Best Piercing Parlor 2014 | Balinese Tattoo Miami | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

Once upon a time at an unnamed shop inside a suburban Central Florida mall, a hatchet job was performed on a girl who wanted nothing more than pierced ears. The inexperienced piercer kept making the holes uneven, and eventually the girl had about six punctures dotting her lobes. Blood stained Cinnabon's floors, and the girl's face looked as if she'd just finished watching Beaches on some cable channel that airs only Sarah McLachlan's SPCA ad during commercial breaks. It was a horrible sight, but a teachable moment: If you want someone to stick needles into your body, go to a professional, not a teenager looking for extra cash between babysitting gigs. Check out Balinese Tattoo Miami, a professional parlor that started in Venezuela and now occupies a Flagami shop that's decorated like an edgy spa. Its employees are happy to help you in your quest to affix shiny objects to your skin. Of course you can go with a standard ear piercing, but if you're looking for something a little more complicated (like microdermal or even apadravya), they can make it happen.

Photo by Shelly Davidov

There are a few areas of human achievement that Italians have on lockdown. Pasta. Chianti. Dysfunctional democracy. And shoes. Any doubts that the last category belongs to the Italians will be banished with a quick trip to Del Toro, a Wynwood-based boutique that focuses on bespoke footwear from the land of Berlusconi. The experts keep samples of the tasteful, edgy, comfortable, and unique in a wide variety of sizes and styles for women and men. Though the bulk of their catalogue is available online, you can check out the boutique in person any day of the week and complete your look with belts, bags, socks, wallets, hats, timepieces, and more. Be prepared to shell out some cash — snagging the best in human shoe achievement can cost you anywhere from a couple hundred to thousands. We're not talking Chuck Taylors here. Think Alto Chukka sneakers made with ostrich skin for $1,000, or Shayan Afshar white leather kicks with ten-karat gold stars for two G's. If that's too rich for your blood, keep an eye out for fire sales that knock some straight-from-Italy high fashion to as low as $25.

Miami is a city that lives and dies by trends. Luckily, shops such as Soles Inc. make living in the heart of trendy nation great. From exclusive action figures to superbly fresh snapbacks, this place has its finger on the pulse of what's cool, so its inventory is constantly showcasing something new. Though the clothing and accessories certainly represent their fair share of what draws people into Soles Inc., it's the kicks on the walls that set this place apart. The assortment of sneakers ranges from the newest fad to the most rarefied re-released Jordans, and with new shoes dropping on the regular, you can be assured they're selling out just as fast and frequently as they hit the shelves. Whether you're looking for some serious throwbacks, like the 20th-anniversary Adidas Mutumbos ($105), or something just as classic but slightly more understated, like the Air Jordan 1 Mid Nouveaus in a suede Night Shadow Colorway ($134.98), Soles Inc. and its exceptionally keen staff will get you laced up in the perfect gear to keep your kick game on point.

Once upon a time, there was a bit of land with a tiny lake and a fountain surrounded by shops meant to sell things. Archival records indicate such places were commonly referred to as "malls." This mall in particular was once plainly named Town & Country, but as the years passed — though they were kind to Town & Country — buildings went up and others came down. Now, under a new name, the Palms at Town & Country, this pleasant establishment has been transformed into quite the location. With a bevy of shopping, dining, and even nightlife options, "T&C is the place to be," as the young ones put it. In addition to stores such as Nordstrom Rack and Kohl's, Total Wine recently opened, and there's even a Publix. There are popular hangout spots for the kiddies, a World of Beer for cerveza fiends, sports on the tube galore at Cadillac Ranch, and ladies'-night chain Blue Martini as well. The Palms has everything and more than you could ever want in a shopping experience. Just don't call it a "mall."

Unroll the map. Maybe it floated ashore in a cloudy glass bottle or was buried in a rotting chest on a deserted beach. Follow the directions, even if the remote locale seems dubious: northeast of the Northside Metrorail station, just east of the Hialeah city limits, just off NW 79th Street. It's the last place most would search for buried treasure. But the riches inside Northside Shopping Centre (formerly known as the Village Flea Market) are varied and seemingly endless. Want your hair styled in dreads or weaves at the salon? On the hunt for that perfect $4 rhinestone chain? Northside has you covered. Headless mannequins, tattered American flags, bootleg Venezuelan DVDs, faux-Armani jeans, rows of stalls grilling arepas and Dominican delicacies — it's all inside. X marks the spot — there be treasure here!

Everything about Conch Hill Market is vintage, even the building. It's located on the former site of Casa Capó Muebles, the first furniture boutique opened by the Capó family in Miami in the '60s, prior to the grand opening of giant El Dorado Furniture. The same white, red, and blue marquee that once illuminated the way for those in search of bedposts and dining tables welcomes hoarders to this antiques gem. Inside, Remington typewriters, Pentak cameras, 1936 barstools, and 1944 Lady Carlyle ceramic teacups fill the 12,000-square-foot shop. Sandwiched somewhere between an AMI jukebox and pinball machine are ties and Tonka toy cars dating back to the 1950s, old spectacles and smoke pipes, and even a pair of Saks Fifth Avenue diamond-studded emerald shoes your grandmother used to wear. As you browse through thousands of years of items, you'll also stumble upon more recent, priceless finds, such as an 'N Sync-era Justin Timberlake plush bear and a male surfer mannequin holding a pig doll.

With everyone suddenly priced out of Edgewater — thank you, Florida housing bubble! — the new hipster neighborhood ripe for gentrification is Miami's Upper Eastside, made up of Belle Meade, Bayside, Morningside, Shorecrest, and Bay Point to the east of Biscayne Boulevard, and Lemon City, Little Haiti, Buena Vista, and Little River to the west. Older apartment buildings are still renting at reasonable prices, and fixer-upper homes are still a bargain if you're willing to put in the work. Once you move into the neighborhood, you'll need new furniture. Luckily, KMP Furniture has been serving those suddenly hopping neighborhoods for several years. KMP is by no means IKEA-cheap, but items come in a wide variety of prices — from a $995 Amondo dining table to a chic Bernard armchair for $765 — and anyway, it's time to grow up and stop buying furniture made of particle board. What's more, some pieces (such as beds and sofas) can be customized. Simply visit the showroom or shop online and finally get rid of that designed-in-Sweden/made-in-China decor.

As you stroll through vintage designer furniture and clothes, imagining yourself smack in the middle of the 1940s, maybe starring in some noir adventure alongside Humphrey Bogart, suddenly you're wrenched back to the present: Little Dragon is thumping on the radio. You're not in war years, and you're not even in a normal consignment shop. You're at Las Tias, an upscale resale store in Coconut Grove. Las Tias recently moved to the Grove from Wynwood, but it retains the scruffy charm more typical of Miami's arts hood. The shop was started as a furniture storage site for Esther Percal's high-end real estate clients, and when there was no more space to hold the furniture, she had a sale. The rest, as they say, is history. In the front of the shop, you are greeted by an array of vintage and modern furniture. An Eileen Gray Monte Carlo sofa, normally priced around $9,300, goes for about $5,500 at Las Tias. A collection of ceramic pottery, paintings, light fixtures, and dining sets leads you to the back of the store, where you will find handpicked costume jewelry, coin purses, and apparel that would make even Daisy Buchanan jealous. Instead of investing in a $4 shoulder-padded polyester sequined '80s blazer at your local Goodwill, put on your trench coat, channel your best Bogie, and stop at Las Tias for some quality vintage.

Face it — hunting for an affordable retro sofa or swank '60s swag lamp to spruce up your den can be a tiresome, hit-or-miss chore. Expect to be fleeced at some of the vintage or antique shops, where Eames-era couches are priced like museum pieces. But that's not the case at Bargain Barn, where a week's paycheck can buy an apartment full of furniture that a designer would envy after some loving restoration and deep cleaning. Looking for a funky, flower-patterned sectional couch? A cool $80 will make it shine in your living room. For $40, you can add two swivel arm chairs, and for a mere $20, you can snag that nifty, cream-colored ceramic swag lamp and a vinyl-padded oval coffee table. No throwback to that cool, classic, midcentury look you're pining for would be complete without mood music, and Bargain Barn even has a huge collection of vintage wax from the era's best crooners in the back of the store, where you can also find plenty of knickknacks, shoes, and clothing. Need some lawn furniture for that summer tiki bash you're planning? At Bargain Barn, you can find both the old and new without burning a hole in your wallet. Plus, you'll leave knowing that the proceeds from your purchase benefit Miami Rescue Mission and its programs for the homeless and needy.

It's easy to get a surfing inferiority complex in Miami. Thanks to the Bahamas choking off the wildest surf blazing across the Atlantic, the waters off South Beach often look more like a bathtub than a roaring Hawaiian fantasy. But all it takes to wipe away that surfing depression is a quick stop to chat up the always-encouraging, hugely knowledgeable staff at Liquid Tube Surf Shop. Whether you're stuck between a Strive longboard ($625) and a Surftech Ultraflex ($475) or just trying to decide between the wide selection of rentals for $15 an hour, director and team rider Eduardo Oropeza will help you make the right selection and point you toward the choicest waves. If you're looking to learn how to break through the glassy waters of the Atlantic, Oropeza will teach you his surfing ways, as long as you call in advance and see when he's hitting up the shore. The Miami Beach shop also has a display of body, skim, and stand-up paddle boards, as well as skateboards for some fun in the sun. About the only thing you can't rely on Liquid Tube for is a convenient tropical storm to turn South Beach into Oahu's North Shore for a few days.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®