Shopping & Services

  • Personal Best

    The Circus Sells Liquor and Wine Merchant

    As owner and landlord for the past 40 years of the Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop, the second-largest flea market in the country, Preston Henn knows a lot about sales pitches and asphalt-level marketing. Want to gather a crowd? Get the calliope rumbling and a barker pitching dreams and lurid promises. Henn long ago got the idea of drawing customers to… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill in Broward

    NWA Wrestling

    If someone's too ugly, obnoxious, or just plain weird to sit in the audience at a taping of the Jerry Springer Show, where do they go? Apparently, to watch NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) matches, which take place at various locales around the state, often at the Bergeron Rodeo Grounds in Davie. The freakishness, thank goodness, isn't limited to the spectators.… More >>
  • Best Reggae Record Store

    Rankin Records

    Wedged between a Vietnamese soup house and a tropical ice cream parlor, Rankin Records rounds out a truly multiculti strip mall (there's a store selling Middle Eastern goods around the corner) along busy Highway 441. Unlike usual reggae suspects you'll find at your suburban CD megastore, Rankin leaves the pricey Bob Marley box sets for Johnny-come-lately types and instead focuses… More >>
  • Best Music Store

    Modern Music

    You probably haven't noticed Modern Music tucked back from this busy boulevard, where you risk life and limb by gawking. But this shop has garnered the attention of the music-minded because of its friendly staff and range of instruments. This isn't one of those cavernous chain music stores; you're always within conversation range of the people who have the answers… More >>
  • Best Place (for Would-Be DJs) to Buy Vinyl

    Super Soul Records

    Along with a thorough selection, visual impact is crucial at a record store. You want people to walk in and immediately wonder, preferably out loud, "Holy crap, where'd they find all this freakin' vinyl?!" If sheer overload is the name of the game, newcomer Super Soul Records gets the gold. Do the math: 500 milk crates, each holding about 100… More >>
  • Best DJ Store

    DJ World - CLOSED

    Though we can technically consider DJ World a "franchise," no other store in the Broward-Palm Beach area (Sam Ash included) can equal the stash or savvy of this one-stop DJ emporium. All the top turntable brands, from Stanton to Technics, are available, whether you're a bedroom novice searching for a $100 Gemini or a wannabe Oakenfold, for whom an $800… More >>
  • Best Used-Book Store

    Well Read New and Used Books

    Unlike the mammoth commercial bookstores that have popped up all around South Florida, at Well Read New and Used Books in Fort Lauderdale, the smell of café latte doesn't overwhelm that distinct aroma of books. That's because this 3-year-old bookstore has stuck to the ages-old business plan: selling tomes. Tall shelves create a literature lover's labyrinth in this small slice… More >>
  • Best Comic-Book Store

    Tate's Comics, Toys, Videos & More

    Crash! Pow! Zowee! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Tate's, the go-to shop for lovers of everything from the silver age of Marvel superheroes to the new wave of graphic novels and Japanese manga. Established in 1993 by Tate Ottati, this 4,000-square-foot store has come to dominate the field through its sheer, bulging inventory. There are, of course,… More >>
  • Best Massage

    American Institute of Massage Therapy

    Places abound in Broward and Palm Beach counties to get a rubdown in a frou-frou joint with scented air filled with whale noises and the trickling sounds of water on rocks. But if you want a basic massage done cheap and with extra care, the place to go is the American Institute of Massage Therapy, a school for massage therapists.… More >>
  • Best Reason to Shop CityPlace


    If the complaint against CityPlace is that it's too Disneyfied, there's one way that this shopping mecca differs from the land of the mouse: free stuff. On weekend nights and some Sunday afternoons, CityPlace hosts free concerts in the main square. There's everything from R&B to jazz to salsa. CityPlace also hosts performances by school kids who sing near the… More >>
  • Best Reason to Avoid CityPlace

    Ain't No Room

    Sometimes you're in a hurry at the supermarket and don't have time to wheel around a shopping cart. So you pile everything inside one of those little green baskets. But before you even make it to the third aisle, the basket's ready to spill and your arms feel like they're going to fall off. Now, imagine if the basket were… More >>
  • Best Reason to Shop Riverfront


    Toss back a couple of drinks at Ugly Tuna or Martini Bar, hook your arm around your date's waist, and saunter north. Past the scooped-out palm stump where sparrows sip and bathe, across the train tracks, and beside the Old Fort Lauderdale Museum of History. The only thoroughfare here, in the heart of a car-mad sprawl, is the New River,… More >>
  • Best Reason to Avoid Riverfront


    Wait a second. This looks familiar. Yes, it's on the water, and yes, the boats are cool -- but something's amiss. Do you see the kiosks selling $12 sunglasses, little panda figurines, and beaded bracelets and displaying the "We can write a name on any buckle" sign? Do you hear the sounds of a cover/garage band playing "Brown Eyed Girl"… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill in Palm Beach

    Slumming at the Breakers

    If you can do without a room -- which would set you back $285 to $3,650 a night -- the Breakers is actually a cheap thrill. You need not be a guest of the hotel to take advantage of a lot of its amenities. Bellmen crowd the lobby doors like penguins, while locals and tourists swarm in and out to… More >>
  • Best Not-So-Cheap Thrill

    Speed Indoor Racing

    For $2 per minute, you could see a top-of-the-line sex therapist, hire Michelle Kwan's ice-skating coach, or get a private reading from psychic Zayna Ravenheart. For the same price, you can get a serious adrenaline high at Speed Indoor Racing, the high-speed go-kart track that opened last year. Racing costs $11 for a five-minute session, $19.95 for a ten-minute session,… More >>
  • Best Pet Store

    Wild Cargo Pets & Supplies

    Ron Dupont doesn't want to be known as the roach guy, but these days, he just can't help it. Dupont says his is the only pet store he knows of selling roaches -- live roaches -- something desperately needed for owners of most reptiles. And what's worse, Dupont's roaches are notoriously tasty. "We call them 'tropical cream-filled roaches' because they're… More >>
  • Best Veterinarian

    Arch Gordon at Coral Ridge

    A great vet becomes truly noteworthy after you've had a few bad ones. Arch Gordon's tableside manner is so effortlessly kind, benevolent, and caring, it's worth giving him his due. We know a certain cat terrified of thunderstorms, vacuum cleaners, doorbells, and even its own shadow that regularly melts into Gordon's capable hands during checkups, purring contentedly. Feline and canine… More >>
  • Best Holistic Veterinarian

    Friendship Animal Wellness Center

    OK, you've got Fido on that special vegan diet, and his mock turtleneck sweater is made of hemp. So what's next to make your dog a true reflection of your hippie roots? Holistic medicine, of course. It's sure to restore your mutt's inner peace -- which does not require a pooper scooper. At Friendship Animal Wellness Center, veterinarian Carol Falck… More >>
  • Best Falling Out

    Powered Parachutes at Para Air Sports

    These things just don't look like they should fly. A powered parachute is no more than a shopping-cart-sized craft with a big fan on the back, attached to a parachute fluttering above. But somehow, it can glide along at 30 mph, 800 feet above the hard, unforgiving Earth. Larry Littlefield, a retired airline pilot and powered-parachute instructor, promises it's not… More >>
  • Best Gym

    The Zoo Health Club

    Eduardo, the short aerobics instructor who is trying to kill you, looks at you with zero sympathy as you lift the medicine ball above your chest, looking not unlike a dying cockroach. "Get stronger!" he says. And you do. Tough and unsmiling as Eduardo is, you still manage to feel very happy, very healthy, and very buff by the end… More >>
  • Best Gun Shop

    Dewing's Fly & Gun Shop

    At first, Dewing's Fly & Gun Shop may look a bit out of place, sandwiched between a doggy bakery and an upscale seafood joint in downtown West Palm Beach. But a look at the 2,700 guns inside -- and their price tags -- reveals why Dewing's does so well. The guns, with inlays of ivory and gold and encrustments of… More >>
  • Best Florist

    Poopie Doll Florist

    You did her wrong. You were being a total guy when you said that, and you didn't realize it would offend her. She's upset. You need a second chance. You need a miracle. You need Walt Zelasko and his wonder workers at Poopie Doll Florist. For the past 20 years, Zelasko and his team of expert florists have been putting… More >>
  • Best Gift Shop

    Abe's Wholesale Festival Marketplace

    There are a few essential traits for an outstanding gift store. First, its inventory must provide for occasions as diverse as weddings, birthdays, Valentine's Day, and hope-your-dog-gets-better. Second, there must be a wide price range -- after all, a bridal shower present for your uncle's sister-in-law doesn't demand the same wallet juice as does your nephew's bar mitzvah. So Abe's… More >>
  • Best Do-It-Yourself Wine

    Let's Make Wine

    After that failed attempt to manufacture wine in your bathtub, there's a way to escape the shame of defeat. Instead of bottling the rotgut you pressed with your feet, try bottling your own vino at Let's Make Wine in Delray Beach. This soon-to-be-national chain that started right here in South Florida lets customers mix their own wines to come up… More >>
  • Best Hole-in-the-Wall

    Kyoya Japanese Market

    You could chuck an anvil from one side of Kyoya to the other and a brick from its entrance to its end. In between, this wee shop stocks enough Asian culinary curios to require repeat trips. The front displays origami paper and a library of Japanese videos; the middle holds tea sets, bags of wasabi mix, canned Thai bamboo, ready-to-eat… More >>
  • Best Automobile Accessories

    Ideal Automotive & Truck Accessories

    You've just dropped $25,000 on a new truck. The testosterone-fueling V8 engine and two-ton payload are all a man could ever want. But it's dreadfully boring on the outside. It looks like every other big truck out there. It doesn't express your -- shall we say? -- manly uniqueness. What's a Hemi-lovin' guy to do? Pay a visit to Ideal… More >>
  • Best Mechanic

    Wales Garage

    South Florida can be a brutal place. Con men flock here like gulls on a bread crumb, and the smell of criminality is never far away. Desire for the Big American Dream -- not the one featuring a chicken in every pot but the one with two Mercedeses and a Porsche in every three-car garage -- drums the decency out… More >>
  • Best Car Wash

    Flamingo Joe's Auto Spa

    Pull up under the carport of Flamingo Joe's Auto Spa and you won't find a list of prices anywhere. No billboard advertising the cost of a detail or a simple wash. Instead, you get the employees. "For you?" they'll ask, as if surveying how much they like you. Overheard prices quoted to customers went from $15 for a blond hottie… More >>
  • Best Adult Video Store

    Adult Video Outlet

    Don't let the high ceilings and exposed ductwork of Adult Video Outlet's 24-hour location (5249 Powerline Rd. in Fort Lauderdale) fool you. It might look like a warehouse, but Adult Video Outlet is about as classy a place as you'll find to buy your copy of the much-ballyhooed 1 Night in China, featuring two beefed-up former stars from World Wrestling… More >>
  • Best Sex Toys Shop

    Something Sexy for Him & Her

    Every man wants her. She's a busty blond. She doesn't talk. She doesn't complain. She doesn't make you buy her dinner. And, best yet, she never has a headache when you're ready to get it on. Meet, dear gentlemen, the Inflatable Wife. She can be all yours for the rock-bottom price of $18.95 at Something Sexy for Him & Her,… More >>
  • Best Skate Shop

    Shred Shed

    Fifteen years ago, skateboarders around these parts didn't have much they could call their own. If you wanted to go to a decent park, the nearest place was Orlando ("C'mon, Mom -- please!?"). And when it came time to buy a new board, your only choice was to snoop around town for a surf shop that bothered to sell more… More >>
  • Best Bicycle Shop

    Bike America Trek Concept Store

    You've heard of getting fitted for a suit, a dress, or even a pair of loafers, but at Bike America, they fit you for a bike. They take measurements of your torso, arm length, and inseam to figure out what size bike fits best. Even before this five-store South Florida chain opened its new location in Plantation earlier this year,… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Used Bicycle

    Faith Farm Ministries

    At this vast repository for used household items of every stripe, donations are always welcome. When old knees give out, the old bikes come in -- hundreds of 'em, fit for man, woman, and child. If you aren't in the mood to spend a small fortune on a new bike with fancy front suspension and an ergonomically correct seat --… More >>
  • Best Motorcycle Shop

    Thunder Cycle Designs

    When Eddie Trotta was at home recovering from cancer in 1991, he used his free time to build himself a motorcycle. The thing turned out so well, he decided to start building them for others, and before he knew it, Trotta became one of the country's premier bike builders. Since those humble beginnings, Trotta is now in his fourth location,… More >>
  • Best Place to Donate Your Clothes

    JCC Thrift Store of West Palm Beach

    Cleaning out the closet can be a surprisingly emotional experience. Worse yet is figuring out what to do with all the sartorial memories, since every outdated suit and Technicolor tie is sewn up with nostalgia you can't ignore. The best solution: Donate your goods to a place you have a connection with. When the grandfather of a friend of ours… More >>
  • Best Scooter Rental and Sales

    Scooters Mania

    You've not had a true subtropical experience until you've straddled the nine-horsepower Derbi GP1 scooter while zooming down A1A. You can feel the humid air shimmering past your skin and see the bugs splattering on the little windshield. You can stop on a dime and park just about anywhere you like. In fact, you can rule the road knowing that… More >>
  • Best Tattoo Parlor

    Electrik Krayon

    Funny thing about tattoos is that times and trends tend to change. The tribals, Chinese letters, and that delightful little butterfly right below the waistline may all be cute and trendy right now, but imagine what it's going to be like in 50 years, when today's young adults become tomorrow's senior citizens. Everyone's grandfather is going to be sporting sweet… More >>
  • Best Salon

    The Elite Group

    Do you want to eat, or do you want to get your hair done? Either way, you're in the right place. The Elite Group will hook you up with wine, soda, coffee, bagels, and -- oh yeah! -- a haircut! Or color! Or highlights! Or makeup from its cosmetic line. Both the stylists and clients range from chi-chi Las Olas… More >>
  • Best Dollar Store

    Just 99

    Whether it's the basics you need or to cut corners on household expenses, Just 99 carries an impressive supply of groceries, cleaning products, knickknacks, and useful life accessories all for the slightest expenditure of the green. Taking the kids to the beach? This store has plastic shovels, goggles and snorkels, and paddle games to make the day. The grocery aisles… More >>
  • Best Lawn Ornament

    Mad Tikis

    In 1994, Carl "Marty" Gouveia suffered the loss of three fingers on his dominant right hand to a car accident. How did he channel his frustration? By swinging a chain saw around. A 1985 graduate of the Fort Lauderdale Institute of Art and a third-generation sign-painting artist, "Mad Marty" shifted his focus. Sure, he kept on painting billboards, motorcycles, and… More >>
  • Best Furniture Store

    City Furniture

    This place is so big that it should have its own mayor (think about it, Sheriff Ken). The place has a 90,000-square-foot showroom on two levels. It also has a huge, 540,000-square-foot warehouse that serves as a distribution center for the other 16 stores in this local chain, all of them between Homestead and West Palm Beach. And yes, located… More >>
  • Best Pawn Shop

    Ready Cash Pawn & Loan I

    What makes a pawn shop the best pawn shop? Its proximity to you when you need cash, quick. And that means that Ready Cash I's location -- smack in the middle of downtown Hollywood, where money seems to evaporate from your wallet -- is ideal. Between wining and dining your date at Mama Mia's Italian Grille and stumbling your way… More >>
  • Best Display of Wealth

    Design Center of the Americas

    You find yourself picking dimes off the ground, borrowing DVDs from the library because of your Blockbuster late fees, and ruing the waste of the last few drops of gasoline dripping from the nozzle. You are, face facts, a schlub. But, good Lord willing, one day -- one day -- you will join the pampered upper-crusties who can projectile-vomit cash… More >>
  • Best Brows

    Mona's Fashions

    Hair is no trivial thing in South Florida. Keeping it trimmed, hedged, plucked, or sculpted is an ongoing battle for the better-body set. Front and center in the hirsute battlefield are those pesky eyebrows, some of which Mother Nature has chosen to fashion after the full-bodied caterpillar. While many choose to keep the brow shapely by waxing, there's a much… More >>
  • Best Vintage Store

    Recollections Antiques & Collectibles

    Ahh, that awkward age: too young to be an antique, too old for the shelves of Target or Kmart. But for lovers of the late vintage years -- roughly beginning in the 1950s and running somewhere to the early 1970s -- this is the primo epoch for furniture, appliances, clothes, and knickknacks. If you number among its aficionados, check out… More >>
  • Best Value on Las Olas

    Free Buckets at Kilwin's Chocolate's

    Happy hour at Cathode Ray, you say? Costs money. Two-for-one drinks at Shizen after midnight? Costs money. Egg breakfast at the Floridian? Costs money. What does not cost any money along the choicest stretch of restaurants, shops, and galleries in Broward County, dear reader? The stack of old ice cream buckets in the back of the chocolate boudoir that is… More >>
  • Best Dive Shop

    Lauderdale Diver

    The Gulf Stream rushes across South Florida like a river beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. It acts as nature's very own pressure cleaner, pushing away the dirt and debris from the reefs and wildlife in the waters off Broward and Palm Beach counties. That makes South Florida, despite its overdevelopment, one of the world's most fabulous dive spots.… More >>
  • Best Shoe Store


    If Matisse, Lichtenstein, Monet, Stuart Davis, and any other artist you can think of who liked to recklessly splash color around decided to make women's shoes instead of painting canvases, their work would end up at Ermare. You've got your goldfish pumps, your garter snake open-toed slippers, your shin-high Wonder Woman boots, and a pair of shoes so thick with… More >>
  • Best New Landmark

    Hustler Hollywood

    All right, here's how to get to the apartment. Real easy. Drive down I-95 until you get to exit 29, which is Sunrise Boulevard. OK. Now, head east. You'll pass... well, a bunch of stuff. What kind of stuff? Shops, mostly. Fast-food joints. Check-cashing places. Gas stations. No landmarks? Not yet. Keep going, past the car dealerships, past the… More >>
  • Best Cigar

    Cigar Outlet

    Cigars are more than a tobacco product. They're a lifestyle and a fashion statement. Cigar Outlet, a spacious, one-stop shop for anything and everything related to rolled tobacco leaves, knows that well. For eight years, this little cigar store on Commercial Boulevard has been selling everything from top-of-the-line stogies and $1 cigars to humidors and attire. A shopping excursion here… More >>
  • Best Cigar Bar


    Containing less than half the starched-shirt stuffiness of its Las Olas counterpart, Macabi in Plantation is also one of only two bars in the entire suburb. Concealed in an out-of-the-way corner of the vacancy-prone Fountains Mall, Macabi can't afford to traffic in such snootiness. Friendly faces behind the bar are legitimately glad to see you; the folks enjoying stogies around… More >>
  • Best Record/CD Store

    The CD Collector of Pompano Beach

    On vacation in New York City's East Village, a local record geek wastes no time finding a music store, hoping to spend the last of his travel money on records he assumes can't be found in South Florida. After perusing the store's decent-but-not-great assortment of old power-pop records, he selects a small handful and heads to the counter, hoping the… More >>

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