2019 Readers Poll
2019 Critics Picks

Emily Ng   photo by Shelley Hiam

Best (and Austin’s First!) Hand-Poke Tattoo Parlor

Emily Ng opened No Good Tattoo in Springdale General earlier this year, and thanks to her and a growing community of stick-and-poke tattoo artists, we’ve got a whole new option to add to our permanent ink collection. Even better, Austin’s first parlor of its kind not only boasts both resident and guest artists, it’s also female-driven and takes pride in providing a safe, comfortable space for everyone, with special attention to the needs of people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. No Good proves there’s no good reason at all not to, at least every now and again, eschew machines in favor of this intimate experience. Want to switch between the two? The shop also includes two full-time contemporary machine artists.

No Good Tattoo
1023 Springdale Rd. Bldg. 1, Ste. E

Best Black Lines in Texas

Austin has its share of talented tattooers, but when it comes to fine black line work, it doesn't get better than Annie Mess, owner and artist at Golden Age Tattoos. From her tiny, skin-adorning pet portraits to her detailed, dotted, and well-shaded floral designs – oh, and don’t forget the magical ladies, Patronuses, and outer space spectacles – Mess isn’t just offering Austinites a tattoo, but a piece of permanent art you can take with you wherever you may roam.

Golden Age Tattoos
2008 Fortview

Photo by Shelley Hiam

Austin History Center Processing Archivist Kelly Hanus   photo by Jana Birchum

Best Blast From the Past

There’s history in all Austinites’ lives, and the Austin History Center has dedicated itself to preserving it for the past 60-plus years. The city’s historical archive houses thousands of manuscripts, maps, periodicals, photos, and more, documenting Austin’s history from before its founding in 1839 to the present – almost all of which are available to browse on-site. Discover 100-year-old Austin American-Statesman issues via microfilm reader-printers, witness the historic 1989 March on Austin for Lesbian/Gay Equal Rights on VHS, or visit one of the center’s rotating special curated exhibits. And because the AHC is a division of the Austin Public Library, perusing our city’s storied past is totally free.

Austin History Center
810 Guadalupe

Best Borrowed Nautical Adventure

Making a splash is this nautical startup, co-founded by Austinite Matt Woods with his twin brother Adam, which democratizes the yacht charter industry by making it easy to track down the perfect vessel for your next on-the-water excursion using a peer-to-peer digital window-shopping service. Essentially an Airbnb platform for boats, Skipper My Boat pries the privilege away from the one percent and puts everything from small sailboats to luxury megayachts and catamarans in the hands of the masses. With nearly 30,000 yachts across 50+ countries to choose from, it’s dangerously easy to book your customized dream vacation with just a few clicks of a button.

DJV (l) and DJ AsuraSunil   Photo by Shelley Hiam

Best Defense Against Gothic Heatstroke

The heat index. Humidity. Barometric pressure. Weather forecasts give you all that data, but can they tell you whether you can still wear your black jeans and Combichrist long sleeve without breaking a sweat, or will you need to pack your best lace parasol? DJV and DJ AsuraSunil, hosts of KOOP Radio’s goth and industrial show Darkest Before Dawn, may not be qualified meteorologists, but when they break down the latest heat wave in the weekly “Black Clothing Comfortability Index,” it’s the weather news you can really use.

Best Northside Barbershop

Every neighborhood needs a good barbershop, and Original Walker’s provides the quality cuts and lively atmosphere that make for a truly great shop. All of the barbers are excellent at their craft, and they all help make Ray Walker’s shop a place that could become an institution. Specializing in cuts, fades, razor shaves, and more, the service offered at Original Walker’s is unparalleled in North Austin.

Original Walker's Barbershop
12412 Limerick #400

photo by Todd V. Wolfson

Photo by John Anderson

Best Place to Buff Up Your Bumper

Owner David Bosada staffs this body shop – nestled in Southeast Austin, en route to the airport – with a crew who make it a habit of going that extra mile. Since opening his family-run shop in 2007, Bosada has taken a customer-first approach to auto paint and body repair work, striving to ensure that every client is satisfied with their ride … even if they may be less than thrilled with their insurance provider.

Discount Body Shop
3600 Chapman

Best Radical Free Pizza

What is #TransPizza, you ask? And how can pizza be radical? Silly mortal. Twitter followers of the local (and award-winning) graphic novelist Lilah Sturges know how, cuz every week she gives out $20 to a lucky winner (or two) who responds to her call for free and queer food! Cuz not all superheroes wear capes, Sturges finds folks to donate in an effort to directly support trans folks across the Twitterverse.

photo by Shelley Hiam

Best Way to Track Your Emissions Reductions

Yes, just 100 corporations are responsible for over 70% of carbon emissions in the world today, but that doesn’t mean we as individuals shouldn’t do our part to cut down on the other 30%. An app created by a team of UT grads helps you do just that by tracking your progress through challenges. Go without eating meat for a week, use public transit for 20 days, or use less electricity in a day – any of the many small ways we can help reduce our carbon footprints.

Critics: Politics & Media
Critics: Shopping

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