Have a few beers before heading into this place. Once you're in, you'll be privy to one of the largest selections of weird porn the world over. You can't beat the tranny collection: They have Asian T-Girl Latex Nurses AND Teenage Transsexual Nurses 2. You'd think the Internet revolution would have wiped a joint like this off the face of the Earth. But it's odd and nice to know that it didn't. "Make sure to put that David Machado is the best employee," requested a pale, pony-tailed clerk from behind the counter. Machado's mother and father are no doubt glad they freed their son David from Castro's iron grip at the tender age of seven. Had he remained on the island, he might have never had the liberties and opportunities he has here. Could someone ring that motherin' Liberty BellçMachado mostly works nights, helping customers with their queries. Most people keep to themselves, however, especially during the morning shift. The "video store," he sighs, will go the way of the "record shop." It's all about the DVD these days. And Adult Video Connection is in the process of selling off its VHS stock. So if you're hangin' on to your VCR and you love porn, now is your time to strike.
Grooveman
From its small storefront on Washington Avenue, Grooveman has weathered the supposed deaths and rebirths of South Beach as well as the supposed deaths and rebirths of dance music. One death it won't accept, though, is that of the twelve-inch. Sure, CDs and MP3s might be convenient, but for the faction of DJs who worship at the altar of the wax slab, Grooveman is a temple. The whole spectrum of dance and electronic music, as well as a smattering of quality hip-hop, is represented here, with singles neatly lining the perimeter of the store's white, minimalist interior. The stock is easy to navigate, with records filed by genre and record label. A bank of turntables in the middle provides plenty of listening stations where you can preview potential purchases. And to keep the spinning smooth, there is also a small but well-curated selection of decks, cartridges, and other DJ accessories.
This roomy record shop packs in everything from classic Spanish zarzuelas to vintage Argentine tangos within the walls of its Calle Ocho locale. In Miami for more than twenty years, Casino bills itself as "the paradise for record collectors," and it's got the musical goods to prove it. Limited-edition box sets of rare Spanish folk music from groups like Los Chavales de España abound, as do discs by acts from hard-to-find genres such as folklore Andino (Andes folk), Latin spoken-word poetry, and Sixties Latin pop. If an item isn't in stock, you can order it on the premises, by phone, or through Casino's Website (it's in Spanish). The shop also carries an extensive DVD collection that covers perennial live concert favorites such as Celia Cruz and the Fania All-Stars in Africa and an assortment of foreign films, particularly from the Italian and French cinema (all dubbed in Spanish, of course).
The next time you're in the mood for the kind of quiet, thoughtful bookstore experience usually found in cities like New York and Boston, just head to the Wolfsonian Museum and stop by the Dynamo. This is the kind of bookstore where you can — and should — spend hours browsing through shelves packed with quirky gems not likely to be found anywhere else in Miami. From rare propaganda art books such as Revolución! Cuban Poster Art ($19.95), to The Fixer ($24.95) by underground comic book writer Joe Sacco, the Dynamo delivers a wide range of volumes on traditionally marginalized subjects. Prices start at $17.95 for a paperback of Anti-Intellectualism in American Life and go all the way to $400 for a glossy copy of Le Corbusier's Polychromie Architecturale. The entire store has been carefully designed with readers in mind: Soft lighting and plenty of comfy seating in the café make book shopping a truly pleasurable experience. The staff is never obtrusive but always knowledgeable and ready to help with any queries. You can't go wrong with a museum and books.
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
Admission to the Miami Book Fair: $5.Cost of replacing Nike sneakers after a stray child at the fair threw her hot dog on your old ones: $70.Hot dog for your child, who threw a tantrum after realizing other kids were eating hot dogs: $5. Copy of Frank McCourt's latest release: $25.Amount of gas used waiting in line to get out of the parking lot: $5.Knowing you could have gone to Trinity Episcopal Cathedral's bookstore any weekday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and spent $2 for the book you picked up at Borders for $25: priceless.
Avalon Game Shop
In this era of one-click online shopping, comic book shops need to deliver more than just the average monthly Spider-Man series if they want to survive. Dean and Sandra Gonzales, owners of Avalon Manga Shop, recognize the value of putting together a brick-and-mortar space for Miami's comic book heads. Open since 2004, Avalon is an oasis for collectors of all ages, with an emphasis on Japanese "manga" comics and the more traditional (but no less fun) DC and Marvel superhero volumes. But comics are just a small part of Avalon's cool appeal. The store is jam-packed with many other fun collectibles, from Star Wars action figures to rare anime DVDs. What's more, Avalon holds in-store Dungeons and Dragons game sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It even boasts an avid community of Yu-Gi-Oh! card game enthusiasts, who meet on Saturdays for biweekly tournaments. If they don't got it, the stubborn staff will subscribe (at no extra charge to you) to any rare titles not available in the store.
Bustling capitals like New York City and San Francisco feature boutiques where things like sneakers and toys are displayed as pieces of pop art. Now thanks to the newly opened Soles Inc., Miamians can take part in the underground movement of Japanese subculture shops. The brainchild of Japanese owner Kenichiro Konomi, Soles carries the most comprehensive collection of Asian limited-edition items in all of South Florida. Its sneakers and action figures are all imported from Japan. The walls of the store are covered with Japanese designer toys, like a twelve-inch Bruce Lee: Game of Death figure ($500) created by designer Arnie Kim. Graffiti art, Japanese BAPE sneakers, and colorful Casio G-watches can be found here too. Soles also functions as an art gallery, and it's currently featuring work by Japanese photographer Yoshimitsu Takano.
El áGuila Vidente
Don't let the mysterious and somewhat cramped storefront keep you from venturing inside. Never mind that the windows are still taped up from last year's hurricane season and that the shop is darkly lit. Behind the web of duct tape crisscrossing this gritty botanica's panes is "Sister Maria" (she won't give a last name). For $35 she'll provide spiritual advice to the destitute or unlucky in one of the shop's dreary back rooms. Following a tarot card reading, she'll be happy to suggest a menu of ritual cleansings. They fluctuate in price, but Sister Maria says they're "guaranteed to be 100 percent" effective at curing whatever ails you. The modest shop is overflowing with aromatic baths to bring luck, astral perfumes to ward off the evil eye, and ropes of multicolor beads symbolizing each of the Afro-Cuban deities or saints. Have an impending court date for that fender-benderç Forget those pesky attorney's fees and try one of the potent seven-day "Court Case" candles for $1.25 apiece. Just light the wick before going to court, counsels Sister Maria, and loudly intone the prayer on the back of the candle for optimal results: "Dear Lord, say unto the judge to stay beside me and make war against my enemies who threaten to spill my life's blood."
The Strip Mall on SW 160th Street
If you ask the friendly man at Caribbean Delite for the name of this strip mall, he responds with a quizzical look and a lengthy silence. It's like he's been asked to solve an algebra equation. "I don't know. I just think of it as the Caribbean strip mall," he eventually says. "Maç What's the name of this strip mallç" he shrieks to the lady in the kitchen, who is elbow deep in curry and busily preparing box lunches of roti, Trinidad's most popular food. Ma gives no answer. "Check the sign out there; it must have a name for the mall," he declares with conviction. According to that sign, this is the Little Caesar's strip mall. There's a branch of the affordable pizzeria in the far right corner, but it's rarely as busy as the other establishments. This place is a mecca for Caribbean cuisine and culture. Sweet (typically vintage) reggae music from Jamaican music epicenter Aquarius Records booms from speakers mounted outside. The barbershop ensures no short supply of handsome men lounging about while waiting for a trim. And there are three spectacular Caribbean restaurants here: Sango Jamaican and Chinese Cuisine serves up some of the best jerk in Miami; Caribbean Delite offers the softest, most succulent roti this side of Port of Spain; and Marie's Patties is world-famous for good reason. If you're heading down south for some island deliciousness, take South Dixie Highway until you pass BrandsMart USA; then turn right on SW 160th Street. Take an immediate right into the parking lot of the peach-color strip mall, and listen for the bass-heavy music. And bring cash — for some strange reason, none of these quality Caribbean eateries accepts plastic.
Bal Harbour Shops
Courtesy of Bal Harbour Shops
Before you enter Addict, consider the sneaker not as utilitarian footwear but as objet d'art, and you won't be shocked by either the lacquered gold finish on a pair of Chuck Taylors or the $200 mauve limited-edition Pumas. There's a special line of Dwyane Wade-designed canvas Converse, whose $445 price tag is justified by the the fact that only eighteen pairs exist on the entire planet. There are Nikes with faux-crocodile-leather finish around the laces, and a pair of high-tops with a cutout beige layer covering a basic white shoe (both around $210). A pair of pearly white women's Pumas have a curvaceous design and lace up on the side rather than the middle ($175). Other brands include Reebok, Le Coq Sportif, and Lacoste. Addict also has an extensive collection of polyester Adidas zip-up jackets, like one charming yellow version with the head of a happy-looking camel embroidered on it. Look to the shelf in back for the occasional 50-percent-off selection.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®