Shopping & Services

  • Historic District Antique Mall

    Best Place to Buy Carnival Chalkware

    Historic District Antique Mall

    We tried to resist our newest obsession, vintage carnival chalkware, but we failed. It certainly didn't help that while we were out looking for end tables, we stumbled on a treasure trove of this cool stuff, which used to be handed out as prizes at carnival dime pitches in the '30s and '40s. Our shelves were already stacked with tiny… More >>
  • Pop the Soda Shop

    Best Soda Selection

    Pop the Soda Shop - CLOSED

    Looking for that ultra-spicy ginger beer that they serve at your favorite indie restaurant? Come to Pop the Soda Shop. Not only do they have the elusive drink you've been searching for (as well every conceivable kind of ginger ale, ginger soda, and ginger beer out there), they have more varieties of "alternative, imported, and gourmet" sodas and non-alcoholic beverages… More >>
  • Francine Sumner Jewelry

    Best Souvenirs

    Francine Sumner Jewelry

    Francine Sumner didn't mean to become a successful jewelry designer. She just didn't want to fork over a lot of money for that cute "mommy jewelry" she wanted, namely the hand-stamped silver discs with kid names that every mom worth her station wagon is wearing around town these days. Sumner learned how to make her own, then started selling it at… More >>
  • Best New Coffee House

    Toshi's Roast - CLOSED

    Ten years ago, if a restaurant were to charge $5 for coffee, it would have been laughed out of business. That's why Toshi's Roast in Surprise nabbed our vote this year — because if a cuppa Joe is going to cost as much as a decent burger, than it had damn well better be imported from South America and roasted… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Coffee House, Downtown Phoenix

    Conspire

    In our often-sheltered, middle-class world, nothing's worse than waiting in line for a cup of coffee. And though there are plenty of mainstream and mom-and-pop shops in town serving caffeinated goodness, there always seems to be a queue moving at a snail's pace. Grrr. That's until Conspire began serving coffee out of its off-the-radar house in the Evans-Churchill district. The… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Coffee House, South of the Ballpark

    Royal Coffee Bar

    It's easy to forget about this downtown gem — but every time we remember it's there, we wonder why we don't go more often. True, it's located in a part of town that's usually busy only on game day, but it's worth stepping off the beaten path (by which we mean Roosevelt Row and/or Seventh Street) for a cup from… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Coffee House, North Phoenix

    Fiddler's Dream

    If coffee shops were people, Fiddler's Dream would be an aging hippie who just wants, like, music, freedom and peace, man. Despite its weekend-only hours and Quaker meeting-hall digs, we love Fidd's because it's a true community in a city of 5 million-plus people. The $1 brew's pretty solid — not complicated by a dozen chocolate, caramel, or seasonal-flavor extras… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Coffee House, West Valley

    Mighty Cup & Spoon Coffee House & Gallery

    Mighty Cup is housed in an awesome vintage home with funky furnishings, serving up a mean cup of joe (along with teas, espressos, and other high-octane drinkage) with a groovy, laid-back vibe. But there's more than just beverage action to be had, as the works of local artists adorn the walls, and the place packs in the patrons on different… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Coffee House, East Valley

    Ground Central

    Being stuck in Phoenix, sans vehicle, sucks. That goes double if your ride is in the shop and you're relying on your folks, who live in east Mesa, to drive you around. Ugh. Where to go? Hightail it (rather, get them to hightail you) to Ground Central, an indie coffee shop tucked away in one of those corporate shopping centers… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Coffee House, Scottsdale

    The Orange Table - CLOSED

    The Orange Table is almost invisible compared to high-profile neighbors like SMoCA and AZ88, but we kind of love that about it. You can stick with coffee — the menu's complete in that arena, and no one will mind if you hang around all day, on the patio or inside. But trust us, you'll want a nosh. Everything here is… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Coffee House, Tempe

    Cartel Coffee Lab

    Looking for coffee in all the wrong Tempe places? Get your bean-loving butt to Cartel. Walk through its cheerful black-and-white tiled foyer into the mellow-but-hip high-ceilinged space, and you will swear you've died and gone to coffee heaven. And that's before you taste the espresso, which, in our humble opinion, is among the best in the Valley. Want a cup… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Coffee House, Southeast Valley

    The Coffee Shop

    This upscale espresso emporium, located next door to the bucolic Joe's Farm Grill, offers the same variety of caffeinated beverages you'd find at any other coffee house around the Valley (lattes, blended drinks, iced mochas). But that's where the similarities end, as The Coffee Shop is far superior to your corner java joint. It's overflowing with high-styled décor and aesthetic… More >>
  • Best Tea Room

    Souvia

    Tea is cool. Or hot. This cute little shop will lure you with delicious aromas that permeate the neighborhood. Perhaps that's because the stewards of this one-of-a-kind establishment have collected about 120 varieties from the world's greatest tea estates. The selection includes white, green, black, and oolong teas. Don't expect to get right in and out of Souvia. Lingering, tasting,… More >>
  • Best Head Shop

    Graffiti Shop

    Graffiti Shop, often referred to as "Graffiti Underground" because it's downstairs from Gordon Biersch, has been around since 1987, making it one of the longest-running, independent business left on Mill Avenue. True to its name, the walls (and ceiling) of the shop are covered with graffiti, but the main attractions are the racks and display cases, which house a variety… More >>
  • Best Smoke

    Churchill's Fine Cigars

    The first time we set foot in Churchill's, we were smoking novices. Sure, there'd been a few cigarettes here and there, but nothing serious. The guy behind the counter gave us a big smile, as though he could sense how green we were, and asked what we'd like and what we'd smoked before. Lesson one, he said, is to always keep… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Thunderbird Wine

    V.A. Market Liquors

    Hobo wine is shockingly hard to come by these days. In search of the perfect gag gift, we scoured the landscape for the self-proclaimed "American Classic," but were running on fumes 'til we stumbled on a Web site called bumwine.com. In addition to profiles of the tramp-booze clan (T-Bird relations include Night Train, Cisco, Wild Irish Rose, Buckfast Tonic, and… More >>
  • Best Wine Selection

    Total Wine & More

    We thought we knew the meaning of "jaw-dropping" until we set foot inside Total Wine, the sprawling Dionysian temple whose name pretty much says it all. In the past year, the national retailer has opened two locations in the Valley, and both have become to wine lovers what IKEA is to compulsive home decorators: destination shopping. Total Wine is gargantuan,… More >>
  • Best Beer Selection

    Sun Devil Liquors

    If you live near downtown Mesa, you have no idea how much we envy you. Because Sun Devil Liquors, that unassuming, ordinary-looking little joint on Country Club happens to be one of our favorite haunts — and we don't even live in the neighborhood. Yes, we're shamelessly devoted to this den of delicious drinks, especially for its outstanding selection of… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Agwa

    Top's Liquor

    In addition to carrying more than 1,700 wines and 600 beers, Top's has also been staying on top of the latest imported trend drinks. It was one of the first locations to offer absinthe when the lucid, weaker American version was legalized, and it was the first location we found Agwa de Bolivia Coca Leaf Liqueur, weeks before the drink… More >>
  • Best Drive-Thru Liquor Store

    Jerry's Liquors

    The government can take away our right to privacy, free speech, and reproductive choice, but damn if they'll stop us from grabbing a 40 for the road. With its colossal teal-and-white sign and red flashing marquee arrow, Jerry's Liquors is like a time warp back to the days of bobby socks and bubblegum music — complete with all the booze… More >>
  • Best Car Wash

    Los Olivos Car Wash

    Like Sonny and Cher used to sing, "It's the little things that mean a lot." We couldn't agree more, and that's why we've made Los Olivos our one and only — car wash, that is. Besides getting a great wash and wax, Los Olivos offers a long list of "little things," like more-than-friendly service, a comfortable waiting room, and a… More >>
  • Best Cab Company

    Yellow Cab

    It doesn't take a lot to be the best cab company in Phoenix. Valley bar hoppers and newcomers alike can tell horror stories about Phoenix cabs. One such baby Phoenician says she called for a cab and was picked up by two non-English speakers in an unmarked minivan. When she asked to go to the aeropuerto, the driver had no… More >>
  • Best Free Designated Driver in a Mercedes

    Idle Inc. Exclusive Chauffeur Service

    So you're afraid of Arizona's insanely strict DUI laws? Join the club. But there's good news. Now you can go drinking and get a free ride home. That is, if you're willing to intoxicate yourself at a growing roster of high-end Scottsdale bars, restaurants, and resorts. Those destinations will foot the bill for your luxury transportation to and from the watering… More >>
  • Best Place to Ogle a $200,000 Car

    Scottsdale Ferrari/Maseratti

    Browsing or buying? What's a car junkie like you to do when the Barrett-Jackson auction is months away and you're desperate for some auto lust? We've got just the glory land, with your fill of Ferrari, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, Maybach and other $200,000-plus rides. This gem of a dealership sits kitty-corner from a less-pretentious Jaguar/Land Rover dealership. But don't let that… More >>
  • Best Free Car Show

    Scottsdale Pavilions Car Show

    The law of entropy says that energy dissipates if not contained. But humans like to localize their energies, and thankfully so because some of us have some pretty sweet cars. There's no better place to see a hundred or so collector cars than the free Scottsdale Pavilion car show, every Saturday night. The Pavilions Car Show is a weekly gathering… More >>
  • Best Bike Shop

    Wayne Frank's Bicycle Repair Center

    Wayne Frank's west-side bike repair shop has been 'hood-certified for years. A throwback to Sesame Street's Fix-It Shop, the BRC is all hanging bike frames and seemingly scattered parts, while proprietor Frank doles out rock-solid service with a smile. The shop's landline has been long gone — too many moochers soliciting Frank's well-informed repair advice over the phone. Bikes for… More >>
  • Best Bike Co-Op

    Bike Saviours - CLOSED

    For the Bike Saviours, good habits start at home. The co-operative, run out of a residence, puts the power of bicycle knowledge in the hands of the people, teaching them to fix and maintain their rides or even build one from scratch. Recycled parts, tax-deductible donations (Saviours has nonprofit status), volunteers, and a lot of DIY love keep things afloat.… More >>
  • Best Skateboard Shop

    Cowtown Skateboards

    Maybe it's the store's proximity to College Town, USA, but Tempe's Cowtown is the shiz when it comes to scoring the hottest skate gear. Look for limited edition and hard-to-find stuff like Sector Nine's gorgeous surf-inspired long boards, cool Royal brand skull-and-crossbones trucks, and Nike's "Lobster" shoe, complete with blue rubber band to hold the claws (toes) together. Cowtown's rep… More >>
  • Best Toy Store for Adults

    Synthetic Compound

    Earlier this year, Gren Radcliff's toy store for big kids moved from a cubbyhole inside of The Firehouse art collective into a beautiful and more visible location inside of Pravus gallery. We don't want to tell Radcliff how to run his business (and no offense to the good people at The Firehouse), but we think the decision was a freaking… More >>
  • Best Comic Book Store

    Drawn to Comics

    If the comic book mega-stores that dominate this category every year are the Superman and Batman of the retail universe, then this tiny, 550-square-foot shop in the heart of downtown Glendale is more like the Boy Wonder — puny in comparison, but with a lot of heart. Let's face it, X-Men freaks and Magik addicts want to buy comics from… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Your Game On

    Arizona Arcade and Pinball Store

    Today's video games just aren't what they used to be. Million-dollar budgets and expectations for cinematic cut scenes in full rendered video have ruined the once-humble game. Can you imagine Pac-Man as a 70-hour epic MMORPG epic? What's wrong with just eating ghosts and, sometimes, a pretzel? If you need a fix of nostalgia gaming, we can't recommend Arizona Arcade and… More >>
  • Best Library for DVD Rentals

    Scottsdale Public Library system

    If you're driving by Burton Barr Central Library and think, "By golly, I think I'll check out a first-run DVD tonight!" — uh, no. Barr's by far the largest repository of municipally owned intellectual property in the state, and the Phoenix library system's flagship is a victim of its own excess. Everybody knows it's the best, so it's not anymore,… More >>
  • Best Magazine Rack

    MADE art boutique

    What makes a real city? For us, it's always been about the magazines. A good town can't have too many magazine racks. Our favorite local rack is found at one of our favorite local shops, MADE. The selection's not as big as the commercial bookstore departments, but don't let that fool you. The selection here makes the best bedside reading… More >>
  • Best Bookstore

    Changing Hands Bookstore

    Bookstores may be a dime a dozen (the way novels used to be), but there's something priceless about Changing Hands Bookstore, the independently owned Tempe shop that's become a Valley destination for book lovers, shopaholics, and DIY types. Along with a stunning selection of new and used reads — many displayed with insightful comments from bibliophile employees — Changing Hands… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a First-Edition Zane Grey

    Pages

    Considering this just-opened bookstore is in the middle of a brand-new shopping center in Cave Creek, we assumed we'd see a lot of soccer-mom reading, like Jodi Picoult and Mitch Albom. Boy, were we wrong! The husband-and-wife team that owns this friendly shop has carefully assembled some really interesting books, with a great representation of local authors and a respectable… More >>
  • Best Place to Find Mystery

    The Poisoned Pen

    If Edgar Allan Poe were alive and a Phoenician, where would he buy his books? Probably at the Poisoned Pen, the Old Town Scottsdale home of all things mystery and fiction. More likely, Poe would set foot in the Poisoned Pen during a book tour. After all, many of the best mystery authors in the U.S. visit this cozy little… More >>
  • Best High-Stress Used-Book Sale

    VNSA Charity Used Book Sale

    The meek may inherit the Earth, but it's the cunning and the cocksure who score the cool stuff at this long-lived literary offload. The boldest treasure hunters leave nothing to chance, camping out the night before as if they were trying to score tickets to a Led Zep reunion concert. All to purchase books. Used books. Perhaps the death of literacy… More >>
  • Best Low-Stress Used-Book Sale

    Heard Museum Guild Library Book & Treasure Market

    If you're an eBay PowerSeller, you'll scoff at this modest sale. The number 30,000 — that's the total quantity of items typically up for grabs — will make you chortle softly. Poor saps, you'll say to yourself, thinking of those potential book buyers who choose to thumb through books, read prefaces and inscriptions, feel the heft of the tomes in… More >>
  • Best Place to Find a Typewriter

    Mesa Typewriter Exchange

    Before desktop and laptop computers, there were typewriters. Remember? Well, we do, and we even use them from time to time to type up to-do lists and letters to be sent in the mail. (Yes, people still do that, too.) Our favorite place to browse for these time-tested machines is the Mesa Typewriter Exchange. Bill Wahl's shop in downtown Mesa… More >>
  • Best Boutique

    Frances

    We've given owner Georganne Bryant a nod in our Sideshow profiles but really, an issue of Best of Phoenix just wouldn't be complete without an award for Best Boutique, and we've gotta hand it to Frances. From carefully chosen vintage clothing (we even noticed the Goldwater's Department Store tag still affixed to one item, and a picture of the original owner… More >>
  • Best Shopping in the Roosevelt District

    Bunky Boutique

    In some cities, no self-respecting chick would ever disclose where she found her great clothes. Names of sassy stores and boutiques are guarded like state secrets. And sometimes they are — ever notice how downtown types dress like ensemble creation is an Olympic event? Not so for Bunky Boutique — devotees of Rachel Richard's charming store gush with the fervor… More >>
  • Best Shopping on Grand

    Shop Devious - CLOSED

    If you've ever worried that fashion and budget couldn't possibly co-exist, you've obviously never been to Anna Marie's funky Shop Devious on rapidly changing Grand Avenue. We've slated our lust for handbags here many times, like when we snagged a brand new herringbone and velvet ribbon clutch for $6, or a slouchy purple hobo bag, also new, for $7. Vintage… More >>
  • Best Boutique for Kids

    Garage, A Body Shop for Kids

    All the way at the back of The Mix, the glam, Fred Segal-ish collection of shops on Scottsdale's Stetson Drive, you'll find our favorite boutique, Garage. Here, almost all pretense is thrown to the wind, and you can hang at the candy bar (eat your heart out, Dylan Lauren) and browse mini-me versions of the latest Marc Jacobs and Sonia… More >>
  • Best Kids' Accessories

    Lollilocks

    There are lots of kiddy hair salons cutting their way into the market, and frankly, they're all about the same when it comes to Junior's buzz cut. But our favorite, aesthetically speaking, is Lollilocks. From the candy-themed décor to the spa pedicures in the back and the handy "kiddy corral" that allows you to contain one kid (in front of… More >>
  • Best Kids' Used Clothing

    Small Change

    We were shopping for gently used kids' clothing long before some greenster thought to call it "recycling." Whatever you call it, Small Change is the place. You won't find clothing from Target or Old Navy (what's the point, it's practically free at the lower-end spots) but Small Change stocks the castoffs of some of the best-dressed kids in Scottsdale. That… More >>
  • Best Vintage Clothing

    Mint Vintage

    This shop is kind of a two-for-one deal. Mint is located inside Red Modern Furniture, one of the best and most reliable places to find quality mid-century furniture in town. But, as that '70s chaise we have our eye on is a bit out of our price range, Mint Vintage is the real reason we frequent this address. The quality… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Designer Jeans for Cheap

    Goodwill

    Wouldn't you like to see what recycled designer threads you could find at a Goodwill in Beverly Hills? Well, you don't have to fly to L.A. because we've got a Goodwill in Scottsdale that, yes, recycles the designer digs of trophy wives and trust-fund babies alike. We know a wise man who used to say that anything worthwhile requires hard work.… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy an Old Angora Sweater

    Hollywood Regency

    When it opened a couple of years ago, this wonderful antiques shop made its mark by offering the usual cool old furniture and wonderful mid-century housewares at rock-bottom prices. But not long ago, proprietress Heidi Owens opened up Hollywood Regency's back room and made space for a mind-blowing collection of vintage fashions from the last half of the last century,… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Gas Mask and a Pair of High Heels

    Fetish Falls - CLOSED

    This new fetish and fashion shop has everything a sexy freak needs for a night out, from glittery hair extensions and spiked bracelets to vinyl bustiers and straitjackets. But the shop's most impressive merchandise is its selection of gas masks, and we're not talking about some cheap-ass, generic imitations. Fetish Falls stocks the real deal, from Israeli black gas masks… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Spy Gear

    Spy Headquarters

    Maybe you're hunting ghosts and you need an electromagnetic field detector. Maybe you want to spy on your significant other with a hidden camera made to look like a desk clock. Perhaps you're the parent of a stoner teen and would like to find an EZ-5 disposable drug test. Maybe you're the stoner teen and need a safe designed to… More >>
  • Best Spa

    Golden Door Spa at the Boulders

    It probably would be therapy enough just to visit the Boulders, an elegant resort set in a particularly lovely part of Carefree, on a landscape with massive clumps of brownish-red rock and lush desert life. But once we've driven that far north, there is no way we're not going to make a stop at the Golden Door Spa. The massage… More >>
  • Best Budget Spa Event

    Spa Week

    Forget Disney World. The first thing we'll do after we win the lottery is head straight to the spa. The unequaled bliss of a day of pampering, fortified by a chorus of angels trilling "aaaaahhhhhhh" in the background, beats standing in line for the Pirates of the Caribbean any day. Unfortunately, the cost of that kind of pampering heads straight… More >>
  • Best Boutique Pedicure

    Sundrops Nailspot

    Don't get us wrong: We're all about the cheap mani/pedi. We've scoured the city for low-end (but not dirty!) spots to get our toes polished for under $20. But sometimes, a girl's just gotta have a little primping, and that's when we head to Sundrops. Not in the hoity-toity spa category, this pretty little spot has a cute "nail bar" and… More >>
  • Best Alternative to Sending Flowers

    Nothing Bundt Cakes

    We'd sent brownies and iced cookies to just about everyone we know, which is why we were so happy to find a sweet new alternative to flowers. The folks at Nothing Bundt Cakes have turned the humble bundt into a work of art, starting with a moist, rich cake in your choice of flavors, and pouring on a sinfully thick… More >>
  • Best Trophy Shop

    Award Mart

    We've used this mom-and-pop shop just off the McDowell exit of the 51 for years — and never once experienced a bad attitude, a missed deadline, or even a typo. And we know we're not alone in appreciating Award Mart's charms: Just about every time we're in there, we run into a cop or a politically connected attorney picking up… More >>
  • Best Wedding Supplies

    Wedding Accessory Superstore

    Shopping for a wedding is the worst. Especially if the wedding isn't yours. Sure, shopping for your dress is kind of fun — getting to feel like a princess and having tons of attention lavished upon you always is — but the rest just sucks. You can burn a lot of gas driving from shop to shop looking for what… More >>
  • Best Resource for the Home Chef

    Sweet Basil Gourmetware and Cooking School Inc.

    We went for a 14-inch pizza pan and ended up hauling home a giant bagful of other stuff and signing up for a cooking class, as well. Once you've been to Sweet Basil, you'll understand why. There's too much temptation in this shop, which is clearly run by people who love hanging out in the kitchen as much as we… More >>
  • Best Resource for the Professional Chef

    Phoenix Knife House

    It's no wonder people call Phoenix Knife House the barbershop for chefs. This inconspicuous little shop is not only a treasure trove for folks who need serious gear for the kitchen, it's a place for chefs to hang out and talk knives, food, and life with owner Eytan Zias, himself a former chef whose résumé includes stints at Kai, Circa… More >>
  • Best Baking Supplies

    ABC Baking Cake Decorating & Party Supplies

    We've always loved ABC Baking, but recently we took our favorite 7-year-old there, and experienced the place anew. The kid was awestruck by the rows of old cardboard boxes of treasure in the form of plastic cupcake toppers — bearing everything from the brand-new Kung Fu Panda to old-school bowling pins/balls. We bought a pile of the latter, along with… More >>
  • Best Art Supplies

    Arizona Art Supply

    Oh, sure. You can get paintbrushes at any art supply store. But how about airbrushes? Or grease pencils imported from Latvia? Or one of those clever, little wooden guys with all the movable joints? There are art-supply stores, and then there's Arizona Art Supply, where the help treats you like a favorite houseguest and you can buy stuff you didn't know… More >>
  • Best Graffiti Art Supplies

    Just Blazed Hip-Hop Smoke Shop & Gallery

    Graffiti artists of the Valley, we feel your pain, yo. Sucka politicians are constantly trying to put the smackdown on your creative efforts with their anti-graffiti programs and by handing out some pretty wack penalties if you're caught doing your thing (including up to $150,000 in fines and more than three years in the clink). Luckily, the hustlas behind Just… More >>
  • Best Scrapbook Supplies

    Scrapbooks, Etc.

    If you're talking about photos, not pants, when you say "cropping" and you've got more punches than Muhammad Ali, you'll be in your element at Scrapbooks, Etc. The store offers a huge selection of lignin-free archival papers printed with everything from teddy bears to wizards to footballs. There's a die-cut lab for punching cute shapes, a wall of ribbons, and… More >>
  • Best Paper Store

    The Paper Studio

    Oh, we love The Paper Studio. We love The Paper Studio so much that we're genuinely afraid to go inside — with our wallet in tow, at least. It's hard to browse with so much temptation — from handcrafted paper to scrapbook supplies to stamps and pre-made cards and glitter and, oh, we could write a book about the great… More >>
  • Best Bead Store

    Beads Galore

    Beads Galore is the REI of Valley bead shops, which is fitting, because it's just around the corner from the outdoor mega-store's East Valley outpost. BG is stocked wall to wall with everything a beader (beginning or advanced) could want, from basic supplies like wire and clasps to pearls in every color of the rainbow. A small selection of semi-precious… More >>
  • Best Place for Creative Inspiration

    Diane Ribbon & Notion Co.

    "Diane" is like the crazy love child of Michael and JoAnn, a place where you can find much of the crafting gear available at those bland chain stores, but where you can also find an entire aisle devoted to old plastic doll parts, equal in size to the ribbon department. There's no rhyme or reason, and that's why we love… More >>
  • Best Etsy Shop

    jasonhilldesign.etsy.com

    We try to feel only the love in Best of Phoenix, but we've got to stop and grouse for just a moment. Though we have a vibrant art scene, certain financial realities dictate that galleries don't, for the most part, keep regular hours — at least, not the downtown spots with the funky work we want to buy. Miss first… More >>
  • Best Artist's Sale

    Joe Willie Smith at Lizabel's Treasures

    First, we wanted the multicolored writing desk with the crossbow legs. Then we had to have the bright reddish-orange workbench, to use as a coffee table. Finally, we couldn't last another minute without the black-and-white-spotted legless side chair (we wanted to put it next to our bed as a nightstand). We knew we didn't have room for all this gorgeous… More >>
  • Best Home Accessories

    Embellish Home

    Everyone knows that the last thing you're supposed to do before you leave the house is stop, look in the mirror, and remove one accessory. It's the key to elegance, as far as we're concerned. (Not to mention avoiding looking like a clown.) But when it comes to the home, we ditch the theory in favor of what we fondly… More >>
  • Best High-End Antiques

    Antiques on Central

    The best high-end antique shop in the Valley is in the center of the city, on the northeast corner of Central and Camelback. Victorian writing tables, cherry wood waterfall bureaus, and Deco dining suites share space with Eames chairs and Mondrian prints — every era of fine furniture is represented here, and shares space with a wide variety of smaller… More >>
  • Best Antiques on a Budget

    Rust and Roses

    We had no idea what we were going to do with the 1830s Federal-style hope chest we found at this, our fave place to buy shabby-chic décor for our home and garden, and we didn't care, because the price (and the piece itself!) were so breathtaking. Ditto a 19th-century French silver coffee service, a 1940s rubber frog squeak toy, and… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Swell '60s Décor

    Vintage Solutions

    Vintage Solutions' tagline is, "Offering you endless possibilities for your home," which is certainly true — we've decorated practically our entire home with amazing finds from this fabulous furniture store. But what's really been piquing our interest of late is the swell selection of high-end '60s furniture and accessories this nicely appointed, welcoming shop has to offer. Oh, sure, the guys… More >>
  • Best Place to Snag an Authentic All About Eve Poster

    Femmes Fatales & Fantasies Art Museum & Gallery

    The following nugget of wisdom was drilled into us the minute we signed our first mortgage: Take care of your house because, someday, it'll take care of you. Weeeelllllll, maybe. If you live in Connecticut. Or Monaco. Here in Phoenix, homeowners are shackled to the fickle fortunes of a Wild West, boom-and-bust economy. Yee-haw. This nugget of wisdom was drilled into… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Guitar

    Musicians Discount

    Because musicians are some of the most competitive folks we know in the creative community, a music store founded and operated by these people may sound kind of intimidating. But even folks who are starting or playing in their first band will feel welcome at Musicians Discount. The spacious store in the Poca Fiesta strip mall that once housed Tower… More >>
  • Best Place to Exchange a Guitar

    Ziggie's Music

    These cats, in business since 1927, definitely know what they're doing when it comes to headstocks, fret boards, whammy bars, and all of that other fancy talk about guitars. Even if you don't speak the lingo, you can still find yourself a kickass acoustic or electric guitar during the store's monthly swap meet. For the past 16 years, folks have been… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy CDs

    Eastside Records

    Aside from being one of the few truly independent record stores in town, Eastside's always had a reputation for satisfying eccentric tastes. Sure, you can go to the mall for that copy of Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds (Eastside will have it, too), but where do you go when you're looking for Lydia Lunch's spoken-word manifesto Oral Fixation or a copy of… More >>
  • Best Place to Sell CDs

    Zia Record Exchange

    Of course, Zia offers more in trade than in cash (after a recent sale, they offered us $57 in trade credit or $39 in cash), but they also pay more for CDs than any other place in town (some places, like a particular bookstore chain that also sells used CDs, will offer only pennies on the dollar). The clerks are… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Vinyl and a Turntable to Play It On

    Revolver Records

    Revolver has a small amount of CDs for sale, but the store's forte is vinyl records — rooms upon rooms of them. There's an entire room of records filled with jazz platters, and rows of rock records, too. Hell, we even found two copies of the 1972 post-Jim Morrison Doors record Other Voices, with guitarist Robby Krieger and keyboardist Ray… More >>
  • Best Record Swap Meet

    Arizona American Italian Club

    About once every month, a hall that's normally reserved for bingo and pasta dinners is transformed into a place where rare dusties and cheap-o wax cylinders in every musical genre possible sell for reasonable prices. The heavy hitters of the local vinyl scene — including Revolver Records, Tracks in Wax, Arizona's unofficial music archivist Johnny D, and up to 40 individuals… More >>
  • Best Addition to a Strip Mall

    Hoodlums - CLOSED

    We would head to the southeast corner of Guadalupe and McClintock just to go to Changing Hands — or Trader Joe's, or China Max, or even Baskin-Robbins, but now we're happy to report we have yet another reason to hit the south Tempe strip mall. Hoodlums, the record store smoked out of the Memorial Union at ASU by a recent… More >>
  • Best DIY Dog Wash

    Wag N' Wash Healthy Pet Center

    Problem: Your dog stinks. Auxiliary problem: You're can't stomach overpriced groomers who slap those pink bitch bows on your pal's collar even though he's a pit bull named Butch. There is a solution, and the "green" chain Wag N' Wash pioneered it at its six stores in Colorado, Illinois, and right here in Phoenix, on the Seventh Avenue Curve. For a… More >>
  • Best Place to Find Stuff for Your Fish

    Pets Inc. - CLOSED

    The 20-gallon fish tank we bought for our children three years ago is a regular Garden of Eden, where lots of going forth and multiplying goes on, and death is a stranger. We owe it all to Pets Inc. Things weren't always this good. We were worried when we set up the tank — we knew anything that doesn't bark… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Plastic Worm

    Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World

    If you can't find the fake lure to fit your specifications at this off-the-grid outdoors emporium, it doesn't exist. The selection is mind-boggling, monstrous, even excessive, if that's possible in this big-box age. However, not everyone is a sucker for the Bass, which started life in 1971 with eight feet of shelf space in a backwoods Missouri bait shop and… More >>
  • Best Place to Help Your Pet Go Green

    Bonnie's Barkery

    Thanks to the popularity of "green" these days, you're probably already buying organic food for yourself. But what about your very best friend? Sarah Dixon started this popular Cave Creek-area pet supply shop a few years ago because she was frustrated by the lack of additive-free, free-range, organic pet foods for her Pomeranian, Bonnie. Now Bonnie — along with a… More >>

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