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 SKATE SHOP M.I.A. Skate Shop 229 Ninth Street

Miami Beach

786-621-3511

www.miaskateshop.com After less than two years, M.I.A. Skate Shop proprietors Chris Williams and professional skater Ed Selego (who also has his own shoe line with Adio) have already established their store as the place for famous skaters to meet when in town. It's also the only store in Miami that carries the Nike SB line of skater footwear. You'll find the coolest decks, clothes, and gear from Zoo York, Organika, Earth Products, and Habitat Skateboards, or you can just chill and watch DVDs (also for sale) of other skaters ripping, grinding, and getting racked. The shop also hosts autograph signings and skating demos with Control Skatepark, and Williams doesn't mind the thrasher kids hanging out in his shop after school.

BEST SPANISH-LANGUAGE BOOKSTORE La Moderna Poesía 5739 NW Seventh Street

Miami

305-262-1975

and

3870 E. Fourth Avenue

Hialeah

305-556-7717 The sentimental favorite of many a Cuban immigrant who remembers the original publishing house back home, La Moderna Poesía is a one-stop for Spanish tomes and Cuban memorabilia. Spanish literature, translations from English, technical manuals, and religious texts cram the aisles. There's also an impressive section dedicated to multilingual dictionaries and study tools beyond the obvious Spanish-English variety. Where do you find a Finnish-English dictionary? La Moderna Poesía, of course!

BEST SPORTING GOODS STORE Play It Again Sports 9019 SW 107th Avenue

Kendall

305-596-6380 Yes it's a chain, and yes it's a repeat Best of Miami winner, but that only reinforces the fact that most of the nonspecialized sporting goods stores in town are even bigger chains, generally employing high-school age salespeople who barely know a bowling ball from a lacrosse stick. This Kendall franchise carries the goods to perfectly reflect the range of Miamians' sporting goods needs because the gear comes from other Miamians. Buy, sell, or trade your equipment here if you like to deal with knowledgeable clerks and prefer bargain prices. Does it really matter if your shin guards have been broken in by someone else?

Readers´ Choice: Sports Authority

BEST TOILET GRAVEYARD Bargain City 1160 NW 79th Street

North Miami-Dade

305-691-1000 Buy Anything, Sell Everything is the motto at Bargain City. While that may be the goal at this down-home alternative to Home Depot, the inventory is dominated by sinks, stoves, refrigerators, doors, windows -- all used. Out back: the biggest collection of pre-owned toilets in town, lined up like so many tombstones in the subtropical sun. Get them while supplies last, which is likely to be a good long while. Or instead of just tossing your old toilet out, haul it to Bargain City and get a few bucks out of it. Open Monday to Saturday (8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.).

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®