Best neighborhood ever! Logan Square

I really hadn’t planned on it.  I’d covered the Chicago Reader’s “Best of” issues for the past three years.  I thought I was through with it, at least for the time being.  I didn’t encourage readers to vote in this year’s Chicago Reader’s “Best of Chicago 2011” polls.

But, dammit! “Best Overall Neighborhood” merits a blog post.

Best Overall Neighborhood – Logan Square

But not just Best Overall Neighborhood; how about:

Best Neighborhood for Affordability – Logan Square

(runner-up) Best Neighborhood for Culture – Logan Square

(runner-up) Best Neighborhood for Diversity – Logan Square

(runner-up) Best Neighborhood for Nightlife – Logan Square.

After having to work to find last year’s Logan Square gems (see “Best of” closest to the square), this year’s edition was chock full of Logan Square, which, like the whole of Chicago, does its share of “world-class dining scene,”  “grassroots arts movement,” and “one beautiful mess of highbrow and low.”  It’s almost all Logan Square, all the time this year, so I’ve not distinguished the Reader’s picks from the Reader’s readers’ picks.  [Update:  How did I forget the B-Side?  Glaring omissions now added.]

Best Alderman – Scott Waguespack

Best 4AM Bar – Bonny’s

Best Ampersand Restaurant – Longman & Eagle (photo above) (and runner-up Owen & Engine)

Best Barber Shop — Joe’s Barber Shop

Best Bike Shop – Bike Lane (and runner-up Boulevard Bikes)

Best Bowling Alley – Fireside Bowl (and runner-up Diversey River Bowl, aka Diversey Rock and Bowl)

Best Brew Pub – Revolution Brewing Company

Best Brunch – Lula Café (photo left)

Best Cocktail Book Club – The Whistler

Best Cocktail List – The Whistler

Best Established Gallery – Gallery Provocateur

Best Gallery Exhibit – Becky Cloonan at The Rogues Gallery

Best $75 Hotel Room – The Inn at Longman & Eagle (Rooms 13 & 43)

Best Ice Cream – Margie’s Candies

Best Mixologist – Paul McGee at The Whistler

Best Neighborhood Bar –  Cole’s

Best Neighborhood Restaurant – Lula Café

Best New Gallery – The Rogues Gallery @ Challengers

Best New Play – Musical of the Living Dead by Cowardly Scarecrow Theatre Company (at The Charnel House)

Best New Visual Artist – Beth Kamhi

Best Nontraditional Music Venue – Café Mustache

Best Place to Hear Work by Wandelweiser Group Composers – Elastic

Best Public Pool – Holstein Park (don’t forget that Bucktown is part of the Logan Square community)

Best Restaurant That’s Been Around Forever and Is Still Worth the Trip – Lula Café

Best Show That Made Me Feel Like I Bathed in Radioactive Grime – The Mopery’s final show

Best Tator Tots – The Rocking Horse

Best Up-and-Coming Chef – Jeremy Kiens at Dunlays on the Square

Best Urinal – The Mutiny

In addition to the ones mentioned above, the following also earned runners-up status in fairly exclusive company:

(runner-up) Best Alderman – Proco “Joe” Moreno

(runner-up) Best Bartender – Paul McGee at The Whistler

(runner-up) Best Burlesque Troupe – Geek Girl Burlesque at Gorilla Tango

(runner-up) Best BYOB – 90 Miles Cuban Café

(runner-up) Best Chinese – Friendship Chinese Restaurant

(runner-up) Best Established Visual Artist – Cody Hudson

(runner-up) Best Farmers’ Market – Logan Square Farmers Market

(runner-up) Best Gallery Exhibit – Gallery Provocateur’s Halloween Exhibit

(runner-up) Best Local Grocer – Dill Pickle Food Co-op

(runners-up) Best Looking Waitstaff – Longman & Eagle and Lula Café

(runner-up) Best Mexican – El Cid (photo left)

(runner-up) – Best New Bar – Cole’s

(runner-up) Best Nongay Gay Bar – The Whistler

(runner-up) Best Place to Buy Local Wares – Wolfbait & B-girls

(runners-up) Best Pub Grub – Revolution Brewing Company and Small Bar and Owen & Engine

(runner-up) Best Restaurant for a Cheap Date – Irazú

(runner-up) Best Smoking Area – Orbit Room

(runner-up) Best Sox Bar – Bob Inn

(runner-up) Best Taquería – Taquería Moran

(runner-up) Best Underground Art Space – Gallery Provocateur

You don’t have to look far to find additional Logan Square connections, like:

Best CSA Farmer to Swoon Over – Rob Montalbano of Montalbano Farms (a regular at the Logan Square Farmers Market)

Best Established Visual Artist – Weed Wolf

Best Local Fashion Blogger – Tavi Gevinson, the Style Rookie (who finds inspiration in Logan Square)

Best Merch – White Mystery (whose better half works at Busy Beaver Button Company)

Best Overall Radio Station – CHIRP (sponsoring this year’s Summer Sessions on the Square)

Best Street Artist – Weed Wolf

Best Use of Old Styles in New Art – Don’t Fret

Best Website for the Intellectually Curious – (whose Museum of Online Museums should be listing The Sackrider Museum of Handbags)

Best Wine List – Webster’s Wine Bar (soon to open a sister restaurant in Logan Square)

I’m sure I’ve missed some Logan Square connections.  And I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention a couple of neighborhood institutions in Avondale, our neighborhood to the north:

Best Burger – Kuma’s Corner

Best Hot Dog – Hot Doug’s

Yep, best neighborhood ever!  Y’all come see us sometime.

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