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  • Best Oxymoron

    Indoor Tanning

    You can find these so-called salons all over our, ahem, fair city. At least five have opened within the past three years, so business appears to be sizzling. Some reasons for taking sun in a box: It's quicker, less damaging, and good for some skin diseases. Still, what's the old saw about selling ice to Eskimos?… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy A Water Closet

    Waterworks

    Copper sinks from France. German cast-iron bathtubs. Hand-painted bathroom tiles. Classic ceramic bidets and water closets. (The staff prefers this term to toilets.) All the plumbing fixtures in this store are designed in England or France with simplicity and elegance. No gold-leaf, dragon-head faucets. No toilet-seat replicas of a Medici throne. This is a place for people who don't… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy An Opium Bed

    World Resources

    For the better part of this decade, Steve Rhodes has scoured the countrysides of India and Indonesia for traditional and ceremonial furniture, instruments, and artwork. He's carted back teak jodang boxes that are used to carry offerings to Indonesian temples and village chiefs' ceremonial drums. He's bartered for Indian tables and cabinets made from the mahogany doors of abandoned mansions… More >>
  • Best Mexican Market

    Bargain Town Flea Market

    In most parts of Mexico, a visit to the weekend market, commonly an open-air, sprawling affair, is nothing like a quick stop at the local Publix. It's a leisurely outing in which people buy, sell, socialize, eat, and drink. In South Florida Bargain Town comes closest to capturing that appealing ambiance. Like most well-established Mexican mercados, a wide variety of… More >>
  • Best Botánica

    Riviera Florist, Pet Shop, and Botánica

    The florist and pet shop parts of this store's title seem superfluous or maybe even disingenuous. The greenery consists of a few plants soaking up sun on the sidewalk. The pet shop, located in a small room near the entrance, consists mainly of live chickens and other birds that will likely be used as sacrifices in Santería rituals. The… More >>
  • Best Designer

    Felice Pappas

    Designer Felice Pappas may have been forced to close her charming Espaņola Way boutique recently (she lost her lease), but that hasn't hindered her whimsical sense of style. She's still making her loud, fun cotton prints, featuring menacing insects, ripe fruit, blooming flowers, fluffy clouds, and cheery postcards. And she continues to fashion sundresses, skirts, boxy men's shirts, flannel pajamas,… More >>
  • Best Vintage Store

    Miami Twice Vintage Department Store

    Rhinestone earrings. Hula skirts. Plastic beaded curtains. Hundreds of ceramic cookie jars. A wall of platform shoes straight from The Mod Squad. A barrel of tube tops in assorted colors. A rack of Elizabethan gowns. Deco armoires. Hand-cut crystal chandeliers. A set of rainbow-color highball glasses. Lace gloves. Sparkle makeup. Disco balls. Pillbox hats. Hawaiian shirts. It can all be… More >>
  • Best Florist

    Pistils 'N Petals

    Unlike hoity-toity florists who emanate attitude, Malou and Melita Corrigan, the mother-daughter duo who opened this down-to-earth business a year and a half ago, want to bring flowers to the people and people to flowers. That's why their shop and nursery provide worldwide wire service and delivery throughout Miami-Dade. It's also why their friendly designers (six on staff) are… More >>
  • Best Place To Hook Up With A Hookah

    Daily Bread Marketplace

    Looking for a date, mister? Well you're probably not going to find one here. What you will discover, aside from an astonishing assortment of Middle-Eastern foodstuffs and yummy prepared provisions, is a lovely selection of hookahs. Yes, hookahs, those lamp-like contraptions that people have used for smoking since the dawn of time. If you require a regular dose of… More >>
  • Best Twenty-Foot Turkey

    Rios Flowers

    Last year's winner in the Best Florist category indeed offers a good and reasonably priced selection of flowers. But it's those remarkable piles of chicken wire, papier-mâché, and tempera paint in front of Gerardo Rios's store that make the place truly miraculous. Wondering how to track the change of seasons in the subtropics? Just take a spin down Biscayne Boulevard… More >>
  • Best Selection Of Saints On Fire

    Religious candles at Mexico Market

    This is the place to find beautiful velas dedicated to the Virgin of Charity, the Virgin of Guadalupe, and every saint, healer, and power in between. It's all the better if you happen to be partial to Mexican heroes; you'll find candles dedicated to Pancho Villa, Nino Fidencio Constantino (a healer just south of the Texas-Mexico border), and Don Pedrito… More >>
  • Best Place To Make A Stink

    The Fragrance Shop

    You paid a pretty penny for that bottle of perfume and every time you spray on the scent it lasts less than a nanosecond? Sucker! There are two solutions to your dilemma: (1) Stock up on $100 bottles, or (2) visit the Fragrance Shop, where they can bootleg, er, re-create your favorite designer perfume. The educated noses at this place… More >>
  • Best Secondhand Store

    Frenchie's Antiques and Furniture

    The full-size metal horse above the main entrance suggests something slightly surreal may be inside. And it is. Six decades of flotsam and some jetsam from estate sales, garage sales, and sundry merchandising events are jammed into this museum of a store. Along with a plethora of tables, chairs, lamps, clocks, mirrors, and glassware, there's plenty of unusual stuff: a… More >>
  • Best Sex Toys Shop

    Pink Pussycat Boutique

    How many takes on the old in-and-out are there? you ask. For 28 years the Pink Pussy Cat has been counting the ways, making it one of the oldest such stores in Miami-Dade County. Among the shop's impressive lineup of toys are ones that vibrate in every conceivable direction and others that buzz in a frenetic frenzy. At the… More >>
  • Best Pawnshop

    Don-Z Cash Pawnbroker

    With all due empathy for those who must hawk personal belongings in order to eat or pay rent, we look for one thing in our pawnbrokers: selection. We come to shop. Here we find two rooms of immaculately arranged, clean, classily presented items, including the usual array of jewelry and home electronics. There are hundreds and hundreds of CDs (three… More >>
  • Best Painted Dishes

    Daynart

    Dayna Wolfe first visited the Bahamas as a teenager. Since then she's traveled to the island nation every year, even living there for two years as a painter. She is so inspired by the sun-dappled flora and architecture that their colors explode from her trays, mugs, plates, vases, and tiles. In fact the interior of her store, in the heart… More >>
  • Best Kids' Boutique

    La Ideal

    Parents have found myriad ways to garb their wee 'uns. Some cute them up with silly costumes, some make them clothing clones in miniature replicas of mommy- and daddy-wear, some even go the designer route to prepare their offspring for lives of conspicuous consumption. But in our view, there's something to be said for simple, good taste. Not too… More >>
  • Best Maternity Boutique

    A Pea in the Pod

    Winning this category for the second straight year is a pricey boutique that has allowed many a mom-to-be to leave the house feeling sexy even after gaining twenty pounds. So what if dresses go for about $150 and suits sell for $250? Just think of it as a two-for-one deal. They stock an especially good collection of eveningwear. "I really… More >>
  • Best Baby Store

    Lavin Baby Center

    Forget the chain stores. This is the place to buy everything for that special kidlet. Need a stroller? They have dozens. A crib? You can get the lace-covered kind, the traveling sort, or an old-fashioned one. Lavin's is even better if you speak Spanish; its name is taken from a prerevolutionary baby store in Havana and the help habla Espaņol.… More >>
  • Best Way To Stick It To Your Pet

    Dr. Robert Ferran

    Dr. Ferran certainly is not a wild-eyed new-age kook. He's a pedigreed vet, having directed the Miami Beach Animal Hospital for nine years and run his own practice for a decade. So if he wants to insert sharp needles into your doggy, let him. This guy is a certified acupuncturist for both humans and animals. Clinical studies and 8000-year-old manuscripts… More >>
  • Best Junk

    Flamingo Plaza

    If one man's trash is another's treasure, then Flamingo Plaza is where the late Mel Fisher should have spent his time. There's more junk here than there is sand in the ocean. This L-shaped stripmall has thrift stores and junk shops selling stuff you never dreamed you needed or knew you wanted. One quick stop at a place called Red… More >>
  • Best Indoor Nursery

    Gold Coast Hydroponic Greenhouse

    To many in the agricultural set, the essence of growing the best fruit, vegetables, and flowers is perfect soil that is rich in nutrients and well aerated. But a better way might be no soil at all. Hydroponics, feeding plants via a flow of water filled with nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and a number of trace minerals, is well established in… More >>
  • Best Nursery

    Canterbury Farm & Nursery

    Those in the know, such as professional landscapers, and those who know almost nothing, such as the new homeowner do-it-yourselfer, will both do well to visit Linda Hunter's five-acre spread down in the land of nurseries (mostly wholesalers), mango orchards, and the place with the big "mice, rats, and rabbits for sale" signs. After Hurricane Andrew destroyed her family's litchi… More >>
  • Second Best Dungeon Masters

    Sunshine Roleplayers

    Sunshine has been in business for some twenty years, selling the games that allow the mentally gifted and socially awkward to sit around a table, roll twenty-sided dice, and imagine they're elves, wizards, barbarians, vampires, Klingons, Wookies, or other fantastic characters. Like many in the role-playing game trade, Joel ("What's your last name?" asks New Times. "Why do you ask?"… More >>
  • Best Neighbors

    Harriel's Tobacco Shoppe of Suniland

    Both of these retailers are excellent at what they do; the bizarre thing is that they do it side by side. Richard Fishman, owner of the health food store, says: "The smell comes through the walls and our customers aren't smokers. But hey, that's part of life. We stopped worrying about it a long time ago." The even more easygoing… More >>
  • Best Dungeon Masters

    Lizards On Ice

    No, it's not pest control Miami style or a new South Beach lounge. So what's with the name? It's an obscure D & D reference. When school lets out, this one-and-a-half-year-old gaming store next to the West Kendall Regional Library resembles the New York Stock Exchange -- for prepubescents. Its backpack-wielding Lilliputian traders, mostly boys, clamor around a godlike clerk… More >>
  • Best Hockey Shop

    Hockey World

    Mike Gurowitz is a hockey pioneer. The Chicago native began playing hockey in South Florida way back in 1983, when he joined a North Miami street league. Since then an ice rink opened in North Miami, the Panthers nearly won a Stanley Cup, and a dozen roller-hockey rinks debuted across the county. Gurowitz launched Hockey World to serve the area's… More >>
  • Best Soccer Shop

    Soccer Locker

    You're driving your kid across town to the big tournament when he suddenly realizes he's made a tragic mistake: He left his shin guards at home. Or you're on your way to a local pickup game and need a new ball; the last time you played was ten years ago and yours is dead as grandma's cat. Or you decide… More >>
  • Best Cowboy Outfitter

    Cowboy Center

    Since 1959 Cowboy Center has catered to the needs of Miami-Dade's horsemen (and horsewomen, of course). But the pungent smell of leather is a tip-off that this store is geared toward equestrians rather than clotheshorses. If polo or rodeo is your game, this is the place. Leather is a specialty here. Saddles, embroidered belts, whips, riding crops, vests, and bolo… More >>
  • Best Dive Shop

    Tarpoon Skin Diving Center

    Despite what your bridge-jumping, shark-riding, train-hopping Uncle Beanie might tell you, scuba requires meticulous preparation and impeccable equipment. Professional divers will insist that purchasing diving gear is like securing life-support equipment for a trip to outer space. That's because we humans breathe air, not water. Thus the best and brightest scuba practitioners recommend high-quality equipment, from mask to fin. Tarpoon,… More >>
  • Best Sporting Goods Store

    Play It Again Sports

    Miami's franchise of the Play It Again chain has had four years to turn into a sprawling, sterile, time-wasting white elephant (as chain stores are wont to do). It hasn't. The service is friendly and efficient without being cloying or annoying; this is especially important at a place that buys and sells new and used gear. Among its wares are… More >>
  • Best Bike Shop

    Enrique's Bicycle Shop

    Owner Enrique Fajardo calls it a "neighborhood" bike store because he carries a range of reasonably priced cycles for kids and adults: cruisers, mountain bikes, track racing bikes, tandems, and even a big three-wheeler with a metal basket attached for grocery runs and flower sales. Fajardo is a no-nonsense, no-pressure salesman with a smile. He has a reputable repair business… More >>
  • Best Guitar Store

    Ed's Guitars

    In the wonderful world of axes, Ed remains the virtuoso dealer. For more than twenty years he's concocted a strange brew of guitars for his customers. These instruments come in all shapes, colors, sizes, and prices. They hail from different eras and distant lands; there are vintage Fenders, Martins, Gibsons, Gretsches, and classic models from Czechoslovakia. Oddities abound. Check out… More >>
  • Best Camera-Repair Shop

    Dan's Camera Clinic

    At age nineteen Manfred Wenzel began his crusade to heal ailing cameras. No matter where he's lived -- Germany, Chile, New York, Miami -- the repair guru has given a second chance to death-row-bound lenses, shutters, and range finders. If there's a broken part, there's a way for Wenzel's magic hands to mend it. Tucked into a stripmall on Biscayne… More >>
  • Best Way To Get Wired For Free

    SEFLIN Free-Net

    We love free. We scour dumpsters for free stuff. We take things that we'll never use because they're free. Free is rare and usually a little worn-out. Or it has so many strings attached that we end up hog-tied. But sometimes in our search for free, we get lucky and score big-time; we find the ElectroWave on Miami Beach, a… More >>
  • Best Adult Video Store

    Airport Adult Video

    Airport Adult Video may be a new kid on the block, but it's a fast learner. Open less than three years, this porn palace is quickly making a name for itself among aficionados. Wall-to-wall mirrors, eighteen state-of-the-art video booths, and a staff of mechanics who keep those busy machines whirring set it apart from competitors. The store's location is a… More >>
  • Best Bookstore

    Books & Books

    Hello. Welcome to Miami. We see you're reading. That's good. Fundamental in fact. You should know that Barnes & Noble has plenty of locations around town. Borders, too. There's also one bookstore dedicated to gay lifestyle and culture and another devoted to African-American-related publications. And there are plenty of Spanish-language tome purveyors. So you can see we're well read. What?… More >>
  • Best Used Bookstore

    Kafka's Kafe and Newsstand

    The organization may be a bit idiosyncratic (a cache of early Nineties copies of the lit mag the Paris Review were shelved in the travel section) but seek and ye shall find here. A recent Sunday-afternoon browse snagged inexpensive paperbacks of noted local author Fred D'Aguiar's The Longest Memory, as well as Denis Johnson's Fiskadoro and John Hawkes's Second Skin.… More >>
  • Best Baseball Card Shop

    Bases Loaded Sports Cards and Comics

    Need a hockey stick used in the 1996 Stanley Cup final and signed by the Eastern Conference Champion Florida Panthers? Or how about a pack of baseball cards for under a buck? Bases Loaded has it all for the avid collector or the peewee ballplayer. Don't be discouraged by the tiny storefront and small interior. The place is loaded to… More >>
  • Best Comic-Book Store

    Super Heroes Unlimited

    Super Heroes wins this category by a whisker. Tropic Comics, just a few blocks down the street, is good, but this place has a touch more variety in underground and indies. If you're a fan of R. Crumb or others who carry on the tradition of alternative cartooning (Daniel Clowes, Peter Bagge, Kaz), this is one of the few spots… More >>
  • Best Newsstand

    Worldwide News

    It's all been said before: hundreds of domestic and foreign periodicals in stock, 6000 magazines from around the world, and a surprisingly good selection of porn mags and videos. We've picked Worldwide as best newsstand so many times we're sick of repeating ourselves. But until another place this good pops up in Miami (which is not exactly literacy central), this… More >>
  • Best Movie-Poster Store

    Tropic Comics

    Although Tropic Comics is ostensibly a comic-book shop, Superman and the Incredible Hulk are actually some of the least colorful characters here. Huge vintage movie posters are plastered all over the store's high walls. But don't look for highbrow cineastes' picks. Tropic is a veritable shrine to Fifties and Sixties drive-in culture. There are more zombie flicks on display than… More >>
  • Best Video Store

    New Concept Video

    Blockbuster video stores are perfect for, well, blockbuster movies. But if your taste in film is a bit more adventurous, the rental destination of choice is New Concept Video, where the inviting aisles are filled with enough variety to satisfy any couch potato. Quality new releases certainly abound, but it's in the catalogue that this place really shines. Looking for… More >>
  • Best Place For A Dj To Buy Vinyl

    Spec's

    "Everybody wants to transfer here," DJ Merlyn says about the attitude of his colleagues at other Spec's toward the chain's South Beach location. It's not hard to see why. Because just about everybody behind the counters is a DJ, the electronica stock is deep, informed, and up-to-the-minute. Stop by on a Wednesday, when the week's new releases arrive, and you'll… More >>
  • Best Record/Cd Store

    Blue Note Records

    Bob Perry's Blue Note Records has held this award for ages, and deservedly so. His store is simply the best one-stop location for almost all the music that truly matters. In the front room you can work your way through the latest hip-hop, reggae, Latin, folk, blues, world sounds, and vintage soul. Move into the second room and it's a… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy Reggae

    Rankin' Records

    Bob Marley is just the tip of the iceberg at this outpost for Jah. Stacks of reggae vinyl abound in this shop, and though the emphasis is on dancehall and the more modern sounds out of Jamaica, there's still plenty of vintage roots on display. A recent shopping stop turned up rare, early-Seventies Tappa Zukie and Mighty Diamonds albums, as… More >>
  • Best Traveling Barber

    Jackie Charles

    You want to feel like a captain of industry? Make an appointment to have Jackie Charles (pronounced in one quick burst as Jackiecharles) meet you at work. Nothing provides that old-fashioned sense of entitlement like having the barber come to you. No breezing through ten-year-old Playboy magazines while you wait at the barbershop. You call, set a time, and Charles… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy Disco

    Yesterday & Today Dance Music

    Disco's current revival as source material for a new generation of retro-chic DJs is hardly news at Yesterday & Today. House, Hi-NRG, or whatever your moniker of choice may be for the sound's current incarnation, it's all one continuous cacophony inside this cheery and loudly thumping record shop. The proof is in the impressive array of vintage disco and late-Seventies'… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy Latin Music

    Esperanto Music

    So you don't know tango from timba or a bolero from a bachata? And you think cumbia is the name of that chicken dish you ate at some Honduran restaurant last week. Don't worry. Ignorance is welcome at Esperanto Music, where you can explore a new world of Latin sound without feeling like an ugly American. Manager Carlos Suarez is… More >>
  • Best Reason Not To Go To Cocowalk

    Newly installed fifteen-minute parking meters. As inconceivable as it may seem, visiting "the heart and beat of the Grove," as CocoWalk managers bill their mall, is now more of a hassle than ever.… More >>
  • Best Mall

    The Falls

    South Florida certainly suffers no shortage of malls. A half-dozen major shopping centers compete for patrons and several more are coming soon. The Falls is best because it combines many of its rivals' positive attributes. Macy's and Bloomingdale's provide solid anchors. All the boutique chain stores, from Ann Taylor to Aveda to Crate & Barrel, add value. And it's a… More >>
  • Best Skate Shop

    Universal Ski and Sport Outlet

    Believe it or not, the Ice Age cometh to South Florida. In fact it already cameth. Several years ago professional hockey teams started drifting toward the tropics from places like Minnesota. Then skaters scratched the ice on indoor rinks in Homestead, North Miami-Dade, and elsewhere. Now a new recreational ice-skating mecca is planned for Kendall. So if you want… More >>
  • Best South Beach Oasis

    Touch Skin & Body Care Studio

    The crowds, the traffic, the parking. %#$%&*!!! These days even the most dedicated hipsters can find South Beach a tad stressful. A visit to Touch Studio, Gigi Noriega's Lincoln Road sanctuary, is the cure for frazzled nerves. A licensed facialist, manicurist, and aromatherapist, Noriega offers treatments for the face, body, and soul, including a variety of aromatherapy facials, seaweed body… More >>
  • Best Wine Store

    Crown Wine & Spirits

    To avoid again detailing all the virtues of this category's perennial winner, Crown Wine & Spirits, we'll give a quick report on champagne. After all the new millennium approaches. For those who don't know this Coral Gables oenophile mecca, suffice it to say thousands of bottles from the mundane to the impossible are well organized, reasonably priced, and articulately described… More >>
  • Best Beer Selection In A Store

    Seventeenth and Dixie Citgo Latin American Food and Deli

    Once you recover from the shock that a gas station/convenience store could contain such a comprehensive beer selection, the possibilities are positively intoxicating. You can buy individual bottles here, so perhaps one night you decide to sample every variety manufactured by the English brewery Samuel Smith. The next day your tastes lead you to Southern-style beer like Dixie Blackened Voodoo… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    Sunny Isles Liquors

    It may look like just another place to brown-bag it, but this Sunny Isles liquor store isn't average. Lining the walls are hundreds of unusual decanters, new and old Zippo lighters, thousands of airplane-size minibottles, and a stash of beers from around the world. Whiskeys, ports, grappas, rums, liqueurs, gold-speckled apéritifs, fruit cordials, and hard-to-find imported wines make this storefront… More >>
  • Best Costume Jewelry

    Moon Dance

    Moon Dance glitters with the world's treasures. Jewelry from Nepal, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria is laid out in glass cases as majestically as ancient artifacts in a museum display. Many of these pieces have spiritual significance. There are Buddhist medallions stamped with sacred images and African silver totems hanging from leather cords. This exotic jewelry may not bring good luck,… More >>
  • Best Manicure

    Margarita and Jesse's Nail Design

    Margarita Gonzalez possesses the two requisite qualities of a supreme manicurist: a steady hand and a sympathetic ear. But there are other reasons why she's been in business for thirty years, namely her cleanliness, attention to detail, and efficiency. Appointments start and end on time. At her small, second-floor salon, nails are not an afterthought. There's no racket here from… More >>
  • Best Place To Depilate

    South Beach Body Waxing Company

    Most body waxing is performed in beauty salons where the employees give facials, shampoos, sweep the floor, and do manicures. Here the waxers wax. When you're talking about a stranger slathering hot, sticky gunk on your most private parts and then tearing out hundreds of hairs with one yank, it's nice to have confidence. "It's really hard to find good… More >>
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