This is Miami. Two-buck Chuck is unheard of, and you'll impress exactly no one with your favorite $10 Publix vino. This is a city that's all about impressions, be it first, second, or 376th. And when it comes to wine, Wine by the Bay's Stefano is happy to supply you with the stuff that will save you the undue embarrassment among friends and colleagues of showing up with a box of bargain-basement wine. With high ceilings, white-washed walls, and concrete floors, the lofty space is more Tribeca than downtown Miami, but the killer view of the American Airlines Arena across the way keeps your perspective straight. Stroll in on any given afternoon and you'll find Stefano and his rolling Italian accent behind the counter while chatting up patrons. Also the man behind Etra Fine Art, he regularly rotates pieces out of the shop, so there's no shortage of aesthetic appeal. Ask for some guidance and he'll show you his (pricey) silver and gold selections, his assortment of imported cheeses and foie gras, and his prosciutto slicer. Snag a top-dollar bottle of Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac ($524.95) for your baller marriage proposal, or a more reasonable bottle of Dry Creek Vineyard Fume Blanc ($21.95) for next week's Friendsgiving. Or just pop the cork on a bottle of Balan prosecco ($16.95) in-house and sit a spell while Stefano regales you with tales of his travels.

Cigars are as burrowed into Little Havana's culture as the mangrove roots that dig into Florida Bay. There's no better spot to get deep into the aromatic depths of tobacco worship than Mi Cuba Cigar Lounge. Just a stone's throw from Marlins Park, this Little Havana hideaway is where the locals go for an eclectic choice of cigars at great prices. Anytime, day or night, you can play a game of dominoes or watch baseball on TV while enjoying a delicious stogy. The shop — which also offers beer, wine, and humidor maintenance to keep those 'gars fresh — is the only place in town that offers "cigar restoration" for damaged but cherished vintages. It also proffers some of the most unique blends, including a 1994 Cuba Aliados 3 Gentleman ($300 for three cigars), a 1990 Puros Indios Chief ($85 per stick), and a 1998 Aliados Miami Vintage for $30 per cigar. Or just stop by to breathe it all in — the culture, the smell, the flavor of Little Havana.

Named after Thomas Stone and John Hart, a pair of patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence, this Kendall hangout for firearm enthusiasts is filled with guys and gals who strive to embody the same kind of "resiliency, hard work, honesty, and leadership that these two great individuals demonstrated throughout their lives." Oh, and if it's the second or fourth Thursday night of the month, they'll also be blasting bowling pins with rented handguns ($20 for members, $25 for nonmembers). For amateurs, the fine, friendly folks at Stone Hart's offer "free monthly basic safety courses" as well as affordable $100-to-$149 "safety training, concealed weapon, and precision shooting, women-only, and family courses, among others." For the pros, though, just pack an extra-large shooter's bag, throw on your favorite conceal-carry Bermuda shirt, and go unload on one of Stone Hart's 16 shooting lanes, all for only $13 to $18 an hour. Other notable perks: free Wi-Fi, cable TV, and gourmet coffee.

It carries rare Nike SBs and retro Jordans. It carries a dozen high- and low-top Adidas kicks. It carries a display of Nike Dunks with more colors than a Timothy Leary acid trip. It carries early-release Jordans alongside sneakers from Diamond Supply, Vans, and Obey. It carries flat-brimmed NBA hats. It carries shiny Mitchell & Ness baseball jackets with vintage MLB logos. Foot Soldiers, in other words, carries the aspirations of an evolving downtown Miami. It's a city where people live, not one they abandon at 6 o'clock. It's a city that has art, fashion, good food, and pride. Best of all, Foot Soldiers sells $30 "F--k You From Miami" T-shirts — so you can show yours too.

Courtesy ISA Boutique

Sometimes in life, you just need one place where you can buy everything: jeans, dresses, shoes, accessories, swimwear, lingerie. And yes, there are plenty of malls around town that might meet that description, but half the fun of dressing up is bragging about where you got the goods. Saying you scored it all at this boutique in Coral Gables sounds a lot cooler than saying you went shopping at Dadeland Mall. ISA Boutique has you covered both ways. It's got everything you need to stock your wardrobe, and it's a small, locally owned boutique that you can tell your friends you "discovered." Also, the sticker shock isn't overwhelming — items range in price from $40 to $300. The fashion isn't necessarily avant-garde, but ISA carries the basics every Miami woman should have in her closet, with labels like Bec & Bridge, Blank NYC, Ava Sky, and Red Carter. And if you can't make it to the store, ISA delivers to Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, South Miami, and Pinecrest for only $5 — you know, in case of a fashion emergency.

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?"

Photo courtesy of Aventura Mall

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.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®