Best Men's Clothing Store 2013 | Basico | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Laura Bernal Photography

Living in Miami Beach is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that you are just blocks from white-sand beaches dotted with bikini-clad beauties. A curse in that you must suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fashion sense: Ed Hardy hats festooned with fierce animals, swimwear splashed with beer logos, and an endless wave of neon "I'm in Miami Bitch" T-shirts. It's like an eternal acid trip. But one store has taken arms against this sea of troubling threads. Located around the corner from Slurpee staple Wet Willie's, Basico is an island of style in a South Beach awash with ugliness. The small menswear boutique has been around since 2000 under the name Lina Cantillo but was rechristened by owner Francesco Cianci when he remodeled last summer. Along with a new layout came new lines of clothes, carefully curated by Cianci himself. The Colombian has assembled sleekly cut summer garments in bright colors, such as vibrant Venroy board shorts ($80 to $95), Bogosse dress shirts with paisley print highlights ($189 to $228), and enough sneakers ($100 to $150) to make you salivate. "I like for my clients to have a little bit of fun when they dress up," Cianci says of his selection. Basico's clientele is a mix of tourist walk-ins and devoted locals. "It's like a little secret," Cianci adds. "Most people don't tell anybody about the store because they don't want anybody else wearing the same stuff." Oops.

"I'm gonna pop some tags/Only got $20 in my pocket." Don't worry, it's not just Macklemore who doesn't have time for $800 Louboutins from Nordstrom, though you'd be forgiven to think otherwise in Miami. It's tough to live on the cheap in a city where construction contractors show up to work in Prada sneakers and Gucci belts and where produce sales reps make restaurant visits in Betsey Johnson skirts. Enter the thrift shop, where one man's trash is another man's come-up. Nowhere is that motto more a way of life than at the Recycled Closet, a consignment boutique fit for penny-pinchers who aren't looking to spend $50 for an Armani T-shirt. Like Macklemore: "I call that getting swindled and pimped/I call that getting ticked by a business/That shirt's hella, though." And at the Recycled Closet, in the Apollon Plaza just east of the Falls, you'll probably find the same shirt for $15. The store owner, Jennifer, is always incredibly helpful and welcoming. The clothes are organized by item type and color, so it's easy to get lost (in a good, definitely-gonna-find-a-bargain-today kind of way). You can find a denim shirt and kick it '90s-style for $4, or you can find that Betsey Johnson dress your produce sales rep has for $10. The "Dolla Holla" bins alone make the trip worth it. So head to the Recycled Closet before you ask Grandpa: "Can I have your hand-me-downs?"

Aventura Mall photo

Trivia time: Where is one of the largest outdoor shopping malls in the nation? Hint: It's in Dade. Double hint: It's not in South Beach. OK, we don't blame you if you're still floundering for an answer on this one. But if you haven't checked out the Falls lately, you're missing out on a seriously great shopping spot that's open enough to enjoy a South Florida breeze but covered enough to keep that sticky summer heat off your back while you try on some new duds. Chances are, the Falls has spruced up since last time you swung by. Dining options are on the up thanks to a new BJ's Restaurant & Brew­house and a Red Robin, and the upscale stores have been upgrading, with unique retailers like Lovesac, a shop that specializes in luxury beanbags and alternative furniture. With open-air babbling brooks and regular live music on an intimate stage at the center of the mall from November through April, the Falls is a pleasure even for a quiet stroll. Just make sure your walk takes you by the recently opened Fresh Market so you can pick up some hummus and fancy stinky cheese to go with your new Williams-Sonoma grater, iPad, and movie tickets.

Most bridal boutiques won't admit it up front, but when it comes to designer gowns, they're all the same. Sure, one dress shop might carry different samples than another. And yes, if you're enamored of a particular designer, a shop that specializes in those brand-name dresses can help with details like color choice and sizing. But when you've decided on the perfect gown, no matter where you buy it, every bridal shop in America will order it from the same company, often in Europe, so far away that you're just another number instead of an excited bride buying the most expensive, most photographed item of clothing you'll ever own. Unless, that is, you have your wedding dress designed for you and you alone. That's where Lourdes Currie of Couture Bridal Miami comes in. Working out of her Surfside shop, just down the road from the designer fashion haven of Bal Harbour, Currie creates one-of-a-kind wedding dresses according to her clients' desires. Women who've been dreaming of their wedding their whole lives tend to have a very specific dress in mind; Currie makes those dreams a reality. It comes at a price, of course — custom-designed gowns start at $4,000. The shop also carries creations by top bridal designers for $2,000 to $10,000. But this is Miami, a town where locals spend more on quinces than people in other parts of the country spend on their weddings. After all, if you just want a pretty dress, you can go anywhere.

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.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®