A sepulchre, according to The American Heritage Dictionary, is a burial vault, or a receptacle for sacred relics. That sounds about right, if you take a quick look at the vintage clothing store known as Sepulchre in Lake Worth. A hearse is parked outside, Marilyn Manson posters adorn the walls, and love beads and bell-bottoms are nowhere to be found. But there's more to this store than the macabre. Beautiful turn-of-the-century dresses and gowns and coats from the Eastern seaboard are available at Sepulchre. Owner Angelina Laurie says all the items have some kind of historical significance, which is one of the ways she determines a piece's worth. For example, we were shown a 19th-century black wedding dress with a lace spider web design. The spider web symbolized eternal love in Victorian times, according to Laurie. But not everything in the store is Victorian and black; Laurie also carries Joan Crawford-inspired suits from the '40s and '50s. Word of mouth is responsible for most of Sepulchre's business, and loyal customers like it that way, because they want to keep the great finds to themselves.
The Best Cellar has a measly 220 or so bottles of wine and champagne for sale -- a pittance compared to what's offered by the alcohol emporium Beverages & More. But whatever Best Cellar lacks in quantity, it more than compensates for with a discerning selection and knowledgeable service. "My mother was born in France, and when I was four years old, I was drinking red wine," says owner Richard Stetler, who also honed his tasting skills while working as a maitre d' at upscale eateries. With few exceptions, such as wines from Robert Mondavi and champagnes by Veuve Clicquot, Stetler limits his selections to presses of no more than 5000 bottles. Aside from Italian, French, and Californian vintages, Best Cellar offers fine merlots and chardonnays from less wine-centric countries such as Argentina, Australia, and South Africa. "South African wines are the absolute best wines in the world for the prices," Stetler says. He cites the 1994 merlot from Bodega Farm on the Cape ($16.95) and a more exotic offering, the sweet South African apple wine from Pale Moon Winery ($7.99) as examples. To compensate for its size, Best Cellar offers a host of incentives. Customers who pay $250 annually or $30 per month get 15 percent off all purchases and a gratis bottle of wine each month from a choice of five. Members also receive free admission to the shop's Wednesday winetastings, which feature six to eight wines and spreads that include cheese, caviar, and pâté. Even if it's not Wednesday night, no need to worry; the gregarious Stetler always has a handful of bottles open for tasting.

Best Place to Get a Haircut and a Beer While Watching the Game

MVP Sports Salon

It's not as if an earth-shattering cry arose from some vain, beer-guzzling sports nuts looking for a place to throw back a cold one, get a haircut, and watch the Panthers game. But Brian Fischer hated going to his local barber shop and having to sit and wait -- and wait -- for the next available stylist. So he teamed up with wife Leslie and brother Stuart and created MVP Sports Salon. The Fischers, local entrepreneurs all, opened the place two years ago in an old West Palm Beach gas station to serve those couch potatoes who simply must have their sports TV. Indeed MVP is part neighborhood tavern, part local barber shop. Bar food is available, of course, as are upper-body massages, perms, hair coloring, or just a shave and a haircut -- all while patrons B.S. about the game or SportsCenter highlights on one of several TVs in the bar. And, like any tavern worth its beer nuts, MVP has its crowd of regulars, who sidle up to the bar at happy hour (4 to 7 p.m. weeknights) and enjoy a massage and a brew. Sorry, though, no cheerleaders.
Let's say you're planning a cocktail party for some friends with particularly sophisticated palates. Along with the usual nibblies -- cheeses and crackers, chips and nuts, pickles and olives -- you want your spread to include, say, three kinds of caviar, as well as some citron vodka Swedish meatballs and miniature puff pastries with assorted fillings. Your bar will be stocked with an array of top-shelf liquors and liqueurs, and you'll have a sampling of beers and wines from all over the world, hard ciders, and maybe a few domestic microbrewed beers. You don't have to trek all over town to assemble these goodies, because all of them can be found at this newest store in the ABC chain, which also has outposts in Pembroke Pines and at the beach in Fort Lauderdale. You'll find mixers and bar supplies, too, as well as chocolates, sauces of all sorts (including fiery hot pepper), mustards, pastas, imported cheeses and meats, and a dizzying variety of cocktail olives and onions. One climate-controlled room features dozens of cigars from throughout Latin America, and another has wines so pricey they're under lock and key -- a 1986 Château-Margaux, for instance, that goes for $462.99. (The '83 vintage is a whopping $3 cheaper.) To top things off, the staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and eager to please, and the liquor prices are pretty much unbeatable.
Watch out, it could happen to you. One day you may be thinking how this would be a nice day for a ride along the beach, and the next you'll be laying down the price of a used car for a zippy little two-wheeler featuring 24 gears, front-wheel suspension, disc brakes, click shifters, a speedometer, a tachometer, a rear-view mirror, and God knows what else. As bikes become ever more complex and expensive, it pays to be a careful shopper before laying down cash. And there's no better place for comparison-shopping than at International Bicycle Shops. Among the top five outlets in the nation for Cannondales and the number-one in the state for GTs, International boasts one of the largest on-site inventories of bicycles in South Florida. It's all here: everything from $3000 racing bikes to $400 hybrid bangers, not to mention all the accessories -- helmets, gloves, air pumps, tire repair kits, et cetera -- that you'll want before hitting the road. So go ahead, ask yourself: Wouldn't this be a great day for a ride along the beach?
Ever been to a drive-thru cigarette store? Well, on the Seminole reservation in Hollywood you'll find the Gator Tobacco Outlet, a trailer on a concrete lot a block or two north of Sheridan Street. All a patron has to do is pull up to the window and, in a flash, favorite brand is in hand. Even better, the Seminoles don't have to pay taxes, so neither do you. The price of a pack of Marlboros is a scant $2.50 (scant for this litigious, tobacco-bashing era, anyway). A lighter can be had for a quarter. A 12-ounce can of soda is 50 cents, and a small bag of chips is only 30 coppers. Tax-free, all the time. To get an idea of the kind of savings Gator provides, consider that your average convenience store sells a pack of Marlboros for $3 or more.
In business for 13 years, Bluewater Books & Charts is the largest nautical bookstore and chart dealer in North America, shipping 50 to 100 packages a day to ports around the globe. A sampling of its wares includes the paperback Voyaging on a Small Income, the coffee-table tome The Superyachts, waterproof logbooks, navigation software, Florida Keys guidebooks, and charts of the Caspian Sea. Just as informative is the store's staff, which consists of a retired naval commander, a circumnavigator, and a passel of pier residents. Whatever your destination, chances are a Bluewater employee has been there -- or at least can pass along an anecdote from his or her loyal network of seafaring customers. Though mail orders account for more than a third of its sales, the shop is still a hub -- or, as owner Milt Baker describes it, "a happening." Baker cites a typical Bluewater encounter: In walked a man who was about to set sail for Venezuela. A woman browsing among the books announced that she lived in Caracas and took her boat to nearby islands almost every weekend. She told the man about her favorite passages, and he left the store with the kind of information even the most comprehensive of cruising guides can't provide.
Two exceptional newsstands exist in Broward County: Bob's News & Book Store and Clark's Out of Town News. Bob's is the more interesting of the two, a combination head shop, newsstand, and sex-toy emporium. Bob's has bongs, edible panties, the latest edition of the Death Investigator's Handbook, and a Wal-Mart-size selection of pornography. But when we're looking for serious news, we head to the slightly less eccentric Clark's, tucked beneath the Andrews Avenue bridge in the Riverwalk area. The folks manning the cash registers at Clark's have fewer piercings than those at Bob's and far less attitude. Plenty of copies of Spin and Cosmo are available, as are less grocery-store-friendly titles. The store has newspapers from every corner of the country and beyond. The Sunday Missoulian? The Sydney Herald? Both are in stock. We can't figure out exactly who would want to read a week-old copy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, but it's there if you're interested. As is the metro edition of the Sunday New York Times, complete with classified ads, just like you would find it at a bodega in Brooklyn. And yes, Clark's has plenty of pornography as well.
Palm Beach Life. Palm Beach Society. Ocean Drive's Palm Beach. Palm Beach Times. Apparently the other half's appetite for glossy, navel-gazing magazines is not easily satiated. If those four titles available at Main Street News don't provide your fill of gala fundraisers and wrinkled, third-generation socialites, there's also the Manhattan society magazine Quest, which in one recent issue promised a look "inside the family dynasties of New York and Palm Beach." And then there's our favorite local paper, the Palm Beach Daily News -- a.k.a. "the shiny sheet" -- with its travel articles penned by baronesses and its disdain for that oh-so-proletarian curse, newsprint. For those willing to dirty their fingers with black ink and check out how those without seven-figure bank accounts make do, Main Street News always has a several-feet-high stack of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Not to mention a plethora of foreign papers such as the Irish Times and Le Monde. We like to stop by on a Sunday morning, pick up the Times, and then proceed down the block to Testa's for brunch and a prime seat from which to observe the hung-over island sugar daddies and their tummy-tucked sweethearts staring down bloody marys and plates of eggs Benedict.
Since surfer Kirk Cottrell founded the Island chain (five other shops are located along Florida's east coast) 20 years ago, local surfers have made the Deerfield Beach store their supply headquarters. Name-brand boards by Rusty, Local Motion, Natural Art, and other manufacturers line the walls and railing of the upstairs loft. And those are just the short boards; seven or eight brands of long boards, including Hobie and Stewart, are here, too. Also in the lineup are boards by carver-shaper Mike Pechonis, a local whose work is sold under the Byrne name. Of course a surf shop doesn't live by boards alone, and Island offers a full lineup of wet suits, ankle leashes, and shorts. Even surfboard manufacturers have expanded their sales bases, offering clothing, sunglasses, hats, and watches. Island carries the latest lines, and for surfer wannabes the shop offers board rentals and free surf lessons.

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