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Best of Atlanta 2017 Index

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2017 Index of Winners

Best skate shop

Stratosphere Skateboards Stratosphere Skateboards

Best store for antiques and estate-sale gems

Brick + Mortar Brick + Mortar
David Kowalski is a master at curating old and new at his store, BRICK + MORTAR, which began as a pop-up at Paris on Ponce before becoming a full-blown shop at Westside Provisions District. Inside, blouses by local designers like Megan Huntz sit alongside home décor items, such as the boutique’s eponymousmore...

David Kowalski is a master at curating old and new at his store, BRICK + MORTAR, which began as a pop-up at Paris on Ponce before becoming a full-blown shop at Westside Provisions District. Inside, blouses by local designers like Megan Huntz sit alongside home décor items, such as the boutique’s eponymous line of candles. But the antiques and estate-sale finds are what truly shine — and hearing Kowalski’s tall tales about them is part of the fun. He recently acquired an antique model steamboat from Natchez, Mississippi, formerly used in theatrical productions that retails for $1,500. But you can find more affordable gems, like vintage road maps, for a mere $5. Kowalski checks out 10-15 estate sales a week, mostly in the Southeast, so you can always expect to find new, old treasures. 1170 Howell Mill Road, Suite 106. 404-492-9207. www.thisisbrickandmortar.com.

photo by: Lindsey Max

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Best OG comic book shop

Oxford Comics
The metro Atlanta area is rife with comic book shops, both old and relatively new, but when it comes to sheer selection and diversity of products, OXFORD COMICS is the leader of the pack. Pop in the shop on any day of the week, and you’ll see for yourself: tons of brand-new comics from mainstream andmore...
The metro Atlanta area is rife with comic book shops, both old and relatively new, but when it comes to sheer selection and diversity of products, OXFORD COMICS is the leader of the pack. Pop in the shop on any day of the week, and you’ll see for yourself: tons of brand-new comics from mainstream and indie publishers, old-school back issues, trade paperbacks and hardcover graphic novels, hard-to-find action figures, trading cards, DVDs, T-shirts, posters and even snacks. And there’s more comic-related stuff where that came from in stock for both hardcore fans and casual customers. 2855 Piedmont Road N.E. 404-233-8682. www.facebook.com/oxfordcomicsandgames. less...

Best mural

I Miss Buckhead by Chris Veal

Best gallery

Whitespace Gallery

Best art exhibition

Andy Warhol: Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation High Museum of Art



Best stand-up comedian

Mia Jackson
Not many comedians can say they’ve performed at Philips Arena, but to be fair, there aren’t many comedians like MIA JACKSON. The calm, cool and collected stand-up exudes likability on stage, spreading her hilarious wisdom on life, dating and the dangers of stepping on someone’s biscuit. The versatilemore...

Not many comedians can say they’ve performed at Philips Arena, but to be fair, there aren’t many comedians like MIA JACKSON. The calm, cool and collected stand-up exudes likability on stage, spreading her hilarious wisdom on life, dating and the dangers of stepping on someone’s biscuit. The versatile comic has become a favorite of Amy Schumer, but Jackson’s been a favorite of ours for way longer. She makes this nerve-racking craft look easy on stage at a bar, a club, a college, a theater, or on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” (where she was a semi-finalist in 2015). This summer, the bona fide Georgia peach was named a New Face of Comedy at the biggest industry festival, Just For Laughs Montreal. Consequently, it’s only a matter of time until everyone else knows what savvy Atlantans have know for years. www.miajackson.com.

photo by: Ransom Rockwood

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Best comedy night/show/late-night marathon

Monday Night Comedy at Star Bar
There’s no place in the world where Monday’s met with excitement — nowhere but Little Five Points. MONDAY NIGHT COMEDY AT STAR BAR, the longest-running comedy show in the A, has been stuffing the smoke-tinged rock venue with the city’s funniest comedians, the up-and-comers, and the doe-eyed first-timersmore...
There’s no place in the world where Monday’s met with excitement — nowhere but Little Five Points. MONDAY NIGHT COMEDY AT STAR BAR, the longest-running comedy show in the A, has been stuffing the smoke-tinged rock venue with the city’s funniest comedians, the up-and-comers, and the doe-eyed first-timers to a passionate crowd for more than a decade. It’s where many dipped their toes in the water for the first time and it’s where they later recorded their first albums. Rodney Leete has been MCing this free weekday marathon of who’s who in not just our local comedy scene but the whole country, as the show has become a favorite drop-in destination for famous funny people like Hannibal Buress, Rory Scovel, Vanessa Bayer and more. 437 Moreland Ave. N.E. 404-500-4942. www.rotkneepresents.com. less...

Best Instagrammer

Tiny Doors ATL
It’s amazing how small artwork can make such a big impact. Of course, we’re talking about the folks at TINY DOORS ATL. The much-loved group behind miniature art installations all over town is dedicated to inspiring “curiosity and exploration” — and its corresponding Instagram page, with moremore...
It’s amazing how small artwork can make such a big impact. Of course, we’re talking about the folks at TINY DOORS ATL. The much-loved group behind miniature art installations all over town is dedicated to inspiring “curiosity and exploration” — and its corresponding Instagram page, with more than 30,000 followers, plays a big role in spreading this message. Just about every day on the ’gram, the organization posts images of the tiny picnic baskets, tiny books, tiny bricks and, you guessed it, tiny house projects it constructs. It’s not high art, but it sure does make people happy. And that’s cool. www.instagram.com/tinydoorsatl. less...

Best chef

Rafih Benjelloun

Best concert venue

The Tabernacle

Best band to turn up and drown out current national politics

Art School Jocks
No, nobody should ignore the sinking ship that is the Trump presidency. But sometimes coming up for air, in the form of catchy protest pop (post-)punk, is what's needed to continue forging ahead. That's where ART SCHOOL JOCKS come in. With a well-crafted eponymous EP released in June via Father/Daughtermore...

No, nobody should ignore the sinking ship that is the Trump presidency. But sometimes coming up for air, in the form of catchy protest pop (post-)punk, is what's needed to continue forging ahead. That's where ART SCHOOL JOCKS come in. With a well-crafted eponymous EP released in June via Father/Daughter Records, the foursome of scene veterans combines various influences (post-punk, Britpop, emo) with socially aware lyrics. Hit 'Just a Gwen, which garnered the group national attention via NPR, Stereogum and Mother Jones, explores and denounces the dark irony of victim-blaming culture Ñ don't dress that way, watch your drink Ñ around sexual harassment and assault. This music is the perfect salve for these hard times. www.artschooljocks.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best local promoter

Zero Mile
Over the last few years, Atlanta has witnessed a dramatic spike in the quantity and quality of music being booked across the board. From corporate behemoths to DIY guys booking smaller rooms, competition among promoters is thick. When the management and promotions teams behind Terminal West (led by Scottmore...
Over the last few years, Atlanta has witnessed a dramatic spike in the quantity and quality of music being booked across the board. From corporate behemoths to DIY guys booking smaller rooms, competition among promoters is thick. When the management and promotions teams behind Terminal West (led by Scott Orvold and Alan Sher) and Agon Entertainment announced they'd partnered to launch ZERO MILE, the new organization took over booking for Athens' Georgia Theatre, and Atlanta's Variety Playhouse and Terminal West, while working with other venues, as well. Working together, Zero Mile put into place a network that allowed for all three venues to flourish together as a viable independent operation. Since May, Zero Mile has booked everyone from Waka Flocka Flame to Gillian Welch, tackling a broad range of musical terrain. Zero Mile will also oversee booking and promotion for the music venue being built as part of the upcoming Atlanta Dairies development on Memorial Drive. As Atlanta continues its dominance as one of the most vibrant cities in the Southeast, Zero Mile's ingenuity and dedication to building from the ground up has positioned the organization as a major player, primed for expansion and growth as a leader of Georgia music. www.zeromile.com. less...

Best trap music ambassadors

Migos
Are MIGOS really bigger than the Beatles? No. But Offset, Quavo and Takeoff are the de facto leaders of the new school. The album Culture received a massive boost by the success of "Bad and Boujee," and has since seen "T-Shirt" and the Gucci Mane-aided "Slippery" gain steam as legitimate mainstream hits.more...
Are MIGOS really bigger than the Beatles? No. But Offset, Quavo and Takeoff are the de facto leaders of the new school. The album Culture received a massive boost by the success of "Bad and Boujee," and has since seen "T-Shirt" and the Gucci Mane-aided "Slippery" gain steam as legitimate mainstream hits. The group's style of call-and-response ad-libs reminiscent of '50s era doo-wop groups have both innovated and redefined how melody is used in hip-hop across the board. A lot of young artists are direct descendants of the style that the Northside trio has been cultivating for years now, and the broader music world has finally taken notice. www.migosonline.com. less...

Best instrumentalist

Marquinn "Quinn" Masonry
On any given night of the week, MARQUINN "QUINN" MASONRY can be found playing music from Gallery 992 (his regular spot) and Aisle 5 to the wilds of the Atlanta Beltline, sputtering and blowing into an alto saxophone. Be it with the Convergence, the Wolfpack, Konda, Leo Project, Charolastra or some othermore...

On any given night of the week, MARQUINN "QUINN" MASONRY can be found playing music from Gallery 992 (his regular spot) and Aisle 5 to the wilds of the Atlanta Beltline, sputtering and blowing into an alto saxophone. Be it with the Convergence, the Wolfpack, Konda, Leo Project, Charolastra or some other spontaneously formed ensemble, Masonry is a tempestuous player looming over Atlanta's free jazz and improvised music scene. He's a MVP for anyone who's paying attention; the kind of player who doesn't have to show up for practice and still nail his performance every time. Masonry's thoughtful yet emotional performances pack in variety and passion, enough to transfix anyone within earshot, and his influence can be discerned not only in the work of his Best local music compatriots, but further afield via such icon musicians as Marshall Allen of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Sonny Stitt and John Coltrane. Even when he's between parts, quietly listening to the rest of the musicians on stage, waiting for his cue, Masonry is dialed into his own wavelength. He lives the music he plays, and it's his sense of intuition that guides his music and leaves an impression on his fellow performers and anyone who has gathered to take in his presence.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best band sticking to its guns

Biters
BITERS tirelessly chase rock stardom in a world that doesn't know how much it needs rock stars. Even when mainstream rock music had a cleaner bill of health, the journey to the top was often fast-tracked by creative and aesthetic compromises. Fortunately, Biters aren't about to take a single shortcut.more...
BITERS tirelessly chase rock stardom in a world that doesn't know how much it needs rock stars. Even when mainstream rock music had a cleaner bill of health, the journey to the top was often fast-tracked by creative and aesthetic compromises. Fortunately, Biters aren't about to take a single shortcut. The band's dedication to classic punk and rock 'n' roll sounds is steadfast, so don't expect to ever hear singer Tuk Smith rap over artificial beats. They're never ditching the denim and leather or changing hairstyles, either. Each member is too dedicated to a look, a sound and a lifestyle to never sell out. www.bitersband.com. less...

Best desserts

Sweet Charlie's

Best Caribbean

Papi's Cuban and Caribbean Grill

Best Japanese

Nakato

Best oysters

Kimball House Kimball House

Best local farm

Love is Love Farm

photo by: Joeff Davis

Best late-night hangout

Bon Ton Bon Ton
Midtown’s BON TON is as seat-of-the-pants as a restaurant gets. The mode here is house party, and the décor is pure kitsch in the retro den of fictional founder Hoa Nguyen and his most interesting mashup of Louisiana-meets-Vietnam cookery. A cheeky neon sign reads “Fancy Service” as fried basketsmore...
Midtown’s BON TON is as seat-of-the-pants as a restaurant gets. The mode here is house party, and the décor is pure kitsch in the retro den of fictional founder Hoa Nguyen and his most interesting mashup of Louisiana-meets-Vietnam cookery. A cheeky neon sign reads “Fancy Service” as fried baskets of seafood, boiled peanuts and banh mi sandwiches roll through the dining room until 2 a.m. Maybe Prince comes through the speakers, maybe Otis Redding. All music pairs well with their frozen versions of Pimm’s Cups and Vietnamese Irish coffee, served in color-changing plastic vessels, of course. Though the Bon Ton family tragically lost their head bartender, the talented Patrick Kuhen, late last month in a road accident, they celebrated his life in true Nola fashion: with a second line led by a brass band through the streets of Midtown. 674 Myrtle St. N.E. 404-996-6177. www.bontonatl.com. less...

Best new café

Petit Chou Petit Chou
In a recently restored, periwinkle-painted edifice on Memorial Drive in Cabbagetown sits PETIT CHOU, a French-meets-Southern café that backs up its cozy ambiance with a serious commitment to local sourcing and a deeply felt mutual respect between management, staff and customers. Chef Diana Presson Ellermore...
In a recently restored, periwinkle-painted edifice on Memorial Drive in Cabbagetown sits PETIT CHOU, a French-meets-Southern café that backs up its cozy ambiance with a serious commitment to local sourcing and a deeply felt mutual respect between management, staff and customers. Chef Diana Presson Eller has called it her “little idealistic, egalitarian-dream, feminist anarcafé” and serves up an array of sandwiches, salads and house-made craft sodas with ingredients like hyssop and cardamom. At breakfast, there are hearty grit bowls, avocado toast and Croque Monsieurs, and the chicken liver mousse — available any time of day and served with house preserves, toast and seasonal produce — is a must-order. Currently open only for breakfast and lunch, Petit Chou will eventually expand to dinner hours with a full bar program. 662 Memorial Drive S.E. 470-270-8996. www.petitchouatl.com less...

Best unsung hero

Decatur’s Kimball House has a dedicated oyster room with a viewing window. In this lovely nook, about 5,000 oysters from around the world are shucked each week, and more than half of those (like, 3,500) get shucked by a hero. No really: His given name is HE RO, and for obvious reasons, he goes by Hero.more...

Decatur’s Kimball House has a dedicated oyster room with a viewing window. In this lovely nook, about 5,000 oysters from around the world are shucked each week, and more than half of those (like, 3,500) get shucked by a hero. No really: His given name is HE RO, and for obvious reasons, he goes by Hero. Part of the Karen ethnic group, Hero was born in war-torn Burma but spent most of his childhood in a Thai refugee camp near the border before arriving in the U.S. at age 15. Watching him swiftly and deftly open bivalves today, it’s hard to imagine Kimball House without him, and one would never guess he’d never even touched an oyster before joining Kimball House in September of 2013. So, next time you are slurping during oyster happy hour (5-7 p.m. every weekday) clink a glass for our culinary hero, Hero. 303 E. Howard Ave., Decatur. 404-378-3502. www.kimball-house.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best brunch

Rising Sun
Whether you’re hankering for a pile of pork chops with two eggs and grits or a healthful vegan grain bowl with seasonal veggies, the search ends at RISING SON, tucked away in the Tudor village of Avondale Estates. This mellow spot is soaked in familial comfort, with husband-and-wife team Kathryn andmore...

Whether you’re hankering for a pile of pork chops with two eggs and grits or a healthful vegan grain bowl with seasonal veggies, the search ends at RISING SON, tucked away in the Tudor village of Avondale Estates. This mellow spot is soaked in familial comfort, with husband-and-wife team Kathryn and Hudson Rouse focusing on vegetables from local farms, friends and even their own garden. In season, their tomato sandwich tastes like home, and you can always order from the meat-and-three menu. Standouts include a fried chicken, bacon and cheddar biscuit; chorizo tacos; fried trout over cheese grits; and crispy breakfast dumplings with ginger, cilantro, and maple soy glaze. Rising Son is a calm oasis amid the chaos of Atlanta brunch culture: satisfying but not sloppy, sophisticated yet chill. 124 N. Avondale Road, Avondale Estates, 404-600-5297. www.facebook.com/RisingSonavondale.

photo by: Lindsey Max

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Best biscuits

Erika Council
Known for her famous pop-up Sunday Supper Club, ERIKA COUNCIL’s biscuit recipe (and perhaps her graceful charm) comes by way of her grandmothers. Lately, she has been popping up at B’s Cracklin’ BBQ, mixing and folding flour, butter, shortening (or B’s famous lard) and buttermilk into layersmore...
Known for her famous pop-up Sunday Supper Club, ERIKA COUNCIL’s biscuit recipe (and perhaps her graceful charm) comes by way of her grandmothers. Lately, she has been popping up at B’s Cracklin’ BBQ, mixing and folding flour, butter, shortening (or B’s famous lard) and buttermilk into layers by hand. The softest, fluffiest biscuits and her iced Cinn-rolls draw long queues and early sellouts. Council’s grace extends to her pretty blog, Southern Souffle, where she shares her recipes and stories of the South. We crown her our Biscuit Queen. www.southernsouffle.com. less...

Best Atlanta beer

Juice Willis IPA Series Wrecking Bar Brewpub
Perhaps the most-talked-about craft beer trend of 2017 was the New England-style India Pale Ale. An easy-drinking riff on craft’s most popular style, NE IPAs prioritize tantalizing hop aromas and juicy flavor profiles over bitterness and the “hoppy” wallop generally associated with IPAs. Wreckingmore...
Perhaps the most-talked-about craft beer trend of 2017 was the New England-style India Pale Ale. An easy-drinking riff on craft’s most popular style, NE IPAs prioritize tantalizing hop aromas and juicy flavor profiles over bitterness and the “hoppy” wallop generally associated with IPAs. Wrecking Bar’s one-off JUICE WILLIS IPA SERIES — which the Little Five Points brewpub started in January — has been a joy to behold in that regard. They’ve released a new beer every few weeks (nine variations and counting at press time), each time adding new recipe tweaks and a new Bruce Willis pun for the name. It’s rare to see a local beer that’s so on trend, delicious and admirably exemplifying brewing innovation all at once. Check @wreckingbarbrewpub on Instagram for the latest batch. Wrecking Bar Brewpub, 292 Moreland Ave. N.E. 404-221-2600. www.wreckingbarbrewpub.com. less...

Best new brewpub

Hopstix Hopstix
In burgeoning Chamblee, HOPSTIX brewer and owner Andy Tan has blessed us with a concept both inventive and unprecedented. His Asian fusion brewpub, with its wood-laced, rustic chic interior, boasts a tap list of Georgia craft breweries alongside an array of consistently solid IPAs, wheat beers, portersmore...

In burgeoning Chamblee, HOPSTIX brewer and owner Andy Tan has blessed us with a concept both inventive and unprecedented. His Asian fusion brewpub, with its wood-laced, rustic chic interior, boasts a tap list of Georgia craft breweries alongside an array of consistently solid IPAs, wheat beers, porters and pilsners that Tan brews onsite. But it’s the food that separates Hopstix from the rest of Atlanta’s many breweries, thanks to executive chef Dony Raymond. An exposed kitchen showcases professionally garbed cooks filleting five-foot-long cuts of tuna, robata-grilling numerous satay variations, plating fried rice topped with Alaskan king crab and rolling fresh sushi to pair with the brewpub’s impressive array of suds. 3404 Pierce Drive N.E., Chamblee. 678-888-2306. www.hopstixbrewing.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best Cuban

Papi's Cuban and Caribbean Grill

Best Ethiopian

Desta Ethiopian Kitchen Desta Ethiopian Kitchen

Best veggie burger

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Best bizarro Best local news story

I-85 bridge collapse

Best local hero

John Lewis
johnlewis.house.gov

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