Best Hardware Store 2022 | Sykes Ace Hardware | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

Sykes Ace Hardware in Little River is located along an always-chaotic stretch of NE 79th Street — three lanes of traffic heading full-steam toward Biscayne Bay — but the cognoscenti don't sweat the hassle. People get nostalgic for the smells of their childhood and it's hard not to revel in the sensory delights of an old-timey hardware store. Step inside Sykes and you're greeted with an aromatic mingle of ALL THE THINGS jammed inside this wondrous rabbit warren: lawn fertilizer, paint thinner, mothballs, urinal cakes, as well as hardware-store dust and the homey scent of Mrs. Meyer's dryer sheets. Whether you need one tiny screw or a Big Green Egg, you'll likely score it here. Sykes employees (yes, they are helpful!) serve a cross-section of customers that mirrors the diversity of Miami: day laborers, contractors, guys who just bought a boat. A grandma holding a circular-saw blade who takes her place at the end of the checkout line that snakes around the store. "It's all good, I'm happy to wait," she says. "I've been coming here for over 50 years, starting when I was a little girl with my mama. I could go to Home Depot, but why do that to save a dollar? This feels like home."

Juxtaposed against the bustling traffic of Biscayne Boulevard, you can find a lush oasis at Mimo Garden Center. Past the entrance marked by a large shipping container, you'll eye row upon row of plants beckoning to you to take them home and make them yours. Take a relaxing stroll through the verdant space and stock up on all your favorite houseplants — like Swiss Cheese monsteras, snake plants, and plenty of low-maintenance cacti and succulents. Once you've selected your new plant-babies, the staff will supply care instructions to ensure your green friend flourishes. If your gardening skills need more than fertilizing, the center offers curated arrangements that make for unique gifts, as well as installation services to bring your dreams of a backyard jungle to life.

There's nothing wrong with furnishing your house with pieces from Target's Project 62 collection, but why not support a local business next time you need a refresh in décor? At One of a Kind, you get personalized service to help you decide what kind of style you're aiming for. The showroom focuses on organic textures — think woods, natural fibers, and earth tones— that will have your abode feeling lived-in yet put-together. No, you aren't going to find IKEA prices here. That's because the economy of scale does not work in One of a Kind's favor. After all, being one of a kind comes at a price. But the next time you have guests over, you can boast about your custom furniture by founder Roberta Schilling.

In a world awash with ABC Fine Wine & Spirits and Total Wine & Mores, Gulf Liquors feels like a trip back in time. The Miami institution, which announces its presence with a neon sign that spells out its name flanked by cartoon bottles, has been purveying booze at a fair price on Alton Road since 1950. Though it has played host to high-profile events and stocks an impressively broad selection of more than 1,600 wines, craft beers, and spirits, it remains at its core a neighborhood mom-and-pop shop with a staff that aims to do all it can to ensure you leave with what you came in for (at the very least). You can also browse and order your liquor of choice from the comfort of your couch via the store's Nifty app.

When a beloved, family-owned neighborhood spot opens a new location, there's always the risk that it will fail to clone the original magic, and the ersatz copy will live on as a painful reminder of what could have been. The original Vintage Liquor & Wine Bar in Pinecrest would've been hard to re-create: a temperature-controlled wine cellar houses roughly 1,500 wine labels and offers private wine lockers for rent. But re-create it did, opening a second outpost in Midtown, and then, as if to tempt fate, a third location in Brickell. Like its siblings, Vintage Liquor III regularly hosts affordable wine tastings and, over the years, its staff has developed inside jokes with regulars and are quick to spring from behind the register to help customers carry their clanking loot to the car, whether it's a rare find from the top shelf or "something cheap that won't get me hungover."

The 54th Street Shell gas station is wedged like a cheesy slice on a triangular lot, a few doors down from Andiamo! Brick Oven Pizza, between Biscayne Boulevard and Federal Highway on NE 54th Street. From the street, the station looks every other Shell station. And if gas prices are what lure you to a specific pump, you can almost certainly do better a few blocks west in Little Haiti. But do you by any chance like beer and wine? This is the gas station for you. And we're not talking quick-shop Natty Light. This place is packed to the gills with craft beers and organic wines. Not to be missed.

Celebrating its 75th year along with the Everglades National Park, the Tropical Audubon Society has been and remains one of the most important crusaders for the protection and restoration of South Florida's ecosystems. Between native and migratory, we've got more than 350 bird species, and beyond their own magnificent language, they can't advocate for themselves. Tropical Audubon Society acts as enforcers on the local environmental front when humans get carried away with development, waste, and industry. (What? Humans do that? Who knew?) The organization also hosts educational events, bird walks, outdoor concerts, movie nights, plant sales, and other activities that raise funds and awareness for the benefit of our winged friends — and that includes bees, butterflies, bats, beetles, and other vital members of the ecosystem.

Photo courtesy of Vacation

What's fun about sunscreen? Until Vacation came on the scene last year, the answer was "pretty much nothing." The newly launched Miami-based cosmetics brand has managed to bottle up 1980s Vice City nostalgia with what it calls "the world's best-smelling sunscreen." Bottles of the Classic Lotion ($18) are printed with a cheery, royal blue serif font and a palm tree silhouette you might find tattooed on a lower back somewhere on Ocean Drive. The company's Instagram feed (@vacationinc), filled with static photos of Baywatch-esque models with teased hair and slouch socks, feels equally retro and trendy as high-leg swimsuits and bike shorts enjoy a cultural resurgence. Ad copy is written in a corporate "royal we" style, channeling a memo sent via fax. ("We're pleased to share with you an announcement" began one IG caption earlier this year about the company's debut at Ulta.) Leave it to a brand called Vacation to give a joyless product like sunscreen a refreshing reboot.

Courtesy of Books & Books

Ask any local bibliophile where they sate their craving for dustjackets and enlightenment, and they'll tell you straight up: Books & Books. Mitchell Kaplan's iconic shop is inarguably one of the premier indie bookstores in the nation, with a handful of Miami-Dade locations (and one in Key West), but the Coral Gables flagship is the crème de la crème. Visitors are greeted by a charming outdoor café courtyard, perfect for a coffee and/or a bite while browsing through a periodical or two. The multiroomed store gives the impression of Borges' Library of Babel, with shelves soaring high and wide, filled with books of every genre (and in multiple languages). The best part for discerning Miamians is the local section, where the works of South Florida authors are given prominent presentation, alongside a large selection of books on Miami's history. Kaplan and his crew host readings and other events on the regular, which in turn serves to highlight the fact that the store stays open into the evening hours. Speaking of convenience, the store is located just across the street from of a municipal garage that offers some of the cheapest parking in the Gables, leaving you with no excuse not to drop a few bucks on that new book you've been dying to read.

Every book lover understands the magic behind the aesthetic of a top-quality used bookstore. (Especially the singular smell!) If you're seeking this experience in Miami, stop by Dunbar Old Books. (Why? It's right there in the name, for heaven's sake!) Quaint in style and stature, the store is packed with shelves that hold everything from 100-year-old math textbooks to the collected works of Charles Dickens. The store prides itself on carrying almost exclusively out-of-print books (about 80 percent of the stock). It's tucked away between storage units in Glenvar Heights, so you're unlikely to stumble across it by accident. But it has endured for a quarter-century because of its astounding selection — and its special place in the hearts of bibliophiles.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®