Best Mechanic 2014 | King Automotive | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

Before Wynwood became the land of 10,000 bad Banksy imitations (AKA Janksies), there was the blue-and-yellow façade of King Automotive. This auto repair shop has been providing "miles of smiles" since 1967, according to its slogan, and whoever sets the prices doesn't seem to be familiar with the concept of inflation. Gary, King's head mechanic, is affable and has the patience to deal with the most ignorant car owners and the integrity to steer them toward the least expensive solution. He's also a no-bullshit dude who's been working there for the past two decades, and he's not going anywhere. Although that trait translates to thoroughness when it comes to fixing cars, he's almost too modest for his own good as a businessman. Aren't auto mechanics supposed to be shysters? Dude doesn't even have a website.

The queue stretches for half a block around the tent pitched on the side of the road. What could be inside, drivers must wonder, to inspire such a line? Grossly discounted fireworks? Eye-popping circus sideshow freaks? Free cake?! Nope. This is Supershine Car Wash, and it's well worth the wait. Underneath the tent, the service is quick and decently priced and thoroughly delivers a wash tailored to fit the needs of your vehicle. Whether you've gone off-roading, camping at a music festival, had bad luck with birds and bugs, or just pathologically avoided hosing down your car, they'll take care of you within half an hour. A basic cleaning starts at $19.95, while a $25.95 superwash comes with an exterior showroom-shine coating and interior leather protection. Take your car there Tuesday or Wednesday and get the express wax for a discounted $34.95. They'll even throw in some complimentary Wonder Wafers air fresheners, which you can whiff before choosing, so you can drive off with your car smelling like new leather, jasmine, orange slice, or any other of the 16 available scents. Who needs free cake?

Living in Miami's urban core has its perks: walkability, decent public transit, a nice selection of local stores, and, of course, proximity to the highways that can whisk you away to Key West or New England if you're up for the road trip. But you'll need a decent set of wheels first. A trip to the auto dealership usually means traveling to suburbia to have your pick of the litter. But urban denizens can thank Norman Braman for Braman Motors. The name might be synonymous with BMWs, but don't worry — Braman knows that all kinds of folks dwell in downtown these days, so there are Hyundais and Kias for those looking for affordability and better gas mileage. There are also plenty of Minis, Cadillacs, and even a few Bugattis — just in case Ace Hood shows up looking for a million-dollar ride to Art Basel. Though you might be used to the sprawling dealerships west of I-95, Braman is compact enough that the shopping experience seems intimate without skimping on selection. As for the salespeople — well, have you ever met a car salesman who doesn't frustrate the hell out of you? Arrive prepared with a reasonable price and hope for the best. Before you know it, your rubber will meet the road and who knows where you'll end up.

Miami is obsessed with image, which means locals have more than a closet or two of meticulously created fashion gems. But therein lies the Catch-22: Between the big nights out, expensive dinners, and pricey drinks, there's no money left to clean the ensembles that make those nights out possible. That's where Coconut Grove Laundry & Cleaners comes in. The family-owned-and-operated business has kept Miamians looking sharp since 1961 — with prices that seem to have emerged intact from the Mad Men era. Most articles run less than $10 a pop for a cleaning. The shop also offers alteration services and cleans everything from area rugs to leather and suede. A place can't stay in business for more than 50 years without having that business on lock, so let Coconut Grove Laundry & Cleaners work out the wrinkles while you handle the rest of your life. You've probably got a night out to get ready for.

You buy your produce from a Redland farmer. You pick up your coffee from the roaster down the block. Why would you get your new threads from a soulless national superchain? You can't get more local than the homegrown group of women's stores called Blush. With five shops from Miami Beach to Palmetto Bay, Blush has most of the county covered — and at prices that would make any big-box retailer, well, get a little red in the cheeks. We're talking a $10 to $100 price range for everything from fashionably distressed white skinny jeans to crocheted beachwear to chevron-patterned bandage skirts. Think of Blush as the spot to get good-quality basics that you'll need to fill your closet, all from a place that understands the local weather — meaning fabrics are breathable, light, and colorful. This is a South Florida store for the South Florida girl.

Courtesy of Supply & Advise

Americans are the masters of casual style, but it's not uncommon to see Miamians walking around with Gucci belt buckles the size of hubcaps. That's because Miami is not in America and instead exists in a place where modesty is a four-letter word. Thankfully for the low-key set, there's Supply & Advise, the vaguely military-themed anti-boutique across from the Shops at Midtown that keeps things simple by focusing on labels that most people here wouldn't consider name brands. A casual shopper might not recognize born-in-the-USA brands such as Gitman Bros. (ask your grandfather) or understand why Levi's Vintage is so popular in Japan (their sizes run small, son), but for those in the know, this place is paradise. Nowhere else in Miami can you pick up calfskin Alden moccasins with tassels ($498) or a large Filson carry-on bag ($360). In fact, with the exception of one or two brands that are available at the Collins Avenue Barney's, practically nothing in the store can be purchased anywhere but Supply & Advise. That's why it's not uncommon for tourists from Europe or South America to let their taxis stall as they stuff Tanner Goods belts and Battenwear swim trunks into bags. The store has been at its pop-up location for less than a year, but it won't be there much longer. A move to a downtown, two-story location is already in the works. One sign of quality clothing is that it appreciates rather than deteriorates with age — here's to hoping Supply & Advise ages like a fine Red Wing boot.

Photo by Isaac Zoller

How important is the perfect swimsuit for the Miami woman? The English language lacks severe enough adverbs, so let's go with supercrazivitalally. Much like the little black dress, the perfect swimsuit can make a woman feel confident and sexy. And whether it's a one-piece or a bikini, Coral Gables shop Nic del Mar has it all. The store was started by sisters Jeannette Nicole and Lyanne Marie Roger, who wanted to bring chic resort wear to Miami. High-end labels such as Mara Hoffman, Posh Pua, and Acacia are available, along with more affordable options under $100. And with so many styles — underwire, high-waisted, full-coverage, halters — there's something for every body type. And that's not all. The store offers a section for men called Yellowboard. And, fellas, in case you weren't aware, board shorts aren't cool anymore. Instead, look for swim trunks that won't have you drowning in a sea of fabric but won't put you in the same category as the Speedo-rocking Euro dudes.

Long gone are the days of sharply dressed men topped in carefully crafted fedoras. Women no longer don flowing gowns and little ornamental hats full of jewels and feathers and filigree pinned over tightly wrapped buns. And though now it might seem like there's nothing to put on your pate but beanies and basketball snapbacks, there is a place in North Miami Beach that still offers a bit of the style and glamour found in the headdresses of yesteryear. Hats & Hats is a one-of-a-kind establishment in Miami that's been selling, shaping, and maintaining hats for more than 15 years. It's the only spot in town to go to if you're looking for some of that classy character of the good old days, that Indiana Jones swagger, or the understated, undeniable grace that Faye Dunaway and Holly Golightly exuded from hat to heel. Even if you're uncertain about buying the fine headwear at Hats & Hats, it's an interesting place to wander into. The scent of felt and silk waft through the shop, and the walls full of hats — classic and brand-new all at once — can be a pleasantly overwhelming trip to a world gone by.

They say it's the thought that counts, and yes, everyone appreciates a thoughtful gift that shows how much you care for a loved one, family member, or friend. But when it comes time to really impress that special someone — or maybe just to prove to your parents that you can — you gotta break out the big bucks. We're talking the blindingly shiny eye candy. Maurice's Jewelers is there to make that important purchase as flawless as its finest diamonds. Kind and knowledgeable employees are always happy to help, and prices are not set in stone, with up to 40 percent off retail often lopped off right away, which makes that perfectly cut, crystal-clear gemstone bracelet, necklace, or engagement ring look more attractive already. Maurice's also provides resizing, extending, and repair services in-house. Looking for something with character? Custom orders can personalize jewelry such as one of those popular Pandora charm bracelets. Whatever the occasion, Maurice's delivers the wow factor.

So he (or she) finally got down on one knee and popped the question. You're getting married. Let that sink in for a moment as the classic Spice Girls anthem plays in your head and you sing along to "2 Become 1." Now that the euphoric moment is over, reality sets in and it's time to start a Google doc and get to business. Arguably, the most important aspect of your big day (aside from your future spouse, duh) is the dress. There are plenty of reality shows dedicated to it — Say Yes to the Dress, I Found the Gown, and old classic Bridezillas — and plenty more dress shops that stock only the white frock. Many of those shops have fancy designer names attached to them, so naturally they sell only their designs. One of the greatest things about Ever After in Coconut Grove is that it carries multiple designers, so you're not limited to the tastes of just one snooty designer but rather lots of snooty fashionistas. That was the plan from day one for founder Camille Russler, who opened the shop in 2002 after her own wedding shopping convinced her that Miami needed a modern boutique with a diverse selection. With names such as Vera Wang, Reem Acra, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Lanvin, and J. Mendel at their fingertips, brides-to-be are bound to find the fairy-tale gown of their dreams at Ever After. Plus, the shop hosts designer trunk shows every month to highlight new collections that will get bridal juices pumping.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®