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 TOY STORE Animated Toys 479 Biltmore Way

Coral Gables

www.animatedtoystore.com

305-444-9383 This is the toy store for comic-book freaks, a place stocked with collectible action figures (don't call them "dolls") of your favorite heroes and villains, including Superman, the Green Lantern, Shazam!, Spider-man, the Punisher, and Dr. Doom. There's plenty for fans of the Star Wars franchise, and even NBA, WWE, and MLB figures. Others will love the plush items and Care Bears, Bratz, and Hamtaro figures. Jannette Diaz opened the store this past December because her husband's hobby had taken over their garage. Trying to find a present for your favorite collector? Visit Animated to find great gifts for those who have everything ... except that Spawn Classic Comic Book Cover figure.

BEST USED BOOKSTORE Eutopia 1627 Jefferson Avenue

Miami Beach

305-532-8680 Upon its 2000 opening, Eutopia was a tentative outpost for the Beach's bibliophiles, who -- previously accustomed to hitting the highway to root through the bounty at the Kendall Bookshelf or Fort Lauderdale's Robert Hittel Bookseller -- curiously poked their heads inside this shop's doorway. Five years on, Eutopia is thriving, and proof that Lincoln Road's quirky heart still beats in the shadow of the Gap and Victoria's Secret. Bargains abound here: A recent browse turned up a three-dollar mint hardcover copy of short-story master Donald Barthelme's collected works, as well as a spate of forgotten novels from arch WASP pundit William F. Buckley, Jr. But it's with Floridiana that this store really shines, the shelves full of odd little treasures ranging from a rare first edition of Charles Willeford's crime classic Miami Blues to back issues of the Fifties Beach glossy mag Panorama, a precursor to Ocean Drive and a reminder of this burg's colorful history -- a history found in abundance at Eutopia.

BEST USED-CD STORE Uncle Sam's Music 1141 Washington Avenue

Miami Beach

305-532-0973

www.unclesamsmusic.com Uncle Sam's is beginning to become a lock for this award, but as long as it keeps its bins stocked with one of the most diverse musical assortments around, we're hardly going to begrudge it local supremacy. Indeed, any N section whose contents run from New Order to Laura Nyro, and from the New York Dolls to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band -- all at $7.99 a pop -- gets a big thumbs up from these quarters. And sign language is the communication of choice at Uncle Sam's, with rows of listening stations allowing you to slap on a pair of headphones and preview selections to your ears' content. But not just CDs: You'll find a wide array of dance-oriented vinyl here, with a steady stream of DJs jostling past the lava lamps, vintage lunchboxes, and incense -- heck, it's like an old-fashioned head shop in here -- to nod along in time to the latest club offerings. Sure, you could go online. But will iTunes or Napster sell you Skittles, fake tattoos, and a twelve-inch record with your CDs?

BEST VIDEO STORE New Concept Video 1671 Meridian Avenue

Miami Beach

305-674-1111

and

959 West Avenue

Miami Beach

305-674-1113 With its expansion to a second South Beach site -- and Blockbuster's drastic elimination of VHS tapes, including tons of films that have yet to be issued on DVD -- New Concept has become an even more important oasis for cineastes. While New Concept has also fully embraced the DVD format, they've kept around plenty of foreign and gay-themed VHS tapes. That supply is supplemented by plenty of new releases not found elsewhere, as well as a full rack of movie magazines (this is one of the few local places to consistently stock Film Comment). And there's also a neatly arrayed adult section (gay and straight), which is something not found at Lion Video (the only competitor for this award) or, obviously, at any Blockbuster outlet.

BEST VINTAGE STORE Fly Boutique 650 Lincoln Road

Miami Beach

305-604-8508 How do they do it? How do the proprietors of Fly Boutique manage to thrive year after year while all around them on Lincoln Road loom heavyweight national chains and high-end designer wares? The green-and-white-checked Geoffrey Beene suit for one, the kind of electric Saville Row redux that looks especially smart topped with a fine feathered bowler or a raffish tam. For that Seventies look, there's the multicolored poly-print shirt from Sears ("never needs ironing") with lapels as wide as sails. And right next to that, a deep-red silk smoking jacket made in Hong Kong (pipe optional). Feeling nostalgic for a Dennis Weaver suede jacket heavy on the fringe? No problem. And there's a heap of Stetsons to go with. Whether a dandy, a mod, or a dude, name your era and design preference and the Fly Boutique is sure to have what suits you. There are loads of purses, belts, boots, and shoes, bowling shirts and two-tone guayaberas, truck-stop caps, and even a mesh shirt that could've come straight off the back of Epstein from Welcome Back, Kotter. The friendly and knowledgeable salespeople have a keen eye for what's retro cool or ironically hip, and the velvety boudoir interior makes for a more pleasant shopping experience than dingy, mothball-redolent thrift and vintage stores. At ten years and counting, Fly Boutique is one of the last truly original places left to shop on Lincoln Road.

Readers´ Choice: Miami Twice

BEST WINE STORE Wolfe's Wine Shoppe 124 Miracle Mile

Coral Gables

305-445-4567

www.wolfeswines.com Wolfe's does not have the largest selection of wines in town. Most Publix supermarkets carry more labels. Wolfe's doesn't stock every big-name winery on the planet. The closest you'll get to that is Crown Wine and Spirits. You can't even buy beer or liquor or sodas or beef jerky at Wolfe's. But there is a good reason this place takes the honor once again: Sometimes less is more. Jeffrey and Christie Wolfe are specialists. Their tastes are eclectic. This business is something personal for them. They've visited the wineries and met the winemakers whose products they sell. Not huge producers but family-owned operations in Spain, France, Italy, California -- people a lot like the Wolfes themselves, for whom quality always trumps quantity. At a time when mass-produced wines are becoming more and more homogenized by global corporate conglomerates, the Wolfes offer a valuable alternative: wines with character.

PERSONAL BEST M.I.A. Skate Shop Skateboarders, longtime friends, and business partners Chris Williams and Ed Selego aren't the wordiest fellows in town. This is because they're practicing grinding while running M.I.A. Skate Shop (229 Ninth Street, Miami Beach), which opened two summers ago. During M.I.A.'s short existence, it has become the place to visit when skaters come to town. "People come from all over the world to skate and take photos of skaters. The store becomes a central meeting point for the professionals," says Williams. In addition to boards and DVDs, the shop carries clothing from Zoo York and Earth Products and shoes from Vans, Nike SB, and Adio Footwear.

Best cheap thrill: Just wandering around South Beach any day of the week.

Best reason to stay in Miami for the summer: Fewer tourists, more relaxed, and more locals.

Best place to Rollerblade: Ocean Drive (ladies only, please).

Best place to ditch the kids for a few hours: M.I.A. of course. Or the best skate park -- Control Skatepark.

What are your predictions for skateboarding in the year 2055? Skateboards take flight. You are able to skate skyscrapers downtown, grind on treetops in the woods, and drop in on the pyramids in Cairo. Skateboarding becomes the national pastime. Everyone skateboards in the future. All ages, all races, all people. Skateboarding is so hot. You are able to live out all the fantasies that Tony Hawk Pro Skater offers. Then again, it might be banned from the Earth, depending on who our new leader is.

Stone Age Antiques
Photo by Lou Hammond
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 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 Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®