Best Florist 2013 | Abbott Florist | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

Springtime is party time. Not like booze, teenagers, and kegstands. Think weddings, graduations, and banquets. Though the former might sound like more fun, class and elegance always prevail. And if you want your fancy party to fit that bill, you need color, life, and vibrance. Otherwise, you've got a dull space filled with a bunch of people and a DJ, and you might as well just resort to kegstands after all. Flowers make all the difference. Sure, you could probably order a bunch of roses and stargazers in bulk from 1-800-FLOWERS or some other generic company, but where's the fun in that? Abbott Florist's Romina can help you select lovely arrangements for any affair, and for a reasonable price ($35 to $170). The family-run business has been around for more than 20 years, and one of the best things about the Normandy Isle shop is that it offers an entire section of "Miami Style" arrangements. These bouquets, naturally, are far more colorful and vibrant than a traditional bunch of roses. If you can't stop in, you can find Abbott's tent at the Normandy Farmers' Market every Saturday morning. So when you plan your next event, don't forget the flowers. Watered-down drinks and a lame song mix can put a damper on any party, but if guests can take home gorgeous centerpieces, well, it was all worth it in the end.

Robert often frequents Scrub-a-Dub Coin Laundry empty-handed — not looking for a wash or a dry, but simply some conversation. A few nights a week, he approaches one of the 30 stainless-steel washing machines stacked in threes along the right wall and chats with a new patron in (sometimes slurred) Spanish. While an occupied look will turn him away, Scrub-a-Dub's friendly customers engage the wandering personality as they pile whites, colors, and darks into Big ($4.75), Medium ($3.50), or Economy ($2.50) loads. Part-owner Zafar, a longtime Miami resident from Delhi, India, enjoys the company. He sits behind the counter, listing prices for the laundromat's wash and fold service (95 cents per pound), smiling as Robert advises even the regulars to choose any dryer they'd like. After all, 20 rumbling machines line the side of Scrub-a-Dub and will dry your pants and panties at a rate of 25 cents per seven minutes, just long enough to check your email on the joint's free Wi-Fi or grab a bite from Little Caesars next door. With a cortadito from Zafar, a smile from Robert, and about a half-hour of your time, Scrub-a-Dub will leave you feeling accomplished, content, and, of course, squeaky-clean.

Daenerys Targaryen and Ser Jorah Mormont, characters from HBO's Game of Thrones, stand beside their ship, washed up on the shores of South Beach.

— What strange shores are these, Ser Jorah?

— Khaleesi, we appear to have arrived in the exotic city of Miami. Our ship must have made a wrong turn en route to Westeros.

— Ser Jorah, this is unwelcome news. My dragons grow stronger every day. My men are eager to fight. I must return to King's Landing and claim the Iron Throne.

— I know, my queen. But right now, there is nothing to be done. I suggest we stay the night. This Miami place is not so bad. Its weather is almost unbearably warm, so your desert-dwelling Khalasar will feel at home. Your dragons can feast on its pythons and feral cats. And you, Khaleesi, you should pay a visit to Sir Galloway.

— Ser Galloway? Who is this man? A cruel king? An evil soothsayer? Another pretender to my throne?

— No, Khaleesi. It's Sir, not Ser, Galloway Cleaners, a gang of local tradesmen who can— um ­— make your queen's attire seem all the more, uh, royal.

— How dare you address your queen this way, Ser Jorah! I am the Mother of Dragons. It matters not what I am wearing.

— That is true, Khaleesi. I only meant that, well, we've come such a long way from the Dothraki plains, and you carry only a limited wardrobe.

— Perhaps what you say is true. I have not laundered my royal attire since I housetrained the dragons. And some of my Dothraki have still not gotten over their seasickness. The bile they leave on the decks of the ship has been impossible to avoid.

— If I may speak plainly, my queen, you're a bloody-ripe mess. And I have heard the locals here speak of Sir Galloway with awe and admiration. They say it is the best dry cleaner in all the land, caring for delicate silks and garments such as yours with expert care. Sir Galloway will remove the dragon pee from your dresses, shine your shoes, and even clean your royal knapsack and any other handbags or accessories as you see fit. They are members of the environmentally friendly Green Cleaners Council, so the work they do for you will have little negative impact on the locals here. And they even have a wash-and-fold-by-the-pound service, should you see fit to treat your army to fresh garments.

— A fine idea, Ser Jorah. But can they do it in time?

— If they're late in returning your precious attire, we shall pay them not a single silver coin. And the kind Sir will freely pick up and deliver almost anywhere in Miami, from Bal Harbour in the north to Cutler Bay in the south. They will not likely desire to deliver to you in Westeros, of course, but I believe your dragons can convince them.

— Very good, Ser Jorah. Send a pigeon to summon Sir Galloway immediately.

(A loud, throbbing sound erupts from a nearby building.)

— But wait! Ser Jorah, what is that menacing sound?

— That is EDM, Khaleesi. Come, let me show you the customs of this strange place.

There's a scene in Disney's The Little Mermaid in which Ariel shows off her collection of artifacts from the world above the waves. She's got gadgets and gizmos aplenty: candlesticks, mirrors, a fork she naively uses to comb her hair. In Miami, there's a place just like that. Better yet, you won't need a snorkel to get there. Memoires antique store in MiMo is home to the most eclectic collection of thingamabobs in town. You've got your traditional antique fare: jewelry, glassware, vintage signs. You have your more unique items: bell jars, soaps (not antiques, but still nice-smelling), musical instruments. And you have some pretty freaky stuff too, like jars full of doll's heads. But these aren't just random finds. Memoires' collection is expertly curated for both style and condition — if there's a dent in the silver platter you're holding, it's because the design of the piece is extraordinarily elegant and possibly rare. Walking through the tightly packed space and examining its treasures isn't just shopping; it's almost like being in a museum, except you can touch just about everything. Just don't use that silver fork to comb your hair. That might be too eclectic even for Memoires.

The bad news: Our economy still sucks and almost everyone is on the edge of some kinda personal economic collapse. The good news: That's why the pawnshop biz is booming, especially in the Sunshine State! So when the bank finally takes your house, the car bursts into flames, and your boss says it's time to clean out your godforsaken cubicle, you will have plenty of local options for hocking all those family heirlooms, priceless keepsakes, and other prized possessions. But it'd be a bad idea to rush off to just anywhere for a lil' loan, cash, or barter action. Be safe and stick with an old standby like Cutler Bay's finest buy-sell-and-trade spot, Cash Dome, AKA "South Florida's Largest Pawn Shop." It's family-owned, and they'll treat you right no matter what you're trading in for cash.

In the market for a used Shake Weight? A knockoff Prada bag? A Katy Perry-inspired wig? A 1950s-era pin-up calendar? Amid the more than 800 vendors inside the sprawling Opa-locka/Hialeah Flea Market, you'll find whatever you could possibly be looking for. Parking is free (or $1 on the weekends) outside what looks like a golden-domed sultan's palace, and inside, you'll find a veritable labyrinth of stalls lined with used athletic equipment, car stereos, discontinued beauty products, polyester prom dresses, household appliances, tropical flowers, disposable cell phones, and anything else you could possibly imagine in your wildest Hoarders dreams. Try the Mini Dollar stand, where everything from Betty Boop shorts to '80s leotards costs 99 cents, or go classier at Junior Jewelry, where you can get gold, silver, and diamonds on the cheap. Bring your bargaining skills. And cash. The market is open 365 days a year, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., so if you need a neon-haired troll doll, fake fruit bowl, or satin athletic jacket at 8 a.m. Christmas Day, you know where to go.

Tucked into a lot on the perennially colorful Calle Ocho and guarded by a gang of plywood ghouls that range from an uncomfortable-looking Dracula to a dead-eyed, gigantic-handed Frankenstein's monster, La Casa de los Trucos is the Mecca of Miami costume shops. But let's not call it a shop, because it's in a category all its own. This is an emporium de disfrazes — that's disguises, for those of you who haven't spent quite enough time en la saguesera. The moment you walk through the door, you realize there seem to be more strange, intrinsically fascinating props, masks, severed limbs, outfits, and other trucos than space in the store. This place flouts the laws of physics, like someone packed Dr. Who's Tardis full of Halloween paraphernalia. Seriously, everything is here. Need fake parking tickets? Those start at $1.99. A rubber reticulated King cobra for those extra-special romantic evenings? Just $3.99 to $24.99, if you please. A perfectly constructed replica of a Beretta 9mm for... whatever? A cool $259 and it's all yours. There's a reason why La Casa de los Trucos has been catering to Miami's trickery needs for the past 40 years: Nobody does weird so well.

True art blossoms in the unlikeliest spots. Warhol found it in dilapidated New York warehouses. Banksy made it happen on teetering brick walls in Bristol tenements. So don't be surprised to see Dade's budding painters tucked into a drab strip mall on the southern reaches of U.S. 1. Inside Art Atelier, the walls are covered with the colorful creations of dozens of amateurs and blossoming professionals, mostly working in oil and acrylic paints. The shop (which has another location on South Dixie Highway in Pinecrest) holds adult workshops in the mornings and children's classes in the afternoons. Every Wednesday beginning at 7 p.m., $60 gets you into an adult happy hour, with wine and snacks to go with professional instruction. The teachers are all pros, but they're laid-back and ready to help you refine your technique whether you're a color-splattering newbie or an expert scraper working on your blue-period masterpiece.

In the heart of Westchester, tucked between the Tiki Dog Salon and an optical store in a shopping center on Galloway Road, groups of extraordinary beings come together to share their stories of good versus evil. You'll find Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Teen Titans, Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, X-Men, the Avengers, and hundreds of your favorite superheroes inside the bins of Mac's Comics & Collectibles. This comic book mecca was established in 1988 by the late collectibles guru Frank Goetz. In 2006, Goetz sold his shop to a former customer, Mike McEwen, who's combined old-school brick-and-mortar retail with 21st-century social-media marketing to create a topnotch online and traditional comic book shop. Customers visiting the store for the first time receive a free comic book from the discount bins by mentioning Mac's Facebook page, where McEwen posts daily and weekly images of new issues from DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, and all the niche publishers out there. Every week, Mac's holds an online contest that rewards each winner with a $25 discount on all comic books in the back-issue bins. Even better, McEwen lets his clients fill out online pull lists that allow them to hold new issues for up to seven days and get 25 percent off. On top of all that, every first Saturday of the month, Mac's Comics pays homage to FCBD (Free Comic Book Day) by giving customers one free book from the discount bins just for stopping by. Caped crusaders, it's worth the short flight to Westchester for this superhuman experience.

Pink, yellow, red, green, blue, and purple. All the colors of a gorgeous day at the beach line the walls and floor of this adorable boutique, nestled in the heart of Coral Gables' Miracle Mile shopping district. The suits have charm and character, and they come in all kinds of styles and sizes, because not all beach bodies are made alike. Curves n' Waves is fully stocked in all beach accessories: hats, sandals, tunics, wraps, and more. And hey, this is Miami — you're probably gonna hit the streets once the sun sets. Check the opposite wall to find the right look for your club-ready nightlife, because the shop has all of that too. It's a boutique, and it does have boutique prices. Most suits go for about $120 to $150, but they're not quite like any suits you'll find anywhere else. After all, the beaches here are beautiful, and you should be too.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®