Tattoos by Lou
Karli Evans

Local stalwart Tattoos by Lou is sort of like the Starbucks of tattooing and piercing, and we mean that in the most complimentary way. For starters, wherever you live in Miami-Dade County, there's a location more or less convenient for you (Kendall, North Miami, two in South Beach). Second, they're pretty standardized — you'll get the same efficient, polite service regardless of which one you choose. And they're clean — of course, a quality of the utmost importance when you're going to get stabbed with a piece of metal. But where Tattoos by Lou beats the competition is in relative price. They won't charge you an arm and a leg to poke a hole in another appendage; recent advertised specials have boasted piercings for as low as $20, including jewelry. In our book, there's no better place to get stuck.

Pass by the pizza shops and overstocked bodegas lining Washington Avenue and press your thumb to the fingerprint recognition apparatus outside the sexiest shop you've never been to. The black glass door slides open, you're transported into an oasis of modest-yet-actual arousal, and your inner sex kitten purrs with excitement. This women-only, membership-only boutique is the place to go for European lingerie, evening gowns, shoes, perfumes, jewelry, and all the other tools a certified minx uses to cast her spells. Outfitted in black lacquer and Swarovski crystals, dazzling Roberto Cavalli chandeliers, and mirrored hardware, Sex & ...'s décor is as alluring as it's merchandise. Prices range from $25 to several thousand dollars, so it doesn't matter if you're toasting at the champagne bar, perusing the solid gold vibrators, or trying on a teddy in one of the mirrored fitting rooms, the vibe alone will bring your sexy back in no time.
For more than 30 years, this family-owned business has met the discerning gagster's rubber-chicken, joy-buzzer, and squirting-lapel-flower needs. It also boasts thousands of Halloween costumes including Yoda and Princess Leia getups suitable for pets. The shop is stocked with hundreds of jokes, gags, magic tricks, and accessories guaranteed to unleash the inner prankster in you. Oh, and for that turd you want to plop on the boss's desk, it will crimp you a five spot.
You wish you had a bike, but you don't want to spend any money. You looked on Craigslist, but blah blah blah. We understand. This is what you need to do: Get your ass to the Broken Spoke, even if it means crossing water, and buy a bike already. Chris Marshall, the owner, is a friendly, fun-loving dude who's a total nut for bikes. He hand-built the glistening chrome-plated tricycle he calls "Double Trouble," in the corner — and he'll hook you up at a reasonable price. If you just want a cruiser or a cheap mountain bike, he's always got a nice selection out front, most of them under a hundred bucks. We bought a clean little number for our kid at a stunningly low $25. If you're in the market for something faster, walk on in and see what's hanging from the ceiling — there's always something good.
The Beer Depot
Have you reached the point where the only way you can afford beer better than Schlitz is to nab a Grolsch at the Wynwood art walk? Then art-walk yourself a little bit farther down NW 36th Street to The Beer Depot, a funny-looking shack that has the best selection of microbrews in town. The shop carries pretty much every decent beer that's peeped its head above the frozen grounds of distribution anywhere in Miami, and most bottles sell for about $1.50. On the more expensive side are Rogue's Dead Guy Ale, Dogfish Head's elusive 120 Minute IPA, and one of the Shipyard Brewery's fine Longfellow ales. The place is a bit disorganized (just make a price list already, please!), but the guys who run it are friendly and, hey, the way you're headed, you'll be drinking Lite soon. So mosey over to The Beer Depot, snag a six-pack, and go get trashed with a little dignity.
Deco Drive Beauty Supply
In exactly four seconds, your hairstyle will be out of style: 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1. Time to hit Deco Drive, because whether your 'do is fried, too-dyed, or smashed to the side, redemption is possible within these walls. You can take your look from Plain Jane to long, luscious mane with the simple clip of a ponytail; or maybe you want to turn curly-top into short-and-sassy-crop with a Tanya wig; or perhaps you yearn to just say hey to a headful of hair in a vibrant, new color. The store is chock full of hairpieces starting at $2.99. There's wavy, straight, curly, and kinky. And the colors include your typical black, brown, and blond, but also hues typically found in a crayon box — blue, purple, pink, yellow, green, and maroon. And if you need to step up your wig game, try a Rehana with golden ringlets; a short, red, and spicy Teri; or a blond shagged Joyce, and no one will ever call you Plain Jane again.
Harold Golen Gallery
Lowbrow art started in California, where a group of wonderful wackos incorporated fun elements of popular culture such as pink plastic flamingos, masked Mexican wrestlers, and tiki mugs into their art. Nowadays works by in-demand lowbrow artists, including Shag and Mitch O'Connell, are coveted by collectors; they sell for thousands of dollars in select galleries around the world. As luck would have it, Miami is home to the Harold Golen Gallery, one of the leading lowbrow art peddlers in the country. The colorful place forsakes cold, art-world pretense by selling everything from magazines, books, stickers, and toys to original art. Prices start around $24.99 for a Matt Dukes Weirdo Deluxe book and can reach $5,000 for an Isabel Samaras painting. What's more, nationally acclaimed artists such as Skot Olsen and O'Connell visit the gallery during openings, signing autographs and mingling with patrons. The original locale is undergoing extensive renovations after an accidental fire in December. Even so, the gallery continues to thrive at its temporary space by featuring monthly cult classic movie nights, book signings, and music shows, making it the definitive spot for pop culture junkies in Miami.
Smoke Shop
For some reason — and despite the fact that Miami would probably ban poor people from bars before stopping the wealthy from smoking in them — it's hard to find rolling tobacco around here. And when you do find it, usually on Miami Beach, the prices are marked way up — six, seven, even eight bucks for a bag of something decent. And for the kind of do-it-yourself, hardy type of person who prefers to roll his or her own, that's just too wacky for a bag of tobacky. So get sane. Head for the humbly named but ornately decorated Smoke Shop, where bags of the finest rolling tobacco available on the American market — that would be Bali Shag, of course — are only four dollars, as reasonable a price as you'll find anywhere. So roll 'em fat and smoke 'em down! And when you're ready to quit, remember: You'll never waste more than four bucks throwing it all out.
Kidrobot
Do you know the difference between a Dunny and Smorkin Labbit? If so, the ultrafabulous new Miami Beach Kidrobot store/gallery is the perfect place for you. Founded in 2002 in San Francisco by visual artist Paul Budnitz, Kidrobot is the shop to buy limited-edition vinyl toys. There are only three other Kidrobot stores worldwide — two in California and another in New York City. The Miami shop, which opened this past November, is a treasured destination for vinyl toy collectors around the globe. The store's unique appeal lies in the fact that many of the playthings are specially numbered editions made by world-famous artists such as Shepard Fairey and Frank Kozik. Some of these limited numbered toys are highly valued by collectors. Even the prestigious Museum of Modern Art caught the Kidrobot bug, getting hold of 13 rare vinyls for its valued collection. So now is your chance to snag that pink plastic, cigarette-smoking rabbit (the $4.99 Smorkin Labbit) or a specially designed glow-in-the-dark Dunny ($9.95). And yes, these toys are made for grownups, so it's okay to want one.
Don't go to U.S. Tops expecting to find haute couture or anything that graces the pages of Vogue. This place is bad-ass, not Bal Harbour. Think tiny tank tops; doll-size, acid-washed capris; and tight T-shirts with sexually suggestive sayings. This is a store for the young (and wannabe young) women who love door-knocker earrings, name-plate necklaces, and Sharpie lip-liner — the females popularized in 2007's "Chongalicious" song. Most of the fabric includes spandex or polyester and looks ludicrous on anyone over the age of 17 with more than three percent body fat. Prices, however, are excellent. Where else can you get a pair of pink stretchy hot pants for $4.99, other than at the flea market (which is kinda dangerous and has all those funny smells)? Still, if you're hankering for cheap club wear (or you're just cheap), this is the place to go.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®