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Best of Atlanta 2012 Index

Best Of Atlanta Main Photo (large)


2012 Index of Winners

Best craft beer store BOA Award Winner

Ale Yeah!

Best fancy pants for men BOA Award Winner

You ever wonder where that well-dressed mixologist at the trendy bar - the guy with his sleeves rolled up to reveal forearms covered in tattoos, maybe a circa-1870 mustache perched upon his liquor-drenched lip - got his Southern-gentleman-with-an-edge outfit? No? Well, should it ever occur to youmore...

You ever wonder where that well-dressed mixologist at the trendy bar - the guy with his sleeves rolled up to reveal forearms covered in tattoos, maybe a circa-1870 mustache perched upon his liquor-drenched lip - got his Southern-gentleman-with-an-edge outfit? No? Well, should it ever occur to you to wonder, and he happens to work at a bar where the tips are good, there's a decent chance some of his look was picked up at Billy Reid's new Westside store. Open as of May, Reid's Atlanta store is a homey, masculine affair that a local fashion site described as a "retired Army colonel's antique-outfitted study" (we were thinking 19th-century farmhouse with a pop of color for a modern twist). As for the clothes, Louisiana-born-and-bred Reid's designs for men and women are tailored and refined, but in a distinctly Southern way - crisp and rugged. His sense of style has gone over well in the fashion world well beyond our muggy, swampy slice of the U.S.A. (Reid was named GQ's Best New Designer in America and won the Vogue Fashion Fund Award.) Located a stone's throw from fellow high-end and eponymously named men's boutique Sid Mashburn, Billy Reid is helping Atlanta's Southern gentleman (and hot bartenders) look their best.


1170 Howell Mill Road. 404-994-3144. www.billyreid.com.

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Best fashion on the fly (literally) BOA Award Winner

Bijoux Terner
When you're at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, whether you have an hour to kill before a flight or a several-hour layover, it's like they have you right where they want you. You want a burger and a beer? That'll be 20 bucks, thanks s'much. Gonna buy a book to read? Be prepared to pay full pricemore...
When you're at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, whether you have an hour to kill before a flight or a several-hour layover, it's like they have you right where they want you. You want a burger and a beer? That'll be 20 bucks, thanks s'much. Gonna buy a book to read? Be prepared to pay full price for that paperback. Perhaps a less likely way to waste some time: Do some shopping. Better known as the "everything is $10 store," Bijoux Terner in the T and C terminals is a great place to lose track of time and come perilously close to missing your flight. A wonderful mix of ghetto-gold costume earrings, cute sunglasses, watches, floppy straw hats, and every color pashmina you could ever imagine, Bijoux Terner is so fun to browse and even to buy a last-minute gift for the friend you'll be crashing with during your time out of town. Now if only it sold burgers and beer. less...

Best fitness-related peer pressure BOA Award Winner

The Body Firm Atlanta
If your friend jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you jump, too? What a dumb question our parents used to ask us. Of course we wouldn't. We don't live in New York. BUT, if your friend (or, say, 20 of them - and a big, strong trainer dude) did a gazillion lunges in a public park on a hot afternoon,more...
If your friend jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you jump, too? What a dumb question our parents used to ask us. Of course we wouldn't. We don't live in New York. BUT, if your friend (or, say, 20 of them - and a big, strong trainer dude) did a gazillion lunges in a public park on a hot afternoon, would you lunge, too? The answer is yes, at least if you invested in a four-week boot camp in Piedmont Park led by the Body Firm Atlanta. Lead trainer Dez White, a former wide receiver for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, the Chicago Bears, and our own Atlanta Falcons, says his plan is to push people to reach their personal fitness goals by figuring out where they're starting - whether they're fitness beginners or advanced exercisers. His rates are reasonable, too: $75 for four weeks of training. (There are other locations, mostly OTP, and programs that vary in price.) "Peer pressure" has a negative connotation, but when you feel like giving up, it sure is helpful to have people beside you urging you on. Not as painful as jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, but you'll feel the burn. www.thebodyfirmatl.com. less...

Best haircut with history BOA Award Winner

Silver Moon Barber Shop
Opened in 1904, Silver Moon Barber Shop has laid claim to being the "Oldest Black Shop in Atlanta." While the once-bustling street has seen hard times, with most of the historic buildings losing their luster, the inside of the barbershop has held up over the years. The ambiance radiates the past, frommore...
Opened in 1904, Silver Moon Barber Shop has laid claim to being the "Oldest Black Shop in Atlanta." While the once-bustling street has seen hard times, with most of the historic buildings losing their luster, the inside of the barbershop has held up over the years. The ambiance radiates the past, from the old-school barber chairs to the mirrors that line the walls. Silver Moon is noisy at the moment due to streetcar construction right outside its door - but it's noise that's accompanied by the promise of good things (hopeful) to come for embattled Sweet Auburn. The past heroes of the avenue might not recognize anything were they to walk along the corridor, but they would remember Silver Moon. During the 107 years that a barber's pole has hung outside Silver Moon Barber Shop many things have changed, but inside Sweet Auburn still thrives. less...

Best local boutique BOA Award Winner

Fab'rik
And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best natural hair salon BOA Award Winner

Sweetgrass

Best pet pampering BOA Award Winner

There are several good things about dog clothes. For one thing, they're impossibly small and often feature pet-related puns written in rhinestones. For another thing, they go on dogs. Adorable, fur-covered, small dogs that smell like perfumes instead of dog stink! Glamour Paws was already a great placemore...
There are several good things about dog clothes. For one thing, they're impossibly small and often feature pet-related puns written in rhinestones. For another thing, they go on dogs. Adorable, fur-covered, small dogs that smell like perfumes instead of dog stink! Glamour Paws was already a great place to get dogs clean and then get them dressed, then this year it moved to an even larger location just a few doors down from its old space on North Highland Avenue in Virginia-Highland. Besides full-service fancy dog grooming, dog attire, treats, leashes, and collars, it now sells premium pet foods, too, so it really is an upscale one-stop pet shop. And as potentially disastrous as it sounds, it also offers paw primping and prettying for cats. If you're looking to save some money on grooming (so you have more to spend on dog costumes) Glamour Paws offers self-doggy washes for only $10 on Sundays. less...

Best sneaker store BOA Award Winner

Abbadabba's

Best thrift store BOA Award Winner

Goodwill on Northside Drive
The opening of a new thrift store is cause for celebration. If you're a weekly or even every-other-weekly thrifter, your old tried-and-true spots tend to get to a point where you can flip through the racks and recognize the very same clothes you saw last time. It's a bummer. The Goodwill on Northsidemore...
The opening of a new thrift store is cause for celebration. If you're a weekly or even every-other-weekly thrifter, your old tried-and-true spots tend to get to a point where you can flip through the racks and recognize the very same clothes you saw last time. It's a bummer. The Goodwill on Northside Drive (just west of Atlantic Station) has been a welcome - and spankin' new - addition to our thrift rotation. Opened in March, the familiar chain of charity shops' new location is huge and has Goodwill's standard flat pricing. (Men's shirts are a flat price, dresses are a flat price, etc.) So, you can occasionally find high-end, designer pieces hidden on a rack next to a bunch of Fruit of the Loom "Spring Break '98" T-shirts - and for the same exact price. Shoes are the exception to the rule, so designer pairs in good condition will likely end up on the fancy rack with individual prices based on their fanciness. Also cause for celebration: By simply spending money, you're helping people with employment issues get their lives back on track. Used clothes. New store. New lives. less...

Best vet BOA Award Winner

If you're in a veterinarian's office, there are a couple things that are pretty much guaranteed. One, you have a pet who you care about at least a little bit. Two, said pet is upset, either because he's got the runs or some skin thing, or because going to the vet is a thing dogs and cats aren't generallymore...
If you're in a veterinarian's office, there are a couple things that are pretty much guaranteed. One, you have a pet who you care about at least a little bit. Two, said pet is upset, either because he's got the runs or some skin thing, or because going to the vet is a thing dogs and cats aren't generally huge fans of. There's only so much you can do to ease your pet's mind - reasoning with them works for shit - but the doctors and nurses at East Atlanta Animal Clinic are awfully good at easing an owner's mind. You know when you can just tell people love their job? Besides being friendly, knowledgeable, and reasonably priced, it's obvious that all who work there love their job. If they don't, they're great actors and it has the same palliative effect, so oh well. Besides the usual check-ups, shots, and lab work (which is nice and quick because they have their own in-house lab), East Atlanta's vets offer preventative care, behavioral help, and alternative therapies like acupuncture and Tui Na massage. less...

Best wine shop BOA Award Winner

Best Caribbean BOA Award Winner

Stir It Up

Best chef BOA Award Winner

Kevin Rathbun

Best culinary time machine BOA Award Winner

In 1982, one food critic described La Grotta as "simply the finest Italian restaurant in Atlanta and one of the city's best restaurants of any kind." The beef carpaccio and any dish made with veal were the restaurants specialties. For dessert, fresh berries and cream. Thirty years later, the veal, themore...
In 1982, one food critic described La Grotta as "simply the finest Italian restaurant in Atlanta and one of the city's best restaurants of any kind." The beef carpaccio and any dish made with veal were the restaurants specialties. For dessert, fresh berries and cream. Thirty years later, the veal, the carpaccio, and even the berries - although now they're served with vanilla gelato - are still the restaurant's mainstays. Sergio Favalli, along with chef Antonio Abizanda, opened La Grotta in 1978, and to this day, La Grotta is where they both remain. Longevity and consistency over the years set this time capsule of a restaurant apart from every other restaurant in the city. Where else can you find a chef on a 34-year run at the same restaurant? less...

Best dim sum BOA Award Winner

Canton House

Best farm on wheels BOA Award Winner

Farm Mobile
We feel a little nostalgic whenever we see the bright green Farm Mobile truck pull up to our Main Street or local park. It reminds us of a simpler time when neighborhood moms would run out with a handful of change to meet the bread trucks that wandered down our block each week. Just as friendly, themore...
We feel a little nostalgic whenever we see the bright green Farm Mobile truck pull up to our Main Street or local park. It reminds us of a simpler time when neighborhood moms would run out with a handful of change to meet the bread trucks that wandered down our block each week. Just as friendly, the Farm Mobile folks post daily specials on a chalkboard. Skim it before climbing the steps into the back of the truck, making your way past bins stocked with organic and seasonal produce. Other offerings include: H&F breads, free-range eggs, and sustainable meats (grass-fed beef, Berkshire pork, and chicken from White Oak Pastures), which you'll find once you gently squeeze by your neighbor and make your way to the freezer near the front. They also carry their own line of grits, polenta, and cornmeal, plus artisanal cheeses and pesto. Basically, you'll find all the fixings for a great meal in one stop. The mobile grocer, based out of Riverview Farms in Northwest Georgia, is constantly making the rounds in metro Atlanta, keeping customers up-to-date on its whereabouts via Facebook and Twitter. It's a lot easier than chasing after that old bread truck. www.grassfedcow.com/farmmobile. less...

Best frozen yogurt BOA Award Winner

And multiple metro Atlanta locations.

Best hamburger BOA Award Winner

Yeah! Burger

Best hot dog BOA Award Winner

HD1

Best Indian BOA Award Winner

Best Middle Eastern BOA Award Winner

Mediterranean Grill

Atlanta's longest-running nonstop dance-or-be-damned party BOA Award Winner

Backstreet Atlanta
For 30 years, Backstreet Atlanta was the city's best-known all-hours nightclub. More than a gay disco, it was a landmark of Atlanta's sanctified underbelly and a queer haven where the performing drag queens of Charlie Brown's Cabaret reveled in giving straight patrons a reason to blush. Even before themore...
For 30 years, Backstreet Atlanta was the city's best-known all-hours nightclub. More than a gay disco, it was a landmark of Atlanta's sanctified underbelly and a queer haven where the performing drag queens of Charlie Brown's Cabaret reveled in giving straight patrons a reason to blush. Even before the city began its nightlife crackdown near the turn of the millennium, Backstreet served as an after-hours respite for late-night lurkers and off-the-clock bar workers after regular clubs stopped the music. But in 2004, the danceteria that never shut its doors did just that when sibling owners Vicki and Henry Vara ended their hard-fought legal battle against encroaching city legislators, stiffer liquor licensing laws, and a gentrifying Midtown constituency. Though the club at 845 Peachtree St. has been closed for eight years, Backstreet lives on as a symbolic reminder of the once-vibrant nightlife scene and celebrated subculture Atlanta lost in its rush to normalcy. less...

Atlanta's original avant guardians BOA Award Winner

Hampton Grease Band

Best dive bar BOA Award Winner

Best gay bar BOA Award Winner

Best movement in the making BOA Award Winner

Two9
If the children are the future, Two9 is a harbinger of hell to pay. And no, that's not a backhanded compliment. Like Los Angeles' Odd Future and Harlem's A$AP Mob, the ragtag Atlanta collective of MCs and producers recalls an era when smoking blunts and bagging stunts was no fun if the homies couldn'tmore...
If the children are the future, Two9 is a harbinger of hell to pay. And no, that's not a backhanded compliment. Like Los Angeles' Odd Future and Harlem's A$AP Mob, the ragtag Atlanta collective of MCs and producers recalls an era when smoking blunts and bagging stunts was no fun if the homies couldn't have none. Ratchet lyrical aspirations aside, this young crew of rowdy upstarts has a mean work ethic that includes an endless stream of new music, in-house video direction, and production, which they've successfully farmed out to big names such as Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, and Kreayshawn. Did we mention they run deep? With a core consisting of Key!, Curtis Williams, Fat Kids Brotha, Retro Su$h!, Wavy Wallace, and Damien Aidoo, Two9's extended list of hometown affiliates (MoneyMakinNique, Papa Jae, the Coolismac, DJ Osh Kosh, Originalfani, Gunner Stahl) make it hard to sleep on the self-made movement espoused on the recent mixtape Two 9 Forever. Five years ago, an otherground rap scene sprouted in Atlanta that largely went unheralded by the industry players-that-be. The emergence of Two9 feels like a second coming of sorts. Just don't expect these kids to be content with asking for what's presumably theirs for the taking. www.two-9.tumblr.com. less...

Best rap reinvention BOA Award Winner

2 Chainz

Best act of political theater BOA Award Winner

Democratic women had heard and seen enough. After sitting through days and days of discussions under the Gold Dome about making abortions more difficult and restricting access to contraceptives, part of the out-of-nowhere, unnecessary "War on Women", they decided to take a stand - literally. On themore...
Democratic women had heard and seen enough. After sitting through days and days of discussions under the Gold Dome about making abortions more difficult and restricting access to contraceptives, part of the out-of-nowhere, unnecessary "War on Women", they decided to take a stand - literally. On the final day of the 40-day legislative session, after the state Senate voted to approve a bill that tightened restrictions on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, female Democrats wrapped themselves in yellow caution tape and marched out of the upper chamber and into the Capitol's hallways, shouting "Women will remember in November." The bill passed, but the women of the minority party were able to remind GOP lawmakers that they're the ones affected by such pieces of legislation. less...

Best affordable housing news BOA Award Winner

Imperial Hotel
Atlanta Beltline Inc. purchased and converted a Reynoldstown loft into affordable housing. And a developer plans to renovate a Section 8 tower located at Ponce de Leon and Highland avenues. But none compare to the Imperial Hotel. Since 1997, the majestic eight-story building located along Peachtree Streetmore...
Atlanta Beltline Inc. purchased and converted a Reynoldstown loft into affordable housing. And a developer plans to renovate a Section 8 tower located at Ponce de Leon and Highland avenues. But none compare to the Imperial Hotel. Since 1997, the majestic eight-story building located along Peachtree Street in the heart of downtown Atlanta has provided an affordable place for low-income Atlantans and formerly homeless men and women to live. But in 2010, the historic building - Little Richard reportedly performed in the hotel's lounge - went into receivership and appeared to be in jeopardy. Rather than be converted into pricey condos by developers eager to charge a premium for the picturesque views, two affordable housing developers, working with the city and state, moved in to renovate the building and keep it affordable. Columbia Residential and National Church Residences plan to spend the next year - and millions of dollars - renovating the building's interior and exterior. Once complete, the overhauled building will feature larger units, space for care providers, and, if they wish to return, affordable homes for residents who were relocated during renovations. Thank God the building, which is located near transit and medical facilities, didn't turn into yet another expensive condo tower. less...

Best bizarro local news story BOA Award Winner

Aimee Copeland Story

Best city view BOA Award Winner

Corner of Boulevard and Freedom Parkway

Best con(vention) BOA Award Winner

Dragon*Con


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