chip flavor: Sour Cream with a Dab of Ranch (naturally). Best of all, each bag of snacks features a uncanny valley likeness of its namesake rapper plus an inspirational quote on the back like this one from the Migos: “Dabbin’ is a lifestyle.” The newest crop of Rap Snacks includes Lil Yachty’s Owee crunchy curls and Trina’s honeydew cheese puffs. Yes, honeydew cheese puffs. We just love Rap Snacks so much. www.rapsnacks.net. less...

Browse by Category

After Dark
After Dark
Cityscape
Cityscape
Consumer Culture
Consumer Culture
Index
Index
Oral Pleasures
Oral Pleasures
Poets, Artists & Madmen
Poets, Artists & Madmen