Green Machine Tattoos & Body Piercing
Karli Evans

Whoever said "nothing lasts forever" has clearly never gotten a good tattoo. That's why committing to body ink is about as intense a decision as tying the knot. After all, your average Miami tat lasts a helluva lot longer than most South Florida marriages. So you probably want to test-drive that ink design before you take the plunge. That's why it's so refreshing to walk into Green Machine to encounter a touch-screen monitor loaded with a portfolio of the shop's best work. What you won't find at this sleek, clean, green (even the ceiling and floor are a bright lime) paint parlor is any flash on the walls. They keep it classy and vintage with a fuchsia Victorian couch, skeletal antlers, and an antique clock you won't need to keep your eyes on. That's because unlike other tat shops, Green Machine charges by the session, not the hour. And as far as pricing goes, it's more than reasonable, especially when you take into account every job they do here is custom. (Prices vary widely, but a recent tattoo of a decent-sized elephant set us back $90.) So bring your ideas and get ready to have some deep conversation with artist/owner James Rossi. Expect some back-and-forth as you agree on the perfect drawing; you might even get turned down. That's right. If you're trying to tattoo any area of your body that won't heal right (i.e., the sides of your fingers or palms of your hands) or want something they deem small or downright stupid, they'll send you on your way. That's because the artists here pride themselves on the work they do — and because the last thing they want is for you to cover up their work of art or have to come back to fix it in ten years. That would be tattoo blasphemy.

Readers' choice: Tattoos by Lou

Tattoo & Co. Wynwood
Karli Evans

"We Create Dreams & Fix Nightmares." That's the slogan of this tried-and-true parlor, which is to say there are some pretty talented artists on staff. It stands to reason that if their hands are steady enough to ink your skin in eternal glory, they can handle piercing your face, stomach, or nether region without any cause for alarm. You know they've got professionalism down pat because they've been enhancing people's lives through the magic of body jewelry for more than ten years. They recently relocated to Miami's hippest hood, and not even a move could put a damper on their thriving business. Piercings run about $50, which includes the price of quality Wildcat jewelry. So go ahead — get that belly-button ring you've always wanted but never had the courage to face head-on. If you feel woozy, you can always walk to one of Wynwood's many fine bars to drink it off.

As you pull into the parking lot, try to stifle your laughter. The sign across the street at Bird Bowl boasts "59 years of family fun," and if you have too much fun with the things you're about to buy here, you just might start a family of your own or add to the one you already have. Playthings Miami is the be all and end all of sexy toys, lingerie, accessories, games, novelties, and, of course, DVDs. Open 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day of the year, it's the one and only place you should head when you're looking to spice things up. You'll be floored as soon as you enter the warehouse full of scanty "dance wear," costumes, rave gear, lingerie, and other items. Do you want finger gloves? They're here. Theme suspenders? Hook 'em up. Wigs in every shape, size, and color? Let your imagination be your guide. There are even crazy contact lenses for the freak in all of us. Walk through the seemingly endless ocean of clothes, past the wall of condoms and R-rated gadgets, and (if you're 18 or older) enter the back-door NSFW arena, the space in which everything steamy and pleasurable resides. Here you'll find row upon row of pornography for whatever tickles your fancy — celebrity, Latin, gay, lesbian, vintage, instructional, Bang Bros, and everyone's favorite, "clearance." Don't be shy. Fork over $40 and the world is your oyster, or at least your rosy clam.

When you name your spirits shop after the Roman god of wine, you set the bar pretty high. Especially when you're in the middle of party capital South Beach (and let's be real — if Roman mythology were popular today, there would probably be new epic stories about Bacchus' wild nights in SoBe). Bacchus Liquors meets these divine expectations. Chicly appointed with welcoming furniture, the store offers a comfortable setting for liquor lovers to browse the extensive selection of wines and spirits from around the world. Regular free tastings and moderate prices also make this place a favorite among locals, but perhaps some of its best customers never actually set foot in the store. That's because Bacchus delivers anywhere on the Beach, and orders over $50 are always delivered free of charge. Which means you won't pay extra for the service of Mercury, the god of speedy delivery.

Readers' choice: Total Wine & More

Miami, 1954. Fidel Castro was still smarting from his failed raid on the Moncada Barracks. Mobsters still ran Miami and Havana. And in the quiet suburb of Hialeah, Lou's Distributors set up shop with a simple mission: to keep South Florida's cops and civilian arms enthusiasts stocked with the best heat they could pack. A few things have changed in the six decades since, but Lou's has stayed put and grown into one of the largest suppliers of weaponry to Miami's law enforcement pros. And it's no wonder why. In addition to the usual guns, rifles, and pistols from nearly every major firearm maker — from $3,500 Armalite AR-15s to $719 Remington 1919 handguns — there's a wide range of ammunition and all of the cases and tactical gear that your heart desires (even a Drago Sentry Pack, specially designed so you can carry your iPad alongside your concealed weaponry). If a Miami business has lasted as long as the Castro regime, you know it's here to stay.

At AAA Pawnbrokers of North Miami, you may come for the guns and jewelry, but you'll stay for the conversation. The shop, which is marked by a big yellow sign with handguns in a strip mall just off West Dixie Highway, isn't much to look at from the outside. But inside, you'll find a great selection of rifles, pistols, gold, jewelry, cameras, fishing rods, iPads, DVDs, videogames, and power washers, plus hundreds of other things you didn't even realize you were looking for. Prices vary as widely as the selection: Used handguns start around $60, rifles start about $100, and watches range from around $30 to more than $1,000. What really distinguishes AAA, though, is the staff. Customers love AAA's fair-trade policy and relaxed environment. The manager, an ex-Marine named Domingo, boasts that "jokes and wisecracks are my specialty," and he's not wrong. In a room packed full of firearms, that levity goes a long way.

"We're not just a store," Sale Rack promises customers who wander into the charming storefront on a tree-lined block near CocoWalk. "We're an adventure." Normally, that kind of sales pitch would be hyperbole, but Sale Rack is the kind of eclectic free-for-all of modern, vintage, and just plain off-the-wall that makes perusing the aisles feel like a time-warp walk on the wild side. As great as the mix of home decor, fashion, and accessories is, though, the best items in the whole treasure trove are the jewelry pieces. Nowhere else can you find such a unique mix of vintage and vintage-inspired pieces, and Sale Rack almost always offers a two-for-$10 special on clip-on earrings and cocktail rings. Plus, in the afternoon Monday through Thursday, Sale Rack associates purchase pieces from the public (by appointment only), so if you have a batch of weird garage-sale relics you're ready to pass along, you can get cash or store credit in exchange. That's our kind of adventure.

Ever seen a dinosaur head on the wall doubling as a lamp and a killer conversation piece? How about an insect-robot hybrid built from rusted old yard tools? Or a battered life-size papier-mâché kid holding a giant hamburger next to a vintage '50s pinball machine and a dentist's examination light? You'll see all of these eye-popping sights and more if you pop into Worth Galleries, a beyond-quirky antique store in a shopping center under the Metrorail overpass in Coconut Grove. Worth Galleries is like a jam-packed fever dream of an antique shop — an unpretentious, overcrowded space that makes you feel like you're hanging out at the world's coolest grandma's house. Aside from all the insane knickknacks, there's even an impressive collection of over-the-top antique lamps and European stained-glass art.

Whisper "the Redland" to most Miamians, and a few things invariably come to mind: sprawling fields of tomatoes, the alligator-choked entrance to the Everglades, milkshakes at Robert Is Here, and carne asada at Taco Morelia. But flea markets? Believe it. Thanks to Redland Market Village, city dwellers have a new reason to take a road trip down south. Not only is Redland Market Village a fine place to discover weird found objects and crazy-cheap furniture, but it's also a one-stop shop for great food and entertainment thanks to an adjacent farmers' market and regular events like vintage car shows and face painting for kids. Plus, there's a pet shop for animal lovers, as well as the usual spoils of the average flea market. But unlike most flea markets in South Florida, Redland Market Village — which has zero entrance fee — offers some of the freshest air and wide-open spaces in Miami-Dade.

It was the 2002 romantic comedy Juwanna Mann, starring Miguel A. Núñez Jr. and Vivica A. Fox, that taught us the most important lesson in love. In the movie, Fox's character, Michelle, tells Juwanna (Nuñez's character Jamal in drag) that she wants a guy who will send her flowers just because it's Wednesday. Seriously, why do we wait until Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, or birthdays to tell those dearest to us that we love them? At the end of the movie, after Jamal's deception is revealed, he wins Michelle back by sending her flowers "just because it's Wednesday." (Fight back the tears!) We're sure that if Jamal had any say, he would have stopped by Pistils & Petals in South Beach to order the perfect bouquet. Since 1997, this homegrown shop has been spreading the love through floral arrangements — uh, "design." Why design? Because these pieces border on the traditional while displaying a modern edge. Sure, you won't pay Publix flower prices here (most arrangements cost $80 to $300), but can you really put a price on love? And if your romantic gestures lead to wedded bliss, Pistils & Petals can help you with that too. It offers an in-house event service that includes everything from conceptualization to decor.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®