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It’s celebrating the vast and rich history. It’s creative and vibrant people living and working in the place they believe in and call home. It’s the city of Birmingham, and it’s the city we love most.


Best of Bham Methodology

99 of your favorite people, places, events and things

By Melody Kitchens Photos by Cary Norton, Caleb Chancey, Kelly Cummings of Spindle Photography, Art Meripol and Birmingham News File Photos

During the month of June, Birmingham magazine readers cast more than 16,000 votes for their favorite things in 99 categories. These are the top three vote getters in each category, with ties noted where appropriate.

Arts & Entertainment

Best Annual Event Honda Indy Grand Prix 6040 Barber Motorsports Parkway | April | 877-332-7804 |

As a race full of excitement and adrenaline, including Bo Jackson as last year’s Grand Marshal, the Grand Prix might just keep you sitting on the edge of your seat. Finalists | Magic City Brewfest | June | Sloss Furnaces, 20 32nd St. N. | | SEC Baseball Tournament | May | Regions Park, 100 Ben Chapman Drive, Hoover | 205-988-3200 |

Best Art Festival Bluff Park Art Show 517 Cloudland Drive, Hoover | Oct. 5 |

It started as an effort to expand the Bluff Park Elementary School’s library, and it has since grown into the popular art show that it is today. The winning work of art is added to Bluff Park’s permanent collection, which rotates display through schools, libraries and other institutions. Proceeds from this annual event go toward supporting the arts in the greater Birmingham community. Finalists | BBVA Compass Magic City Art Connection | April | | ArtWalk | Sept. 6-7 |

Best Art Gallery Naked Art 3831 Clairmont Ave., Forest Park | 205-595-3553 |

Best Annual Event: Honda Indy Grand Prix


| Birmingham |

For three years in a row, Birmingham voters have recognized that Naked Art isn’t your typical gallery — in the best way possible. Full of life and color, Naked Art is a meant to be enjoyed by everyone.

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum | 6030 Barber Motorsports Parkway | 205-699-7275 |

Finalists | Birmingham Museum

1715 27th Court S., Homewood | 205-870-0073 |

of Art | 2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd. | 205-254-2565 | | Monty Stabler Galleries | 1811 29th Ave. S., Homewood | 205-879-9888 |

Best Kids’ Dance Classes Children’s Dance Foundation

Best Charity Event

Serving more than 2,000 students each week, CDF is nothing short of extraordinary to locals. And classes aren’t just for kids — adults can find instruction here, too.

The Garage Giveaway

Finalists | Steeple Arts Acad-

emy of Dance | 36 Church St., Mountain Brook, 205-871-5893 | | Dale Serrano Dance Studio | 2121 Arbor Hill Parkway, Hoover | 205-6820800 |

Described by its founders as “trying to make sacrifices in our lives to help meet the needs of our neighbors,” it’s no surprise Garage Giveaway has made such an impact in the Birmingham community since its launch in 2009. Every year on the first weekend of December, more than 1,000 items are given away for free. Finalists | Race 4 Grace | July | | Do Dah Day | May |

Best Cultural Institution Birmingham Museum of Art 2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd. | 205-254-2565 |

With a collection of more than 24,000 works of art — some even dating back to 3000 B.C. — the Birmingham Museum of Art never ceases to amaze. Finalists | Birmingham Civil Rights Institute | 520 16th St. N. | 205-328-9696 | |

Best Kids’ Music Lessons Mason Music 3187 Cahaba Heights Road, Vestavia Hills | 205-908-7059 |

Whether it’s from reading their story on their website or hearing from word-of-mouth how much people love Mason Music, it’s clear that owners Will and Sarah Mason are doing something right in the community. They offer lessons in guitar, voice, drums, piano and group performance for all ages. Finalists | Music Opportunity Program | 2316 Seventh Ave. N. | 205-231-9509 | | Homewood School of Music | 1736 Oxmoor Road Suite 207, Homewood | 205-701-2144 |

Best Cultural Institution: Birmingham Museum of Art

Best Charity Event: The Garage Giveaway

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Best Adult Artistic Pursuit Sips n Strokes Multiple locations |

Sips n Strokes makes it easy to have a carefree craft night. They supply the paint and canvases, and you just bring the drinks.

Best Art Festival: Bluff Park Art Show

Finalists | Art Play | 1530 Third Ave. S. | 205-975-4769 | | Gardendale Music | 528 Decatur Highway, Gardendale | 205-914-7175 | sept 13

| Birmingham |


Arts & Entertainment

Best Local Artist Carrie Beth Taylor

Carrie Beth Taylor is an illustrator and watercolor artist specializing in fashion, bridal, homes and pets. Oh, and she’s a contributing illustrator for, a fashion and beauty site founded by “Laguna Beach” and “The Hills” star Lauren Conrad. What can’t she do? Finalists | Nick Thomas Designs | nickthomasdesigns. com | Erin Edwards |

Best Live Music Venue The Bottletree Café 3719 Third Ave. S., Avondale | 205-533-6288 |

There’s no place like Bottletree.

Best Theater Company: Red Mountain Theatre Company


| Birmingham |

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With Nashville and Atlanta nearby, you think it’d be easy for musicians to skip over Birmingham on tours. But thanks in part to Bottletree, Birmingham has been established as a place not to be missed. Finalists | WorkPlay | 500 23rd St. S., Southside | 205879-4773 | | Iron City Birmingham | 513 22nd St. S., Southside | 205-202-5483 |

Best Local Band (original music) The Great Book of John

The Great Book of John just keeps getting bigger and better — recently named one of the “12 Alabama bands you should listen to now” by Paste Magazine — and reader

votes suggest they deserve it. With a mellow and layered sound, the band’s latest single “Dark Star” is an exciting glimpse into their upcoming album, set for release this fall. Finalists | St. Paul and the Broken Bones | stpaulandthe | Ben Nelson | bennelson

Best Local Cover Band Gentleman Zero | OutShine |

Best Local Music Festival Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil May |

It started about 30 years ago as a crawfish boil in a backyard, and now it’s one of the most successful music festivals in the city. The Crawfish Boil has raised nearly $500,000 for local non-profits, and that’s something to celebrate.

Covering artists from Prince to Tom Petty to Outkast, you can’t go wrong with the funky Gentleman Zero. Catch them at Tin Roof and Café Firenze or book them for weddings and parties.

Finalists| Secret Stages |

Finalists | Black Jacket

The Quest Club

Symphony |

416 24th St. S., Lakeview |

August | | Jazz in the Park | Summer |

Best Dance Club

205-251-4313 |

Anything can happen at Quest, and that’s why people love it. The club offers drag shows, a packed dance floor and the music never stops — it’s open 24/7. Finalists | Nana Funk’s | 708 29th St. S., Lakeview | 205-2508003 | | Bacchus Dance Club | 1928 11th Ave. S., Five Points South | 205731-2582 |

Best Place to Take an Out-of-Towner Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum 6030 Barber Motorsports Parkway, Leeds | 205-699-7275 |

Filled to the brim with more than 1,200 vintage and modern motorcycles and racecars,

Barber is the largest motorcycle museum in the world. Finalists | Vulcan Park and Museum | 1701 Valley View Drive | 205-933-1409 | | Regions Field | 1401 First Ave. S., Southside | 205-988-3200 |

Best Place to Watch a Movie Carmike Theaters Multiple locations |

With theaters all throughout Birmingham, you just can’t beat Carmike when you want to see the latest flick, especially with the $1 ticket price at the Carmike 10. Finalists | Alabama Theatre | 1817 Third Ave. S., downtown | 205-252-2262 | alabamatheatre. com | Free Friday Flicks |

Birmingham Mountain Radio

provides applaud-worthy performances of productions such as “Les Miserables” and “Grease,” but they also offer workshops and scholarships.

Finalists | Terrific New Theatre |

Birmingham Mountain Radio recently took a big step: Now they’re on the airwaves at 107.3 FM. We couldn’t be more excited for another way to listen to the station voted Birmingham’s best for three consecutive years.

2821 Second Ave. S. | 205-3280868 | | Virginia Samford Theatre | 1116 26th St. S. | 205-251-1206 |

Valleydale Road, Hoover | 205444-7780

Best Radio Station

Finalists | 90.3 WBHM | | News Radio 105.5 WERC |

Best Theater Company Red Mountain Theatre Company

Best TV Station WBRC Fox 6 Broad coverage of breaking news, popular newscasters and extensive, trustworthy community reporting appeals to the majority of readers. Finalists | WBMA ABC 33/40 |

301 19th St. N. | 205-324-2424 |


This non-profit theatre not only

Best Team Trivia Night Otey’s Tavern 224 Country Club Park | 205-8718435 |

Otey’s Team Trivia, hosted by Lance Taylor of WJOX’s The Roundtable on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m., is the No. 1 crowd pleaser. After all, playful competition, beer and bar food make a compelling combination. Finalists | Rojo | Wednesdays at 7 p.m. | 2921 Highland Ave. S. | 205-328-4733 | rojobirmingham. com | On Tap Sports Café | multiple days and times | multiple locations | Best Team Trivia Night: Otey’s

Best Local Band: The Great Book of John

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| Birmingham |


food & drink Best Bar: Michael’s Steak and Seafood

Finalists | Another Broken Egg | 2418 Montevallo Road, Mountain Brook | 205-871-7849 | | Veranda on Highland | 2220 Highland Ave. S. | 205-939-5551 |

Best Burger Five Guys Multiple locations |

Best Brunch: The Egg and I

Best Bar Michael’s Steaks and Seafood 1903 29th Ave. S., Homewood | 205-871-9525 |

biscuits, the pig in the potato patch or the pulled pork sandwich drenched in house-made barbecue sauce. Whatever it is, the folks of Birmingham love it.

Located at the aloft Hotel in downtown Homewood, Michael’s bar is the choice for folks who want to watch games on the flat screen TVs or to relax and enjoy a well-made cocktail.

Best Brunch

Finalists | On Tap Sports Café |

The Egg & I

multiple locations | ontapsports | The J. Clyde | 1312 Cobb Lane, Southside | 205-939-1312 |

4741 Chace Circle, Hoover | 205-982-8477 |

Best Barbecue Jim ‘n Nick’s Bar-B-Q Multiple locations |

It could be the infamous cheddar 98

| Birmingham |

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Finalists | Saw’s BBQ | three locations | | Full Moon | multiple locations |

Attentive service paired with hot coffee and a variety of brunch fare options makes for a great brunch, and The Egg & I is just that.

Fast and delicious doesn’t always mean using quality ingredients, but Five Guys does it all. Their juicy burger with endless topping options keeps locals coming back for more. Finalists | Chez Fon Fon | 2007 11th Ave. S., Five Points South | 205-939-3221 | fonfonbirmingham. com | Mugshots Grill & Bar | 1919 Kentucky Ave. Suite 101, Vestavia Hills | 205-824-9030 |

Best Coffee Shop Starbucks Multiple locations |

Not quite a location on every corner just yet, but a Starbucks can be found easily in most Birmingham suburbs. Fast and familiar coffee takes the top spot. Finalists | O’Henry’s | multiple locations | | Octane Coffee | 2821 Central Ave. Suite 101, Homewood | 205-969-1177

| Westin Birmingham location opening soon | octanecoffee. com/birmingham

Best Cupcake Dreamcakes 960 Oxmoor Road, Homewood and mobile; see website for locations | 205-871-9377 |

Dreamcakes staff says cupcakes make people happy. And we couldn’t agree more with the super sweet family run business. The moist cake, the rich frosting, tons of flavors — it’s all delectable and induces way too many cravings. Add a food truck to the equation? Even better. Finalists | Gigi’s Cupcakes | 4745 Chace Circle Suite 121, Hoover | 205-444-4170 | | Urban Standard | 2320 Second Ave. S., downtown | 205-250-8200 |

Best Dessert Edgar’s Bakery Multiple locations |

Not only do they make almost every delicious dessert imaginable, but Edgar’s loves this community. Every day, Edgar’s provides day-old goods to food banks, and that’s just as sweet.

Best Food / Drink Festival: Magic City Brewfest

sept 13

| Birmingham |


food & drink

Finalists | Pastry Art Bake Shoppe | two locations | pastry | Steel City Pops | multiple locations and mobile |

Best Food / Drink Festival Magic City Brewfest June |

Craft beer. Local food. Live music. Sloss Furnaces. Need we say more? Finalists | Break ‘n Bread | Oct. 13 | Railroad Park, downtown | | Greek Food Festival | Sept. 26-28 | Holy Trinity-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Southside |

Best Food Truck Cantina on Wheels

It’s like hearing the ice-cream truck jingle coming from down the street, but better. With a Twitter feed full of daily specials and locations, delicious Mexican food is just around the corner. Finalists | Shindigs Catering | | MELT |

Best Mediterranean Food: Taziki’s

Best Italian Food

celebrity, and the people can’t get enough.


Finalists | Frank Stitt of High-

721 Broadway St., Homewood | 205-871-9622

Tucked away in beautiful Homewood, Gianmarco’s is a gem worth discovering. A wine bar with plenty of options, authentic Italian food and experienced service creates an elegant and welcoming atmosphere. Finalists | Bottega Café | 2240

lands Bar and Grill | 2011 11th Ave. S., Five Points South | 205939-1400 | | Matthew Lagace of Bellini’s Ristorante & Bar | 6801 Cahaba Valley Road Suite 106, Hoover | 205-981-5380 |

Best Mediterranean Food

Highland Ave. S. | 205-9391000 | | Joe’s Italian | 21 Weatherly Club Drive, Alabaster | 205-663-4111 |


Best Local Chef Chris Hastings Hot and Hot Fish Club | 2180 11th Court S. | 205-933-5474 |

Winner of Iron Chef, 2012 James Beard Award “Best Chef in the South,” owner and executive chef of Hot and Hot Fish Club, one of Birmingham’s best restaurants — the list goes on. Chris Hastings is something of a local


| Birmingham |

sept 13

With a menu full of flavorful Mexican dishes, it’s always hard to pick just one. Locals rave about La Paz’s fish tacos and cheese dip. Finalists | Little Donkey | 2821 Central Ave., Homewood | 205-703-7000 | thelittledonkey. com | El Barrio | 2211 Second Ave. N., downtown | 205-868-3737 |

Multiple locations |

Best New Restaurant

Well-priced and tasty, Taziki’s is great for a quick Mediterranean meal. They offer a gluten-free menu, too.

The Boot at Preserve Village

Finalists | Nabeel’s Café | 1706 Oxmoor Road, Homewood | 205-879-9292 | Costa’s Mediterranean Café | 3443 Lorna Road, Hoover | 205-978-1603 |

The Boot folks have a knack for casual dining and local pub ambience, but it’s far from traditional and heavy bar food. They emphasize using fresh, organic ingredients, and the people of Birmingham have taken notice.

Best Mexican Food

Finalists | El Barrio | 2211 Second Ave. N., downtown | 205868-3737 | elbarriobirmingham. com | Seasons 52 | 245 Summit Blvd. | 205-968-5152 |

La Paz 99 Euclid Ave., Mountain Brook | 205-879-2225 | 3340 Galleria Circle, Hoover | 205-444-2035 |

Best Italian Food: Gianmarco’s

616 Preserve Parkway, Hoover | 205-978-8988 | thebootat

Best Food Truck: Cantina

Best Dessert: Edgar’s Bakery

Best New Restaurant: The Boot at Preserve Village

sept 13

| Birmingham |


food & drink

Best Pizza Slice Pizza & Brew 725 29th St. S., Lakeview | 205715-9300 |

It’s more than plain old pizza and beer. Slice focuses on using fresh, local ingredients for their pizza, which is cooked in natural stone ovens. Creations such as the Rockefeller, topped with oysters and bacon lardons, and the Soul Pie, covered in turnip greens, black eyed peas and sausage — all paired with local and national craft beer — just can’t be beat.

Owner Jim Watkins opened Steel City Pops hardly a year ago, but it feels like the pops been a Birmingham staple for ages. Whether you’re craving a refreshing fruit pop or a creamy dessert pop, Steel City’s got you covered. Finalists | Yogurt Mountain | multiple locations | | Sno Biz | 1904 U.S. Highway 31 S., Pelham | 205-621-8544 |

Best Romantic Dinner

Finalists | Davenport’s Pizza


Palace | 2837 Cahaba Road, Mountain Brook | 205-879-8603 | | California Pizza Kitchen | multiple locations |

2240 Highland Ave. S. | 205-9391000 |

Best Place for a Frozen Treat Steel City Pops Multiple locations and mobile; check website for locations |

Best Asian: P.F. Chang’s China Bistro


| Birmingham |

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Frank Stitt got it right. Whether you prefer the more casual and inexpensive option of the café or want the full experience in the main dining room, the Bottega atmosphere is ideal for a romantic dinner. Oh, and the food is amazing, too. Finalists | Highlands Bar and Grill | 2011 11th Ave. S., Five Points

South | 205-939-1400 | highlands | J Alexander’s | 3320 Galleria Circle, Hoover | 205-733-9995 |

Best Steak Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar 103 Summit Boulevard | 205-2629463 |

Fleming’s offers quality, plump and juicy steaks at reasonable prices without sacrificing an upscale setting. Pair that with an extensive wine list, and it’s a steakhouse match made in heaven. Finalists | Ruth’s Chris Steak House| 2300 Woodcrest Place, Homewood | 205-879-9995 | | Metro Prime Steakhouse | 1035 20th St. S., Five Points South | 205-6235288 |

Best Sushi Surin Restaurants Multiple locations |

When it comes to sushi, you want it fresh, and you want lots of options. Surin fits the bill, which makes it a perennial favorite. Finalists | Jinsei Sushi | 1830 29th Ave. S., Homewood | 205-802-1440 | | Sekisui Pacific Rim | 1025 20th St. S., Five Points South | 205-933-1025 |

Best Asian P.F. Chang’s China Bistro 233 Summit Blvd. | 205-967-0040 |

Aside from popular dishes such as the chicken lettuce wraps and crispy honey chicken, locals show their support for P.F. Chang’s fast and efficient service, and it keeps them coming back for more. Finalists | Surin restaurants | multiple locations | surinof | Yuki Japanese Restaurant | 2760 John Hawkins Parkway, Hoover | 205-402-9888 | Ted’s Restaurant | 328 12th St. S. | 205-324-2911 |

Best Seafood Bonefish Grill 3430 Galleria Circle, Hoover | 205-985-9545 |

The people of Birmingham must really love some Bang Bang Shrimp, one of Bonefish Grill’s signature dishes. Finalists | The Fish Market | Multiple locations | and | Ocean | 1218 20th St. S. | 205-9330999 |

Best Margarita La Paz 99 Euclid Ave., Mountain Brook | 205-879-2225 | 3340 Galleria Circle, Hoover | 205-444-2035 |

Best Meat and Three: Niki’s West

Best Vegetarian Food Urban Cookhouse Multiple locations |

Best Sushi: Surin Restaurants

Urban Cookhouse uses the freshest ingredients possible when creating their dishes, as well as supporting the local farmer as much as possible. They also manage the Homewood and Summit farmer’s markets. What’s not to love? Finalists | The Bottletree Café | 3719 Third Ave. S., Avondale | 205-533-6288 | thebottletree. com | Golden Temple | Multiple locations |

Best Meat and Three Niki’s West 233 Finley Ave. W. | 205-252-5751 | Best Seafood: Bonefish Grill

Best Local Beer: Good People Brewing Company

Nothing beats a home-cooked, Southern meal, and Niki’s West knows how to make it. Since 1957, owners Pete and Teddy Hontzas pride themselves in offering delicious, high-quality food and a mind-boggling array of choices. Finalists | Michael’s Steaks and Seafood | 1903 29th Ave. S., Homewood | 205-871-9525 |

Ice cold and flavorful, La Paz’s margaritas don’t disappoint. Plus, Wednesday margarita nights are sweetened by happyhour pricing: $3 on the rocks and $4 frozen. Finalists | El Barrio | 2211 Second Ave. N., downtown | 205868-3737 | elbarriobirmingham. com | Cocina Superior | 587 Brookwood Village, Homewood | 205-259-1980 |

Best Local Beer Good People Brewing Company 114 14th St. S. | 205-286-2337 |

We love these good people, and we love their beer even more. Located in the heart of the old warehouse district right across from Regions Field, Good People’s brewery and taproom is the ideal place to kick back and drink some of the best beer around. Finalists | Avondale Brewing Company | 201 41st St. S., Avondale | 205-777-5456 | | Cahaba Brewing Company | 2616 Third Ave. S., Lakeview | 205-578-2616 |

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| Birmingham |


people, places & things

Best Beach Getaway Gulf Shores

Although Gulf Shores is about four-and-a-half hours away from Birmingham, it’s worth the drive once you see the stretch of sandy white beaches and blue-green Gulf. With the addition of the Hangout Music Festival in

2010, the area continues to rise in popularity. Finalists | Orange Beach | | Destin area |

Most Colorful Politician William Bell The mayor of Birmingham has

become strongly associated with the city and is a regular presence at events around town.

Best Local Personality who has Appeared on Reality Television

Finalists | Larry Langford |

Gina McDonald Although she didn’t win “The Biggest Loser,” Gina McDonald’s success on the reality show impressed many Birmingham viewers. She won $100,000 on the finale and lost 114 pounds during her time in the competition.

LaShaunda Scales

Best Hotel Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa 4000 Grand Ave., Hoover | 205916-7677 |

This luxury hotel could almost be mistaken for a modern-day castle. It’s also an escape from bustling downtown or main roads, as it’s tucked inside a neighborhood and surrounded by the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Ross Bridge. Finalists | Embassy Suites | Multiple locations | embassy | Aloft Hotel | 1903 29th Ave. S., Homewood | 205-874-8055 |

Best Lake Getaway Smith Lake Closer than the beach, Smith Lake is the top getaway for some fresh air and clean lake water. Smith Lake provides ideal fishing spots, cabins and boating. Finalists | Lake Martin | Lake Logan Martin

Best Library Hoover Public Library 200 Municipal Drive, Hoover | 205-444-7800 |

Hoover Public Library offers much more than books —  although those are available in abundance. Library card holders can also download eBooks, audiobooks, apps and more. Hoover Library also offers a packed-full calendar of events for kids, teens and adults, including its successful Southern Voices series, which brings renowned authors to town each February. Finalists | Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest | 1221 Montgomery Highway, Vestavia | 205-978-0158 | vestavialibrary. org | Emmet O’Neal Library | 50 Oak St., Mountain Brook | 205-879-0459 | Best Local Personality who has Appeared on Reality Television: Gina McDonald


| Birmingham |

sept 13

Finalists | Martie Duncan | Taylor Hicks

Best Park Railroad Park Between 14th and 18th streets and First Avenue South | 205521-9933 |

Self described as as “Birmingham’s Living Room,” Railroad Park has been one of Birmingham local’s favorite spots since its opening in 2010. It boasts tons of green space, walking and running tracks and free weekly exercise classes — all in the heart of downtown. Finalists | Moss Rock Preserve | Preserve Parkway, Hoover | | Veterans Park | Valleydale Road, Hoover | 205-444-7780

Best Place to People Watch Riverchase Galleria 3000 Riverchase Galleria, Hoover | 205-985-3020 |

Lots of light, seating and a large food court makes for grade A people watching. Finalists | Five Points South | Railroad Park | Between 14th and 18th Streets and First Avenue South | 205-521-9933 |

Best Place to Take a Date Comedy Club Stardome 1818 Data Drive, Hoover | 205-444-0008 |

It’s always a good thing to share some laughs on a date, especially if it’s the first. The Stardome is a fun alternative to the typical dinner and a movie. Finalists | Highlands Bar and Grill | 2011 11th Ave. S., Five Points South | 205-939-1400 | | Bottega Café | 2240 Highland

Ave. S., Highland Park | 205-9391000 |

@RickMuscles | Mickey Ferguson | @Mickey_Ferguson

Best Radio Personality

Best View of the City

Scott Register

Vulcan Park and Museum

107.3 FM | birminghammountain

Well-loved and praised by his many listeners, Reg’s laid-back attitude and wealth of music knowledge keeps the public tuning in weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. on The Morning Blend and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Reg’s Coffeehouse, the 16-year-old show that has introduced listeners to hundreds of new artists. Finalists | Rick and Bubba | | Paul Finebaum |

Best Sports Commentator

Best Hotel: Renaissance Ross Bridge Birmingham Golf Resort & Spa

Sheldon Haygood WBRC Fox 6 Sheldon Haygood continues to be Birmingham’s favorite weekend sports reporter, and with his knowledge and extensive coverage of the city’s sporting events, it’s easy to see why. Finalists | Paul Finebaum | | (tie) Eli Gold | and Jim Dunaway | CBS-Birmingham

Best TV Personality

Best Beach Getaway: Gulf Shores

Brenda Ladun ABC 33/40 The highly entertaining Brenda Ladun is adored by her viewers as she reports Birmingham’s news during ABC 33/40 6 and 10 p.m. broadcasts, Sunday’s “Matters of Faith” reports at 10 p.m. and on Focus at 4 p.m. on Wednesdays. Finalists | James Spann | ABC 33/40 | Mickey Ferguson | Fox 6

Best Tweeter

Best Public Library: Hoover Public Library

James Spann @spann With more than 100,000 followers on Twitter, it seems like James Spann picked the right place to deliver details about the weather. Always up to date and engaged with his followers, Spann should be your next follow — if you haven’t followed him already. Finalists | Rick Muscles |

1701 Valley View Drive | 205-9331409 |

Breathtaking views atop Red Mountain make this an iconic Birmingham spot. Whether you prefer to climb up the stairs or ride the elevator, be sure to make it to the top for a beautiful overlook of the city, as well as a different kind of view — Vulcan’s bare derriere. Finalists | The Club | 1 Robert S. Smith Drive | 205-323-5821 | | Red Mountain Outlook | Southside

Best Church Choir Riverchase United Methodist Church 1953 Old Montgomery Highway, Hoover | 205-987-4030 |

Riverchase United Methodist Church’s choir is quite impressive. From a 75-voice sanctuary choir in the 9:45 and 11 a.m. worship services to an orchestra, chancel ringers and celebration ringers, Riverchase sings praises wholeheartedly. Finalists | Shades Mountain Baptist Church | 2017 Columbiana Road, Vestavia | 205-8221670 | | Independent Presbyterian Church | 3100 Highland Ave. S. | 205-933-1830 |

Best Junior Board Junior Patrons of the Birmingham Museum of Art 2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd. | 205-254-2565 |

Nearly 1,000 young professionals make up Junior Patrons. Not only do they support the arts and cultural involvement throughout Birmingham, but they also host a variety of art-related events each year such as behind-the-scenes tours, gallery crawls and art demonstrations. Finalists | Junior League of Birmingham | 2212 20th Ave. S. | 205-879-9861 | | PreSchool Partners | Multiple locations |

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| Birmingham |


shopping & services

Best Auto Dealer Crest Cadillac of Birmingham 1677 Montgomery Highway, Hoover | 205-588-4478 |

From selling vehicles to managing routine service, Crest Cadillac has become known in the community for its long-standing commitment to the city. Finalists | Crown Automobile | Best Farmer’s Market: Pepper Place

1800 Montgomery Highway, Hoover | 205-989-2900 | crownautomobile. com | Tom Williams Automotive | Multiple locations |

Best Auto Mechanic Paul Pierce Auto Paint & Body 1924 Jefferson Ave. S., West End | 205-925-3454

Family owned and operated since 1952, Paul Pierce is one the locals trust. With free estimates and no appointments needed, Paul Pierce makes collision repair worry-free. Finalists | Rex’s Auto Service | 1509 Third Ave. S., Southside | 205-252-7088 | rexsautoservice. com | Duffy’s Garage | 1209 First Ave. S., Southside | 205- 7152100 |

Best Antique Store Easy Street Resale 124 Bowling Lane, Pelham | 205637-3313 |

Owners Bo and Rachel Goodson say Easy Street Resale was inspired by their love for antiques. With their eclectic display of home accessories and furniture, it isn’t hard to see why locals love them. They also offer the option for vendors to sell items in their space.

Best Florist: Norton’s Florist

Finalists | What’s on Second? |


| Birmingham |

2717 18th St. S., Homewood | 205-870-7461 | littleprofessor. com | Books-a-Million | multiple locations |

Best Boutique Lotus Two locations |

Lotus stays up-to-date with the latest trends in women’s fashions, and with clothes and jewelry sold at reasonable price points, it’s become Birmingham’s favorite boutique. Finalists | Renaissance Consignment & Marketplace | 6801 Cahaba Valley Road | 205-980-4471 | renaissance | Soca Clothing | 2820 18th St. S., Homewood | 205-879-6788 |

Best Caterer Kathy G. & Co. 11 W. Park Circle | 205-942-4210 |

Kathy G. and her team are apparently unstoppable. With more than 20 years of catering and event planning experience under her belt, Kathy G. & Co. is the No.-1 pick for those who wish for a little less stress on a big day. Finalists | Iz Café | 2514 Rocky Ridge Road, Vestavia Hills | 205979-7570 | | Shindigs Catering | 3700 Spring Valley Road | 205-874-6047 |

Best Consignment Shop Zoe Consignment and Vintage 3900 Clairmont Ave. S., Forest Park | 205-595-9049 |

Owner Deborah Bashinsky knows all things consignment and vintage. Pair that with her knowledgeable and helpful staff and a shop full of options, and you’re guaranteed to find something unique to add to your wardrobe.

Best Bookstore

Finalists | Renaissance

Barnes and Noble

Consignment & Marketplace | 6801 Cahaba Valley Road | 205-9804471 || Some Wear in Time Consignment Boutique | 3169 Green Valley Road, Cahaba Heights | 205-967-2024

Barnes and Noble has just about every book imaginable, as well as e-book options, so it’s almost sept 13

Finalists | Little Professor |

2706 Second Ave. N., downtown | 205-322-2688 | whatsonsecondbirmingham | Urban Suburban Antiques | 5514 Crestwood Blvd., Crestwood | 205592-0777 | urbansuburban

Multiple locations | Best Bookstore: Barnes and Noble

impossible to leave empty handed.

Best Consignment Shop: Zoe Consignment and Vintage

Best Farmers Market Pepper Place Saturday Market 2829 Second Ave. S. | 205-8022100 |

Pepper Place truly cares about its farmers and customers, and the people of Birmingham love them right back. Crowds flock to this farmers market every Saturday morning, creating the added bonus of a week-end social spot.

Finalists | Alabama Farmers Market | 344 Finley Ave. W. | 205251-8737 | alabamafarmers | East Lake Farmers Market | 7753 First Ave. S., East Lake | 205-836-3201 |

Best Florist Norton’s Florist

small to large orders — Norton’s offers just what you need in a florist. Finalists | Dorothy McDaniel’s Flower Market | 2560 18th St. S., Homewood | 205-871-0092 | | In Full Bloom | 957 Main St., Gardendale | 205-6082077 |

Multiple locations |

Best Garden Shop

Locally owned, tons of locations and able to do everything from

Multiple locations |

Leaf n Petal Everything you might need for your

garden and more, such as furniture, garden tools and decorations, can be found at Leaf N Petal. You’ll also have the assistance of helpful, cheerful employees. Finalists | Andy’s Creekside Nursery | 3351 Morgan Drive, Vestavia Hills | 205-824-0233 | | Charlie Thigpen’s Garden Gallery | 2805 Second Ave. S., Lakeview | 205-328-1000 | charliethigpens sept 13

| Birmingham |


shopping & services Best Shopping District: The Outlet Shops of Grand River

Best Grocery Store

Best Builder


Twin Construction

Multiple locations |

For most Birmingham locals, shopping at Publix really is a pleasure. Publix is stocked with fresh and tasty foods, boasts a clean store, and a helpful worker is just around the aisle. Finalists | Whole Foods | 3100 Cahaba Village Plaza, Mountain Brook | 205-912-8400 | whole | Piggly Wiggly | multiple locations |

Best Hardware Store Lowe’s Multiple locations |

Anything you might need for your home, and Lowe’s most likely has it. Convenient and reliable steals the win for best hardware store. Finalists | Little Hardware | 2703 Culver Road, Mountain Brook | 205-871-4616 | Home Depot | multiple locations |


| Birmingham |

sept 13

2907 Central Ave. Suite 105, Homewood | 205-802-3920 |

Brothers David and William Siegel began Twin Construction back in 2002, and since then, they’ve provided quality work and friendly customer service to the city of Birmingham. They seem to have had particular success in remodeling single-family homes in Over the Mountain neighborhoods. Finalists | Humphrey Construction | 415 Yellowstone Drive | 205-833-8689 | Byrom Building Corporation | 2526 Valleydale Road, Hoover | 205-980-7424 |

Best Home Décor AtHome Furnishings 2921 18th St. | 205-879-3510 |

Stepping into AtHome is like walking into a dream home, and it always smells so dang good. Whether you’re looking for a new sofa or the perfect candle to

With experience from commercial to residential properties, Naturescape has provided highFinalists | I.O. Metro Furniture, quality landscape maintenance, Art and Accessories | 4431 Creekside Ave., Hoover | 205-444- design, installation and seasonal 0641| | Renaissance color in Alabama for more than Consignment and Marketplace | 20 years. welcome guests to your abode, AtHome can meet your needs.

6801 Cahaba Valley Road | 205-980-4471 |

Best Jeweler Bromberg & Co., Inc.

Finalists | Curb Appeal | 205942-5200 | | Deep Roots Landscaping | 4965 Horst Hill Road, Irondale | 205-215-1021 |

Multiple locations |

Best Salon/Spa

Birmingham continues to trust Bromberg’s as its No.-1 jeweler, and they’ve been carrying the finest jewelry and engagement rings since 1836.

Aveda Institute 3200 Galleria Circle | 205-7693500 |

If you love Aveda products, but can’t always foot the bill a fine Finalists | Jared | Galleria Circle, salon, Aveda Institute is the perfect balance. Located at the Hoover | 205-733-2171 | jared. com | Levy’s Fine Jewelry | 2116 Riverchase Galleria, Aveda ofSecond Ave. N., downtown | 205- fers cuts, color and spa services from student cosmetologists at a 251-3381 | discounted price.

Best Landscaping Company

Finalists | Richard Joseph Salon Spa | multiple locations | | Salon U | Naturescape, Inc. 2824 Linden Ave., Homewood | 159 Greenwich Drive, Pelham | 205-664-7774 | 205-870-8708 |

Best Grocery Store: Publix

Best Landscaping Company: Naturescapes, Inc.

Best Moving Company Two Men and a Truck 3114 Belwood Drive | 205-2674761 |

Reliable, efficient and well-priced are key elements when picking a moving company, and Two Men and a Truck holds it all. Finalists | New Latitude | 288

Best Jeweler: Bromberg & Co.

Snoozy’s Kid’s Inc. | 228 Country Club Park, Mountain Brook | 205871-2662 |

Best Veterinarian Galleria Animal Clinic 2953 John Hawkins Parkway, Hoover | 205-987-7297 |

Snow Drive | 205-988-9000 | | Changing Spaces Moving, Inc. | 130 Inverness Plaza Suite 243 | 205-972-0744 |

It takes a lot of trust to let others care for a pet, and Galleria Animal Clinic maintains that trust with their customers. Galleria offers services such as clinic and hospital care, pet boarding and pet pharmacy.

Best Neighborhood Toy Store

Finalists | Mike Kilgore at

Homewood Toy and Hobby 2830 18th St. S., Homewood | 205-879-3986 |

Homewood Toy and Hobby is any kid’s dream, and it’s filled with the latest gadgets and toys. Most are educational, too, so Mom will be pleased. Finalists | Smith’s Variety Store | 2715 Culver Road, Mountain Brook | 205-871-0841 |

Homewood Animal Hospital | 501 Scott St., Homewood | 205943-0008 | Standifer Animal Clinic | 2810 19th Place S., Homewood | 205-871-8186 |

Best Shopping District The Outlet Shops of Grand River 6200 Grand River Blvd. E., Leeds | 205-699-3700 |

Best Neighborhood Toy Store: Homewood Toy and Hobby

Saving money while also having tons of options of where to shop? The Outlets of Grand River offer just that, with stores such as Gap Factory Store, J. Crew Factory (which was scheduled for an Aug. 21 opening) and Nike Factory Store. Finalists | The Summit | 214 Summit Blvd. | 205-967-0111 | | Homewood | homewood

Best Men’s Store Polo Ralph Lauren

Best Realtor Gusty Gulas

Gusty Gulas has an impressive background — 101 homes sold in 2012 and named in 2011’s “Top 40 Under 40” in the Birmingham Business Journal — and has created a trustworthy following among homeowners. Finalists | Candace Smith | | and

(tie) Gabriel Henderson | | Brian Boehm | brianboehm.

6200 Grand River Blvd. E., Leeds | 205-702-2755 |

Classic and simple seems to appeal to the men of Birmingham, as Ralph Lauren wins the first best men’s store category. Finalists | Men’s Wearhouse | multiple locations | | Shaia’s | 2818 18th St. S., Homewood | 205-871-1312 |

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| Birmingham |


sports & leisure

Best Adult Sports League Birmingham Go Kickball

Described as “Birmingham’s premier social experience,” GO Kickball is perfect for anyone 21 or older looking for some fun and exercise. Seasons last eight weeks, and the fall season begins on Sept. 11. Finalists | Birmingham Metro Baseball League | Birmingham Ultimate Disc Association |

Best Bike Shop Bob’s Bikes 1944 28th Ave. S., Homewood | 205-879-2258 |

Since 1973, bike-riding locals have trusted and supported Bob’s Bikes. Bob’s also provides group rides around the city; check the calendar on their website for more details. The shop offers tour-winning bikes by Specialized and Giant. Finalists: Cahaba Cycles | multiple locations | | Bike Link | 2766 John Hawkins Parkway, Hoover | 205-991-3335 |

First Ave. S. | 205-988-3200 | | Oak Mountain State Park | 877 Findlay Drive, Pelham | 205-620-2524 |

Best Free Activity Birmingham Botanical Gardens 2612 Lane Park Road, Mountain Brook | 205-414-3950 |

Best Golf Experience Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Oxmoor Valley 100 Sunbelt Parkway | 205-2901225 |

Surrounded by Ross Bridge and Red Mountain Park, Oxmoor Valley remains the top golf experience. With 36 championship holes and an 18 hole short course, there’s something for all levels of golfers.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ 67.5 acres are full of more than 30 gardens, each separated into three different types — gardens of collections, nature and culture. It’s beautiful, well-kept and — perhaps best of all — free. The Gardens also host many events throughout the year. Check their website for more details.

Finalists| Robert Trent Jones

Finalists | Aldridge Botanical

4599 Alabama Adventure Parkway, Bessemer | 205-481-4750 |

Gardens | 3530 Lorna Road, Hoover | 205-682-8019 | | Railroad Park | Between 14th and 18th streets and First Avenue South | 205-521-9933 |

Golf Trail at Ross Bridge | 4000 Grand Ave., Hoover | 205-9493085 | | Shoal Creek Golf Club | 100 New Williamsburg Drive, Shoal Creek | 205-991-9000 |

wipeout adventure course, season passes and group discounts. Get in on the fun fast, though — it closes for the season on Sept. 15. Finalists | Oak Mountain State Park | 877 Findlay Drive, Pelham | 205-620-2524 | | Red Mountain Park | 2011 Frankfurt Drive | 205-2026043 |

Best Playground Homewood Central Park 1604 Oxmoor Road, Homewood | 205-332-6700 |

Best Outdoor Adventure

Homewood Central Park’s large playground attracts locals, and it also has six pavilions with picnic tables, walking paths, open green space and a paved pad for skaters and bikers.

Splash Adventure Waterpark

Finalists | Wald Park | 1973

Beat Birmingham’s sweltering summer heat with a day at Splash Adventure Waterpark. Splash Adventure offers the new

Merryvale Road, Vestavia Hills | 205-978-0166 | | Railroad Park | Between 14th and 18th streets and First Avenue South | 205521-9933 |

Best Bike Trail Oak Mountain State Park 877 Findlay Drive, Pelham | 205-620-2524 | oakmountain

Oak Mountain has more than 50 miles of biking trails on a 9,940-acre park. The Double Oak Trail, known as the Red Trail, is for mountain bikers of any skill level, but advanced cyclists are also drawn to the park’s paths. Finalists | Red Mountain Park |

Best Adult Sports League: Birmingham Go Kickball

2011 Frankfurt Drive | 205-2026043 | | Homewood Shades Creek Greenway |

Best Family Outing McWane Science Center 200 19th St. N., downtown | 205-714-8300 |

It’s almost impossible for kids to be bored at McWane Science Center. With four floors full of interactive exhibits featuring dinosaurs, playgrounds and an aquarium, it’s the ultimate family outing. Finalists | Regions Field | 1401 110

| Birmingham |

sept 13

Best Yoga Instructor: Melissa Scott

Best Place to Buy Outdoor Gear: Mountain High Outfitters

Best Rock Climbing Spot Moss Rock Preserve 617 Preserve Parkway, Hoover | 205-739-7141 |

Moss Rock Preserve is not only ideal in terms of rock climbing and bouldering, but also perfect for hikers and other outdoor lovers with its 350 acres of land and 12 miles of hiking paths. Finalists | First Avenue Rocks | 2417 First Ave. S., Southside | 205320-2277 | | Horse Pens 40 | 3525 County Road 42, Steele | 256-538-7439 |

Best Sporting Event SEC Baseball Tournament Regions Park, Hoover | May | 205-988-3200 |

The best college baseball in the country is right in Birmingham, and the sport-loving locals look forward to it every year. The top 12 collegiate baseball teams from the SEC come to play 17 games. Finalists | Birmingham Barons baseball | 1401 First Ave. S., Southside | 205-988-3200 | | Honda Indy Grand

Prix of Alabama | 6040 Barber Motorsports Parkway, Leeds | 877-332-7804 |

need for outdoor gear.

and one-acre pond.

Finalists | Dick’s Sporting Goods |

Finalists | Jemison Park Na-

multiple locations | | Alabama Outdoors | multiple locations |

2539 John Hawkins Parkway Suite 113, Hoover | 205-403-3305 |

Best Swimming Pool

ture Trail | On Mountain Brook Parkway near Mountain Brook Village | | Homewood Shades Creek Greenway Trail |

Best Yoga Instructor

Fitness 4U takes the win again this year, as locals love their 24/7 open hours, no long-term contracts, up-to-date equipment and personal training.

Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa 4000 Grand Ave., Hoover | 205916-7677 |

Melissa Scott

Ross Bridge’s pool is just as impressive as the golf course and hotel. Whether you prefer an indoor or outdoor pool, both are serene, clean and relaxing.

Yogis quickly notice something a little different about Melissa Scott’s classes; she typically leads the practice without the help of music. Instead, Scott’s gentle instruction guides her students to focus on both the core of their bodies and beings as they flow through her Vinyasa-style classes. She currently teaches at The Yoga Circle in Birmingham’s Southside on Mondays and Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.

Best Gym Fitness 4U 24/7

Finalists | Iron Tribe Fitness | multiple locations | | YMCA | multiple locations |

Best Place to Buy Outdoor Gear Mountain High Outfitters

Finalists | Sportsplex | 4766 U.S. 280 | 205-980-1077 | Lifetime Fitness | 3051 Healthy Way, Vestavia Hills | 205-547-3100 |

Multiple locations | mountainhigh

Best Walking Trail

Mountain High has it all, including popular sporting brands such as The North Face, Patagonia, Icebreaker, Kavu and more. With helpful and friendly employees, it’s easy to find whatever you may

4800 Valleydale Road, Hoover | 205-444-7780

Veterans Park

Eighty two-acre Veterans Park has both walking and running trails, as well as a 5K cross-country trail surrounded by its four-acre lake

Finalists | Kate Jenkins | | Michelle Keel | woodlawnyoga

Best Sporting Event: SEC Baseball Tournament

sept 13

| Birmingham |


Best of Birmingham  
Best of Birmingham  

Birmingham Magazine, Sept. 2013