Best Action Figure Store 2012 | Man of Action Figures | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

After operating for the past few years as a family-owned online store, Man of Action Figures decided to buck the e-commerce trend by opening a brick-and-mortar outpost in Cutler Bay. Even if you haven't played with an action figure since your mother sold your Boba Fett at a yard sale (dammit, Mom!), this place is bound to make the kid in you as excited as if he just chased an entire package of Sour Patch Kids with a liter of Mountain Dew. Fight the urge to call Mom to demand a set of X-Men mini-mates, a 25th anniversary G.I. Joe, and the entire collection of WWE Classic Superstars figures. You make your own money now, remember? So calmly put the phone back in your pocket and buy yourself that Boba Fett. You know you want it. You deserve it. Oh, and pick up something for your own kid while you're at it.

Truly old-school Miamians who loved playing with remote control model toys back in the day probably remember a spot in Allapattah they could always count on. Tucked inside an old bowling alley on NW 36th Street at Ninth Avenue, Orange Blossom Hobbies was packed with people buying the latest RC cars, trucks, planes, and boats. Michael Jones remembers it too. He worked the counter there on and off for 25 years, starting when he was 10 years old. Today, the remote control buff is hoping to re-create the familial ambiance he came to know and love until Orange Blossom closed in the mid-'00s. The Homestead native and his wife Shannon opened Hobby Pro in October 2011 on the second floor of a retail plaza facing the south runway of Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport. The couple stocks a wide array of gas- and electric-powered model vehicles and parts. If it's not in stock, you can place an order via Hobby Pro's website. "We're slowly building our inventory," Shannon notes. The shop carries an abundance of Traxxas brand electric RC toys, including the company's popular monster truck replicas such as Grave Digger, with prices ranging from $200 to $500. You can also pick up models for under $150, and at least once a month Hobby Pro hosts its Sunday Funday, when enthusiasts can play in the parking lot.

Tucked behind an IHOP on Hallandale Beach Boulevard, Reggae Land Muzik isn't so much a record shop as it is a reggae museum. Meticulously organized crates of hard-to-find vinyl give way to stacks of epic dancehall mix CDs and carefully catalogued cassette tapes. Whether you're looking to venture beyond Bob Marley for the first time or you're an avid collector on the prowl for a Don Carlos release from back in the day, the affable and informed owner, who goes by "Juicy V" or "Jah V," will be more than happy to weigh in and help you find what you're looking for. "I love this space. I love vibing with my people," the Jamaican-born Juicy says. For more than 18 years, he has been slinging riddims both new and vintage, amassing more than 100,000 vinyls during that time. "What you see up front in the store, that's a teardrop of what I have in stock." Now he's in the tedious process of uploading his collection to the store's website. "In five years, I'll still be uploading 45s."

For all of your religious and otherworldly needs, Botanica Nena is the place to be. Open for more than 42 years, this devotional botanica is a one-stop shop for pretty much anything you might need for practicing the art of Yoruba. The employees are knowledgeable and friendly, and there's a vast inventory ranging from candles to religious artifacts to jewelry. Herbs? Check. Porcelain soup bowls to hold orishas (or spirits)? Check. Libros de IFA (a key Santero text)? Check. Soperas and other tools for the warriors? Check. Incense? Check. Hell, even Anthony Bourdain visited Botanica Nena during the taping of his South Florida stop on No Reservations.

Inside just about any gay bookstore, you'll find a little porn. OK, maybe more than a little porn. Maybe a decent selection of porn. Fine, a lot of porn. Tons and tons of porn. Lambda Passages has got your porn; in fact, half the store is dedicated to video rental. But y'know what else it's got? Cookbooks. In its used-books section, you can pick up a few recipes from somebody's mom's gently worn kitchen guide. You can browse a selection of novels too, some of which might count as porn of the literary variety, and others so tame you don't even need to take them home in a brown paper bag. And if you swing by Lambda in search of a gift for that very special someone, you won't have to hit up Hallmark afterward; there's also a selection of snarky, gay-friendly greeting cards. Even the porn selection at Lambda is shockingly refined; amid modern skin mags, you'll find vintage issues of Playgirl and Playboy. Turns out Lambda's moderately sketchy location, right between the Wonderland strip club and the Jamboree Lounge on Biscayne Boulevard, belies its refined interior. This is a place for gay people who love sex, sure. But it's also a place where you can appreciate other stuff too.

Never let it be said that Miami is not a trendsetter. Well before pop-up restaurants and pop-up bars exploded in popularity, Miami began hosting a pop-up of its own: the Friends of the Library Annual Book Sale, which has been springing up during the holiday shopping rush for the past 11 years. For most of the year, the downtown branch of the Miami-Dade Public Library System is just an average city hub for book lending and covert napping. But for five days of every year, usually in early December, it transforms into this city's best bookstore. Tens of thousands of books, CDs, and DVDs are available for purchase, making it one of the largest book sales in South Florida. The prices reflect some killer discounts, so you can justify fleshing out your home library as well as picking up a couple of titles to wrap up as holiday gifts. And your friends and family won't be the only ones who'll benefit — sales proceeds go toward funding the library's cultural and literary programs. So when you buy a book to read, you're also helping others do the same. It's hard to get that warm, fuzzy feeling from downloading an e-book to your Kindle.

We don't know about you, but we take our personal safety rather seriously. We wear a helmet when we Segway to work in the morning, swaddle our children in cheesecloth and bubble wrap — holes for eyes, nose, and mouth, of course — and are terrified by revolving doors. So when it comes to exploring the mysterious, gaping maw of the Atlantic Ocean, we refuse to let some slack-jawed scuba instructor hold our life in his Corona-swilling hands. We shell out for the best, and the best in this case is Grove Scuba. Co-owner Bill Lamp'l is the only person in Miami who can actually train you to become a dive instructor. He's also an underwater photography fiend. Grove Scuba is a bit pricier than some other dive shops around town, but it makes up for the expense with cheap underwater camera rentals and a mind-blowing 57 dive locations in Miami and Key Largo. They include dozens of wrecks, reefs, and a statue of Jesus. Open-water scuba certification costs $475, but dive novices can try a two-dive intro course for $195. If you decide to get certified, those dives count toward it.

It's hard to pin down this joint's business model, where everything is painted garishly and music — often gangsta rap — blasts loudly enough to be heard down the block. It's as if the unique and wonderful brain of its proprietor, Ron Cater, exploded in store form. He sells skateboards and parts, including ornate and hypercolored models from skate companies such as Zero, Black Label, and Dogtown. There are new and used bicycles, especially awesome-looking, tricked-out, neon-painted fixed-gears. Then, near the back of the store, there's his Halloween costume collection. He specializes in creepy stuff. And don't forget the glass cabinet full of intense knives and swords. Cater sells everything at a reasonable price and fixes bikes and skateboards for much less than your average repair spot. He's the best part of the business — a Jheri-curled, lean white dude who will bombard you with shit talk while he fixes your flat tire for $8. Maybe Cater's business model is simply revenge. He says he opened Team Iguana Sports to terrorize his enemy, who owns the more corporate bicycle shop across the street.

Surfers are pretty loyal to their gear shops. They also like to keep those places a secret from kooks like you. So if you're a noob to hitting the glassy breaks of Miami's beaches, you'll want to find a place that appeals to your inner Johnny Utah no matter your skill level. Island Water Sports has been a South Florida fixture since 1981, and it caters to all kinds of surfers — the vets, the amateurs, and even paddle boarders and wake boarders (sorry, goat boaters, you'll have to get your kayaking gear someplace else). They have a crapload of every kind of product you'll need, like surf boards made by Channel Island and Aloha, to name a couple. They carry wetsuits from O'Neill, Quicksilver, and Rip Curl, and stock a myriad of Gorilla Grip, X-Trak, and other accessories. Pretty much whatever you need, they sell. Best of all, they have a killer staff waiting to answer any and all questions about the beautiful art of surfing. Need a tip on when and where to catch the best waves in town? They'll tell you. Because unlike condescending, snobby surf shops around town that cater to only "their own kind," the dudes at Island Water Sports actually give a crap about their customers and will steer you in the right direction with their friendly, knowledgeable advice. Then you'll be ready to play hooky from your office job, and when the boss asks if you did anything productive, you can answer, "I caught my first tube today, sir."

Attention, Magic City men: It's time to stop wearing ill-fitting suits. Your crotch should not get lost in a sea of fabric, but it also shouldn't be so tight that we can tell if you're circumcised. No, gentlemen, it's time to slap down some cash for a suit that every man should have in his closet — a real man's answer to the little black dress. Yes, you'll have to spend some serious money if you want a properly fitted suit, but it will be worth it once the ladies see you in it. Duncan Quinn's Miami outpost, located on the ground floor of the Moore Building, started out as an Art Basel pop-up in 2009. However, when Basel left, Quinn stayed. Now the store is one of three in the States (the others are located in New York City and Los Angeles). Store employees reflect the Duncan Quinn style — edgy "GQ meets rock 'n' roll"-style suits and accessories. Shirts, jeans, ties, and cuff links are available, but the real treat are the bespoke suits. Items range from $100 for a T-shirt to $5,000 for a custom-made suit. But rest assured, everything here is either designed or handpicked by the store's namesake himself.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®