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
presented by

Green Thumb

sponsored in part by

Goethe Institut
Chicago History Museum

Refer to the closed final ballot to see all the categories and finalists that were voted on.