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Frequently Asked Questions About the Best of the Bay Awards

Our mega-popular annual issue, demystified.

How San Francisco's editors anoint the Bay Area's best.

Choosing the picks for the Best of the Bay issue is our equivalent of Frodo’s journey through Mordor. OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but in a region that constantly churns out all kinds of incredibleness, separating the superlative from the pretty good is an epic quest. Our editors spend the whole year testing out new businesses, checking in on old ones, soliciting experts’ opinions, and scouring social media in search of the unquestionably great. The end result is the exhaustive compendium that we publish every July: the ultimate guide to the Bay Area’s most excellent shops, eateries, bars, hangouts, spas, hotels, apps, and more.


1. What kind of bribe does it take to get my business on the list? I’ve got stock in Twitter...
Sorry, it doesn’t work that way—our editors are incorruptible. Although we are considering accepting Bitcoin donations. (Kidding!)

2. Seriously, though, rumor has it that you play favorites with advertisers.
Whoa, those are some fighting words. We absolutely do not practice nepotism, not with sponsors, advertisers, or our Uncle Joe or Aunt Sally. Regardless of whether or not you’ve done business with the magazine, we judge you solely on your merits. (Sorry, Uncle Joe.)

3. But you do call ahead to let businesses know that you’re coming, right? So they probably pull out all the stops.
Nope. We act just like anyone else would when going out to eat, drink, dance, party, shop, relax, or play. No business or service is told in advance that we’ll be checking it out. We’re treated just like any other San Franciscan obsessively typing notes on an iPhone.

4. So how can I be sure you didn’t just bypass my company?
You can’t be, but we promise that we spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about that very issue. It’s our job to know our backyard like you know the back of your hand.

5. I'm still not convinced. What else can I do? I'm sure that my business is the best in its class.
We hear you! The good news is, you can nominate yourself or any other business for our Readers Poll Awards. For the first time ever, our Readers Poll winners will be announced at the biggest party of the year: our annual Best of the Bay bash, taking place on June 26 at the CityView, Metreon.

Tickets Available soon!