You work for a global mail-carrying corporation, which means you wear brown short-shorts eight hours a day, you earn just below the national average income, and you didn't get a Christmas bonus last year. Don't ask how we know — that's not the point. This is: Despite the pedestrian nature of your life, you can still get your hair cut like a multimillionaire athlete. Hugo Tandron, founder of Headz Up Barbershop, is the official barber for the Florida Marlins. The Mr. T-bearded, heavily tattooed, reformed ex-con, who sets up a makeshift parlor adjacent to the Marlins' locker-room and has cut hair in at least eight Major League stadiums, is almost certainly the only official barber in the bigs. He has coiffed the likes of Gary Sheffield, Hanley Ramirez, Josh Johnson, Carlos Beltran, Carl Crawford, Miguel Cabrera, Johan Santana — you name the superstar, and he has most likely taken clippers to the guy's head. Dontrelle Willis once gave him a tricked-out vintage Chevy, and Brad Penny wrote Tandron an $850 check to travel to the Marlins' Jupiter spring-training facility to trim his beard. There's a reason players who can afford any fancy-schmancy stylist choose Tandron: He's a master of clean and sharp customized haircuts — the kind of work that adds a little pimp-walk to your gait when you glance in the mirror or face an opposing pitcher. Despite his A-list clientele, Tandron still charges a pittance — $15 — when he cuts regular guys' hair.
Tropicana Flea Market
Every great flea market should have the following three things: incredibly low-priced produce, quirky vintage knickknacks, and delicious Colombian hot dogs. Tropicana Flea Market delivers on all fronts. Open Friday through Sunday from 7 to 7, el pulgero on NW 36th Street is an indoor/outdoor bazaar with more than 200 booths selling everything from $1 lettuce heads to discounted 600-thread-count bed sets. Need tires? No problem. A new bedroom set? Check. What about a pet hamster? Hell, yes! And most excellent of all, everything is mad-cheap 'cause it's a flea market. Then after you're done shopping, treat yourself to a Mimi's Perros Colombian-style hot dog and a can of Ironbeer.
Rio Pet Grooming
There's nothing sleazier than a crappy dog-boarding place. You walk in and you're hit with the overwhelming twin scents of canine halitosis and petrified feces. All the dogs are behind bars and loudly acting crazed, like cast members in some Milo & Otis version of Oz. By the same token, screw the dog B&Bs — those ridiculous chateaus where the canines lie on miniature human beds, the caretakers dress in faux-tuxedos, and TV sets play Lassie or some such pandering idiocy. Dogs just want to be comfortable and fed. Their owners just want them to be safe. Any additional frills are irrelevant to the former party and wallet-draining to the latter. At Rio Pet Grooming, the dogs mingle during the day and sleep in comfortable cubicles — not cages — at night. They're filmed 24 hours a day, so the storeowner can watch them even when she's at home. Boarding costs $25 a night for small dogs and $30 to $40 for larger pups. And when you're back in town, some traumatizing experience won't have transformed your beloved mutt into a mouth-frothing Kujo.
Since launching in 2009, Miami Beach's free public Wi-Fi has taken some heat. Perhaps expectations were too high. The service was never meant to replace reliable home Internet service for every Beach resident, but when you're in a pinch and need to check your email on your laptop or download a new book on your Kindle, it does its duty. Sure, there are still kinks and limitations, but it's pretty easy to get a connection when you're sitting at an outdoor café or under a palm tree. Most of all, it's a step in the right direction — one we hope other Miami-Dade municipalities eventually follow.
Those of us who love the printed word are under attack. Tech companies come out with new and improved e-readers and tablets every month, while the magazine rack seems to shrink at the market, and even big-box bookstores are beginning to disappear. Getting our hands on those sweet, glossy pages has become more difficult than ever. Luckily, a few old-fashioned newsstands still dot the landscape. The grimy, bodega-like aesthetics of Mindy's News & Gift Shop certainly don't match the pretty looks of an iPad, but the selection here is unmatched. Where else in town can you pick up multiple magazines about niche topics such as pro biking and collector's toys while flipping through relevant editions of nearly every regional Vogue? Not only does Mindy's carry a wide selection of new mags, but also employees usually leave leftover copies of previous editions on the shelves, which is good news for those of us who forgot to pick up a copy of The New Yorker last week. We don't know how long it will be before digital issues made for tablet computers totally replace printed publications, but we'll treasure old-school newsstands such as Mindy's as long as they're around.
WD 555
More than 400 bottles of wine line the aisles and back walls of Philippe Buchbinder and Jean-Luc Oizan Chapon's Miami Beach wine warehouse. The industrial-like space has a pleasant ambiance and houses not only a wine store but also a wine bar and bistro, making it a cool spot to either pick up a bottle to go or enjoy it right there at the U-shaped bar or outdoor bistro. The corkage fee is a modest $7.50, and the bottles — which cover the globe, from France to the States to Chile — mostly range in price from $10 to $30. A knowledgeable staff does a fine job helping you sort through the selection, even when you dash in not knowing exactly what you want. For special occasions, a glass-enclosed cellar houses pricier wine and champagne bottles starting at $35, with a $15 corkage.
Who wants to walk or drive all the way to some beer store to get an enormous quantity of beer? Ugh, barf. Clearly, the way a true luminary — we're thinking William "Refrigerator" Perry — would get beer for his beer party is by calling up the beer guy on his (beer?) phone and ordering it like some General Tso's chicken. Also, we might lose a sponsor for saying this, but Miller Lite tastes like DJ Pauly D's urine, bro. We are utterly sick and tired of Miami's dearth of premium beer. Yo Beer Guys delivers kegs (starting at $100), half-kegs (many less than $100), and tasting crates of really good export and micobrewery beers (most between $1 to $2 a bottle) — with names such as Bison Brewing, Baltika Zhiguli, Bedele, Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven Trappist (yes, we're looking at the B section of their website) — to your door without you or your friends having to put on pants and/or take the plastic cheese hats off your heads. There are also beer gift baskets with premium beers and cheese and crackers and stuff, which you will buy for your great-uncle Rodney's 82nd birthday, but then you'll forget to go to the post office to send it, and he'll die, and you'll mournfully be forced to eat and drink his gift. Mmm, tragedy beer. Agony cheese. Barf.
Jorge's Pharmacy
For Cubans, actually most Latinos, Jorge's Pharmacy is a place where you can buy those otherwise hard-to-find items: Maja-brand soaps and face powder, Fitina tablets (think Hispanic Focus Factor), a Mirta de Perales hair brush, and El Bebé champú. For non-Latinos, Jorge's is a throwback to B.C. (before CVS) — a time when you knew the name of the person bagging your Luden's throat drops and you felt comfortable enough with your pharmacist to discuss just about anything. What? Never stepped inside a drugstore smaller than a Walmart? Well, it's high time you did. Entering the time warp that is Jorge's also means you don't have to wait in line and the cashiers remind you of your grandmother. You might pay a bit more for items at this mom-and-pop than you would at a big-box drugstore, but the service and ambiance are priceless.
The pawnshop is the most maligned of all shopping institutions. It's the place where dreams (in the form of wedding bands) go to die and where lifelong cherished relics are traded for sweaty balls of cash that fund everything from next month's rent to this week's bail. But every so often, a shop like Don Z comes along that feels less like a money-hungry, grubby con artist and more like a smooth, slick-talking friend who dabbles in the art of brokering deals on interesting finds. Yeah, you might give him the side-eye and get a second opinion on the sly, but you trust that, at the very least, he won't mark up your sexy vintage camera something obscene after handing you the cash. And if you're a devotee of thrift-hunting, you might take a moment to sift through electronics, collectibles, and instruments, many sold outright to the store rather than as the result of default. The Don has been around for decades, and it shows — some patrons are so comfortable in the shop that they've made it a regular place to hang out and shoot the breeze. How many other pawnshops can claim the same?

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®