Shopping & Services

  • BEST WINE STORE

    Wolfe's Wine Shoppe

    Jeffrey and Christie Wolfe opened their boutique wine store in January 2001, bringing to the enterprise substantial experience. Christie had been marketing manager for Augustan Wine Imports while Jeffrey had worked as sommelier and general manager at Norman's restaurant. But experience alone does not guarantee survival for new business ventures. Furthermore, when you want to sell wine and nothing but… More >>
  • BEST SPORTING GOODS STORE

    Play It Again Sports

    Though Play It Again Sports is a chain, the stores are also franchised, so this particular PIAS, owned and operated by Rich Tere, has the Miamian in mind. The store operates on the principle that after you take the first few checks to the upper lip on the rough grass in the field hockey tournament or sprain your wrist breaking… More >>
  • BEST COMIC BOOK SHOP

    A & M Comic Books

    Comic book shops used to have a certain smell to them. It was the oft stale but always pleasant odor of hundreds of thousands of newsprint blotter pages, colorfully inked and full of imagination. But that is seldom the case these days as comic shops have gone to the toys, lining their stores with more heroic and villainous action figures… More >>
  • BEST RECORD/CD STORE

    Blue Note Records

    During the Eighties, Miami was littered with record shops. There were no fewer than six independent and a couple of chain stores along North Miami Beach Boulevard alone. Maybe it was the changeover to the higher wholesale prices of CDs or the explosion of the Internet, but now there's just one real player in North Miami-Dade. Not that Blue Note… More >>
  • BEST FLEA MARKET

    Flagler Flea Market

    A bizarre bazaar -- structurally Middle Eastern, culturally Latin American -- this supersize movable market in the greyhound track's parking lot smacks of Toffler: a futuristic mall that appears each Saturday and each Sunday, then vanishes. The dealers (Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, Costa Ricans, Mexicans, Guatemalans, you name it) arrive at the break of day and, within an hour, erect pipe-rope-canvas… More >>
  • BEST MALL

    Dadeland Mall

    Even if it were just another bombed-out shell of a strip center at an indeterminate point of the overused, Hummer-thronged dead leaves highway memorialized by the Allman Brothers, the Dadeland Mall would still win the battle of the big boxes for the singular virtue of housing Italianate design store and Miami original Arango. Owner and Arango Design Foundation founder Judith… More >>
  • BEST VETERINARIAN

    Aussie Animal Hospital of Miami Beach

    The decision to put down beloved pets who are suffering is hard enough without having to remove your fuzzy buddies from their home to spend their last moments traumatized on an examining table. When the time comes for Fang or Fido to pass on, Aussie's compassionate all-female medical staff makes house calls. They are equally compassionate when dealing with less… More >>
  • BEST GUN SHOP

    Pantera Gun and Reloading Center

    Welcome to South Florida's premier weapon world, where you can find killer toys to fit your bang-bang needs that will also match with brown or black Timberlands. For more than fifteen years, Pantera has provided infinite infantry, space-age banana clips, intelligent laser beams (for direction, distance, information), Velcro holsters that clasp on your hips, STI Trojan .40s, small-ammo semiautomatics (when… More >>
  • BEST BIKE SHOP

    J B Bike Shop

    Tucked away behind a nondescript storefront in North Beach is a gem of a bike store. The employees are friendly and knowledgeable. From outside, the store appears tiny, but walk in and it's much larger than expected. It's well stocked with not only bicycles but parts, accessories, and even a small array of clothing for the enthusiast. If your bicycle… More >>
  • BEST ADULT VIDEO STORE

    Pleasure Emporium

    Rows and rows of carnal knowledge line the biggest adult video chain in South Florida. Pleasure Emporium is a one-stop sex shop for all your horny needs. Not only does it carry a vast array of straight, gay, bisexual, lesbian, and midget porn, it also sells an assortment of dildos, penis pumps, lubricants, strap-ons, clamps, cock rings, dolls, and just… More >>
  • BEST SPANISH-LANGUAGE BOOKSTORE

    Libreria Distribuidora Universal

    Known both on its signage and among Spanish-language readers simply as La Universal, this pale, rounded-corner building that seems etched out of a block of mighty stone contains something more resembling a library than a bookstore. But Carlos didn't care about the gritty architecture or sweet comfort outside and inside this multifaceted operation (publishing and distributing are part of the… More >>
  • BEST TOY STORE

    A to Z Toys

    Toys "R" Us this R not. But somehow this B way more fun than stores 100 times as big. Also, A to Z Toys seems like it has more toys even though it's only the size of your average Dunkin' Donuts. That's impossible? Nuh, uh. Because stuff iz piled up to the ceiling. Anyway, A to Z has about everything,… More >>
  • BEST SHOE REPAIR

    Gables Shoe Store and Repair Shop

    The racks, boxes, bags, and fabric sacks stacked to the doors and ceilings are your shoes that need to be picked up from their refurbishment with new heels, toe guards, or polish. This Gables fixture gets the work done so quickly and inexpensively that it's hard to believe a retail transaction can go so smoothly -- hence the accumulation of… More >>
  • BEST PLACE (FOR DJS) TO BUY VINYL

    Osiel

    Washington Avenue has its share of DJ shops, but there's only one where you'll find the latest from Bpitch, Schematic, and Chocolate Industries. Forget the cheesy trance and tribal tracks; Osiel sells the kind of acclaimed, low-selling music championed by critics and New Times. There's also a growing back catalog of albums and twelve-inch singles by artists such as David… More >>
  • BEST SEX TOYS SHOP

    Pleasure Emporium

    Do you know what the worst part about buying anal beads is? No, it's not trying them on. It's the walk to the register. Just when you find the right size, color, and shape, inevitably someone you recognize comes in, and any hope of making it to the counter with your new goodies is as dead as the batteries in… More >>
  • BEST ASIAN GROCERY FOR ONE-STOP SHOPPING

    Lucky Oriental Mart

    Grocery list: Grass Jelly Drink, soursop juice, dried whole head-on anchovies, dried headless sardines, fruit of wolfberry, salted duck eggs and fish eggs, salted mackerel (the kind from Thailand), jar of pigs' blood, quail (Golden Jumbo brand), goat meat, frozen shark fin, foxglove root, dodder seed, schisandra fruit, and a bunch of cong bong bu shen war or other fresh… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BUY LATIN MUSIC

    F.Y.E. For Your Entertainment

    Okay, so this place is part of a gargantuan franchise and the CDs are just one facet of the things you'll find (F.Y.E. sells everything related to entertainment units). Still the range of Latin music is extensive. From the Kumbia Kings to David Bisbal, contemporary sounds, sugar factor notwithstanding, are prominently displayed and available for sampling. More obscure acts from… More >>
  • BEST LIQUOR STORE

    Sunset Corners

    Dubbed the patron saint of brewers and maltsters by Charles IV in 1357, Saint Wenceslas is also the patron saint of the Czech Republic. Maybe that's why the quality of a Czech beer, such as Lev or Knight -- which have been around since the Fifteenth Century -- is unquestioned. And even though it's possible to find a good imported… More >>
  • BEST PHARMACY

    Midtown

    Robert Novigrod is nothing less than a hero. America's most grotesque social failure is its healthcare system, among the worst in the industrialized world, especially for those suffering chronic pain. The federal government, with its "war on drugs," has created a nation of spineless physicians and impotent pharmacists terrified to provide effective, safe controlled substances subject to abuse. Not the… More >>
  • BEST USED-CD STORE

    Uncle Sam's Music

    A stroll through the packed aisles of Uncle Sam's used-CD bins gives weight to that old adage of one man's trash being another man's treasure. Surely that stack of Steely Dan titles wasn't sold off by the same person who divested himself of a half-dozen Tupac Shakur CDs? No matter. Don't waste time pondering the sociology behind the Beach's musical… More >>
  • BEST USED BOOKSTORE

    Book Barn Book Exchange

    Designed like a shoe store, the Barn features unvarnished wood shelves lining every available inch of wall space, stocked end-to-end with more books than some libraries. Simple ceiling-high shelves also divide the store into aisles for Detective (purchase: the unintentionally funny The Corpse Had a Familiar Face by Edna Buchanan), Novels (purchase: two brand-new reprints of The Catcher in the… More >>
  • BEST PERCUSSION STORE

    Resurrection Drums

    You are a spastic animal. You must bang on surfaces at all times. You drive your co-workers batty. You make people sweat by your demeanor. Like it or not, you are a drummer, and it sounds like you need something to bang. At Resurrection, located next to that temple of all things Miami, Bird Bowl, you'll find snares, bongos, congas,… More >>
  • BEST LEATHER

    Leather World

    Bright blue or yellow leather purses, slim brown leather wallets, cavernous leather luggage, silver-tipped leather belts, and leathery ostrich-skin ashtrays: These and more can be purchased at Leather World. The colors and sleek shapes attract the eye first, but the divine smell draws you farther into the store. A cool professional sales staff and leathers from all over the world… More >>
  • BEST NEWSSTAND

    Worldwide News

    Yes, you've heard it before: Worldwide News is the best newspaper and magazine shop in the county. But before you cover your eyes, consider this: Where else are you going to get Sunday editions of the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle on a Wednesday? What other store is bold enough to offer National Geographic, the Advocate, and… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO GET A USED BIKE

    Community Family Thrift Store

    You never know what you'll find at the back of this thrift store on Washington Avenue in the heart of South Beach. One day it's a well-worn 24-inch Huffy, the next it's a vintage model so solid it looks like it came straight from the set of The Bicycle Thief, complete with leather satchel under the seat. And the store's… More >>
  • BEST REASON NOT TO GO TO COCOWALK

    Los Mojónes

    Mojónes is Spanish slang for "little shits." Who are the mojónes? They are those little underage turds who litter the streets of the Mayfair and crowd the sidewalk by Wet Willie's, trying and failing to get in. They plant themselves on the fountain trying to inhale the Russian spray-paint artist's fumes, their only hope of intoxication, sans fake ID. They… More >>
  • BEST DIVE SHOP

    Aquaknots Dive Center

    The attitude of the owners of Aquaknots toward their dive classes is indicative of why they do so well: They just want everybody to join them and get wet. They run their scuba certification classes at cost; $200 buys you the two-week course (two nights a week), including equipment use and two open water dives. "We don't consider the classes… More >>
  • BEST CAR WASH

    Sun Glo Car Wash

    This is one of those old washes in Westchester where your car changes hands between rag-wielding immigrants stationed on either side of a tunnel, where the lathering takes place. The quality of the wash is top-notch, as it should be for a business that's been operating continuously for 30 years. The basic scrub plus a thorough vacuum is just… More >>
  • BEST JUNK

    Shoppie Seconds

    Unaffected, in every way, by retro hype, Shoppie Seconds prices its wares, displayed in jumbled, Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse-scene infinity, as if it realizes that some of this stuff is actually not very valuable. You can, nonetheless, snag authentic Atomic Age plastics, mad housewife shifts from the Fifties, and nearly-new mod furniture at u-carry bargain basement prices. A… More >>
  • BEST BOOKSTORE

    Books & Books

    Special bookstores are few and far between. If you merely wanted an infinite selection of books or endless browsing you could just go online or to the library, but then you'd miss out on what continues to make Books & Books the literary draw in South Florida: There's a sense of community -- of belonging to Miami and its own… More >>
  • BEST PLANT NURSERY

    Santa Barbara Nursery

    In 1984 Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson hypothesized the existence of biophilia, an "innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms." Parks and wilderness areas make people happy because of the abundance of life, according to Wilson's theory, and this holds true of a trip to Santa Barbara Nursery as well. Joe Oves's nursery is home to seven… More >>
  • BEST BOTANICA

    Lucumi Botanica and Pet Shop

    Ay, Shangó! The business card for this metaphysical shop says it all. It depicts a cute little sand-colored kitten with a red handkerchief around his neck accenting two innocent green eyes. In big, bold Spanish letters the card says the shop has all types of animals for religious services, and proclaims in even bigger print, "Free delivery with fifty dollar… More >>
  • BEST BIRD SHOP

    Sinbad's Bird House

    You can't miss Sinbad's when driving down Bird Road thanks to its colorful mural of a rain forest on the side wall, but if it's a squawking, feathered friend you're looking for, you'd probably find your way to Sinbad's anyway. It's simply the biggest and best bird shop around. Not only is almost every species of parrot for sale, but… More >>
  • BEST VINTAGE STORE

    Sasparilla

    Old designers sure knew how to make clothes. Even 50 or 60 years later, dresses drape as if scientifically created to make women beautiful. Halston, Pucci, Gucci, and Gaultier are all philosophers of form. The only thing is, the women back then were a lot smaller. So a size 8 in vintage clothes is really more like a size 4… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO GET DREADLOCKS

    Happy 2 B Nappy Boutique

    Queen Goddess, owner of the Happy 2 B Nappy Boutique, can fix the limpest white boy's tresses into a nappy dreadlocked crown worthy of a prophet. She uses her own secret concoction of shea butter, aloe, herbs, and oils to nurture the hair and scalps of her clients while forming the ragamuffin locks they dream of. With her intricate finger… More >>
  • BEST HEALTH FOOD STORE

    Wild Oats Natural Marketplace

    This particular outpost of the national chain is housed in the space formerly occupied by a Publix -- the giant, upside-down chevron sign still marks the entrance -- and its vast stock takes advantage of an uncluttered, well-lit ambiance not generally found in granola world. Organic produce and vegan proteins are available as well as desserts, free-range beef, wines without… More >>
  • BEST VIDEO STORE

    New Concept Video

    For serious cinephiles looking to feed their home video jones, there have always been only two choices. Those living in the Coral Gables area flocked to Lion Video (thankfully resuscitated after some financial troubles), while Miami Beach-ers hit New Concept Video. For those residing somewhere between the two, New Concept gets our nod for remembering that in a world of… More >>
  • BEST FLORIST

    Ruben's Flowers

    Small and unassuming (and totally outdoors), Ruben's flower stand is a landmark in the rapidly changing blood frenzy known as Coconut Grove real estate development. A tranquil, colorful oasis on the corner of Bird Avenue and Indiana Street (and across diagonally and directly from two looming condo monstrosities), the gentlemen at Ruben's are friendly, even courtly. Beyond that, their selection… More >>
  • BEST COSTUME SHOP

    Prop Central/Stylehaus

    Visiting film crews and local television commercial producers alike know Prop Central as their one-stop shop for period costumes. Every Halloween, however, Prop Central throws open its doors to the general public, outfitting a steady stream of firemen, marines, pirates, Twenties-styled flappers, dark-suited gangsters, bell bottom-clad hippies, and enough platform shoe-sporting, wide-lapel-wearing pimps to make you seriously question all the… More >>
  • BEST JUICE BAR

    Athens Juice Bar

    Athens is a fructose-drenched local landmark. For 62 years the same family has been squeezing, chopping, and crushing the succulence out of local produce (for the most part) and serving it in a variety of healthy ways. Vegetable and fruit juices, smoothies, and luxurious fruit salads festooned with everything grown under a South Florida sun. Today Athens is owned by… More >>
  • BEST PAWNSHOP

    I-95 Pawn

    True story: Vacationing Miami Beach homeowner returns to find house ransacked. Not much missing except one thing -- valuable painting, lifted off the wall and hustled away. Chances of recovery approach zero. Weeks later, somewhere in California, man purchases laptop computer via eBay. Receives computer. Turns it on, discovers many files, some personal. Thinks: Uh-oh ... must be stolen. Snoops… More >>
  • BEST BARBERSHOP

    Cutz

    A clean crop is very important among the increasingly metrosexualized male population. Even the ghetto-fabulous hip-hop sect is all about looking so fresh and so clean these days. But that doesn't mean you have to leave behind your gansta' flair for a fine fade. Cutz, located on Biscayne Boulevard on the Upper East Side and co-owned by ex-Heatster Alonzo Mourning,… More >>
  • BEST DISCOUNT MEN'S CLOTHIER

    National Apparel

    Some people say the measure of a man is best assessed by the clothes he wears. In Miami, where physical appearance often outweighs substance, that sentiment rings true. But a well-dressed man doesn't have to break the bank to sport dapper duds. And you can forget the sales rack at Burdines. In Miami, National Apparel provides its male customers with… More >>
  • BEST SOCCER SHOP

    Soccer Locker

    Ask a soccer mom around these parts about the best place to get a pair of Mitre spikes, Umbro apparel, or Diadora soccer balls for any young, happy-footed athlete who hopes to be the next Pelé or Mia Hamm, and her answer will always be Soccer Locker. That's why the place continues to win best soccer shop year after year,… More >>
  • Personal Best

    Mario Ginoris

    While references to scuba diving plus spearfishing equal cinematic half-hallucinations from Jaws and The Deep for many, truth is that diving, like its unrefined cousin swimming, is a skill that can be learned as well as taught. The teaching part is where Aquaknots comes in -- the dive shop has a loyal, three-decades-worth following of those who, like mermaids and… More >>
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