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Best bet as to which team gets to the World Series first

Audience Choice, Sports & Recreation No Comments »

White Sox
It’s not that the Kenny Williams replacement, Rick Hahn, showed flashes of brilliance during his first year run at rebuilding the Sox by tearing them down first, but Theo Epstein’s plan over on the North Side seems so screwed up that the answer to this question is like picking who’s going to win the race of the slowest turtles.

AUDIENCE CHOICE: White Sox

Best of Chicago 2013

Best local party game

Sports & Recreation No Comments »

Cards Against Humanity
Chicago designer Max Temkin and his friends came up with the idea for Cards Against Humanity, the “party game for horrible people,” while they were “trolling Oblique Strategies,” Brian Eno’s legendary collection of shuffle-ready aphorisms. The game is an NSFW version of Apples to Apples—a card with half a thought is drawn, and players challenge each other to complete it in the most gruesome and funny way their own hands allow. And it’s wildly popular. It was one of the most successful Kickstarter projects in history, its quick-witted creator is an increasingly big draw on the lecture circuit, and it has inspired legions of fans, meetups and dedicated internet communities. Like Chicago’s collective sense of humor, it’s dark, it’s cynical and it’s funny as hell.

Best of Chicago 2013

Best section in the United Center to watch a Bulls game

Sports & Recreation No Comments »

300 level
Bulls fans might think the 100 level offers the best seats but, though it’s close enough to high-five the players, being ground level, you won’t notice any traveling calls. The 200 level is sweet if you want a view confined to a small box. But if you’re a real Bulls fan, the 300 level is your home. You have a bird’s eye view of the Madhouse and the level is full of other diehard fans. You hear great commentary, stats and the best heckling, plus you can really give it to those standing-room-only seats.
1901 West Madison

Best of Chicago 2013

Best chance to win a championship THIS season

Audience Choice, Sports & Recreation No Comments »

Blackhawks (again)
Even though this season hasn’t started out like the historic opening they had to jump-start last season’s miracle run for the Cup, the Blackhawks are still the best team in the NHL. Once the “hangover” (despite a great start this season) is over and they come back down to earth (ice), they’ll begin to separate themselves from every other team in the league again. Win it all again. Don’t think so, just ask Sports Illustrated. They’re NEVER wrong.

AUDIENCE CHOICE: Blackhawks

Best of Chicago 2013

Best new workout

Sports & Recreation No Comments »

Flow Play yoga at Equinox
This Vinyasa-style yoga style is set to music. No, not up-tempo pop to set a beat, but music to energize your spirit, help you find balance, increase your heart rate or bring you into deeper relaxation. It might sound hokey, but the class is anchored in neuroscience research about how our brains react on a physiological, physical and emotional level to music and movement.
900 North Michigan, (312)254-2500; 1750 North Clark, (312)254-4000; 200 West Monroe, (312)252-3100, equinox.com

Best of Chicago 2013

Best spot to spend a day on deck

Sports & Recreation, Uptown No Comments »

Wilson Skatepark
For longboarders and those with souls as soft as their wheels, a solitary “spot” is anathema; they’re in it for the cruise, man. For those of us for whom the stunt wood is more tool of artistic expression than mere transportation, there is Uptown’s Wilson Skatepark. Here, a giant melon baller has taken to the earth, the smooth rolling cement providing bigger swells than Lake Michigan. Honorable mention to Logan Boulevard, whose under-the-highway location, Crisco-slick surfaces, and janky transitions appeal to skating’s grimier sides.
700 West Wilson (between Clarendon and Marine Drive)

Best of Chicago 2013

Best Chicago sports team owner

Audience Choice, Sports & Recreation No Comments »

Rocky Wirtz
Despite reports that his team still isn’t “profitable,” Wirtz has managed to make the Blackhawks universally the most beloved team in the city. Yes, winning a second Lord Stanley in the span of three years helped, but it’s his overall exuberance and love for his team (and city!) that became infectious to everyone. Reinsdorf, Ricketts or the McCaskeys never get their names chanted the way Rocky does. And they all wish they could.

AUDIENCE CHOICE: Rocky Wirtz

Best of Chicago 2013

Best reason to hold out hope for the Cubs

Sports & Recreation No Comments »

The farm
Along with some fleeting signs of life this season—sweeping the Red Line Rivalry!—the upcoming renovations, and the stewardship of the man who brought the BoSox to the summit, allow us to posit the best reason for Cubs’ fans to dream: the farm. The Cubs have four prospects in MLB.com‘s 2013 Prospect Watch Top 100 (the highest being Javier Baez at ninth), and with a proven architect in place to use them, dreams of Wrigleyville riots seem a little less far-fetched.

Best of Chicago 2013

Best bowling alley

Audience Choice, Sports & Recreation No Comments »

Timber Lanes
Timber Lanes is a breath of fresh air for the overly stimulated city bowler. Many Chicago bowling alleys try too hard to reach a showy city standard. Sometimes you don’t want strobe lights flashing while you throw a gutter ball, followed by a sip of an $8 craft beer for solace. Timber Lanes isn’t trying to be a retro hideout or a suave date spot. With cheap games, shoes and booze, it’s a no-brainer for a good time.
1851 West Irving Park, (773)549-9770, timberlanesbowl.com

AUDIENCE CHOICE: Lincoln Square Lanes, 4874 North Lincoln, (773)561-8191, facebook.com/LincolnSquareLanes

Best of Chicago 2013

Best next gig for Brian Urlacher

Audience Choice, Sports & Recreation No Comments »

Restaurateur
Ditka’s. Michael Jordan’s Steak House. Harry Caray’s. Kenny Williams’ Market. All so 2013. Chicago needs something next. American Junkie for the sports junkie. With his ability to hook-up with superstar-ish women (Jenny McCarthy) and his affinity to beautiful black women with drama (Tyna Robertson), Urlacher is missing his post-football life’s true calling by doing DirecTV commercials. Urlacher’s could be Chicago’s version of NYC’s 40/40 Club. Either that or the whole city could pay Urlacher just to watch him laugh while watching the Bears defense fall apart without him.

AUDIENCE CHOICE: Sports analyst/commentator
Audience comments: “Costumed beast character at Disney world”; “lingerie model”; “Intake at Traumatic Brain Injury Center”; “writing your survey” [lucky for you, we're huge fans of anyone named Brian]

Best of Chicago 2013