The Scuba Club

You haven't truly seen Florida unless you've seen it from underwater. From the crystalline Atlantic to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Florida is teeming with sea life below the surface. The dive experts at Scuba Club are the ones you'll want leading you along the lush reefs of the Gulf Stream. Specially trained Divemasters will escort you to shipwrecks 50 to 80 feet below the surface. They know where the turtles, rays, angelfish, barracuda, and even sharks hang out. Scuba Club provides programs and instruction for beginners as well as advanced divers, and it also offers modestly priced accommodations for out-of-towners. A single-tank dive starts at $35, while a snorkel, fin, and mask will run you only 12 bucks. The dive shop offers everything the frogman requires, from tanks to dive watches to international vacations. That's an all-in-one shop.

Finding a gym is a lot like hunting for a house. There are some qualities it must have, some amenities it'd be nice to have, and some details that thrust you into a real-estate-induced ecstasy when you see them. The Wellness Center on the eighth (top) floor of the physician office at the Broward Health Medical Center delivers on all points. Affordable prices and clean equipment? Gotta have those. Clean showers, lockers, hair dryers, and free towel service? Hellz yeah — sign us up! But 30-minute lunchtime power workouts, an almost 180-degree bird's-eye view of the entire county through giant plate-glass windows, and a pretty great chance that cutie hustling on the treadmill next to you is Dr. Cutie? (Not to mention, if you suffer a heart attack, you're in the right place.) Why, the only thing that could make this better is if you could grab sushi from a cafeteria or a skim latte from Starbucks on your way out the door postworkout! What's that? You can? Lacing! Sneakers! Now! (Psst — check the website for a free three-day pass.)

Now that we're letting the word out, we're going to have a helluva time getting an appointment, but we will make that sacrifice, because the world must know how amazing this woman is! Going through pregnancy, childbirth, or any other crises of the downtown area can be some of the most nerve-wracking, nail-biting episodes of a woman's life. Fahey helps the ladies of all ages, sizes, and income levels (yep, she takes Medicaid) through them like a magical angel sent from gyno heaven. Not only does this cool white woman from the Caribbean know her way around a vaginal canal but she is alternately superwarm and wickedly funny. Even when she's slammed with a waiting room full of hormonal freaks and she's getting paged to go yank a baby out of a uterus, she'll take a few precious minutes to pull up a chair, look you in the eye, and ask, "How are you? No, really — how's your heart?" She has the answers you need and the care you have longed for, whether you're popping out a tiny human being (you can do it; you've got this!) or going in for test results (oh, everybody has herpes nowadays!). Would it be weird to ask your doctor on a friend date?

If it's only about selection, it's not even a contest. Peace Pipe in Fort Lauderdale wins hands down. It's got any and all kinds of smoking devices, from the giant "water pipes" and elaborate and expensive glass down to the smallest, easily breakable, boringly colorless chillum. But it's not only about stock. It's vibe. It's people. It's the owner, Jerry. It's the free lighters. For those of us who grew up around the shop in the '90s or early aughts, Peace Pipe was a coming-of-age rite. You'd get off school and walk in to the shop, which was half the size it is now; if you were under 18, they wouldn't sell to you, but you could ogle. You'd always see a friend there. Unfortunately, such good times went up in smoke — in the bad way — when Florida put restrictions on smoking devices in 2010, and this year, legislators passed another antibong law, though it has no teeth. All this in spite of a People United for Medical Marijuana study that shows 70 percent of Floridians support medicinal marijuana. Support your local head shop. Support Peace Pipe. But don't get too high to fight the man.

Secret Moments

Ever since Walmart came onto the scene with the Walmart Supercenter — or maybe just since the modern grocery store, whatever — Americans have been looking to pick up multiple objects all in one stop. Convenience, right? Well, for those of you looking to pick up a dildo and a nanny-cam in one fell swoop, there's Secret Moments in Fort Lauderdale. The shop sells a wide array of security products, spy cams, diversion safes, and tons of sex products. According to its website, "We are the World's 1st Retail Store using Webcam Mobile Stations so you can see & talk to a live, friendly representative, who can demo everything that we carry!" Now that's what we call customer service. Take that, Walmart!

The relationship between you and your dry cleaner should be filled with a certain amount of trust. This is one service in which the purveyor knows the ins and outs of your basic hygiene. Sweat like an animal? No worries. Spilled wine all over your much-beloved Prada blouse? They'll right your drunken ways. Mysterious white spot on your trousers? Not going to judge. The friendly crew at Scotty's is superb. Not only will they make sure to take most delicate care of your superexpensive designer garb but they'll remember your name to boot. And they're certainly not going to hold your weird mystery stains against you. Circle of trust.

"Consignment shop" might be the fancy name, but in our hearts — and in Macklemore's — they'll always be thrift shops. Still, it can be tough to find a decent one. Sure, the sweater is designer, but it's still $85 used! Second Time Around on Fourth Avenue in chichi downtown Delray Beach actually manages to be thrifty and still carry designer shoes, purses, and clothes. It's pretty much just women's wear here (sorry, fellas), but it's got such a good range of clothing, you'll find a gift for Mom, Nana, and your niece. It recently expanded into an empty space next door, doubling the store's size and available inventory. There's always a bargain table and a clearance rack out front. Just consider: On a Saturday morning, you can buy your organic produce at the farmers' market in Old School Square, stop at the Green Owl diner for coffee and an omelet, then wander around the corner to pick up some trendy secondhand fashion at Second Time Around, all without getting back in your car.

A good used-furniture place is hard to find, and once you do, you should guard the name and location like a precious secret — unless you're New Times, and then you tell everyone. On a little stretch of Federal Highway where it narrows down to two one-way roads in Delray Beach is a secondhand furniture store called East Coast Furniture. It's not much to look at from the outside, and it comes up on you quick from behind a big hedge, so you have to turn at the last second. But you'll know it when you see it because the owners always put a few pieces out front to lure passersby in need of a good bookcase or patio set. The real gold is inside, though. It has an eclectic collection of estate-sale-type stuff, some more basic but some gorgeous, heavy antiques made from real wood with dovetail joints. It has plenty of dining room sets, bedroom sets, and couches. You'll also find odd and unique items, like an old-fashioned vanity right out of Breakfast at Tiffany's or a corner cabinet that fills that spot in your dining room just so. Best of all, the prices are reasonable, and it'll deliver. It's all young guys working there, and other than a polite hello and "Let me know if you need anything," you're free to wander around and discover treasures all on your own. When you find something you love, just give them a wave and they'll carry it out for you. And if looking at furniture is not your thing, you can always wander next door to the Frog Lounge.

Altered State Tattoo
Courtesy Michael 'Pooch' Pucciarelli

Amateurs get their tattoos at touristy shops on the beach. Pros get them from Michael "Pooch" Pucciarelli. The dude has been drawing twisted sci-fi and monster-inspired art since he was a wee lad whiling away his after-school hours with thrash-metal records and H.P. Lovecraft novels and continued filling of sketchbooks through his days as guitarist in Raped Ape. He opened Altered State in 1996, and partners Scott White and Brad Cain round out his talented team. Though he's a big hunk of a man, Pooch is actually gentle and eloquent and can discuss tattoo styles and legendary tattooists like a freaking art history professor. In the past few years, he's transcended the art world beyond tattoos, exhibiting paintings at gallery shows and doing commissioned works. Though he's known for a lot of the standard lowbrow themes — skulls, circuses, roller coasters, and nightmare images — ask him for anything. He will give you the baddest Miami Dolphins logo or Winnie the Pooh on Earth.

Confusion Records

Well, the name is apt. Not exactly a tidy place, Confusion looks a lot more like a collector's bedroom than a record store. Records are seemingly carelessly strewn across every square inch. They fill bins, are scattered on the floor, are tucked in corners, hang on the walls — even the ceiling! CDs too, and cassettes! It's easy to assume that there is no order to this chaos and that the one must-have record you need for your collection will never be found in the madness. Ah, but Confusion Records is fueled by a unique kind of enthusiast/owner, one who doesn't have a website and seems to rarely answer the phone (we could track down only his first name — John), who knows the store inside and out and can direct you, without hesitation, to whatever it is you're looking for. You will (perhaps literally) stumble upon a lot of great stuff, but if you're looking for something in particular, you're going to need John's help, which means you'll strike up a conversation with him, which means you'll learn a thing or ten from the vast store of musical knowledge in his most amazing brain.

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