Best Barbershop 2017 | Blendz Barbershop | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Courtesy of Blendz Barbershop

A young man strides into Blendz Barbershop with a purpose, scans the room, and then finds his target: the shop's most requested barber, Christopher "Criztofferson" Betancourt. The new customer, a Florida International University student, echoes a story Betancourt hears all week: He's one of the nearly 60,000 fans following the buzzcut artist on Instagram (@criztofferson) and he's dying for one of his signature "freshies." Who can blame the kid? There's no time for trial-and-error while on the hunt for a dope cut in Miami. If you're looking for a spot guaranteed to transform the uneven mop on your head into a crisp, clean hairstyle, end your search at this shop in West Miller Square, where owner Lester Gonzalez and his team have spent the past three years making their name. Barbers like Jorge Perez and Jose Ibarra are well-versed in intricate artistic designs, and all of them excel at precise tapers, remarkably balanced fades, and other GQ-approved styles. Criztofferson has become famous on Miami's college campuses thanks to his knack for speedy "freshies" and because after his day shift at the shop, he takes his services on the road to trim stars such as the Miami Heat's Hassan Whiteside, rappers the Game and O.T. Genasis, producer Rvssian, and internet sensation LeJuan James. Prices vary by barber, but customers can expect to spend $8 to $15 for a shapeup, $18 to $30 for a basic haircut, and $40 including beards. There's a busy rush of clients toward the end of the week, but you usually won't wait too long, especially if you call ahead for an appointment with one of the shop's 12 skilled barbers.

Readers' choice: Tru Cutz

Courtesy of Beauty Wellness by Arlette

Cara Delevingne is to eyebrows what Terry Crews is to pecs. The model-turned-actress has 40 million Instagram followers in large part because of those ludicrously perfect arcs above her eyes. But before you grab your tweezers and begin plucking away in despair, know this: Even Delevingne uses a stylist to get those tiny hairs just right. And thanks to Beauty Wellness by Arlette, Miami's reigning queen of eyebrows, you might just start amassing your own Instagram brow army. Shop owner Arlette has more than 16 years of experience working with eyebrows and is a true master of her craft. There is no eyebrow massacre she can't mend with her skillful threading, which runs $25. The eyebrow connoisseur takes her time with every customer and is extremely detail-oriented. And her talents go far beyond eyebrows. Her shop also offers lash lifts/perms ($85), makeup application ($85), airbrush makeup ($100), makeup classes ($85 to $100), eyebrow waxing ($20), upper-lip waxing ($10), and upper-lip threading ($15). Just remember to 'gram those results.

In Miami, neon means paradise. And after one step inside this futuristic, eye-popping temple to tanning, you'll know you're on a rocket to somewhere sexy. The front desk is framed in purple lights. Once you're past that, with a bottle of body grease in hand of course, it's on to the important decisions: Spray or light? For the former, the salon has more luxurious-sounding options than a Maserati dealer. How about the Norvell Auto-Revolution ($18.88)? Just remember to keep your fingers and toes spread; you don't want any weird zebra lines. For a lamp tan, Electric Sun offers almost a dozen options across its three locations. A pair of iDome ($18.88) stand-up tanning rigs offers 37 lamps, music, air-conditioning, a mister, and aromatherapy. All this thing needs is wheels to drop you off on South Beach.

Readers' choice: Boca Tanning Club

Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental

Living in Miami isn't always great for the nerves. When you aren't staring at "cones of concern" and listening to meteorologists warning of impending death by hurricane, you're probably risking life and limb on I-95. Sure, you've learned to Zen out amid the 305's particular flavor of tropical chaos, but sometimes you need something extra. That's where the Mandarin Oriental comes in. Think of this spa as the nuclear option for your stress levels. Tucked away in Brickell Key, this luxurious, five-star relaxation haven allows guests to take a break from reality with an array of treatments, ranging from Thai massages ($295) to illuminating oxygen facials ($250) to ocean and earth body wraps ($195). Yes, the prices fall decidedly into "emergency option only" for most Miamians, but you aren't paying for any ordinary spa visit. At the Mandarin Oriental, the staff is incredibly meticulous about its standards. The highly trained therapists are some of the best in South Florida. Service is topnotch. Arrive early and spend some time in the luxe sauna and steam rooms before your treatment, such as the 50-minute customized essential facial ($160). You've survived another day in Miami — you've earned this.

Readers' choice: The Standard Spa, Miami Beach

The perpetual humidity-drenched summers in Florida might theoretically keep your skin looking younger than that of your pals, who weather the full four seasons, but by August, Dade dwellers are forever asking themselves: "Do I look dewy or greasy?" Let's be honest: You probably look greasy. That's what makes facials such an essential luxury. Skincare by Pevonia, located in a converted house near South Miami, has been caring for Floridian skin for three decades. After 30 years and nothing but rave reviews, this small, locally owned spa is the perfect place to pamper your largest organ. You can flush the hurricane-season funk out of your face with a deep pore cleansing for $80, a high-tech microdermabrasion for $100, or a luxurious apple facial peel containing wine and flower acids for $145. Face up to the fact that your face could use some TLC.

Courtesy of Alibi Nail + Beauty Bar

There's a fairly limited set of circumstances when a manicure or pedicure would require an alibi. Perhaps you've launched an international hacking attack while getting your toenails buffed, or you've committed high treason by leaking state secrets to a rogue agent sitting in the next chair while you each get your pinkies filed away. Or, if you're in Miami, you might simply need Alibi because you desire some topnotch service and a little pampering — Alibi Nail + Beauty Bar, that is. You don't need any excuse to feel good at this Alibi, thanks to the complimentary mimosas and champagne for you to sip while technicians soak, shape, scrub, massage, and polish — using only natural, chemical-free products. Alibi is well known for its nail art, and its specialists can turn your fingernails into tiny works of art. Manis start at $25 and nail art at $6 per nail. And, boys, before you start feeling left out: Alibi has a pampering treatment just for you, complete with a manly, musk-scented scrub that really puts the "man" in "manicure."

Unless you're the type who wears a lot of silk bathrobes and spends hours lounging on velvet bedspreads — and more power to you if you are — you're probably picky about whom you pay to rub your glutes. So why spend big bucks for another cattle-call-style massage place in a big South Beach hotel when you can get a personalized and therapeutic experience at Dania Beach's Awesome Aura Massage. This isn't a massage palace with 50-foot waterfalls and hundreds of employees; it's a small space that isn't easy to find from the street. But once you enter the Buddha-happy, peaceful atmosphere, expect to be treated right by the highly trained staff ready to perform a range of therapeutic massages, from Swedish to deep-tissue to Hawaiian lomi lomi. A one-hour session costs $70, and a discounted package of five hourlong massages runs $300. Ask for Holly for a full body-and-mind experience, and you'll be content you chose Awesome Aura.

Sometimes it's fun to bathe with a friend. Shower With Us is an organic soap company with dozens of scent options to liven up your next bath time, whether you choose to spend it alone or with someone special. Some soaps, such as the activated charcoal with tea tree oil, are ideal for battling acne or oily skin on the face or the entire body. Shower With Us also offers unconventional scent options that can be customized or rotated in the home according to season. Orange hibiscus is the perfect summer scent after a brutally hot day in Miami, while apples and cinnamon can bring some winter feels to the home, even when it's 75 degrees outside in December. One bar blends skin-soothing goat milk and honey, along with oatmeal oats as an exfoliant. The company has been selling soaps in Miami for only a year and doesn't have a storefront yet, but you can regularly find its booths at farmers' markets in Kendall Village, the Shops at Sunset Place, Country Walk, Coconut Grove, the Shops at Merrick Park, and even Islamorada. The company also offers custom gift baskets for special occasions such as holidays, birthdays, and weddings. Shower time!

Radio-Active Records photo

After two decades of internet-induced chaos, the music industry is still defying all predictability. Illegal streaming turned record labels on their heads before they eventually embraced Spotify and Apple Music. Then, just when it seemed digital music had won, vinyl underwent a miraculous resurrection. Even cassettes have made a comeback in some bastions of hipsterdom. But what of the lowly CD? For the connoisseur who wants the warmth of vinyl but also enjoys the clean sound of a CD without the compression of an MP3 or phone speaker, there's still a shop looking out for you. Radio-Active Records offers aisle after aisle of vinyl records, but tucked in the corner beside the entrance are a few racks stacked with shelves of CDs in a wide range of genres. Below the racks are dozens of crates stuffed with CDs that don't quite fit on the shelves. Most albums, even rare imports, tend to stay in the $1-to-$8 range, and the store can also order albums for pickup upon request. Radio-Active has been wise to keep its CD stock full, because at the rate music fans change their minds, hipsters will rediscover the humble disc any day now.

Courtesy of Books & Books

If you live in South Florida and you know how to read, Books & Books hardly needs an introduction. Mitchell Kaplan started his venerable temple of the turned page in 1982 and — amid national cries about the death of the printed word and the rise of Amazon — has grown it into one of America's premier local bookstores, all while expanding to Miami Beach, Bal Harbour, downtown Miami, and even Grand Cayman. Kaplan found time to cofound the Miami Book Fair while he was at it, and his flagship Books & Books in the Gables echoes that commitment to connecting authors with readers thanks to its nearly nightly readings and book signings. All of Kaplan's locations remain impressively stocked and curated, and with cafés and full bars in the Gables and South Beach, his shops are the perfect place for bibliophiles to happily wile away a Saturday. ¡Viva los libros!

Readers' choice: Books & Books

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®