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  • Best Party Mavens

    M.E. Productions

    They did P. Diddy's Black & White Ball on New Year's Eve at the Shore Club in South Beach, brought Pat Benatar to New Orleans for Roche Pharmaceuticals, flew Hewlett-Packard Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina into a corporate meeting on a giant spaceship, and staged a Hollywood gala complete with red carpet, limos, and six-foot-tall gold Oscar statuettes for a… More >>
  • Best Beer Selection

    Wild Oats Natural Marketplace

    This place does not carry any ale from Antarctica. But if someone there brewed a batch, you can bet these are the shelves where it would be stocked. In fact, in this health-food store can be found several liquor stores' worth of beer to please every palate, including all the familiar names and an ever-changing lineup of obscurities. Salvator, Königs-Pilsener,… More >>
  • Best Barber Shop

    Las Olas Barber Shop

    You want your hair styled, head down the street to Yellow Strawberry and pay, like, $97.95 or something. You want a freakin' haircut, you eat your country-fried steak at the Floridian, then you mosey a couple of doors west, plop yourself down in one of the three barber's chairs, and you kick it -- say it with us, now --… More >>
  • Best Cowboy Vestments

    Grifs Western

    Cowboys dress kind of fussy for macho bucs. Those outfits jump out at ya' -- shiny belt buckles as big as post cards with whole ranch scenes engraved on the face, ten-gallon cowboy hats, and boots with fancy tooling snaking all over the leather. Melding into a crowd, unless it's a crowd of equally outlandishly clad cowboys, isn't the idea.… More >>
  • Best Men's Clothing

    Twickenham Custom Clothiers

    Sure, it's a bit ostentatious, but really, why buy clothes off the rack that are designed and created for any old schmuck? Call up Twickenham and they come to your home or office, take your measurements, and make clothes specifically suited to you. The cost is about twice as high as store-bought clothes, but rare is the man who can… More >>
  • Best Women's Clothing

    Jimmy Star Flagship

    To escape the mall rats sniffing around the Gap sales rack, visit either of these Fort Lauderdale boutiques. Whether you dig the fashions or not, at least the rags here are original. If there's any stretch of urban sprawl in the world outside of Las Vegas that requires a gal go shopping for some high-end slutwear, it's South Florida. And… More >>
  • Best Vintage Clothing Store

    Platypus Clothing Co.

    Pssst, hey, you. Yeah, you. Interested in clothes? No, no, not yer off-the-rack, strip mall stuff. I'm talkin' about -- c'mon, buddy, step a little closer -- old clothes. Ya know, vintage? Between you, me, and the Man upstairs: hats, shoes, dresses, stoles, suits -- from the 1800s to the 1970s. Seen Gosford Park? That '70s Show? You get the… More >>
  • Best Trimmings

    Ben Raymond Fabrics and Trims

    Last summer, every pair of jeans was capri-length and had wide strips of colored fabric festooning the hem. They had a hippie-dippy, homemade feel, as though do-girls had raided their mothers' fabric bins in a mass convulsion of originality. This year, designers have taken the trend further into embellishment and the hippie past, with elaborate appliqués, sequins, pieced fabric insets,… More >>
  • Best Mall

    Design Center of the Americas

    Look for the big red sofa painted on the side of a building when traveling north on I-95. Notice the parking lot -- Mercedes, Porsche, Jaguar, Range Rover. The Design Center of the Americas is the largest interior-design center in the world -- three buildings, four stories, 775,000 square feet, and 150 showrooms of some very cool stuff. So much… More >>
  • Best Flea Market

    Dr. Flea's International Flea Market

    The cheese factor is high at this enormous shed in the barren blocks south of West Palm Beach International Airport, but come the weekend, it's lively as a Tegucigalpa marketplace... with a similar ethnic mix. The Central American immigrant families are in their finest, the men in Western gear, the women in brightly colored skirts and blouses, children in tow.… More >>
  • Best Boutique

    D'Barro Home & Floral Design

    Jorge Fallad and Tony Polo bought a bungalow on North Federal Highway several years ago, painted it Mediterranean blood orange, posted a wrought-iron mariachi band facing Federal Highway, and then filled the house chock-a-block with a dizzying array of objects. There is a trio of huge, brown, mahogany urns from Thailand ($190, $240, and $340). There are also bowls of… More >>
  • Best Dollar Store

    99 Cent Stuff

    Coagulated shampoo, nail polish separated in the bottle, and food that's outlived its shelf life -- you won't find it here. The South Florida-based 99 Cents Stuff has four locations in Palm Beach County, two in Broward, and four in Miami-Dade. Each one is the size of a supermarket and carries name-brand items you see in other stores now, not… More >>
  • Best Wine Store

    The Good Life

    Here's your chance to experience Portuguese hospitality and learn all about the good life. Come meet Nelson S. Veiga, who moved from Anadia, Portugal, to South Florida with the mission of spreading his knowledge about wines and spirits. Sporting a friendly smile and a ton of patience, Veiga gladly takes you on a tour of his store and introduces you… More >>
  • Best Tacky Florida Kitsch

    Alex's Gift Shop

    Where have all the coconut heads gone? If such questions keep you up at night, puzzling over the disappearance of the Florida tourist trinket -- roll over. Alex's Gift Shop in Dania Beach has enough coconut heads to crowd your next luau, as well as shell-encrusted jewelry boxes, figurines, and shell-lined mirrors, placemats featuring Fort Lauderdale scenes, plastic alligators, crabs,… More >>
  • Best Edible Florida Souvenirs

    Angie's Groves

    Aunt Matilda: Dear, tomorrow's my last day of vacation, and I still haven't gotten anything for the bridge club back home. They weren't much impressed by the beach pebbles I picked up for them last year. You: Pebbles, schmebbles. I'm taking you to Angie's Groves. They've got fresh fruit by the bag or basket, as well as preserves and candies made… More >>
  • Best Toy Store

    Toys R Us

    OK, we don't know much about toys. Anymore. Once you get more modern than G.I. Joe and the video game Asteroids, we are usually lost. So we went to two matchless sources to find the best toy store out there: The New Yorker magazine and our six-year-old son. "I like the... Toys R Us a lot," wrote the New Yorker's… More >>
  • Best Kids' Clothing

    Lauderdale Lifestyle, by Lilly Pulitzer Signature Store

    We hold these truths to be self-evident: that during the sub-freezing stillness of Northern winters, palm trees rustle at the edge of every snowbound mind, that 9/11 and the recession have cast a pall over the land, and that tourism is suffering. South Floridians young and old, don't just wait for it to pass. You are duty-bound to offer our… More >>
  • Best Baby Store

    USA Baby

    One of this chain's four Florida locations, this seven-month-old outpost beats out its competition by keeping things on a human scale while still offering a wide selection. Tucked into the corner of a strip mall rather than in an airplane-hangar-sized megawarehouse, the place is packed with tastefully arranged model rooms -- half the floor with crib-centered baby layouts, the other… More >>
  • Best Dolce Vita for Dogs

    Central Bark Dog Day Care and Training Center

    Left alone for eight hours, most dogs look for something to chew. That is how hapless owners have lost furniture, shoes, and just about every other valuable possible to masticate. Central Bark is one of many businesses that has come to the rescue of the career-driven and guilt-ridden dog owner, although to get your canine enrolled feels like you're applying… More >>
  • Best Pet Store

    Tea Cups

    What is more eternally chic than dogs as accessories? At this Hollywood puppy boutique, you can peruse the world's furriest miniatures. Created four years ago by a Dania Beach woman with 13 dogs and an angry condo association telling her to get rid of them or else, Tea Cups started out as a refuge for toy breeds with nowhere else… More >>
  • Best Animal Hospital

    Animal Hospital of Fort Lauderdale

    The room was ready when we arrived, with a blanket on the floor for Roscoe to lie on. One, then another of the several female doctors on staff came in to verify the cancer's relentless damage. They greeted the old guy warmly and treated him gingerly, as if he were their own dog, and offered us sympathy and assurances that… More >>
  • Best Bookstore

    Barnes & Noble Booksellers - CLOSED

    With one of the biggest book selections in Broward -- 170,000 volumes -- this massive retailer has no local equals. It's the largest, newest, and the only two-story location among the four B&N stores in the county. The place even boasts a system that allows you to listen to every CD they carry. But the reason to come here is… More >>
  • Best Used Bookstore

    Robert A. Hittel Bookseller

    This is a bookstore torn from a book lover's imaginings and plopped down in the most unbookish of settings: amid a visual jumble of strip malls and shopping centers just south of the busy intersection of Oakland Park Boulevard and Federal Highway. The current vice president of the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association has plied his trade here since 1978 after… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    Spirit Shop and Pub

    Looking at this place, located in an innocuous strip mall on the beach side of the 17th Street Causeway, you wouldn't even know its name. But you'd definitely know its wares. Large, brightly lit signs proclaim LIQUOR and PUB LOUNGE in red letters. Inside, you'll find a good selection of high-end liquors. A bottle of Cragganmore Scotch Whisky, some of… More >>
  • Best Newsstand

    Main Street News

    Centrally located on what may be the most civilized street in the county -- the elegant, tree-lined heart of Palm Beach's north end -- this newsstand offers a selection that mirrors the elite resort island's population of international transients. The collection of dailies and newsmagazines is heavily Eurocentric, with British, German, and Italian publications more in evidence than those of… More >>
  • Best Service

    Borders Books and Music - CLOSED

    The customer-service desk at this place -- even though it's part of a giant chain -- is virtually always available to answer anything. New Times requested a book about ambient music, tapes on learning German, and Britney Spears' latest CD. The attendant returned with all three items in under a minute and, as a bonus, even mocked the Spears purchase.… More >>
  • Best Comic-Book Store

    Past, Present, Future

    Guy walks into a comic-book store with a pile of comics in his arms. It's junk, mostly, and he knows it: Late '80s and early '90s Classic X-men (reissues, not the original Byrne/Claremont ishes that are actual classics), that whole cheesy Death of Superman series, and a few of the lesser graphic novels. And this isn't just any comic-book store… More >>
  • Best Record/CD Store

    Offbeat Records and CDs Inc.

    Offbeat may not be the cheapest record store to come down the 'pike. Nor is it the largest. But if you ever happen to be looking for a strange, little-known album that went out of print a decade ago, this should be the first spot you hit. The store's music collection includes not only CDs and cassettes but also LPs,… More >>
  • Best Used-CD Store

    All Books and Records

    Though they're located in strip malls, thrift-store funkiness lends All Books and Records much in the way of old-school authenticity. AB&R takes the prize for one reason: volume. These stores pack a massive, unwieldy (but surprisingly well-organized) collection, including everything a disc hunter could dream of. There's an outrageous assortment of soundtracks, reggae, Latin, hip-hop, hair metal, death metal, various… More >>
  • Best Botanica

    Botanica 7 Rayos

    Most people go to their neighborhood drugstore to get their 'scrips filled or to pick up a bottle of 'Tussin for that nasty cough. But folks who are more attuned to the spirit world go to botanicas for healing. Situated in a strip mall in southwest Fort Lauderdale, Botanica 7 Rayos offers a wide array of prayer candles, herbs, beads,… More >>
  • Best Nurse

    Audeanne Donaldson

    One of the more dreadful things in life is not having a baby when you're having a baby. Push after excruciating push, howls of pain, and the beautiful new little being simply won't budge. The lazy, jaded doctor utters one horrid letter: C. As in C-section. Surgery, possible complications, extreme discomfort, two or three extra days in the hospital. Nobody… More >>
  • Best Place to (Legally) Get a Collagen Shot

    The Aesthetics Institute

    South Florida has long been known as the capital of plastic surgery, but last year, the title took an ugly turn when a Broward woman seeking silicone injections died after she was injected with a fatal mixture of chemicals. The death called attention to a ring of illegal underground "at-home enhancement" scams. Call it the Valley of the Dolls or… More >>
  • Best Ethnic Grocery

    Bedessee East-West Indian Foods

    Company's coming, and you simply must have some authentic South Florida culinary weirdness. Bedessee's well-stocked, cramped, and claustrophobic aisles have plenty of what you're hankering for. Bedessee is a strange, schizophrenic marketplace, because half the store's goods (and customer base) is Jamaican, and half hales from the Indian subcontinent. Thus, shoppers can feel like globetrotting travelers, sampling wares from far… More >>
  • Best Health-Food Store

    Nutrition Depot Discount Vitamin Centers

    The trend these days in health-food stores is big. They look like supermarkets and have prices to match. And health is relative: Some of the chains sell more meat than a butcher shop. It may be free range, but it'll clog your arteries just as quick as the stationary type. Nutrition Depot isn't completely animal-free and the place isn't nearly… More >>
  • Best Store Name

    Sweeney's 23 Hour Package Store and Liquor Lounge - CLOSED

    Sweeney's 23 Hour Package Store and Liquor Lounge… More >>
  • Best Bike Shop

    Big Wheel Cycles and Fitness Center

    Not only can you pick up bikes by every manufacturer from Schwinn to Diamond Back to GT to Redline and a dozen more at this superstore; you can also get just about every kind of bicycle, from BMX to 24-speed mountain bike. Prices start at $109 for a 12-inch girls bike and go as high as $3600 for a Klein… More >>
  • Best New Age Shop

    Leaping Minds, A Conscious Living Store

    For the snowbirds fleeing New York or Montreal, South Florida's sand, palms, and thongs are a different world. But if that's not enough for them, Leaping Minds offers the opportunity to step off the sunny streets and onto a different planet. It's spiced with 75 kinds of incense; soothing New Age music floats above mounds of crystals and far-out knickknacks.… More >>
  • Best Auto Parts Store

    Millions of Parts

    Vehicles are like human beings. Some live a long life, married to two, three different owners. As the years pass, the fuel and exhaust systems tend to constipate, endurance diminishes, and the sheet metal buckles and sags. Other cars and trucks, however, pass on well before their time from rollovers, broadsides, and other highway mayhem. Old or young, they all… More >>
  • Best Mechanic

    Rothe's

    Purely and simply, Rothe's takes the fear out of getting your car fixed. Two financial concerns loom every time the old Olds craps out: How much will the repair itself actually cost, and how much in addition to that will you get ripped off? With Rothe's, the latter is of zero concern, because Rothe's is one of those Mayberry, RFD… More >>
  • Best Store for Fishing Gear

    Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World

    No sports nut is as gadget-happy as an angler. At Outdoor World, there are thousands of rods, tens of thousands of reels, hundreds of thousands of sinkers, millions of bobbers, and zillions of jigs. Lures? They number in the gazillions. But forget the mind-boggling numbers. Since the Missouri-based Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World set up shop in Dania Beach, South… More >>
  • Best Place to Bust a Cap

    AA Lock and Gun Inc.

    Get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Get fired, divorced, or just step in something smelly? Head over to AA Lock and Gun and take out your aggressions by paying $75 annual membership to rent a Ruger (after taking a safety course), entering the indoor range, and knocking off a few rounds. Where else can you… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Your Great-Grandpa's Gun

    Mark 1st Antiques

    If flintlocks pull your trigger, hustle on down to Mark 1st Antiques on the corner of Dania Beach Boulevard and Federal Highway. In the modest, mural-splashed, one-story building anchoring the south end of the antique district, owner Mark Furst (get it?) presides over cases and racks packed with obsolete military technology, from World War II helmets to samurai armor. Amid… More >>
  • Best Self-Storage

    Space Plus Self Storage

    This place is the Starship Enterprise of storage, sans photon torpedoes. No chance of doors slamming on your ass here, friends. Motion detectors swoosh portals open at your arm-filled approach. Same deal with the lights; you're never hunting for a switch, because they pop on automatically. Air conditioning keeps sweat to a minimum, as do the plentiful carts and dollies… More >>
  • Best Sex Toy Shop

    The X-Factor - CLOSED

    The wall of dildos and vibrators is mind-boggling. Hmm, boggles more than the mind, we guess. This adult playland offers a variety of ways to spice up your sex life. The X-Factor is a large space that sells reasonably priced, run-of-the-mill nonoxyl-9 lubricants like Astroglide and a few harnesses with all the basic straps for couple-fixin'. Knowing that safe sex… More >>
  • Best Adult Video Store

    Megaplexxx Video

    The Swiss-chalet architecture of this place puts one's mind at ease. You could almost expect to walk into the store for a cup of hot chocolate and a bit of friendly banter with some girl named Heidi. If the girl in question were naked except for a pair of six-inch high heels and the chocolate in question were being poured… More >>
  • Best Cigars

    Bennington Tobacconist

    This place has it all, from A to Z. Or in this case, from Arturo Fuente to Zino. As long as you have something more than lint in your pockets, you should be able to pick up one of the cheaper cigarillos, which usually cost around 60 cents. But why do that to yourself? A good cigar will run you… More >>
  • Best Place to Blacken Your Lungs

    Maguire's Hill 16

    For everyone who is shaving years off his life while satisfying that oral fixation, this place is a utopia among bars. It's very smoker-friendly, having only recently reduced the smoking section to a long row of comfortable booths against one side of the restaurant and bar; the government made them do it. As for the machine in the back of… More >>
  • Best Head Shop

    Cloudy Daze

    Broward County is home to plenty of shops selling marijuana pipes, but many of them also stock so many inconsequential knick-knacks, trinkets, and doo-dads that it's hard to get a gander at what you walked in there for. You can find your Nag Champa incense at any brightly lighted, family-friendly head shop, but for the best selection of those beauteous… More >>
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