BEST GAY GIFT SHOP Lambda Passages 7545 Biscayne Boulevard

Miami

305-754-6900 The problem with finding a good gay gift shop in Miami is that most of them have packed up and moved north to Broward. There are gay-owned shops lacking a worthwhile selection of gay merchandise, and straight-owned gay sex-toy shops, but not much in between. John Drew has owned and operated Lambda Passages Bookstore (named "Best Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Bookstore" in 1994) since 1983, and he still has the best selection of books, DVDs, and sexy greeting cards sans some raunchy display of cock rings, anal beads, and such. If you're looking for the naughty bits, there are plenty of tacky shops on the Beach, but if it's literature and friendly service you desire, Mr. Drew will be happy to oblige.

BEST GUITAR STORE MusicTech 4045 SW 96th Avenue

West Miami-Dade

305-554-8818 After a long life as Ed's Guitars, this little shop just off Bird Road has grown accustomed to its much-deserved hosannas. Though not stocked with hundreds of high-end guitars and amplifiers like the giant instrument depots, MusicTech offers a friendly atmosphere, inexpensive repairs, and truly helpful staffers who are willing to tell you if you need to go to Guitar Center to get what you need. Owner Mitch Kopp is always restocking the store with new and used guitars and amps, so you never know when a gem will pop up. Plus, the place is something of a musicians' consortium, with local rock, jazz, and folk artists hanging out and talking music. Kopp also offers guitar lessons and an occasional free show.

BEST GUN SHOP Ace's Indoor Shooting Range and Pro Gun Shop 2105 NW 102nd Place

West Miami-Dade

305-717-3277 Want to try out a Browning 9mm and a Strum-Ruger .357 to see which feels more deadly in your sweaty palm? Feeling belittled but unable to cover the full purchase price on a sweet new Desert Eagle .50-caliber equalizer? Blast away to your heart's content at Ace's indoor range, where you can take the weapon of your choice for a test drive before making that long-term commitment. Ace's selection of new firearms (handguns especially) is better than at most gun shops, with less reliance on used weapons. The sales staff is professional and accustomed to dealing with amateurs. It's also number one with bullets.

BEST HANDMADE CIGARS Padrón Cigars 1575 SW First Street

Miami

305-643-2117

www.padron.com José Orlando Padrón just wanted to continue a grand ancestral tradition of making puros when he uprooted his family from Cuba two years after the revolution. He set up shop in Little Havana in 1964 and fared quite well until 1978, when he joined a group of exiles who went to Cuba to negotiate the release of several thousand political prisoners. Unfortunately, a picture of Padrón giving one of his cigars to the dictator later surfaced in Miami. Affronted exilios (the boys of Omega 7 usually took credit) boycotted his business, defaced his building, and even bombed his factory. Padrón proved more resolute than the pack of cowardly extremists. As of its 40th year, the company had sold nearly 150 million hand-rolled cigars. And these are fine cigars: two dozen lines highly ranked by Cigar Aficionado magazine and other industry experts. (Florida Marlins manager Jack McKeon, for example, never goes far without a couple Padróns in his pocket.) The entire process occurs in Nicaragua and Honduras, from the growing to the rolling to the shipping. The "vertical integration" system keeps prices reasonable ($2 to $25).

BEST HEAD SHOP High Tide Tobacco & Gifts 9814 S. Dixie Highway

Miami

305-670-6633 So your dude brings some stuff over, and it's like, way better than usual. Like some crystal-covered, red-haired, sticky-icky purple shit that's so beautiful you almost want to eat it as is. Primo buds like that don't deserve to be burned in a jobbed joint. And that crappy, resin-caked one-hitter you've been carrying around since sophomore year won't cut it either. What's a stoner to do? Blaze a trail to High Tide, the most bountiful tobacco and gift shop in these parts, and turn your puffery into art. Some of the pieces here are absolutely display-worthy. Choose from colorful bongs, bowls, sherlocks, steamrollers, sidecars, hammers, and hookahs, all handcrafted by talented glass blowers. While you're at it, pick up a pack or two of flavored rolling papers from a mind-boggling variety. Check out the usual assortment of T-shirts, posters, stickers, and incense that round out the "and gifts" part. Cruise home with your new glass friend, and burn down some choice hydro in high style.

BEST JUICE BAR Jamba Juice Various locations in Miami-Dade County

305-948-9919 In Miami the ubiquitous cafetería window provides the obvious choice for a quick pick-me-up. It's much easier to find a cafecito in this town than a glass of fresh-squeezed carrot juice. That's why Jamba Juice deserves kudos for offering a healthful alternative to your average sugar-loaded caffeine bomb. It is "corporate," but in terms of convenience (four locations in Miami-Dade County), quality, consistency, and courteous service, it really can't be beat. In addition to smoothies, the menu offers fresh juices such as carrot, orange, orange/carrot, orange/banana, Vibrant-C (a special blend), and matcha green tea (shaken with OJ or soymilk), known for its energizing properties and antioxidants. Jamba also serves up shots of detoxifying wheat grass (grown in South Miami), their version being surprisingly smooth, not bitter. If everyone drank this stuff, Miami would be a better place.

BEST JUNK Stone Age Antiques 3236 NW South River Drive

Miami

305-633-5114

www.stoneage-antiques.com Tired of looking all over the county for that 20,000-year-old mammoth tusk you simply must have? Follow the cramped pathways inside this ancient little warehouse on the bank of the Miami River and you'll find at least one in stock (for just $4500). Owners Gary and Ryan Stone (father and son) dedicate themselves to keeping the place -- floor, walls, and ceiling -- well beyond cluttered. The preponderance of human artifacts here are actually younger than the Stone Age but definitely of the Pre-Plastic Epoch. The plethora includes wood boxes, wood canes, kerosene lanterns, aluminum Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola coolers, brass bells, old hats, older portholes, a bowsprit maiden or two, a boar head here, an antelope head there. African masks, African drums, African stools. You might resist a $395 three-foot-tall red lobster statue and a small $550 "handmade" replica of Pilar, a boat Ernest Hemingway owned in Cuba in 1938. But maybe not a blue or red glass bowling-ball-size float wrapped in rope netting for $20 to $30, or an old wicker fish creel for $35. Some things are too precious for even junk sellers to part with. On the premises is a Shure model 555 Unidyne Dynamic broadcast microphone from the Forties for rental only, because the Stones can make more money repeatedly renting that piece of junk to prop masters than selling it.

BEST LAUNDROMAT Miami Coin Laundry 1569 NW Seventeenth Avenue

Miami

305-549-6670 That guy selling the limited edition Fantastic Four comic book on eBay only accepts money orders, your laundry pile is looking like the Trash Heap on Fraggle Rock, and all you really want to do is play some Galaga. The solution: A trip to Miami Coin Laundry. This place is the Wal-Mart of laundromats. There's a snack shop stocked with frosty beverages, the usual candy bar and salty chip fare, and homemade goodies packaged in Saran Wrap. Bins of dollar-store items such as plastic handcuffs, seat belts, vanity license plates, and ceramic knick-knacks line the length of the space, as do higher ticket items, like a violin (could be a viola) priced to sell at $97. Video games are in the back -- Galaga, Tekken, and a few others -- as is a miniature car the kiddies can ride. Detergent and money orders at the counter. Oh yeah, and while you're there, you might as well do your laundry.

BEST LEATHER Recycled Blues 1507 Washington Avenue

Miami Beach

305-538-0656 This haberdashery of vintage clothing and accessories could easily double as a dressing room for Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, or Jimi Hendrix. Hundreds of worn, torn Levi's jeans hang from the walls. Hawaiian shirts, surf jams, plaid golf pants, bowling shirts, fluorescent polyester dresses and dress suits, old-school T's, and track suits complement the denim inventory. Of course nothing beats Recycled Blues' leather goods collection, a mish-mash of suede and black-leather rocker jeans, winter parkas lined with animal fur, bomber jackets, trench coats, and rad outfits only a glammed-up superstar should wear. Styling an individual look for yourself won't break the bank: Prices start at $25, with the most expensive item retailing at $150. Recycled Blues is open daily 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

BEST LIQUOR STORE Crown Wine and Spirits Various locations in Miami-Dade County

786-621-9463

www.crownwineandspirits.com If you've ever dreamed of indulging in a Nicolas-Cage-in-Leaving-Las-Vegas-style liquor shopping spree, there is no place better for it than Crown. Patron Silver Tequila? They've got it. Jagermeister? Uh huh. Whaler's Pineapple Rum? That too. Johnny Walker Blue? Oh my, yes. Plus all the fancy chasers, key lime cookies, imported chocolates, pâté, cheese, and other gourmet treats a discriminating party thrower could want. With their inspiring collection of exotic beers and a wine aisle straight out of a sommelier's dream, Crown is nirvana for the unabashed lush.

Readers´ Choice: ABC Fine Wine & Spirits

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®