Oakland Awesomeness

Best Of Oakland and the East Bay 2016 reveals the most awesome finds of the year.


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Welcome to the 2016 Best Of Oakland and the East Bay issue, in which we celebrate what makes the East Bay so unique and special.

This is the 11th Best Of issue I have overseen for Oakland Magazine. I can remember when voters mailed in paper ballots, a process that was extremely time-consuming. We would staple together 11-by-17 pages that seemed barely big enough to contain all the corresponding hash marks. After a few hours of diligent counting, we’d be almost punch-drunk and have to stop, resuming the next morning or afternoon. I am relieved to be freed from deciphering poorly scrawled handwriting.

Our process is simpler now, thanks to online balloting. We continue to tweak Best Of to better reflect the wishes of our readers. As in 2015, we employed a two-stage process this year, a move that produced more votes than ever.

In January and February, we asked readers to nominate their favorites on an open-ended online ballot. In March, we selected the highest vote-getters in each category and asked voters to vote again, choosing their favorites from a convenient drop-down menu that resulted in the 2016 Readers’ Choice winners. So thanks for voting—twice. And congratulations to our winners; you’re the best.

We revisit the categories every year, by the way, adding new ones and jettisoning old ones that no longer seem relevant. You can help by emailing any suggestions for obvious categories we should add.

In addition to what readers decide is so great about Oakland and the East Bay in the online poll, Oakland Magazine’s contributors share more hidden and less-obvious gems. This year our East Bay world is rocking with sustainable hamburgers, iced Americanos, yassa, three-course meals, reviving cocktails, bunny therapy, mani-pedi scrubs, beauty workshops, hardware stores, hardworking public servants, French gift shops, parklets, and banjos.

What’s rocking your world these days? Check out the Best of Oakland to see if we’re simpatico

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