BEST NEW MUSIC STORE Sweat Records 2320 NE Second Avenue

Miami

305-573-5681

www.sweatrecordsmiami.com This brand spanking new independent record store had its grand opening in Wynwood in March, and more than 500 people showed up to give a symbolic high five to its owners, former Poplife and Revolver DJ Lauren Reskin and former WVUM-FM (90.5) DJ Sara Yousuf. Posters of Napoleon Dynamite and Interpol watch over CD bins filled with everything from Yo La Tengo to Bloc Party. Within its turquoise walls, Sweat also sells used CDs, albums by local bands, DVDs, underground music mags, Japanese toys, vinyl, and works by area artists. The space boasts a back-yard patio as well as a DJ station sporting the latest equipment, which spinners can sign up to use any time -- that is, when Sweat isn't hosting one of its many in-store hootenannies. "Notice there is no ö.99' in our prices. That's because we know you're not stupid," reads a sign taped above the CDs. You would be stupid, however, if you didn't check out Miami's latest attempt to keep it real.

BEST PLACE FOR DJS TO BUY VINYL Uncle Sam's 1141 Washington Avenue

Miami Beach

305-532-0973

www.unclesamsmusic.com This was a toughie, with honorable mention going to Grooveman. In the end, however, Sam's amazingly expansive selection (which they should consider cataloging into a computer) coupled with the fact that DJs can drop their potential wax on the needle before they commit, is what put the Uncle over the top. This independent record store has been a staple of the underground music scene since it first opened its doors in 1992. Some of the most influential DJs in Miami know that if they need a juicy, little-known track to get the party bumpin', they'll be able to find it here. It's not just the locals either. Deckmasters from around the world can't help but drop in to check out the latest and greatest. The life of a working DJ usually doesn't begin till well after the sun goes down and Sam's knows that. They stay open till 2:00 a.m. daily, allowing for late-night perusing of all the goods, including exclusive vinyl not to be found anywhere else to merchandise and even concert tickets.

BEST PLACE TO BUY LATIN MUSIC Lily's Records Various locations in Miami-Dade County

305-856-0536

www.realpagessites.com/lilirecords When you get that itch for a little Johnny Ventura or Thalia you must know where to go. Since 1976 Lily's has had the largest supply of merengue, salsa, cumbia, and various international CDs in Miami. If they don't have exactly what you're looking for, they'll order it. But more than likely patrons will be able to find the hip-shaking jams they couldn't find anywhere else. With five locations, Lily's makes it convenient for customers and musicians alike to immerse themselves in a virtual library of flavorful jams. The stores also offer musical instruments like bongos, claves, güiros, guitars, and maracas to permit any listening experience to evolve into an interactive musical session. What's more, the shop provides complete production services and serves as a CD manufacturer.

BEST PLACE TO GET A USED BIKE Victor's Bicycles & Supplies 3434 NW 27th Avenue

Miami

305-638-1443 Grease cakes Osvaldo Rojas's fingers. His stained, callused hands are the mark of a meticulous man who takes pride in refurbishing bicycles. Rojas is part of a family-owned business that has sold used bikes for more than 30 years. Open Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Victor's has a wide selection of used bikes ranging in price from $30 to $75. The shop's selection includes children's bicycles by Huffy, professional racing bikes from Cannondale, and most everything in between. Victor's is easy to find: It's the big royal blue building with the billboard-size black sign with gold lettering.

BEST PLANT NURSERY Richard Lyons' Nursery 20200 SW 134th Avenue

South Miami-Dade

305-251-6293

www.rarefloweringtrees.com This place is an utterly charming antidote to the mega-nurseries that never surprise. Mr. Lyons is a Miami-based real estate attorney who loves plants and has run a nursery on his South Dade property since 1961. He grows and sells the standards (including orchids), but he also specializes in exotic flowering trees and vines such as brownea ($150 for a small tree), bombax ceiba ($35 for a small tree), and jade vine ($45 to $150). This is also a fun place to simply walk around -- there is a distinctly intimate feel, with foliage of all types sprouting from every available space around Lyons's garage and house, air plants tagged for sale growing in the crooks of trees in his front yard, friendly cats prowling about, and bathtubs full of water plants here and there. The one drawback: Lyons's place is tucked away in a very rural part of the county, and is consequently difficult to find. Drivers should not try to take Eureka Drive to 134th Avenue -- the two streets don't intersect. Instead, take Quail Roost Drive to 134th Avenue.

BEST REASON NOT TO GO TO COCOWALK Mr. Moe's 3131 Commodore Plaza

Coconut Grove

305-442-1114 Every Thursday night legions of inebriated college punks swarm the streets of Coconut Grove in a holy quest for drunken shenanigans. Perhaps owing to the copious amounts of chemicals percolating through their bodies, they find reason to converge at the doorstep of this log cabin watering hole. They are greeted by a rude, mullet-sporting door monster whose only concern is his own status as the man. As he creates in his mind the exclusivity of a chic South Beach nightspot, he arbitrarily allows members of the herd entrance. Inside is just as bad. Apart from the fact you might get roughed up if you look at owner John El-Masry the wrong way (it has been known to happen), this place caters to jockish frat boys in all their macho glory. This, in turn, causes nothing but headaches (not the hangover kind) as patrons are forced to sift through a testosterone cesspool with only a prayer of actually making it to the bar to order a drink.

BEST RECORD/CD STORE Yesterday and Today Records 9274 Bird Road

West Miami-Dade

305-554-1020

www.vintagerecords.com All that's left of what once was a cool-music empire is a small store across the street from Bird Bowl. Specializing in sounds of a certain vintage, the latest in a two-decade series of Y&T outlets is still paradise for the psych/garage crowd. There's plenty in original vinyl, heavyweight re-issues, and import-only CDs. For everyone else, there awaits a generous sampling of jazz, blues, country, soundtracks, and a decent selection of Latin stuff. As fans of specific sounds tend to do, one must quibble about trivia. Like, if Johnny Rivers gets his own divider in the bins, shouldn't Johnny Rotten? Bloody 'ell he should. Prices are fair for the collectibles and there are even some golden nuggets priced as low as 99 cents.

Readers´ Choice: Sweat Records

BEST SECONDHAND STORE Bargain Shop, Inc. 17 North Flagler Avenue

Homestead

305-246-2504 What makes a good thrift shop -- the number of items it carries or the amount of good stuff you can find at affordable prices? Tucked away in Homestead's warehouse district, Bargain Shop, Inc. is a small store with aisles full of DVDs, VHS tapes, collectible dolls, glassware, books, vinyl records, rare and out-of-print CDs, clothes, et cetera, et cetera, and so on. At three dollars, the used CDs are cheap, and at one dollar, the used records are even cheaper. Unlike all the overpriced thrift shops strewn along North Krome Avenue, most of the items at Bargain Shop, Inc. are true bargains. It's a nice place to browse, as well.

BEST SEX TOYS SHOP Déjà Vu Love Boutique 1011 Fifth Street

Miami Beach

305-534-9669

http://commerce.dejavu.com Saturday night, and you've got an itch that needs scratching. If you need the kind of friend that's waterproof, remote controlled, and battery operated, head over to the Déjà Vu Love Boutique, an upscale joint featuring tastefully sensual items like Kamasutra lotions, candles, edible Peter Butter, feathers, and skimpy lingerie. The really good stuff is stashed behind a velvet rope, where you'll find a long, curved wall of toys from the Phallix collection, blown (no pun intended) glass dildos that look like works of art, porn-star approved gadgets, and lower-priced devices that keep your pocket (and other parts) happy. Boasting a range from the Mini Love Bullet to life-size replicas of Ron Jeremy's infamous ten-incher, this novelty shop has a selection that's bigger, better, faster, and fancier. Shy types need not worry, Déjà Vu also has some of its products available online for surreptitious purchase.

BEST SHOE-REPAIR SHOP Marquez Shoe Repair 2281 NW Seventh Street

Allapattah

305-643-9962 Amuary Marquez has been cobbling shoes in his quaint little parlor since 1987, heeling luminaries like Xavier Suarez and Tito Puente. The raw smell of treated leather and shoe glue fills the air as he works away six days a week (Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.). Prices for standard repairs of leather dress shoes range from $26 to $36. Marquez also fixes leather belts, purses, and anything else made from animal skin. You'll find his repair shop on NW 22nd Avenue between a Salvadoran restaurant and a pharmacy.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®