Best 4 AM bar

The Owl 

Runner-up: The Continental

Best blues band

Joanna Connor Band 

Runner-up: Bear Williams Band

Best classical ensemble

Chicago Symphony Orchestra 

Runner-up: Spektral Quartet

Best classical music event

Grant Park Music Festival 

Runner-up: Thirsty Ears Festival

Best country band

Hoyle Brothers

Runner-up: Henhouse Prowlers

Best dance party

Nocturna at Metro 

Runner-up: Windy City Soul Club

Best dive bar

Liar’s Club 

Runner-up: Cole’s Bar

Best emerging band

Modern Nun 

Runner-up: Nude Bodies

Best emerging local label

Sooper Records 

Runner-up: Don’t Panic Records & Distro

Best established bar


Runner-up: Liar’s Club

Best gay bar


Runner-up: Sidetrack

Best gig poster designer

Ryan Duggan 

Runner-up: Dan Grzeca

Best hip-hop DJ

DJ Ca$h Era 

Runners-up: Bonita Appleblunt, BVax

Best hip-hop group

Pivot Gang 

Runner-up: Glitter Moneyyy

Best hip-hop party

Ever Evolved at Subterranean 

Runner-up: Skoli Moly Donut Shop at Cafe Mustache

Best hip-hop producer

No I.D. 

Runner-up: Montana Macks

Best hotel bar

Cindy’s at Chicago Athletic Association 

Runner-up: Palmer House

Best house music DJ

Derrick Carter 

Runner-up: John Simmons

Best individual blues musician

Joanna Connor 

Runner-up: Bear Williams

Best individual hip-hop artist

Mick Jenkins 

Runner-up: Femdot

Best individual jazz musician

Makaya McCraven 

Runners-up: Ben LaMar Gay, Quin Kirchner

Best international or world music act

Chicago Immigrant Orchestra 

Runner-up: Dos Santos

Best jazz ensemble

Joel Paterson Trio 

Runner-up: Damon Locks’s Black Monument Ensemble

Best lesbian bar

Nobody’s Darling 

Runner-up: Big Chicks

Best LGBTQ+ party

Queen! at Smart Bar 

Runner-up: Slo ’Mo

Best local album of the year

Girl K, Girl K Is for the People 

Runner-up: Heet Deth, Hooray!

Best local label

Bloodshot Records 

Runner-up: Sooper Records

Best metal band


Runner-up: Immortal Bird

Best music festival

Riot Fest 

Runner-up: Pitchfork Music Festival

Best music podcast

Sound Opinions 

Runner-up: CHIRP Radio podcasts

Best music teacher

Bridget Skaggs 

Runner-up: Dana Hall

Best music venue


Runner-up: Thalia Hall

Best music venue bartender

Gary Kessler at Liar’s Club

Runner-up: Kelly Wey at Transit Nightclub, Metro, Smart Bar

Best neighborhood bar


Runner-up: Rogers Park Social

Best new bar

Nobody’s Darling 

Runner-up: Golden Dagger

Best non-orchestra classical ensemble

Third Coast Percussion 

Runner-up: Fourth Coast Ensemble

Best pop artist


Runner-up: Justice Hill

Best punk band

Naked Raygun 

Runner-up: Sincere Engineer

Best R&B artist

Jamila Woods 

Runner-up: Jean Deaux

Best recording studio

Electrical Audio 

Runner-up: Uptown Recording

Best rock band


Runner-up: Local H

Best singer-songwriter


Runner-up: Girl Named Nino

Best streaming concert series


Runner-up: Audiotree

Best suburban music venue


Runner-up: SPACE

Best venue for blues music

Kingston Mines 

Runner-up: Rosa’s Lounge

Best venue for classical music

Millennium Park 

Runner-up: Symphony Center

Best venue for dance music

Metro and Smart Bar 

Runner-up: Berlin

Best venue for hip-hop


Runner-up: Promontory

Best venue for jazz

Green Mill 

Runners-up: Constellation, FitzGerald’s

Best venue for magic shows

Chicago Magic Lounge 

Runner-up: Liar’s Club

Best venue for rock music


Runner-up: Empty Bottle

Best of Chicago 2021 is
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Refer to the closed final ballot to see all the categories and finalists that were voted on.