Best Of Shopping & Services
Food Not Bombs South Florida
Homelessness was at the forefront in Fort Lauderdale this past year, what with the city enacting an ordinance that restricted people from sharing food with the homeless outdoors. Enter Food Not Bombs, like Batman with a plate of food and love. As things got hairy, Food Not Bombs was there, calling the ordinance what it was: a "homeless hate law."
Big Apple Bookstore
While some local shops have survived by specializing (like Murder by the Beach in Delray), Big Apple has remained a generalist, offering fiction, romance, science fiction, children's, self-help, business, etc., as well as CDs, DVDs, and even vinyl records.
Best Comic Book Store
Zaldiva knows that comic-book collectors in 2015 are some of the most technologically savvy people around, so it offers numerous services to capitalize on this, including a grading service that helps you determine if your comic is salable. Comic-book collectors in South Florida can't ask for much more.
Best Adult Store
Rock Hard Love Stuff
Inside its brick-and-mortar store, you'll find a buttload of butt plugs and penis enlargers, plus more sex-positive toys for women who love women than any other store in South Florida that we've visited; trust us, we've looked.
Best Clothing Store
Women have endless boutiques filled with all kinds of unique threads that you can't stumble upon at the mall. Men? We gotta search. The Archives is the solution to that problem.
W Hotels — The Store
The Store stocks everything you'll need for a day in the sand and a night on Las Olas, from brands like Parker, Botiker, and Finders Keepers. The inventory is expertly curated and captures everything we love about South Florida style.
Best Thrift Store
Out of the Closet
Chain stores don't usually rise to the Best Of category, but this particular Out of the Closet does, because of its proximity to South Florida gay ground zero. Let's face it: Gay dudes are great dressers.
Best Swap Shop Vendor
Some Swap Shop purchases are fun for a minute but fall apart by the time you get home. Not so with Dr. Sound. They guarantee their work, and they'll have your system and tints installed by the time you've finished that coconut.
Oakland Park Flea Market
Broward County's longest-running flea market opened in 1972 and boasts more than 200 vendors selling everything from jewelry and shoes to cell phones and smoking accessories.
Palm Beach Outlets
The Palm Beach Outlets provide a pleasant alternative to the 1 percenter boutiques of the city. With stores including Banana Republic Factory Store, Calvin Klein, J. Crew Factory, and Steve Madden, you'll be so shiny, you'll have to pop into the Sunglass Hut to pick up a new pair of shades just so you can look in a mirror.
At 110 Fitness in downtown Fort Lauderdale, post- or prework calorie burners looking for a refreshingly normal layout will be presently surprised. But that's not to say this gym is boring. With yoga, group fitness and cardio classes, and one-on-one personal trainers available, 110 Fitness will get you a six-pack.
Best Yoga Studio
The studio offers an impressively wide variety of classes, from sunrise to sunset, from beginner vinyasa to advanced aerial yoga (where poses are done by positioning one's body in loops of silken material that hang from the ceiling).
Martin Ibarra is a mobile masseuse who is so talented with his hands, you might forget your name at the end of the session. Ibarra specializes in a gentler, meditative "Muscle Energy Technique" as well as deep-tissue and Swedish massages.
Tiffany Nail & Foot Spa
This full-service spa offers full body massage, eyelash extensions, waxing, and alternative medicine such as acupuncture.
Best Nail Salon
Pour and Polish Nail Salon and Wine Bar
Choose from 16 bottle selections and sip on some wine while you get pampered. After ten visits, you'll be sent home with a whole wine bottle as a reward for keeping your cuticles nice and pretty.
Best Hair Salon
Sha La La Salon
Bringing the attitude and expectations of the Lower East Side to Fort Lauderdale, master stylist Dice-K (real name: Daisuke Matsunaga) has men and women willingly sitting in his chair for three hours, if that's what it takes, while he works down to individual strands perfecting your 'do.
Retro Red, AKA AnnMarie Macko
You don't have to idolize Marilyn Monroe or Bettie Page to walk into her beauty shop at the Kreepy Tiki, but AnnMarie Macko believes everyone looks good with classic hair and makeup — go ahead and try it on!
Roses are red. Violets are blue.
You forgot her birthday. Now what do you do?
Get in the car, and step on the gas.
Head to Kathy's Florist, and make it real fast!
Now get out your wallet and grab a bouquet,
and thank Kathy's Florist for saving the day.
Best Liquor Store
Here you will find everything from Four Loko ($7.99) to IRU Vodka ($10.99) to four-packs of Nicki Minaj's line of moscato ($9.49). They even have a cooler to chill their stock of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, which comes in sizes ranging from "Sneaking at the Movies" to "She Dumped Me and Kept the Ring."
Best Dive Shop
If you leave the Bahia Mar Marina on one of Sea Experience's two boats, the journey will take you through the Intracoastal Waterway, along the mansions on Millionaire's Row, through the inlet, and past Fort Lauderdale's miles of gorgeous shoreline. That's the kind of view you want before taking a look below through the glass-bottom boat and finally jumping in the water at one of a few carefully selected snorkel and dive spots.
Best Head Shop
Puff Puff Pass
When Federal Highway is overflowing with bushels of Purple Haze and OG Kush, will you be busy trying to MacGyver a bong out of an apple, or will you be sitting back on your couch with some high-quality pieces courtesy of Puff Puff Pass? We hope, for you and your apple's sake, that you hit up the colorfully graffitied shop some time before the next election.
Best Cigar Shop
This place has the lowest prices on the sticks or humidors around and plenty of selections to puff on. The best thing about Cigar Outlet is that it's known for friendly salespeople who remember you from your last visit and ask you how you enjoyed your last choice of cigar.
Best Vape Shop
VaporFi allows customers to sit at a bar, try different flavors, and eventually choose a kit that suits their budgets and lifestyles. They have more than 30,000 flavor combinations to pick from.
Best Gun Shop
This basic box of a building has the best gun supplies you can find in the area and some of the hardest-to-find ammo. Whether a seasoned shooter or just starting out, you can rent, shoot, pawn, buy, or just look at an assortment of guns.
Best Tattoo Shop
At this shop, which started with an outpost in Rhode Island, artists take their time and give you ink you'll be proud to show off for years.
Best Record Store
Twenty-five years ago, no one thought records would outlast cassettes and CDs, except maybe the proprietors of Radio-Active Records. While much music is now streamed, people still like things, and this store has shiny new and fashionably used music on vinyl (as well as on cassette and CD).
Best Furniture Store
The store is an exclusive dealer for many lines of furniture, including the plush "Stressless" collection of chairs, and "Adam's Signature" line is unlike what you'll find anywhere else.
Best Used-Furniture Store
The store has a vast selection of used furniture displayed in such a way that you imagine it in your home, not on the curb after someone moved last week. At the Lauderhill location, expect to find friendly employees, like store manager Beatriz Bosio, who will happily help you select the piece that best fits your home, then help you get it there.
Best Boat Supply Store
Yacht Next is the place to go if you need anything boat-related — especially if you are looking to pimp your boat out properly. It provides customers with stylish, seaworthy interiors, custom outfitting, and employees who know their Sunbrella from their Naugahyde fabrics.
Best Tackle Shop
Aces Bait and Tackle
For more than a decade, Aces has stocked lures, rods and reels, hooks, sinkers, and polarized sunglasses. Just off the Hillsboro Inlet, Aces is on your way to the water. It offers professional spooling services and expert fishermen who can answer any questions you might have, so it's the place to stop if you admittedly have no idea what you're doing.
Best Paddleboard Shop
The team that runs this family-owned business has been known to brag that it has "more paddleboards in stock than all the other paddle shops in South Florida combined" (not to mention a killer selection of sandals and skateboards).
Best Martial Arts
Studio 4 Martial Arts
Fitness. Focus. Fun. That's what you'll get at Studio 4 Martial Arts, which is focused more on helping people develop excellent character and self-esteem and less on getting all "hi-yah!" on a stack of bricks. (Stay long enough, though, and you'll learn cool tricks like that too.)
Best Music Lessons
Computer Music Production School
Computer Music Production School proprietor and super-nice guy Ed Unger explains that, more important than just learning how to use a specific piece of equipment or software, his students develop a deeper understanding of recording, mixing, and mastering that will stick with them even as technologies evolve. The full course is taught online over seven sessions.
Best Place to Buy Condoms
Spice of Life
Hey, let's be honest here — you can buy condoms anywhere; there is no need for some special trip if you want the basics. But basically, if you're looking to do anything but the basics, Spice of Life is where you should be buying your condoms.
Best Car Wash
Majestic Car Wash
Majestic Car Wash offers everything from a basic exterior wash to a complete and total auto face-lift, and it does it all with speed and precision.
If an auto parts store can be "charming," it's this one, its walls decorated with wood paneling, muffler parts, and grease, and the longtime owner, Doug Ketcham, behind the counter writing out receipts by hand, as he has for more than 30 years.
Best Auto Dealership
This place earned the title of "#1 Jaguar Dealership in the World" in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013, and it took the top spot nationally in 2014.
Best Bicycle Shop
If Two& isn't your favorite bicycle shop, it should be. Maybe you already have a favorite bicycle shop, where they charge you a fair price, custom-build you a bike, or craft a hybrid built from various components tailored to specific needs. But can they do all that and also pour you a beer? Two&, owned by husband-and-wife bicycle-loving team Elmo and Zoe Love, is a bike shop, a bar, and an all-around fun place to hang out.
Best (Gay) Wedding Planner
Amy Bloom Inc.
Ultra professional and impossible to rattle, Amy Bloom can pull together any event, even when the flower-delivery truck gets a flat tire or the singer calls in sick. Pretty much all you have to do is show up.
Best Kids' Birthday Party
Bluefoot Pirate Adventures
Captain Black Sparrow meets families at the dock by Bahia Mar and hooks them up with pirate vests, face paint, eye patches, and swords. Then they hit the water for a cool trip down the Intracoastal Waterway, Sparrow narrating — and sneaking in some adult jokes — while a superfriendly lady pirate, Black Rose, entertains the kids.
Best Eyewear Selection
From Moscot to Chanel, Silhouette to Oliver Peoples, Clearsight carries a stunning array of frames for every face and lenses in every hue. And if you ask, the friendly folks there will gladly give you their opinions on what suits you best.
Tom Moffett, Exit Realty
It’s clear from his kind, twinkly-eyed, church-going demeanor that this is an honest gentleman who would never, ever rip you off. But also: Lurking inside those dad jeans is one fierce real-estate killer — calmer, more organized, and more brilliant a negotiator than your accountant and your lawyer put together.