Shopping & Services

  • Best Barbershop

    Manny's Place Barber Shop

    Blink and you'll drive past this quaint barbershop tucked away in a dingy strip mall on the northern edge of the City of Progress. Want to take the pulse of Miami-Dade's second largest municipality? Plop down on one of the three red-vinyl barbers' chairs, grab a macho car magazine, and engage owner Manuel Perez in conversation. The tonsorial artist will… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Barbershop

    The Back Way

    An unlikely combination in an unlikely place. During the day this little storefront, wedged between an antique shop and a plumbing-supply store near the Miami-Coral Gables frontier, is mostly a haircut hangout. Nelson, an affable, experienced barber, dispenses 'dos and relationship advice, in both English and Spanish, to customers who recline in two barbers' chairs. DJ Flex Perez devotes one… More >>
  • Best Skate Shop

    Universal Ski and Skate Outlet

    The in-line skater brings home a new set of wheels. They are too big. This bothers him. He returns to Universal, where he purchased the wheels a day earlier. Returns are no problem, he's told, even though he'd opened the packages. "Where do you skate?" he is asked. A nearby rink, he replies. "Oh, really? I used to skate out… More >>
  • Best Place To Style The Pooch

    Dog Charm Pet Grooming

    It's that time again. Fido is a mess, and you're in no mood to wrestle him into the tub. For 40 years Dog Charm has catered to the needs of area pet owners. At a cost of just $25, these canine lovers will bathe shaggy manes and brush them to groomed perfection. And they'll throw in a good nail-clipping. For… More >>
  • Best Mall

    Aventura Mall

    Retail stores and malls in Miami-Dade County continue to multiply exponentially, complicating the question of where to shop. Oh the Falls has its merits: lush foliage, soothing sounds of water, and a view of the sky. But on a sticky summer day, when it rains sideways, you better hope you're not strolling down the sidewalk toting your brand-new wedding dress.… More >>
  • Best Piñata Maker

    Liliana Perez Piņata Factory

    In a small warehouse Liliana Perez stores papier-mâché creations, some up to six feet tall and covered in crepe paper of every hue imaginable. Each week Perez says she moves about 200 piņatas, including bright-green dragons, coffee-color horses, jolly clowns, and even butterflies. Drum-shape piņatas are stacked to the ceiling; they go for wholesale prices to party-supply stores. "I can… More >>
  • Best Botánica

    Vierge Miracle and Saint Philippe Botánica

    For practitioners of Santería and vodou, mystery has always been the vessel of the sacred. Since the days of colonialism, when slaves kept African gods alive by cloaking them with the names of Catholic saints, keeping a secret has meant preserving one's culture. Although the world has changed, practitioners of syncretic religions today are as secretive as ever. Indeed reticence… More >>
  • Best Art-Supply Store

    The Palette

    Old school is the way Sidney Kaufman describes his one-of-a-kind arts emporium. Indeed this spacious shop is frozen in time. At the 24-year-old Palette, you can find graphic-arts supplies that haven't been available in most stores since the dawn of the computer age. Transfer type, which was used to do layout before the advent of Quark, can be purchased here.… More >>
  • Best Fantasy Clothes

    Oxys Fantasy Co.

    Marriage stale? Bored with your boyfriend? Feeling more stagnant than sexy? Before hunting for a divorce lawyer or breaking the monotony with small animals, try Oxys. Almost every clothing fantasy is accommodated in this emporium, which offers wares that make Victoria's Secret's selection seem like Sunday-school attire. In the front room are fantasy outfits like jungle girl or French maid,… More >>
  • Best Place For DJs To Buy Vinyl

    Yesterday & Today Dance Music

    If you want to track down your favorite DJ during daylight hours, head for the row of turntables inside Yesterday & Today, which retains its long-time position as ground zero for the doyens of clubland. The reasons are simple: a friendly and knowledgeable staff, weekly infusions of new releases (including a steady stream of white-label twelve-inchers), and a mellow vibe… More >>
  • Best Gun Shop

    Lou's Gunshop and Police Supply

    It's hard to find a knowledgeable gun owner who recommends any place other than Lou's. All the brands are in stock: Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer, Colt, Beretta, Taurus, Glock, et cetera. And of course all the ammo and accessories are here, too. But that isn't really what sets Lou's apart. It's no secret the gun industry is going through… More >>
  • Best Bookstore

    Books & Books

    After so many years it's reassuring that owner Mitchell Kaplan sometimes answers the telephone at Books & Books. Aside from their many tangible qualities -- a great selection, regular readings by nationally and internationally known authors, and a cool kids' section -- the stores are distinctive because they have improved and evolved while retaining their essential… More >>
  • Best Spanish-Language Newsstand

    Guido's Stand

    Although he's only worked here for thirteen years, Guido Dominguez claims a newsstand has been on this corner for forty-three years. If that's true the place is almost half as old as the City of Miami. As the number of bilingual citizens has grown, so has the quantity of reading material in languages other than English, Dominguez says. Four decades… More >>
  • Best Design Firm That Doubles As A Record Store

    Plex

    Look closely at the most creative flyers touting the barrage of DJ events in Miami, and you're sure to spot the Plex credit. The firm is the creation of graphic-design team Steven Castro and Rick Garrido, who have done some gleefully twisted stuff. Less well-known is the appointment-only record store the duo operates out of their Lincoln Road office. The… More >>
  • Best Flea Market

    Opa-locka/Hialeah Flea Market

    Entering this flea market seems like a trip to the Caribbean. Meandering among the throngs of customers that cram the hundreds of stalls every weekend, one can hear a Jamaican lilt, Haitian patois, and Dominican-accented Spanish. The blaring music is equally eclectic; it ranges from gospel to salsa. You can buy almost anything here, from palm readings to power tools.… More >>
  • Best Bike Shop

    Broken Spoke Bicycles

    If you're a yuppie, this may not be the place for you. It's not in hip South Beach. Not even in kinda-hip South Miami. It's on NW Seventh Avenue, in an area some might charitably call industrial. And hey, there's not a lot of Lycra here, but there is a 1973 Orange Crate stingray, which sells for $2200. Owner Chris… More >>
  • Best Soccer Shop

    Soccer Locker of Miami

    This little warehouse has a large, knowledgeable staff and the best selection of gear in town. Balls include the phosphorescent yellow Diadora ($17) and the traffic-cone-orange Fila ($25); cleats range from a $38 pair of black-and-white Diadoras to the flashy $152 Puma Cellulators; Adidas and Umbro shin pads start at $15. What do you need to judge the joint besides… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    Fox's Sherron Inn walk-up window

    It's late. You're home alone, and that Coke you're sipping just isn't cutting it. Definitely needs to be jacked up. You need a hit of the hard stuff. But you're out of whisky and worse, out of cash. Those not-so-convenient drugstore liquor emporiums shuttered their doors hours ago. What to do? Get on the horn and hit your friends up… More >>
  • Best Toy Store

    Dr. Einstein's Science Store

    Have you been searching for a gem-hunter's kit? A solar-powered model biplane? An ant factory, a hand-held metal detector, or ingredients to brew your own root beer? You have? Then breathe easy. Dr. Einstein has blown into town. Or rather his namesake, this toy store, has arrived. With a terrific selection of scientific, ecological, and mathematical games and experiments, Dr.… More >>
  • Best Asian Grocery

    PK Oriental Mart

    When Norman Wong left Hong Kong twelve years ago, he moved to Miami "because," as he says, "somebody's got to live there." He founded PK in 1994 and has worked hard to build the market's reputation as one of the most reliable sources of East Asian foods in South Florida. The store has a down-home, middle-America feel, with no trace… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy A Bonsai

    Miami Tropical Bonsai

    Imagine a delightful forest of hundreds of varieties of tropical and subtropical trees. There are old-growth hardwoods, including a 600-year-old bald cypress, its snarled trunk dappled with green moss. Nearby are rare Florida native species like lysiloma, also known as wild tamarind, and lignum vitae, nicknamed iron wood for its strength. Color is added by flowering bougainvillea and the white… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy Haitian Music

    Boujoly Music & Communications

    Can't tell your compas from your rara? Wondering what the difference is between the groups T-Vice and Top Vice? Are you dying to explore the world of Haitian music but don't have the foggiest clue where to jump in? Proceed to Boujoly, which boasts a wonderful selection of Haitian CDs (as well as the latest flyers announcing all those local… More >>
  • Best Comic-Book Store

    A&M Comics and Books

    The reek of aging paper and incense that assails you upon entry is a tip-off this is no Magic: The Gathering-come-lately comics-and-collectibles joint. In fact A&M has been slaking the thinking nerd's thirst for all kinds of four-color pulp fiction since before Chris Claremont drew the X-Men. It took owners Jorge Perez and Richard Cortina years to accumulate the hillocks… More >>
  • Best Indoor Nursery

    Motes Orchids

    Two wandering academics, Mary from Britain and Martin from the States, met and married in Kosovo in 1976. Within a year they decided to move to South Florida and set up an orchid ranch. Just another typical South Florida story. Today the sight of thousands of orchids in one of the couple's several shady sheds is an overwhelming life experience;… More >>
  • Best Record/CD Store

    Blue Note Records

    Much like the fabled jazz label from which it takes its name, Blue Note Records remains an easy reference point when seeking quality sound. Sure, other shops around town may dig a tad deeper into their chosen niches, but as a one-stop destination for all the music that truly matters, Blue Note reigns supreme. Indeed it's a testament to owner… More >>
  • Best Florist

    Roses by Karla

    A rose by any other name? Easy enough. Call Karla, Karla Dascal to be specific, the innovative designer behind aromatic floral arrangements such as Jungle Love, Jungle Passion, Papayas, Grapes, and Manzanas. Dascal might be better known in some circles as florist to the stars, because she has delivered blooms to Madonna, Steven Tyler, and Sylvester Stallone, to name a… More >>
  • Best Bird Shop

    The Aviary

    One begins to hear the birds at this South Miami-Dade wonder from the parking lot long before glimpsing a single brightly colored feather. Shielded by tall wooden fences and dense foliage is an exotic avian world full of amazing hues and wild calls. Among dozens of cages spread out over the immense shaded patio are white cockatoos with yellow spiked… More >>
  • Best Used Bookstore

    Eutopia

    Someone obviously forgot to explain to Eutopia's owners that Lincoln Road -- once the repository of charming funkiness and strolling artistes -- has been transformed into a generic strip mall. How else to explain the existence of this recently opened bookshop brimming with out-of-print treasures just steps from the Gap, Pottery Barn, and Banana Republic? Eutopia… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy Vinyl

    Yardbird Records (inside Esperanto Music)

    For years Hallandale's Yardbird Records was a local fave for snagging rare vinyl treasures, making the shop's closing in late 1998 a sad day for the turntable set. With little fanfare however, Yardbird owner Michael Dean has renested behind the counter of the Beach's Esperanto Music. He's also taken over the backroom, filling it with his still-sprawling assortment of tough-to-find… More >>
  • Best Reason Not To Go To Cocowalk

    Because it's there.… More >>
  • Best Pawnshop

    The Loan-ly Pawn

    A John Deere lawn mower, a pair of K2 snow skis, used IBM computers, Madonna's Erotica CD, a metal folding bed, an antique Kodak camera, silver chains, Sony cordless telephones, a Huffy mountain bike, a pair of Pioneer stereo speakers, gold watches, a pneumatic hammer, a JVC car radio, a Panasonic video camera, used Nintendo video games, and best of… More >>
  • Best Recycled Junk

    Metal Arte

    Metal Arte is one of those places you could walk past and never notice, partly because of the distraction offered by the numerous sex-and-drug transactions in this somewhat sleazy neighborhood. But don't let the unseemly stuff deter you. In a strip of industrial buildings just north of NE 79th Street, you'll find José Trujillo, his son, and one or two… More >>
  • Best Sporting Goods Store

    Midway Sports

    Whether your game is baseball, boxing, or Ping-Pong, Midway Sports has your bases covered. This small shop is packed with gloves, bats, football helmets, shoulder pads, roller skates, and hockey sticks. The wall of balls (volley-, soccer-, basket-, foot-) even has junior sizes. Midway doesn't carry golf equipment, but hey, that's not really a sport, is it? The footwear selection… More >>
  • Best Beer Selection In A Store

    Milam's Market

    What's impressive about the beer selection at Milam's is that it's so civilized. All those nations coexisting peacefully on the shelves, waiting to be sampled by someone who likes to raise a glass and toast the merits of ale, porter, and stout. The assortment probably isn't the biggest in town, but who wants to pick through the undesirables when this… More >>
  • Best Baby Store

    Burdines

    Okay, so Burdines isn't one of those megaoutlets that carries everything from bottles to baby-joggers. It's a department store that specializes in clothing, especially baby wear. Need booties for a newborn? Check out the Carter's display. Overalls for a six-month-old? The Osh Kosh B'Gosh rack's got the togs. And the selection of Tommy Hilfiger is so extensive it's hard not… More >>
  • Best U-Pick Field

    Granma's Garden

    Fruit and vegetables don't get any fresher than this. All you need to do is grab a bucket and choose the best ones. The selection here would make the produce manager at any supermarket green with envy. Amid the verdant rows that stretch for about 80 acres are basil, parsley, sunflowers, strawberries, raspberries, five varieties of tomato, cabbage, corn, five… More >>
  • Best Dive Shop

    Aquaknots

    Many of Aquaknots' devoted customers have been patronizing this shop since it opened in the early Seventies, and they're not about to go anywhere else. The proprietors, Manny Seoane and Mario Ginoris, have been around for quite awhile, too. Both were on the sales staff before deciding to buy the store ten years ago. Aquaknots maintains one of the largest… More >>
  • Best Vintage Store

    Senzatempo

    Clothing peddlers usually triumph in this category, but for 2000 we look past the duds to Senzatempo, which means "without time" in Italian. For ten years this store has featured some of the most interesting, top-shelf, vintage material in the area. Besides stocking distinctive designer furnishings from the Roaring Twenties and the mod Seventies, this well-located place offers rare finds… More >>
  • Best Secondhand Store

    Community Family Thrift Store

    Forget about all the boutiques for models, mainstream retail stores, and cool club-wear shops that have flocked to South Beach. Be truly revolutionary with your purchasing dollars. Enter secondhand-consumer mode and head for Community Family, where you'll find Kingston Trio albums, green pumps so bright they glow in the dark, and other recycled castaways from four decades of SoBe weirdness.… More >>
  • Best Sex Toys Shop

    Toys in Babeland

    Actually a Seattle-based store with a New York location, this place is a mecca of carnal commerce. The babes who own this adult toyland, Claire Cavanah and Rachel Venning, have pioneered a new concept: very woman-friendly service and products: "We want a trip to Toys in Babeland to feel like a vacation from all the negative messages our culture gives… More >>
  • Best Homestead Hippie Hangout

    Main Street Café

    The Age of Aquarius is alive and well at the Main Street Café. Tofu, soy burgers, a salad bar, and hummus are all on the lengthy menu that accentuates the vegetarian. Fruit and vegetable juices are on tap to wash down this healthy fare. Sun lovers can sit at tables outside. But if inside is your thing, man, the walls… More >>
  • Best Global Grab Bag

    Brickell Village News & Worldwide Trading Post

    Located next door to Tobacco Road and run by long-time Road denizen, music promoter, and eccentric-man-about-town Mark Weiser, Brickell News is the most ecumenical array around, short of a flea market. And this stuff is all new. Well, a lot of it is. It's as if Weiser's brain exploded all over the shop. "People come in all the time and… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy Latin Music

    Esperanto Music

    "No musical prejudices" reads a handwritten sign, the first clue about the forbidden fruit that lies within Esperanto. While live Cuban music too often falls victim to local political heat and a knee-jerk emotional backlash, you can still hear it on CD, thanks to this outpost of cultural tolerance on Lincoln Road. From vintage Fifties descarga to the latest timba… More >>
  • Best Adult-Video Store

    Pleasure Emporium III

    The obvious criterion for stores in this category is pornography. Lots of it. The latest foothold in Pleasure Emporium's burgeoning empire (two South Beach stores and another near Miami International Airport) makes the grade with more than 4500 titles, ranging from Spanish (Latina Debutante) to bondage (Tie Me, Spank Me, Eat Me), that line the concrete walls, which are painted… More >>
  • Best Video Store

    Lion Video

    It's a tossup between the Beach's New Concept Video and Lion when it comes to selection: Both stand as cinematic oases in a desert of unadventurous Blockbusters. Browse the aisles of either store and you'll find a solid array of new and classic independent pictures, oodles of gay and lesbian titles, a host of wonderfully oddball documentaries, and plenty of… More >>
  • Best Mexican Market

    Mexico Market

    Chilies -- fresh, dried, smoked, chopped up in salsa. They are the very heart of Mexican cuisine. And they are in abundance at Mexico Market. In fact this store comes as close to the real Mexico as any commercial establishment in South Florida. Here are things you'd have to search hours or even days for in Miami, things… More >>
  • Best Macramé Maker

    Daniel Tong

    With his hands Daniel Tong transforms hemp, nylon, and cotton into knotted masterpieces. He weaves black, green, yellow, and red ropes to create Rastafarian icons on wall mats, floor mats, and room partitions. Tong, a member of the Nyabinghi order of Rastafarianism, began experimenting with macramé work as a teenager. He expresses his faith with each twist. A magnificent seven-foot-long… More >>
  • Best Costume Jewelry

    Chrisalyn

    All that glitters is not gold; sometimes it is marcasite with Austrian crystals. Heck, it was good enough for Granny to wear to the theater. And now granny's 21-year-old great-granddaughter wants to don the stuff for a night at the clubs. Before the young hussy steps out the door, she should visit Chrisalyn. The rings, necklaces, and bracelets in the… More >>
  • Best Hair Salon For Kids

    Kids' Only Place

    This one-of-a-kind children's beauty salon is equipped with Snoopy hair dryers and even a wooden ship where toddlers and kids can play at being pirates while they wait for a trim. Moms can get makeovers and manicures without worrying: Stylists attend to junior's every need. The only conventional barbers' chairs here are used by grownups. Kids sit in fantastic cars,… More >>
  • Best Place To Stow The Pooch

    El Saba Kennels

    So you're leaving town for a while and the age-old question of what to do with Fido is again rearing its ugly, scruffy head. You could try to con your best buddy into walking and feeding the mutt, but that almost torpedoed your friendship last time. Besides, when you returned, your floppy-eared companion seemed thin and attention starved. Fortunately there… More >>
  • Best Maternity Boutique

    Discount Maternity Warehouse

    Pregnancy is wonderful when there's an entire warehouse full of clothes to fit your moods, which, by the way, rise and fall like a yo-yo. At this manufacturer's outlet you'll find everything from the slinky and sensual to the obviously pregnant. Racks of cool eveningwear stand near stacks of Peter Pan collar shirts in floral prints and pastels. There are… More >>
  • Best South Beach Oasis

    Penrod's

    The wet T-shirt contests? Gone. The spring-breakers toppling into the pool with brewskis in their hands? History. In fact the pool has gone the way of South Beach crackhouses and disappeared completely. Resurrecting Fort Lauderdalian bacchanalia never really worked for Miami, where the action is a more sophisticated version of sleazy. So rather than continue the bikini-contest beach life and… More >>
  • Best Perfumery

    Alberto Cortes Cosmeticos y Perfumes

    "I can't even begin to describe Fahrenheit," says Keila Crucet, manager at Alberto Cortes. But after taking a whiff of the sample stick soaked in Christian Dior's hawthorn and sandalwood fragrance for men, she finds just the right words: "It's very out there." Besides offering such eloquent descriptions, Crucet will advise you on when to apply a certain eau de… More >>
  • Best Big-And-Tall Shop

    Rochester Big & Tall

    Short of having a tailor make your clothes, it's hard to look good when you are a big or tall man. Let's face it, most stores catering to large gentlemen feature mostly T-shirts emblazoned with moronic slogans about the "big dog." Not Rochester Big & Tall, which opened its Aventura store in February 1999. Style and fashion are the guides… More >>
  • Best Bait Shop

    Kendall Bait and Tackle Inc.

    Joe Corbett greets customers while wearing a belt with fish embroidered on it and a button that reads, "I'm protecting what's in my genes. Are you?" Corbett thus models his two main passions: vitamins and fish. Most people know Corbett for the latter. The walls of his store are decorated with photographs of happy customers and their prize catches, mostly… More >>
  • Best Newsstand

    Worldwide News

    Worldwide is a perennial winner for the simple reason that it's hard to imagine poking around the store's carefully arranged array of international newspapers, glossy magazines, and offbeat cultural rags, and leaving empty-handed. There's simply a mind-boggling wealth of reading options. Looking for a take on Northern Ireland that differs from the mainstream media? Try a copy of the Irish… More >>
  • Best Spanish-Language Bookstore

    Libreria Distribuidora Universal

    Years ago, when a New Times writer was in graduate school in North Carolina, she took an independent-study course on Latin-American women writers. And no place in the United States did a better job of delivering the works of the most exhilarating escritoras than Juan Manuel Salvat's Little Havana shop. When the New Times writer headed south to teach graduate… More >>
  • Best Used CD Store

    CD Warehouse

    Granted CD Warehouse is a chain of stores. Yet unlike Home Depot or Bennigan's, the four used-CD peddlers in Miami-Dade County reflect their communities. This is true because their suppliers are their customers. Ergo the CD Warehouse in Miami Lakes has a high concentration of Latin music, which mirrors the salsa-loving population in the north end of the county. In… More >>
  • Best Swimsuit And Lingerie Boutique

    Illusions by Raquel

    "The orange suit will work," says Rochell "Raquel" Greene, assisting a customer in her small Washington Avenue boutique. "The one in your hand ... not for you! Don't even bother trying it on." For three years Greene has been selling Brazilian bikinis and high-end Italian lingerie to the fashionably svelte denizens of South Beach. An expert on fit, Greene appraises… More >>
  • Best Juice Bar

    El Palacio de los Jugos #1

    El Palacio doesn't look like a palace, but then your body doesn't really resemble a temple. At this rustic little produce market, you can juice up en estilo muy Miamiense. The menu includes squeezings from a spectrum of tropical fruits, including maracuya (passion fruit), tamarindo (tamarind), guanábana (soursop), papaya, mamey, and guayaba (guava). Also available: melón (cantaloupe), sandía (watermelon), coco… More >>
  • Best Wine Store

    Crown Wine & Spirits

    Stop picking random bottles of wine from those shelves at Publix. Just stop it. I mean, what are you doing, really? Trying to infer from the price tag and pretty pictures on the label how good the wine is? When the expertise of Chip Cassidy and his knowledgeable staff are at your disposal, why would you leave your wine selection… More >>
  • Best Nursery

    Parker Sod Landscape Center

    If your relationship with your garden has been tepid lately, one glimpse inside Parker Sod's butterfly aviary (thus dubbed by its proprietors) will jump-start your enthusiasm. Attendants can advise you on how to attract any number of delicate and elusive creatures to your back-yard Eden or weathered front stoop. For example Zebra Longwings, Gulf Fritillaries, and Julias have a passion… More >>

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