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  • BEST SHAVE

    The Art of Shaving

    Bal Harbour Shops

    Think of this as a real-man's facial. The barber places you in a leather reclining chair and soaks your face in a hot, scented towel. Then he rubs hot oil on your whiskers, followed by warm lather massaged into your cheeks. When he takes the straight-edge carbon-steel blade to your face, the stubble comes off like the limp and soggy… More >>
  • BEST SOCCER SHOP

    Soccer Locker of Miami

    If soccer is your thing, Soccer Locker has you covered like no other store, which is why it has won this honor three times previously. Knowledgeable sales staff will hook you up, whether you're a casual player, in a league, or just want to sport your favorite team's colors. The selection of national team and club jerseys from several continents… More >>
  • BEST SEX TOYS SHOP

    Megaplexxx Video

    Far from being discreet, Megaplexxx, with its huge XXX sign fronting I-95, is proud to announce its presence. Its inventory of sex toys is huge as well. For the men there is an impressive array of vaginas, from the strawberry-flavored pocket model to the industrial-strength Futurotic Sucking and Vibrating Vagina and Ass. Prices range from $15 to $50. For those… More >>
  • BEST SPECIALTY VIDEO STORE

    Karate Klassic Video II

    Owner Melton Jarrett says Karate Klassic fulfills a primal desire: "Karate movies have a cult following everywhere -- it's just human nature to fantasize about doing these impossible things." The store has been around for almost a decade, although it has changed owners and moved to a Carol City strip mall. "The original owner was a big fan of these… More >>
  • BEST USED BOOKSTORE

    Brandeis Book Store

    Morry Marcus, one of the throng of volunteers who operate the Brandeis Book Store in the R.K. California Club Mall, estimates there are about 20,000 books in the shop, a nonprofit that benefits the Brandeis University National Women's Club (most proceeds go to the Brandeis library or Women's Club educational programs). The volunteers are generally Brandeis University alums, and eavesdropping… More >>
  • BEST GUITAR STORE

    Guitar Center

    This place carries more than just guitars. You can find musical instruments of all types, plus electronic gear like synthesizers, samplers, mixing boards, and DJ equipment. The guitar selection is huge, acoustic and electric, featuring brand names like Gibson, Fender, Korg, and Roland. What makes Guitar Center unique, though, isn't so much what they sell but who's selling. The sales… More >>
  • BEST CAR WASH

    Leos Car Wash

    Sick of driving in a dirty car? At the venerable Leo's you can get your vehicle sprayed, scrubbed, and dried by a team of specialists for as little as ten dollars. Throw down an extra five bucks and they'll vacuum the inside too. You can also spend quite a bit more for a detailing that will make your wheels look… More >>
  • BEST PLANT NURSERY

    Palm Hammock Orchid Estate

    Palm Hammock Orchid Estate spreads out like a secret jungle, hidden in a mostly residential neighborhood just south of Snapper Creek Elementary School. The gravel parking lot behind an unassuming gateway is the last stop before entering the huge nursery's world of eerie calmness. The whispered burbling of waterfalls and koi ponds conspires with soft music and waving foliage to… More >>
  • BEST PURSE EMPORIUM

    Mr. Pocketbook

    Next to a building painted in eye-battering yellow and green, Mr. Pocketbook's bright yellow sign lures you in: "Bags $2.99 & up." Inside, a sea of vinyl, leather, and fabric awaits -- everything from the stylish leather handbags that would set you back $60 in the mall to more affordable knockoffs of high-end brand names like Fendi and Coach, to… More >>
  • BEST SECONDHAND STORE

    Goodwill

    The ubiquitous Goodwill store -- there are eighteen in Miami-Dade -- is always a decent option for secondhand shopping. The Quail Roost Goodwill stands out for its atmosphere and selection. The store is huge, although slightly less than the warehouse-size "superstores," yet somehow manages to maintain the cleanliness and order of a department store. As opposed to other secondhand stores,… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BUY LATIN MUSIC

    Lilys Records

    Still clamoring for that bump-and-grind classic salsa from the Seventies? You know: Fania All-Stars, Cheo Feliciano, Johnny Pacheco, Ray Barreto, and Celia Cruz. Lily's has more than one record from these guys. You'll also find boleros, rock, poetry, and if you're lucky, the patrons will be watching a home video from their latest trip to Cuba. … More >>
  • BEST DIVE SHOP

    Austin's Diving Center

    Austin's has been serving the dive community since 1968. In Miami, that's a very long time indeed. Here's why the customers keep coming back and why Austin's has won this award twice before: a huge inventory from more than 75 vendors, a highly professional sales staff, experienced resident diving experts, and first-rate technical support in service and repairs. Underwater-photography equipment… More >>
  • BEST REASON NOT TO GO TO COCOWALK

    The parking garage

    Driving into CocoWalk's garage is not unlike driving into the ninth circle of hell, especially on weekends, when college students, teens, and South American shoppers jockey for limited spaces that go for ten dollars a pop. Worse still is navigating through the garage's cramped driving lanes, which are well-suited for someone piloting a teeny Toyota Echo but not the hulking… More >>
  • BEST BIKE SHOP

    Cycle World

    If it weren't for places like Cycle World, we'd all be on those stupid-ass cruisers by now. Of course the cruisers are cool and easy to ride, and you can get them at this place too. But you don't go to Cycle World for the motorcycle handlebars and mod look of South Beach. Go because you like to take a… More >>
  • BEST PLANT NURSERY FOR A GOOD CAUSE

    Log Cabin Nursery

    The pink hibiscus of heated tropical fantasies, a spiky Louisiana iris with yellow burning at the core of its alabaster flower, luscious bougainvillea, sexy bromeliads. Okay, the profusion of greenery for sale at this sprawling complex, which fills the block between 81st and 82nd streets, isn't much different from that of other run-of-the-mill South Florida nurseries. Log Cabin is unique… More >>
  • BEST PLACE FOR DJs TO BUY VINYL

    Uncle Sams Music

    Over the years Uncle Sam's has developed a controversial reputation among local DJs who argue that they must travel to out-of-town shops to find the best vinyl. True, Uncle Sam's could use less main-floor stuff and more deep house, underground hip-hop, and breakbeat. But the store is best seen as a jack-of-all-trades, a place for the casual consumer to pick… More >>
  • BEST RECORD/CD STORE

    Blue Note Records

    Yes, Blue Note is a pretty darn good music store. Ample evidence of that can be found in past editions of Best of Miami. But it's time to retire its number. In order to do that, however, something just as good or better will have to come along. So consider this a protest award: It's ridiculous that in an area… More >>
  • BEST JUICE BAR

    Segundo Palacio de los Jugos

    Palacio de los Jugos is a sprawling and colorful Flagler Street produce market and juice bar. That location's little brother -- Segundo Palacio -- is perfect for those who live too far south to make it to Flagler on a regular basis. There is something joyful and indulgent about sipping fresh mango juice at Segundo Palacio, or sucking coco frio… More >>
  • BEST SKATE SHOP

    Control Skateboarding

    Tucked away in Wynwood's fashion district, Control is a Miami street skater's dream come true -- a gritty 8000-square-foot warehouse equipped with everything from a 5'5" x 20' half-pipe to a killer street setup, highlighted by nasty handrails and makeshift park benches for some serious grinding and sliding. Plans are in the works to build an outdoor street course in… More >>
  • BEST BABY STORE

    La Ideal Baby Store

    In 1978 La Ideal was just another mom-and-pop operation on Flagler Street (305-548-3296) offering its wares to expectant immigrant parents living in East Little Havana. Today it is a veritable conglomerate, with three additional stores in Miami (305-716-1140), Hialeah (305-826-2021), and Broward County, all ready to deliver (so to speak) everything new mommies and daddies could want for that… More >>
  • BEST HAND-ROLLED CIGAR

    Deco Drive Cigar

    Joey B runs the fastest-growing cigar-store empire on the Beach. He and junior partner Robert, from the NYC area, started with one shop last year (1136 Collins) and quickly expanded to locations at 1650 Meridian Avenue and 1639 Washington Avenue, as well as the Ocean Drive shop. On Ocean, their Cuban roller, José Castro, working in the traditional way, can… More >>
  • BEST GUN SHOP

    Miami Police Supply

    Are you ready for the End Times? They're coming. People ascribe different causes to the approaching apocalypse, but everyone knows it's nearly upon us. Whether the bottom drops out of the economy, terrorists turn our streets into Beirut, or God checks out Married by America and decides it's high time for the final reckoning, the few poor souls left to… More >>
  • BEST USED-CD STORE

    Uncle Sam's Music

    You're forgiven if you didn't realize Uncle Sam's had a used-CD section. After all, with its thumping house beats acting as a pied piper to club kids passing by on the sidewalk, the store would appear at first glance to be a one-stop shop for nightcrawlers: glow sticks, high-sugar candy, striking jewelry, and all the incense, posters, and tchotchkes needed… More >>
  • BEST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT STORE

    The Violin Shop Miami

    William J. Fleischer's four-year-old business in the heart of the Design District repairs, restores, sells, and even rents almost all stringed instruments -- violins, violas, cellos, and basses. Catering to local and visiting classical musicians as well as students of varied ages and skill levels, the store boasts a staff of five, working under the direction of Fleischer, who studied… More >>
  • BEST BIG-HEARTED VETERINARIAN

    Dr. C. Perry Smith

    Trail Animal Clinic

    The snowy-haired Dr. Smith, owner of the Trail Animal Clinic, has been tending to Miami's domestic pets since 1968. In that time he's developed a reputation for being some sort of kindly animal whisperer. Wounded or sick animals might be barking or squawking madly in the waiting room, but when Dr. Smith lays his hands on them, gently pressing their… More >>
  • BEST SPORTING GOODS STORE

    Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World

    Yeah, we know, it's Dania. But it has 160,000 square feet of outdoor sports equipment. Let us repeat: 160,000 square feet! More than 40 fish finders, a dozen GPS systems, eight types of kayaks, and hundreds of golf clubs. When we asked how many lures the store stocked, a nearby customer chimed in: "Too many." In our all-choice, all-the-time world,… More >>
  • BEST PLACE FOR A WEDDING RECEPTION

    Coral Gables Woman's Club

    These high-ceilinged, oolitic limestone and exposed-wood ballrooms (built in 1937) are a steal on Sundays and weekdays, when the Woman's Club rents for $650 (including chairs and tables) and the adjacent, slightly larger, Junior Woman's Club goes for $750. Fridays and Saturdays cost a bit more, but you still won't find a better deal this close to all the Gables… More >>
  • BEST PAWN SHOP

    Goldmasters Jewelers

    Goldmasters is a great pawn shop because it's only partly pawn shop. The store also retails jewelry and somehow manages to shed the fouler aspects of the average casa de empeņo. The store has a pretty good jewelry selection and good service, but the best things about the store are those qualities it doesn't have: the air of desperation, junkies… More >>
  • BEST VIDEO STORE

    New Concept Video

    For the third year in a row, New Concept wins kudos for its already large -- and growing -- selection of films that are not plentiful elsewhere. For one, as much space is devoted to foreign fare as new arrivals (and within the newbies is a subset of foreign flicks). Cinephiles particularly appreciate the grouping of works by distinguished directors… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BUY BRAZILIAN BIKINIS AT A BARGAIN

    Brazilian Fashion

    Ever since the girl from Ipanema wore one, inspiring Antonio Carlos Jobim to compose the international hit song, the skimpy two-piece from Brazil has endured as the sexiest swimwear fashion statement there is. A variety of minimalist styles have emerged over the years -- from the tiny tanga, which consists of about an ounce of fabric, to the triangular halter… More >>
  • BEST MALL

    Village of Merrick Park

    This is the Alhambra of local shopping malls. Village of Merrick Park could put CocoWalk in its back pocket. It is a step up from Aventura Mall, and you're outside. Located a stone's throw from South Dixie Highway and Ponce de Leon Boulevard, the Village is a three-level, open-air fortress containing 115 "designer boutiques," which means stores full of a… More >>
  • BEST ADULT VIDEO STORE

    Miami Playground Adult Entertainment

    Looking for smut in a clean, well-lit place? Miami Playground leads the pack of porn palaces for the second year running. This family-run, triple-X emporium near MIA rents and sells hundreds of DVDs and videotapes featuring all (legal) ages, proclivities, and sexual exploits. If you haven't seen that rare chicks-with-dicks or ultimate gang-bang video, this may be the place to… More >>
  • BEST MATERNITY BOUTIQUE

    Meet Me in Miami

    Original maternity gear from one of Miami's brightest stars, Debbie Ohanian. When pregnant women make the trek to this store from Boca Raton and New York City in order to buy clothes, you know you have yourself a winner. By appointment only, Ohanian offers her clientele personalized service not found at any other maternity retailer. Plus she serves a killer… More >>
  • BEST SPANISH-LANGUAGE BOOKSTORE

    La Moderna Poesia

    While hard-line Cubans still own the political section -- a map of Cuba from 1902-1958 (when history of the island apparently stopped); the "secret" lives of Castro and the Sandinistas; a biography of the benevolent Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet -- the rest of the store is exemplary. It has ten titles of Jorge Luis Borges side by side with translations… More >>
  • BEST COMIC BOOK SHOP

    Super Heroes Unlimited

    Located in a nondescript strip mall for the past seventeen years, this small shop is easily overlooked -- but shouldn't be. Its interior is packed floor to ceiling with all the superhero-related collectibles one expects from comics' "golden age," right up to the current "collectors' age" (because a mint-condition Superman Action Comics #1 from the days your granddad was a… More >>
  • BEST VOLKSWAGEN GURUS

    The Wizards Repair and Restoration

    Enrique Neufeld and crew have been repairing and restoring new and classic VWs in their Commerce Lane shop for 26 years. Neufeld, who owns "about twenty [VWs] in varying states of repair and disrepair," displays his trophies for restored bugs and buses in the cluttered, busy storefront. Drive by the shop to check out some of the classics in the… More >>
  • BEST VINTAGE STORE

    C. Madeleines

    Size matters. You don't feel cramped inside this spacious emporium, home to an ever-changing smorgasbord of fashions from bygone and more recent eras. The pleasant staff will graciously assist your quest for something specific, be it a Far From Heaven-style cocktail number, a Pucci girdle, or a seriously shouldered Claude Montana dress. Many items are sold on consignment, so depending… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO GET FRAMED

    Borders Picture Framing & Gallery

    That dazzling Renaissance-style portrait of your pet orangutan holding a bouquet of flowers is finished at last, but now you can't decide how to frame it. The Meeks family can help. For the past fifteen years (thirteen of them in Coral Gables), Steve Meeks, his wife, sons, and trusty employees have been making Miami's art look fabulous and keeping it… More >>
  • BEST WINE STORE

    Laurenzo's Italian Market

    Visiting Laurenzo's is fun even if you're not looking for wine. There is no finer Italian specialty market in South Florida. Even its café can hold its own against most Italian restaurants. The wine selection, however, is something truly special. Over the years it has developed as the idiosyncratic expression of one man's taste -- very good taste. That man… More >>
  • BEST JUNK

    U.S. 1 Discount Mall

    You can get sofas, chairs, beds, tchotchkes of all kinds, and from every country. A recent scene: Hairstylist who frequents the place had her eye on one of those darkly tarnished replicas of Donatello's David, about a foot high, bronze-going-green. "That lidless, lipless decadence," she whispered mischievously. "Donatello would have gotten down on the Beach!" After some haggling with Amelia… More >>
  • BEST FLEA MARKET

    Opa-locka/Hialeah Flea Market

    Following a 2002 incident when a Key Biscayne resident drove into a parking lot via the exit and punctured all four tires on those mean-looking spikes they have at rental car outfits too, this flea market's general manager, Scott Miller, put up "about 500 traffic signs" so navigating the streets and parking lot "is no longer an adventure," he promises.… More >>
  • BEST FLORIST

    Rios Flowers

    No one along the Boulevard of Broken Dreams that is Biscayne has done more to beautify the strip than florist Geraldo Rios. While the police mount sweeps of hookers and tricks and pimps, and city bureaucrats issue code-violation fines, Rios has taken his own initiative to improve his block by decorating the two-story building that houses his shop with hundreds… More >>
  • BEST CAMERA REPAIR SHOP

    Dan's Camera Clinic

    A misnomer if we've ever seen one. Dan had a lot of loyal customers, so when Manfred and Josephine Wenzel immigrated here from Germany and took over the business 26 years ago, "We didn't change anything," Mrs. Wenzel says today. Completely utilitarian shop space, with all the artisan tools Mr. Wenzel brought from the old country, where he studied camera… More >>
  • BEST BOTANICA

    Halouba Botaneca

    Brightly colored beaded flags depicting vodou gods, snakes, and apparitions decorate the walls of Papa Paul's emporium of the spirits in Little Haiti. The flags drape above vitrines full of powerful objects such as wood-carved saints, hand-stitched satin kerchiefs in myriad hues, and cloth dolls with no faces. Painted maracas, devotional beads, and various perfumes and tonics for luck, love,… More >>
  • BEST SCOOTER RENTAL AND SALES

    Groov-E-Skootz

    Not much separates scooter rentals. Most are located on South Beach, often in small storefronts, and rental rates don't vary that much. Groov-E-Skootz, however, stands out for its selection of scoots for sale, in-store and online. In the gas-powered arena, they carry lots of Kymco's models, but also have Moskito and Hyosung. Among the electrics you'll find Bladez, City Bug,… More >>
  • BEST NEWSSTAND

    Worldwide News

    It's hard to believe that Worldwide News stands alone in this major metropolitan area as an excellent, independently owned resource for newspapers and magazines. Other contenders like South Beach's News Café come to mind, but Worldwide trumps them by carrying an enviable selection of small-print 'zines, foreign publications, trades, and nudies. It doesn't have everything, so you may have to… More >>
  • BEST LIQUOR STORE

    Crown Wine and Spirits

    Crown, a frequent Best of Miami winner, relocated its Coral Gables store in September, and the new spot -- just a couple of blocks away from the old -- lives up to Crown's well-deserved reputation. Whether you're interested in wines (Crown took advantage of the increased shelf space at the new location to improve on its heralded selection), booze, or… More >>
  • BEST BOOKSTORE

    Books & Books

    The eternal winner, and deservedly so. Given that so much of the overall retail scene is dominated by chain stores, and that in books the competition is especially stiff, it's heartening that Books & Books has managed to survive, indeed thrive. The store deserves kudos for its informed staff, its hosting of a wide variety of book-discussion groups, its hefty… More >>
  • BEST TOY STORE

    Dr. Einsteins Science Store

    Think science is boring? Then check out Dr. Einstein's, where you can pick up all kinds of nifty gear, from videoscopes to books on Elvis, Rubik snakes, and Hoberman toys, a weirdly charming set of building blocks inspired by Legos. The prices are affordable and there's a wide selection appealing to all ages. So when you think toys (at least… More >>
  • Klime Kovaceski

    Personal Best

    KLIME KOVACESKI CRYSTAL CAFE,726 41st Street, Miami Beach, 305-673-8266 Crystal Café regulars, and there are many, enter through the rear door. They know it's closer to nearby parking. They also know they can poke their head into the kitchen on the way up front and say hello to chef/proprietor Klime Kovaceski, who will stop whatever he's doing to offer greetings. That won't… More >>
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