Staff Picks

Our own personal Best of Madison

HYART Gallery

HYART Gallery

Best Art Gallery

HYART Gallery is an easy-to-miss jewel about fifty yards too far from eyesight if you’re walking past West Johnson on State Street. Look for it. Then go in. Shop owner, metalsmith and pewtersmith Hiroko Yamada showcases her own custom-design jewelry and art metal as well as other one-of-a-kind glass, wood, ceramics, photography and body ornaments by critically acclaimed local, national and international artists. Currently she’s featuring Kanshin lamps, an incredible collaboration with a Japanese paper artist. Yamada is welcoming and always willing to answer any questions about the contemporary arts and crafts in her store. She doesn’t have much of a website yet ( so it’s best to stop in.

– Neil Heinen, editorial director

Best Restaurant Ambiance

Quivey’s Grove has stood the test of time and is one of my favorites on a warm summer evening under the black walnut trees, kicking back in the Stable Grill or enjoying a quiet dinner in the quaint Stone House on a snowy winter night. Try their famous perch fish fry, a perennial Best of Madison winner.

– Mike Kornemann, associate publisher

Favorite Late-Night Dining

After almost every Overture Center event I find myself heading to Icon when the performance is over. The décor is vibrant and glamorous, and the tapas-style food is fantastic and perfect for sharing. Top it off with a creative signature cocktail and a view of the late-night State Street world going by and you’ve got an evening to remember.

– Sarah Andler, production manager

Best Supper Club

Smoky’s is a Madison institution—a classic right down to the décor. Start out with a cool martini from their extensive drink list made by Bob, an icon behind the bar. A relish dish with cool, crisp vegetables is waiting for you at your table. Homemade soup and salad come next. Soon you will hear the sizzle of a juicy, perfectly prepared steak, served with the best hash browns around. Delicious!

– Cindy Morris, business manager

Favorite Neighborhood Bar

Looking for an unpretentious place with moderately cheap (and generously poured) drinks and plenty of character? Or do you just need a watering hole where you can while away the afternoon listening to the jukebox as it competes with the sounds of commuters on their way home from work? In either event, the Rustic is the best old-school bar in Madison, where you can become part of the gang or a party unto yourself.

– Gina Zeinemann, account executive

Best Website

When I think of a portal, I think of a window into a world that’s yet to be discovered. Thankfully, is daily curating all things culture, arts, humanities and history, and its mission is to let us in on the discovery. The site lists events, classes and organizations in every category you can think of, including the environment and kid-friendly. If you’re an artist, this is your portal into resources, jobs, auditions, grants and more. A lovely blog rounds out the offerings and features a crack team of writers who know and love the Wisconsin

– Brennan Nardi, editor

Best Yoga Studio

Mindfulness, authenticity, simplicity, kindness. You can gain these attributes from practicing yoga, but they’re also qualities I seek in a yoga studio. And that’s why I love Mound Street Yoga. With roots as a co-op started back in 1984, the studio offers a wide range of classes, often held with doors propped open, allowing in breezes, sunshine and the sounds of the neighborhood.

– Katie Vaughn, associate editor

Best Place to Take Kids & Visitors

If you live in the Madison area or have visitors, you cannot miss the opportunity to take a cruise on the Betty Lou. From birthday surprises to kid-friendly outings, our family has found all kinds of reasons to take a cruise on Lake Mendota (They cruise on Monona, too!). If you ask, they might even let you sit in the captain’s seat.

– Tami McFarlane, circulation director

Best Furniture Store

My husband and I are huge fans of the Arts & Crafts movement. When we found out that Stevens Design offered Stickley furniture, we were thrilled. The ability to shop locally from a family-owned business is wonderful!

– Wendy Dederich, account executive

Best Specialty/Gift Shop

I covet creativity in its original and handmade form. The best variety of high-quality, unique gifts has to be found at the MMoCA Museum Store on State Street. No junk. So many precious ideas, and the stock changes often.

– Jenifer Winiger, publisher



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