Shopping & Services

  • Personal Best: The Masked Man

    Asa Boynton, Community Activist

    Asa Boynton is a one-man crime fighter, dope-den destroyer, letter writer, and critic of Hollywood City Hall. In fact, Boynton's tireless hell-raising with Hollywood's Police Department and politicians earned him our nod as this year's Best Gadfly. Since moving to the Diamond of the Gold Coast from Kendall a decade ago, Boynton has made community activism his passion. But there's… More >>
  • Best Record/CD Store

    CD Collector

    As the name suggests, CD Collector wants to unburden you of those extra discs piling up at the back of your music collection. If they're in good shape and not especially lame (e.g., Pat Boone's heavy metal album), bring 'em in for either cash or store credit. If your CDs are scratched-up or played-out, then bring cash -- you'll need… More >>
  • Best Vintage Store

    Vintage Diversity

    If you're not accustomed to the scavenger-like joys of second-hand shopping, here's rule number one: The difference between a vintage store and a thrift store is like the difference between Ralph Lauren and Target. That being said, Vintage Diversity has the type of hip, retro garb you'd otherwise find only on eBay. Pick a decade, any decade (OK, maybe not… More >>
  • Best Adult Video Store

    Complete Adult Video

    Watching the wild thing doesn't get any easier than this. This spacious smut palace is just a few blocks off I-95 with easy and ample parking. Thousands of DVDs, featuring every form of bonking one could imagine, line the walls and racks, some for as little as $6. Complete Adult also rents DVDs for $4.25 for two days, with a… More >>
  • Best Massage

    Las Olas Beauty

    As you walk through Las Olas Beauty, passing by shelves of skin creams and bath products, you can tell the store knows its cosmetics. But if you venture back into the massage room, you'll see that the store's concept of beauty runs more than just skin deep. The various massages available are tailored to your particular needs, whether it's working… More >>
  • Best Stuffed Fish

    Atlantic Taxidermy

    You love the feel of brine in your face and rod 'n' reel in your hands, pulling with all your might to land who-knows-what on that hook. But you also know that the once-plentiful fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean have been woefully overharvested, and the much sought-after billfish, like marlin and swordfish, are a deep-blue treasure too precious to decimate.… More >>
  • Best Seafarer's Guides

    Bluewater Books & Charts

    Arrrgh, maties, listen up to this tale. T'were back in Aught One, and I were takin' the clipper Mary Sue Matilda 'round the Horn. A mighty gale blew in from the west, and the Mary Sue were tossed like slab meat to a hound. Lost, we were. Me crew, good 'n' true, were a-fearin' fer their lives. So I reached… More >>
  • Best Dive Shop

    Divers Cove

    Here's a tip: After you buy that new snorkeling or scuba-diving mask, take it to your bathroom. Push out a sliver of toothpaste -- paste, young ocean explorer, not gel -- and rub the paste with your finger on the mask's inside glass. Rinse the mask, then do it once more. That little process will take away any film on… More >>
  • Best Pet Store

    Underground Reptiles

    It's a little intimidating to walk into a store past tarantulas and scorpions situated right at the front door. But, after passing the creepy crawlies, you'll be dazed by the variety of creatures on display at Underground Reptiles. Poison dart frogs of the brightest blues and yellows, green iguanas, and yellow- and brown-striped baby leopard geckos fill cages on shelves… More >>
  • Best Hair Salon

    The Strand

    The trendy stylists at the Strand can save you from yourself. Like, when you go to get yet another round of blond highlights, they can stop you. Talk some sense into you. Have a style intervention. With a cool razor-cut or a complementary all-over color, they can take you from 2001 straight into the present. Hip, superstylish, and yet really,… More >>
  • Best Baseball Shop

    Batter's Box

    Once upon a time, the only things you needed to get to the big leagues were hopes, dreams, maybe a homemade bat, raw ability, desire, and a father who forced you to switch-hit from the time you were in diapers. My, how the times they have a-changed! The five-tool player of tomorrow probably smears mink-oil paste into his palm-padded glove… More >>
  • Best Motorcycle Shop

    Crotchrockets to Barhoppers

    The half-taunt on the front window says, "If you bought a bike here... you would have made that light," as if the indignity of sitting at the railroad crossing at Prospect and Powerline could be any worse. It's a funny jibe from a place that suggests by its very name that all bikers, from hot-shit punks to weekend-leather posers, are… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Used Rubber

    Friendly Tire Co.

    It can be expensive to buy rubber. And, no, we're not talking about variety packs of contraceptive measures. Tires, baby, tires. These days, a set of four brand-new, off-the-production-line radials can set you back close to $1,000. That's a lot of dough, especially if you don't want to sink a ton of money into your ride. But Friendly Tire in… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill in Broward

    Skinny-Dipping on Fort Lauderdale Beach

    There's something wonderfully mischievous about going swimming without so much as a millimeter of lycra between you and the water. There's something even better about doing it at night, and at a very public locale. A good place to disrobe and experience the all-American thrill of skinny-dipping is on Fort Lauderdale Beach, just north of the Yankee Clipper Hotel (1140… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill in Palm Beach

    The Bathrooms at Sloan's Ice Cream Parlor

    Sloan's is an amazing sensory experience, with its hot-pink walls, giant lollipops, miniature choo-choo train, 47 flavors of ice cream, and toys, toys, toys! But the most amazing part is the bathrooms -- which have clear glass doors that look right in to the throne. When you venture in and turn the door handle, however, the glass fogs up and… More >>
  • Best Not-So-Cheap Thrill

    East Coast Kiteboarding

    Six years ago, kiteboarding was in its infancy. There were no magazines about it, no DVDs, no lessons. Pioneers just went out to the beach, tried to harness the wind, and got slingshot hundreds of yards down the beach in the process. That's when East Coast Kiteboarding's owner, Damien Wright, went to Maui to give it a try. "It took… More >>
  • Best Dollar Store

    Dollar Heaven

    Boom times have wreaked havoc at most dollar stores, where prices have crept up ten, 20, even 30 ticks above the promised 100 cents. Still, it's quality that really counts, even at around a sawbuck, and quality is where Dollar Heaven earns its halo. Four bits and change grants you access to three long aisles of crazy bric-a-brac, including a… More >>
  • Best Gift Shop

    Jezebel

    Jezebel isn't just for '40s sock-hoppers and vintage couture queens anymore. The venerable vintage clothing store, which in previous incarnations was also called the Stock Exchange, has kept Fort Lauderdale in funky duds for 15 years. But the managers couldn't keep their enthusiasm for quirky inventory entirely tethered to clothing, which means the store's rabbit-warren interior is lined with bizarre… More >>
  • Best Place to Donate Your Clothes

    Women in Distress Blooming Sales

    Dragging a haul of bell-bottoms and turtlenecks to the Women in Distress thrift store in Margate makes you feel like a saint and involves face time with some of the feistiest ladies in Broward County. The store, in a tired-looking strip mall, accepts donations of clothing, furniture, and household goods, then turns around and resells them for ridiculously low prices… More >>
  • Best Sex Toys Shop

    Catalog X

    It's been called the L.L. Bean store of gay sex toys, and for good reason -- Catalog X is the retail outlet for the vaunted gay sex-toy catalog of the same name and stocks the three-foot silicone cocks and gallon-sized vats of personal lubricant that the rest of the country can obtain only via mail-order. Fifteen years ago, convinced that… More >>
  • Best Shoe Shop

    Strut

    Let's make this clear -- anybody can slap a "shoe store" sign on a strip mall and hawk Keds for a living, but it takes a special touch to sell honest-to-God stripper shoes, and Strut does it with panache. They have help -- Strut is connected at one end to the Fetish Factory, South Florida's premier source for high latex… More >>
  • Best Hole in the Wall

    Asian Market

    The Asian Market off Lantana Road, which is sandwiched between a hair salon and a Chinese takeout, is packed tighter than a spring roll (and yes, that's its entire name). The seven aisles are stacked to the ceiling with Asian goods ranging from Dragon Dude candy to Happy Tea. At the back of the store, freezers are jammed with different… More >>
  • Best Place to Rent a Scooter

    Fun Rentals

    A1A is one of the only roads that you can buzz down on a 49cc scooter without feeling embarrassed. The salty ocean breeze and endless single lanes of traffic make for miles of laughs while scooting along at 25 mph. Fun times, but you don't actually want a scooter in the garage, do you? They need maintenance and polishing, they… More >>
  • Best Tattoo Parlor

    Tattoo Paradise

    Seems like tattoo parlors are appearing and disappearing so fast, before your new skin design gets a chance to scab over, the place that inked it has been replaced with a Starbucks. So it says something that Tattoo Paradise has been on the same street for more than 15 years. Owner Louie Lombi has worked with some of the greats… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Grocery

    Sahara

    Arabic-language newspapers. Bulk curry. Cans of ghee. Dates. Falafel, fava beans, and filo dough. Hibiscus drinks, hookahs, and hummus. Jordan almonds. Malt beverages. Orange blossom water. Rose syrups. Sardine tins and sesame candies. Teas from every corner of the tea-drinking world, tobaccos for the hookahs, Turkish delight, and turnips pickled pink in beet juice. Your grocery store is a library… More >>
  • Best Indian Market

    Bedessee East-West Indian Foods

    On the floor, a cluster of blue crabs crawl around in a plastic tub. A broken harmonium -- an old Indian pump-organ -- sits waiting to wheeze again. But to notice these details amid Bedessee's cramped aisles, crowded with customers, is far from easy, what with all the action at eye level. True to its name, this large grocery/boutique caters… More >>
  • Best Cigar Bar

    Smoke Café

    On a late weekday afternoon, all is as it should be at the Smoke Café. Several patrons are perched along the black marble-topped bar, where a phalanx of elaborate stainless-steel lighters stands. A retired gentleman is regaling a visitor with tales of a near-death experience, puffing slowly throughout the narrative to build drama. A beefy young man is flirting with… More >>
  • Best Cigars

    Ultimate Cigars and Fine Wines

    You have to love a business small enough that you're dealing with the owner and big enough to be overwhelmed by selection. If you're a novice smoker or buying for a friend, you won't go wrong with the helpful recommendations of owner Moe Sohail, who's been running the place for eight years. But even if you know the difference between… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    Hollywood Vine

    Wine snobbery, or at least wine appreciation, has finally trickled down to the masses: You no longer need 1,600 dusty bottles in the cellar of your baronial manse to enjoy quaffing a decent port. Getting to know good wine is supposed to be fun -- Bacchus is a party god, after all. That wicked cherub reigns supreme at Hollywood Vine,… More >>
  • Best Life-Sized Jesus

    Moroneys' Religious Art

    If there are two things no household should be without in these Republican, family-value-touting times we live in, it's an American flag and a full-sized reproduction of Jesus. For the latter, there's Moroneys', which is jam-packed with Christian symbols, artifacts, clothing, and jewelry. There, standing atop a display table, is the classic representation of the Messiah: long face, flowing hair,… More >>
  • Best Splurge

    Water Fantaseas Yacht Charter

    Nothing says "I earn more in a year than you do in a lifetime" like a good, old-fashioned luxury yacht. Water Fantaseas employee "Arnold" (he's a bit cagey) is ready to help you choose your pimpin' boat ride from the widest selection of locally available luxury boats. They range from a 94-foot Ferranti, complete with salon, wet bar, and wood… More >>
  • Best Skateboard Shop

    BC Surf & Sport

    When New Times Broward-Palm Beach gave BC Surf & Sport this award two years ago, the store was at a different, much smaller location. With BC's move to a new storefront last November -- about a block to the north -- it's like going from a four-foot mini ramp to a vertical 14-footer (but much safer, of course). Now situated… More >>
  • Best Toy Store

    RC Boca Hobbies

    Whose idea was it to exclude adults from the joys of things that go vroom? Certainly not the boys at RC Boca, who maintain their own private fiefdom of motor-powered testosterone toys in a tucked-away corner of Boca Raton's Mission Bay Plaza. Inside this remote-control-enthusiast shrine, all customers are expected to worship at the altar of miniature monster trucks, helicopters,… More >>
  • Best Mechanic

    Volvostop

    If you drive a Volvo in South Florida, you can expect plenty of jeers and obscene hand gestures from fellow motorists who don't understand the allure of boxy Swedish engineering. You can also expect to be screwed by a nitwit mechanic who's never heard of Sweden, let alone that country's signature brand of hideously safe motor vehicles. Unless you know… More >>
  • Best Pawn Shop

    Davie Pawn and Jewelry

    It's a rare thing for a pawn shop to try to make its customers feel like anything other than the petty thieves, out-of-luck gamblers, and dumpster-diving opportunists that they are. But Davie Pawn and Jewelry has a different philosophy -- swaddle customers in an atmosphere of quality and familiar jocularity and you will be rewarded with their love. There's the… More >>
  • Best Leather

    Leatherwerks

    Just as the name suggests, this ain't no Western buckskin outlet. Managed by Bear Man, a founder of Fort Lauderdale's Leather University, this store offers the rougher side of leather, from pants and boots to full bondage wear. Particularly eye-catching is the faux-police uniform by Interstate Leather for $169. A two-piece made fully out of black leather, the ensemble is… More >>
  • Best Hardware Store

    Executive Hardware

    After Hurricane Wilma kicked our asses back to the 19th Century, there was a store in Fort Lauderdale that still had supplies. It had tapcon screws, generators, and everything needed to slap your abode back to somewhat presentable condition. Executive Hardware, one of the last family-owned mega-hardware stores in Florida, is still going strong despite storms both natural and man-made… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Castanets

    Guitar Center

    This well-endowed former grocery store contains the largest arsenal of musical instruments in South Florida. Naturally, the place is stocked with six-strings. Keyboards and drums and basses too. But the next time you pass through the glass doors into the sound-proofed drum room, hang your first left. Because Guitar Center is big on miscellaneous minutiae, not just the commonplace, this… More >>
  • Best Place to Game

    OffWorld Game Center

    Consider this place Arcade Version 2.0. Instead of playing against a computer, you can play against people inside OffWorld Game Center as well as on another continent. With about two dozen computers hooked up to a high-speed Internet connection in a strip mall in Lauderhill, OffWorld specializes in multiplayer PC gaming -- from such strategy games as Ages of Empire… More >>
  • Best Comic-Book Shop

    Tate's Comics

    We tried. We really tried. Surely, there had to be a challenger to knock Tate's Comics off its perpetual throne as best comic source in South Florida. But no. Not only has Tate's continued to be the gravitational center of the local graphic-novel universe but the mind-blowing manga seller has even upped its game. As in its "gaming satellite," to… More >>
  • Best Used-Book Store

    Archives Book Café

    Like many of the shops inside the Gateway Plaza, Archives Book Café has the sort of quaint affability that's increasingly rare in a world of Wal-Marts and Starbucks. Its organic, old-library feel is decades removed from the impersonality of the big book sellers. But enough of that... what's for sale? Well, aside from café items like lattes ($3), bagels ($2.50… More >>
  • Best Gym

    Sweat!

    Gyms are being subjected to an unfortunate trend in South Florida: They're getting biggie-sized. National chains have moved in and begun the McDonaldization of workout facilities, bringing us legions of soccer moms pumping away on elliptical machines and stair climbers. While bigger may be better, that doesn't apply to your gut. Gus Hernandez of Sweat! in downtown Fort Lauderdale has… More >>
  • Best Health Food Store

    Freshly Organic

    While places like Whole Foods grow more like the supermarkets they once scorned, smaller, more traditional health-food outlets struggle. But it's not surprising that a small indie like Organically Fresh has a dedicated following of customers. Stuffed inside are a half-dozen tables covered in plastic where you can nosh on organic vegetarian or meat dishes like chicken and eggplant parm.… More >>
  • Best Place for Musicians

    George's Music

    If you're having trouble finding George's Music in the Palm Beach Mall's directory, there's no need to get your guitar cord in a bunch. Simply go out the Borders exit, walk to the edge of the sidewalk, and look to your right. Yep, that's the only entrance. And if it looks familiar, well, it should -- it's the store formerly… More >>
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