The Best of Chicago readers’ poll is great for a bunch of reasons. For starters, it provides us all with a comprehensive overview of the city’s collective unconscious. With such disparate categories as Best Filmmaker, Best Charity, and Best Dentist, the readers’ poll runs the gamut of the Chicago experience, and even if the winners tend to repeat themselves—let’s face it, we might as well permanently reserve Best Burger for Kuma’s Corner—at least we know where we stand as a city. The next best thing about the readers’ poll: it’s a write-in ballot, which means all you weirdos, malcontents, and keyboard comedians can have a heyday with the system. It’s become something of a tradition to collect our favorite reader votes, so without further ado, here are, for lack of a better term, the best and the brightest.

One of our newest additions to the readers’ poll was Best Arcade Bar, but not everyone is on board with mixing booze and arcade games—Like saying “best sunburn” was one reader’s indignant response. (Good, more Mortal Kombat for the rest of us.) Best Food Trend is a way of tapping into the foodie community, but it’s also a great reminder of how much many people hate said community: Not going to Logan Square and god I fucking hate cocktails and cocktail bars were among the most riled responses. Each year, a bunch of you take umbrage with our Best-Looking Waitstaff category, and this year was no exception—go fuck yourself, you shallow shits was one of many duly noted retorts.

There was a lot more resentfulness where that came from. Why did you buy a dog? was one miffed response to Best Doggie Daycare (the same person also submitted Grow up, get a car for Best Bike Shop, so take that for what it’s worth). I don’t know I’m not a pervert was one reader’s response to Best Sex Toy Shop; Suck it suburbs was another’s to Best Suburb (I’m sure everyone from University Park to Algonquin is shaking his or her fist).

Some of you were legitimately pretty funny, though. Another response to Best Sex Toy Shop was CRAIGSLIST (pro tip: do not buy sex toys on Craigslist), and someone out there considers the Taco Bell on Addison the Best Restaurant for Romance. Among the vote-getters for Best Chicago Ambassador were hot dogs, Silver Guy on Michigan Ave, and anybody but vince vaughn or jim belushi for christ fucking sake, and perennial punching bag Detroit got a vote for Best Neighborhood for Affordability. (Sidebar: Logan Square came in third place, which might be the funniest thing of all.) For one person, Chicago’s Best Record Store is the one my boyfriend likes; for another, the Best Smoking Area is hell, probably.

Of course, there were also some sincerely cast votes. The potentially racy category Best Photobooth to Make Out In got a wistful vote with RIP Bonny’s Photobooth where I first made out with my lady, and wherever you want, it’s your wedding was a pragmatic answer to Best Place to Get Married.

Some honorable mentions:

Best Lesbian Bar: There are lesbian bars in Chicago?
Best Veterinarian: My cat is a Christian Scientist, so no medicine plz
Best Mixologist: Mixologist? Go fuck yourself
Best Underground Dining: You’ve probably never heard of it
Best Celebrity: Jenny McCarthy’s kid
Best College Degree for the Money: HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHA
Best International/World Music Act: Britney Spears

In February 2018, this article was updated to use the phrase ‘arcade bar’ in place of the word originally used.