Best of Philly 2014: Behind the Scenes

best-of-philly-2014-logo-400x400One recent afternoon, associate editor Joel Mathis — who covers media, politics and other Important Stuff for our website, Phillymag.com — had an experience most investigative reporters would undoubtedly relate to: He met a confidential source at a restaurant in town for a secret exchange of materials. The handoff went well — the package Joel received led to a nice scoop for us — but there was one part of the encounter that was maybe not so All the President’s Men.

Joel arrived at the clandestine meeting having just gotten a chest wax.

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Best of Philly 2014 Preview: Health and Fitness

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Best Gym: Haverford YMCA

This isn’t your grandma’s YMCA. The gorgeous 75,000-square-foot Haverford Y, on the old Swell Bubble Gum Factory campus, includes three indoor swimming pools (hello, water slides), an indoor track, palatial cardio and weight-training facilities, and more than 100 fitness classes a week. No wonder that in less than a year, it’s attracted 21,000 members and counting. 891 North Eagle Road, Havertown, 610-649-0700.

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Best of Philly 2014 Preview: Shopping and Style

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Best Casual Clothing for the Fashion-Forward Guy: Armour

Subtly futuristic button-ups and vests, delightfully odd wooden bow ties and lapel pins, ­custom-made patchwork tote bags by Philly designer Hamid Holloman the collection here is unexpected in the best way possible, and solidifies what we knew all along: Fashion in Philly isn’t just for the girls. 704 South 4th Street, Queen Village, 267-928-2002.

More sneak peeks ahead!

Best of Philly 2014 Preview: LGBT Winners

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Gay Bar: U Bar

There isn’t a dance floor in the whole place, and drag-queen sightings are rare. But that’s exactly what’s so great about the bar formerly known as Uncles. (Well, that and the studly bartenders.) U Bar stands apart from other Gayborhood watering holes as a no-fuss, no-’tude, unpretentious spot to grab a strong drink or two and gab with friends. 1220 Locust Street, Midtown Village, 215-546-6660.

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Best of Philly 2014 Preview: Home Decor

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Best Furniture: Studio 882

Wander through his airy showroom, and you’ll feel like you’re in an Architectural Digest spread: Impeccably styled vignettes featuring top brands like Baker, Kindel and Julian Chicester rotate often, so the space is flush with inspiration. And the owners — expert interior designers in their own right — have the know-how to make it work in your non-­showroom house. 882 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-314-8820.

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Best of Philly 2014

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Yes, folks, here we are, back at it again. Who has the crispiest fried chicken? What’s the best bar for day-drinking? Where can you go for eyebrow-sculpting? Sexy party shoes? Free spinning classes? Herein lie the exhaustively investigated answers … as well as a series of bests chosen by you, the voting public, via online polls and our biggest-ever taste test. (Spoiler alert: Nobody in this city turns down free whoopie pies.) And while we’ll readily admit that the process of finding, vetting and honoring this region’s ever-growing array of all things excellent is really more of an art than a science (and art, of course, is subjective), we’ll nevertheless fiercely defend and celebrate each and every one of our 275 picks. We think that for the most part, you will, too. Especially that fried chicken.

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Best of Philly 2014: The Best Philadelphians

Katherine Gajewski and Connor Barwin. / Photography by Joseph Balestra

Katherine Gajewski and Connor Barwin. / Photography by Joseph Balestra

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Best Athlete: Connor Barwin, 27

Six-foot-four, 264-pound linebackers don’t usually make headlines for their social consciousness, but Barwin is a different breed of football beast. The Detroit native has earned cheers off the field for his Make the World Better Foundation, aimed at bringing sports and arts to kids; a benefit concert he staged at Union Transfer in June raised $170,000 to revitalize a run-down South Philly park. He’s fearlessly outspoken (tweeting praise for marriage equality) and bleeds green in more ways than one — bicycling to work, driving an electric car and promoting SEPTA.

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Best of Philly 2014: The Readers’ Polls

best-of-philly-2014-logo-400x400This year, we had a thought regarding picking and choosing for Best of Philly — why should we get to have all the fun? So we invited the whole region to weigh in. Starting back in January, we put up a different poll each month at Phillymag.com and asked you to click for your favorites. Here’s how it all shook out.



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Best of Philly Reader Taste Tests: Free Juice Tomorrow at the Comcast Center

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Shutterstock

Consider Thursday’s lunch plans covered: This year, Philadelphia magazine is opening a few of the annual Best of Philly food categories up for taste tests, and you are invited! The three categories being tested are Best Whoopie Pie, Best Tomato Pie and—drumroll, please—Best Juice. Mmmmm….

Philadelphia magazine editors have chosen the top four contenders in each category—the spots competing for Best Juice are Sip-N-Glo, Yellow Juice Bar, Sook Hee’s Produce and Pangea Juice & Co.—and tomorrow they will be doling out free samples from each nominee so that YOU can cast your ballot for Best of Philly. To snag a lunch of free juice, tomato pies and whoopee pies (yes, please!), all you’ve got to do is show up at the lower level of the Comcast Center (near the food court) around noon tomorrow and get your taste test on.

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