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 idea where Sky Harbor was.

Alas, all it takes to be the best cab company in Phoenix is a fleet of reliable cabs, driven by drivers who are on time and know their way around town. Yellow Cab fits that bill. Whether your car breaks down or you're making a late-night call from a bar, Yellow Cab usually arrives within 15 minutes. Drivers know their way around town and even drive in yellow cabs. Not too shabby.

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 hole. And not just any transportation — a "five diamond" experience in a brand-new Mercedes. It's courtesy of local entrepreneur Tony Christofellis' Idle Inc. Exclusive Chauffeur Service. (Yes, he gets paid by the restaurant you go to.)

Idle's current list of locations with courtesy chauffer service include: Camelback Inn, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, Mastro's Steakhouse, Par Exsolance Salon and Day Spa, Sol y Sombra Mexican eatery, and the JW Marriott golf courses at Desert Ridge.

Heck, with gas prices what they are, you might wanna call for the Idle chauffeur even if you're not getting sloshed.

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 deceive you. Scottsdale Ferrari/Maseratti houses a great collection of Ferraris (duh), both brand-new and classic. It usually stocks a few dozen other non-Ferrari rides priced between $100,000 to $300,000.

Unless you're paying with cash, prepare for a car payment on par with the typical mortgage payment ($2,000/month and up) for these rides. Then again, most serious buyers here have private jets. For the rest of us, it never hurts to dream.

Scottsdale Pavilions

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 of gearheads from across the Valley; the show's Web site says it's the "the largest consistently run car show in the United States."

The cars start rumbling in around 4 p.m. every Saturday, but it takes a couple of hours to fill the parking lot near Best Buy and McDonald's on the north side of Indian Bend Road (just off Loop 101).

By 6 or 7 p.m., the parking lot is usually stocked with hundreds of cars, from vintage classics to modern-day imports with coffee-can exhaust tips. Clusters of make/model and year form naturally.

You'll find rows of 1950s Chevy Bel Aires, followed by 1960s Camaros, and, across the way, vintage Mustangs and '32 Fords. You'll also find a few rows of newer rice-burners, including tricked-out Toyota Supras and Acura NSXs, as well as the usual wanna-be Honda Civics and Volkswagen Jettas with crappy fiberglass ground effects.

If you work up an appetite or just want a milkshake, that McDonald's is a few paces away, and a 5 & Diner is across the street.

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 sale range from chromed-out lowrider-styled cruisers to Frankensteined salvage jobs. Frank spins great yarns en español, too, his fluency forged from years of Peace Corps service in South America and sharpened by interactions with Latinos in the Phoeniquera.

Ye Olde Bike Saviours
Benjamin Leatherman

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. Last fall, Brazilian artist Jarbas Lopes even tapped the Saviours to run a functional satellite co-op as part of his installation and project, "Cicloviaérea," at the ASU Art Museum. "We saviour bike," they say, but their punk-rock ethic just might save the world.

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 also attracts a knowledgeable staff of experienced skaters who wear board shorts year-round and carry bruises like badges of honor. They'll help you trick your truck or recommend a monster ride if you're looking to try vert skating. Don't know what that is? Better stay home. These guys can smell a poseur a mile away.

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 amazing career move because now there's more room for all those designer toy critters. Our favorites are the customizable vinyl Munny figures that local and national creative types have dolled up into awesome art pieces. The store, which is open seven days a week, also features the occasional First Friday exhibit as well as a toy-of-the-month club.

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 someone who knows the difference between The Green Lantern and The Green Arrow, and Drawn to Comics owner Ken Brown fits the bill. Here, kids get the kind of personalized service your grandpa got when he was saving two months' allowance to buy an issue of Captain Marvel. Brown personally greets every new visitor and hosts in-store gaming competitions three times a week. In addition to screen T-shirts, action figures, and 200-plus current titles, the shop has an awesome selection of back issues — some for less than a buck — and offers a 10 percent discount to students and military families.

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 Pinball Store enough. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Dig Dug, and more are waiting for you to rediscover in Arizona Arcade's showroom. Whether you prefer a vertical arcade cabinet or an ultra-retro tabletop version, you can find it here. Don't worry, pinball wizards, they've got you covered too. Best of all, you can buy game cabinets to start building your own in-home arcade. Sure, they're a little pricey, but PS3s aren't exactly cheap, either.

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