Shopping & Services

  • Best Comic Book Store

    Star Clipper

    Lately we've enjoyed a comic-book renaissance. Not only has Hollywood figured out that funnybooks are a part of our cultural lexicon, but so have the so-called legitimate publishers, one of which had comic artist Chris Ware draw the new cover for Voltaire's Candide. It's nothing to see a Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the history of the industry (Michael Chabon's The… More >>
  • Best Shopping Trend

    Teen Curfews

    We're not old, dammit! The waistline on these pants is just deceptively high. But consarn it, when we need to go to the shopateria to purchase batteries for our hearing aids, the last thing we want is to have to weave our way through knots of droopy-drawered hooligans milling about aimlessly. Aimlessly, that's right! They never buy anything, just stand… More >>
  • Best Airline

    USA 3000 Airlines

    It doesn't advertise much, and its gates are generally located out of sight, at the end of the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport terminal. The way most travelers find out about USA 3000 Airlines, it seems, is via good old-fashioned word o' mouth. In this case, they're words you wanna hear: "on time"; "no-hassle"; "funny flight attendants"; "cheap." The five-year-old carrier,… More >>
  • Best Wine Store

    Corral Liquors

    It is, perhaps, the most memorable scene in the annals of American cinema: Steve Martin as Navin Johnson in the 1979 classic The Jerk, on a date in a fancy French restaurant, all hopped up on his newfound wealth. "Would monsieur care for another bottle of Château Latour?" the waiter inquires. Replies Navin: "Ah, yes, but no more 1966. Let's… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    Randall's Wine and Spirits

    A great man once said that a great drinking city deserves a great liquor store. By that measure, our boozy little burg has traditionally registered somewhere shy of magnificent. Sure, St. Louis is home to some fine specialty shops and bars, but for years oenophiles and dipsomaniacs alike have had to schlep their beery frames out to the county if… More >>
  • Best Homebrew Shop

    St. Louis Wine & Beermaking

    So there's more to drinking than happy hours and hangovers. Liquor, you've learned, is a universe far larger than Jäger — a universe of tannins, acids, fruits and oak. You've realized, over the years, that winemaking is an endlessly fascinating process, crafted with one part art, one part science — and now you, too, want to be a vintner. First… More >>
  • Best Frame Shop

    Artmart Frame Center

    Little Johnny has drawn his very first tree, a roiling smudge of green and brown, the watercolor still damp on the page. It is no Monet, but don't tell that to Johnny's mom. Bursting with pride over her budding artist's wondrous creation, she has come to Artmart to preserve forever this humble tree — and no way is she's going… More >>
  • Best Online Shopping

    LaurieSolet.com

    Online shopping often leads to a moral quandary: If I order books/DVDs/puppy sweaters online, am I depriving a local business of much-needed dollars? Is the convenience of buying music in my pajamas worth the slow-but-steady deterioration of my civic soul? It's enough to drive a person to drink (something you can also do while shopping online). Cheer up, everyone. When… More >>
  • Best Florist

    Pick Flower Gallery - CLOSED

    Clint Lunn won't do more than one wedding per weekend. "Some florists do three, even four," he says. "I can't do that. The day's too important. If I'm your florist, yours is the only wedding I'm thinking about all weekend." Lunn's philosophy about weddings extends to everything he does at Pick Flower Gallery. Each flower is displayed with great care.… More >>
  • Best Baby Store

    City Sprouts

    Row upon row of Hooter Hiders. Tubes of Boob Tube bust cream and Tummy Toner toning lotion. No, you have not arrived at Hustler Hollywood, Larry Flynt's emporium of all things carnal (see "Best Adult Video Store"). You've landed at City Sprouts, theone-stop shop for our city's fashionable tots and their hipster folks. Here you'll find frilly onesies, lovingly folded… More >>
  • Best Toy Store

    Play and Learn

    Union Station's wealth of Budweiser and Cardinals souvenirs make it a magnet for downtown tourists, but for the rest of us, not so much. Still, one store stands out from the mall schlock. Play and Learn is a toy store whose offerings are so virtuous that you find yourself wondering: Do kids actually like this stuff? Indeed they do. (Witness… More >>
  • Best CD/Record Store

    Euclid Records - CLOSED

    Where there's a college, there are college kids who need beer money. And where there are thirsty post-adolescents, well, there's usually a better-than-average record store. Like Euclid Records, whose proximity to Webster University ensures that its used bin is always chock-full of new indie-rock releases, bizarre old-school gems and classic-rock staples — thus proving the adage that one man's trash… More >>
  • Best CD Store (Used)

    CD Reunion

    Pssssst! Hey, record shopper. Yeah, you over there, wading through the rows and rows of Beatles releases — please help me! I'm the cassette single (a format heretofore referred to as the "cassingle") for Danzig's "Mother," a big hit in 1993. I've been at CD Reunion probably since then, and now I'm sitting in this cardboard box with a bunch… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Vinyl

    Record Exchange

    It'd be easy to give this award to Record Exchange based on sheer volume alone. The store holds untold stacks of wax — LPs cram the racks and spill out from every cranny, and it's piled shoulder-high in corners and storerooms. But it's quality as well as quantity that makes a great record store, and Record Exchange offers that as… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Classical Music

    Webster Records - CLOSED

    Unlike its younger cousin classic rock, classical music does not generate as much excitement among the general populace as it once did. Oh, the devoted still exult in a beautifully played Peer Gynt or laugh their way through a production of Der Zauberflöte, but outside the classical world, the music is regarded as staid at best, fuddy-duddy at worst. Strange,… More >>
  • Best Musical Instrument Store

    Drum Headquarters - CLOSED

    St. Louis really hasn't had a standout homegrown full-line music store since McMurray Music sold out to a Dallas-based chain a few years back, so players who want to shop somewhere locally owned must patronize various specialty retailers. Sure, the big chain store has its uses, but for many of the city's top percussionists the preferred stop is Drum Headquarters,… More >>
  • Best Electronics for the Audiophile

    Music for Pleasure

    Poor audiophile. We've prepared a little glass room for you, over there next to the dodo. See, the world has decided. Decided that music is delivered through mp3s, through iPods, through earbuds. Decided that music is background noise in videogames, in supermarkets. Decided that music is merely product to be inflicted on the public by American Idol winners (and runners-up).… More >>
  • Best Design Shop

    Urban Materials + Accessories

    A few months ago, Mike Finan decided to work on Sundays. He propped open the doors to his 11th Street shop and welcomed in the foot traffic of a revitalized downtown. And fans of high design at reasonable prices rejoiced: Who wouldn't want to spend more time at Urban Materials + Accessories? Finan is more gracious host than salesman, and… More >>
  • Best Boutique

    Blush

    Is it just us, or has Kirkwood become... cool? For decades people have built homes and raised families in the quiet, well-appointed suburb. But these days Kirkwood's less of a bedroom community and more of a destination. You can grab coffee and a crźpe at Kaldi's, stop for a superlative slice at Dewey's or dig into some seriously decadent Italian… More >>
  • Best Addition to Washington Avenue

    The Time Boutique

    Living memory still recalls Washington Avenue as the old garment district, where competing manufacturers, warehouses and retailers pushed racks of suits into trucks and shops galore. These days the boom and bustle of Wash. Ave. is provided by loft-dwellers, and the repaved lane of bright lights is at the forefront of the push back into city living. That makes The… More >>
  • Best DIY Stationery

    Rock Paper Scissors

    If you think stationery is the purview of society mavens and harried brides, you really should get out more. Specifically, get out to Rock Paper Scissors, where you have the opportunity to acquire a fabulous new skill — and fabulous new stationery — every single week. This superbly stocked art store on St. Charles' quaint Main Street offers workshops each… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Rubber Stamps

    The Inkspot

    You've seen the bumper stickers: "Skinny Girls Can't Stamp." Self-deprecating humor, yes, but a little exclusionary. The idea that you have to be large and shrill in order to take part in the burgeoning stamp-art movement is an outdated concept; there are plenty of svelte young women taking an interest in making their own cards, customizing their scrapbooks and creating… More >>
  • Best Hardware Store

    Scheidt Hardware

    One cannot walk into Scheidt Hardware and purchase enough tar paper and shingles to cover four standard-size roofs. One cannot rent a deuce-and-a-half truck, buy an install-it-yourself kit for a redwood deck or acquire a battalion of snow-white toilets for the new condo project one is developing. One can, however, choose from a variety of screws and drawer pulls or… More >>
  • Best Garden Center

    The Alternative Pond and Gardens Mart, Inc.

    Sure, gardens are pretty and all, but they're an awful lot of work: the planting, the pulling, the agony when rabbits help themselves to a meal of hosta con broccoli. Back in 1997 Brigitte and Aaron Burchett tried something different when they began to cultivate a pond — it eventually evolved into an entire water garden. Finding no store in… More >>
  • Best Dollar Store

    Dollar Tree

    The cleaner called Fabulous is pretty much Fantastic, and Pine Glo, after all, is just Pine-Sol. The difference in price between name-brand versions and the stripped-down kind of everything from household cleaners to gift wrap is certainly more than a dollar — but nothing in Dollar Tree is. Your go-to for household staples, Dollar Tree is also a topnotch party-supply… More >>
  • Best Mall

    St. Louis Mills

    Trey Parker might have been feeling sarcastic when he wrote the lyrics, "Bed, Bath & Beyond, fuck yeah," but those were the exact words that came to mind when we arrived at St. Louis Mills, a mall that induces one heartfelt expletive after the next. The Mills is home to big-box stores such as Old Navy and Cabela's (see "Best… More >>
  • Best Lingerie

    Beverly's Hill

    It will come as a surprise to a few good Catholics that one of the first clothiers to put down roots on the revitalized Washington Avenue sells unmentionables. But then, no good Catholic gal would take a browse around Beverly's Hill and depart feeling any less, shall we say, intrepid, herself. With its pretty-in-pink paint job and a prominent display… More >>
  • Best Perfumery

    Cassie's Fragrance Boutique & Scent Bar

    If quality is defined by what one likes, then Cassie's Fragrance Boutique & Scent Bar is easily St. Louis' highest-quality perfumery. Cassie Buell, the store's sunny owner, began her career as a clerk in the '90s and has the chutzpah to fill her store with what she loves. She's also uncannily intuitive about what Central West End shoppers want —… More >>
  • Best Golf Shop

    Birdie Golf

    Though long dominated by rich WASPs with bad pants, golf continues to explode in popularity — most notably among the young and the female. Birdie Golf caters to both in a tidy shop that could easily be mistaken for an upscale boutique. Gone are the tacky, shapeless outfits; in their place are trendy, well-crafted shirts in a spectrum of colors… More >>
  • Best Skate Shop

    S.O.K.A.

    Two types of people frequent S.O.K.A.: The skater who goes to buy a new Toy Machine deck, some grip tape and a pair of Volcom shorts; and the other, who drives five hours from Chicago to find a pair of sneakers. That's because S.O.K.A. is the only place between Kansas City and Chicago that carries SBs, Nike's ultra-limited line of… More >>
  • Best Bike Shop

    Big Shark Bicycle Company

    If you stand in Big Shark Bicycle Company for more than fifteen seconds, someone who knows more about bikes than you ever will and who's friendlier than your mother will ask if you need any help. It doesn't matter if you look like you're going to spend five dollars or five thousand, if you're buying an entry-level bike for the… More >>
  • Best Sporting Goods Store

    Play It Again Sports

    Play It Again Sports on Manchester Road in Glendale is like a jock's closet. Half a wall of baseball gear gives way to racks and racks of hockey stuff. Golf and soccer are in the middle, and there's not much room to maneuver in between. The Minneapolis-based franchise chain specializes in buying and selling the kind of stuff that kids… More >>
  • Best Pet Store

    Wolfgang's Pet Stop

    Some days the four-legged customers at Wolfgang's Pet Stop outnumber the two-legged ones. There might be a wriggly cadre of puppies attending an Absolutely Fabulous City Dogs obedience class. There might be a regal Airedale celebrating his "bark-mitzvah" with a group of canine pals, who are all very interested in the peanut butter-frosted doggie cake. Or, most important to owner… More >>
  • Best Dog Wash

    Aussie Pet Mobile

    Company's coming. The house looks perfect. The tomato-and-Brie crostini are warming in the oven. The stereo is playing Coltrane. The dog is...stinky. Oh no! Stinky dog! You're certainly not going to throw Fido in the tub, not after spending a half-hour scrubbing the porcelain. And going to the groomer would be an ordeal (Fido hates the car). It'd be so… More >>
  • Best Car Wash

    Saint Louis Auto

    The car has just unloaded a bag of dirty laundry, which baked under the hatch for several days. After a short road trip, bug guts are covering its body, and another layer of crumbs and gravel covers the carpet. Something like wet oatmeal coats the bottom of a small console compartment. The odor of onion lingers, though the to-go sack… More >>
  • Best Flea Market

    Gypsy Caravan

    Each Memorial Day since 1973, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra Volunteer Association has hosted one of the largest flea markets in the Midwest. This year's Gypsy Caravan brought more than 350 vendors selling sundry bric-a-brac — including T-shirts, antiques, sports memorabilia, quilts and birdhouses — from as far away as Texas, Florida and Louisiana. But just as rewarding as the… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Used Clothing

    Back on the Rack

    Back on the Rack packs enough preppy-casual and office-casual clothing that you might never visit the actual Talbots or Ann Taylor stores again. Ignore the display window where one of the two-dimensional mannequins might be wearing an old-ladyish straw hat, and look more closely at the selection of popular, high-quality labels. Tommy Hilfiger, Ecco, Nike. A lawyer striking out on… More >>
  • Best Antique Store

    South County Antique Mall

    Some of the treasures in the South County Antique Mall stretch the meaning of the word "antique" completely out of shape — but where else can you find a trivet embossed with the psychedelic Laugh-In catchphrase "Here Comes the Judge" next to an authentically Edwardian walking dress with hand-sewn French seams? Plus, every other booth in this cornucopia of "old… More >>
  • Best Junk Store

    Rubenstein's Dirty Junk Shop

    Gordon M. Rubenstein is Supreme Junkmaster of the Ancient Order of the Rusted Stovebolt. Well, he would be if such an organization existed. His Dirty Junk Shop on the Alton riverfront is a riveting place to spend time before you satisfy your monthly Big Elwood on a Stick craving at Fast Eddie's Bon-Air. After 57 years in the scrap-metal salvage… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store

    Salvation Army Family Store

    All the Salvation Army Thrift Stores in metro St. Louis offer great bargains in used merchandise, but the Salvation Army Family Store in Florissant is family-size! Here you can find everything from 1950s blond bedroom suites to Moolah Shriner mugs, and the acreage of secondhand clothing is color-coded in a most artistic array. We love the bric-a-brac section, because the… More >>
  • Best Pawnshop

    Sam Light Loan Company

    Pawnshop: To some, the mere mention of the word calls forth a powerful sense-memory: images of outdated stereo components, smells of musty lawn mowers, the inescapable feel of ancient dust and grime. Not so at Sam Light Loan Company, located at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Olive Street. The store is clean and neatly ordered and the staff is… More >>
  • Best Gun Shop

    Cabela's

    What makes the gun shop at Cabela's so fantastic? Three words: The Gun Library. Lined with wood-sided glass cases, Cabela's gun library houses long guns and revolvers so beautiful they could cause a Quaker to lose faith. Here you'll find double-barrel shotguns with gorgeously engraved wildlife scenes and stocks inlaid with ebony, matched pairs of antique English shotguns that will… More >>
  • Best Tobacconist

    HSB Tobacconist

    Fancy a cigar? Perhaps you'd like a Kentucky Cheroot instead. If you're not feeling quite so bucolic, you could pick up a pack of Dunhills. You know, something ritzy? Or just a box of Marlboro Reds — you're an American, dammit, you're of legal age and you want to smoke something right now! All right, calm down there, John Wayne;… More >>
  • Best Newsstand

    World News Ltd.

    Now in its fortieth year of operation, and facing an almost-certain relocation (the building has been sold, but there's no timetable for the move), World News Ltd. in Clayton remains the go-to spot for print-media fiends. The nondescript storefront at the corner of Forsyth Boulevard and South Central Avenue in Clayton is home to a voluminous selection. We're talking everything… More >>
  • Best Book Store (Independent)

    Subterranean Books

    We could bend your ears for hours about supporting local businesses. But how about local businesses that support you? Subterranean Books supports your book-buying habit. The shelves hold the best new titles culled from the reams of publishing dreck, the older titles you must read before you die, used books (not as many as it used to, but still enough… More >>
  • Best Book Store (Chain)

    Barnes & Noble Booksellers

    Of the big dogs, Barnes & Noble is the book-lover's bookstore. Sure, this bibliophilic hot spot — the Ladue Crossing B&N is our local fave — offers all manner of gifty items, games and reader accoutrements, but it really works the book thing. For starters, it's often quiet like a library, with just a whisper of classical music to add… More >>
  • Best Used Book Store

    Dunaway Books

    To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway, Dunaway Books is a clean, well-lighted place. One that invites a Saturday afternoon's worth of perusal and page flipping. It's important to have the right kind of approach upon entering a used book store — Dunaway may not have the exact book that you're looking for, but once you poke around the tall wooden stacks inside… More >>
  • Best Body Piercing

    Cheap TRX

    When it comes to putting holes in yourself, we're all about Rule Number One. That would be: Do Not Try This at Home. If you don't take the proper precautions, the consequences could be dire. Swelling, infection, gangrene, rot, death, Restless Leg Syndrome.... OK, maybe not RLS. But still. The piercers at Cheap TRX possess all the skill you'd expect… More >>
  • Best Tattoo Parlor

    Evermore Gallery

    They say the clothes make the man. If that adage holds true, then the tattoo artists make the, er, tattoo parlor. That's what makes Evermore Gallery in Edwardsville worth the trek east. Carrie Davini's work is sharp, full of eye-popping colors that look straight out of a vibrant comic book, while Chris Quidgeon's ability to render lifelike faces and precise… More >>
  • Best Adult Video Store

    Hustler Hollywood

    Larry Flynt has long advocated that pornographers such as he need not operate under a cloak of darkness and anonymity. The man tools around in a gold-plated wheelchair, for chrissake! Flynt likes his porn big, ostentatious and right in your face, and that's just what you get at his new Hustler Hollywood in Berkeley. Since opening in June, the store… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Sex Toys

    TLC Priscilla's

    Help! Iíve been married for five years, and the spark is completely gone from our marriage. My husband will barely look at me, no matter what Iím wearing (or even not wearing). We havenít had sex in months; Iím beginning to think that heíll never find me attractive again. What can I do? Sexless in St. Louis Yo,… More >>
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