Shopping & Services

  • Best Junk Store

    Fellenz Antiques

    For this category we're defining "junk" as "salvage of a lost civilization" rather than "ugly Big Bird cookie jars." (For which, see Best Thrift Store.) In other words, one man's junk is Bill Fellenz's "Architectural Artifacts." You won't find Mr. T air fresheners here, but you will find doors without doorways, doorknobs without doors, escutcheon plates without keyholes and keys… More >>
  • Best Florist

    Botanicals Design Studio

    To some, flowers seem like an indulgence — ephemeral décor that joins the compost heap after the wedding, the corporate meeting or the dinner party. But to Keith McDonnell and Dean Riebeling, flowers are a vital, vibrant component of daily happiness. McDonnell and Riebeling bring their enthusiasm and artistic vision to Botanicals Design Studio, a large South Grand space that's… More >>
  • Best Toy Store

    Toys "R" Us

    When you're a child and you enter a toy store, it's not just the Christmas-morning rush of "Toys!Toys!Toys!" that staggers you, it's the size of the place. Of course, everything is larger when you're smaller, and as you grow up you rarely experience that feeling anymore. But step into a Toys "R" Us and you'll feel it. It's part of… More >>
  • Best Place for a Kid's Birthday Party

    America's Incredible Pizza Company - CLOSED

    Just for one day, set aside your concerns about childhood obesity and take your birthday boy or girl to this hotbed of juvenile hedonism. The Incredible Pizza Company feeds your crew buffet-style and entertains them in a state-of-the-art "fairgrounds." Situated behind Ronnie's Plaza on a vast parking lot, the Pizza Co. holds quite a crowd. On a Saturday afternoon, you'll… More >>
  • Best Art Supplies

    Red Lead PaperWorks

    Some people, especially starving artists, would argue that the best place to buy art supplies is the cheapest place to buy art supplies, and that would be located far from Earth, online. But we argue that the best place to buy art supplies is the liveliest place — one that rouses us to make art. So instead of out into… More >>
  • Best Baby Store

    City Sprouts

    There's a reason City Sprouts repeatedly wins this category: It's a store for which women will get knocked up just to open a registry. OK, maybe not. But we have heard of women sans children who've shamelessly purchased one of their diaper bags (some are fashioned from fabric reminiscent of coveted Japanese retro prints) to repurpose as a carry-all. It's… More >>
  • Best Place for a Grownup's Birthday Party

    The Roost

    Host a party at the Roost, and you rule. The second floor of Dogtown watering hole Pat's Bar and Grill, the room is equipped with a pool table, Golden Tee, darts, Internet-linked jukebox, television sets and its own bar. Rent the whole place, bartender included, for $200, and it's yours for the night. You can bring your own decorations and… More >>
  • Best Mall

    Chesterfield Mall

    For a mall to be considered a good one, it ought to contain a couple of stores that interest every family member. In a great mall, families should be able to arrive together — and then not have to meet up again all day. Chesterfield Mall fits into this latter category. It's like a carnival on the inside, with a… More >>
  • Best T-Shirts

    Rina Wear

    The first T-shirt Jeff Michel created said "nipples." Mmm-hmm. "Nipples," printed across the bust, and it sold out at a shop in Ballwin. But of course! A few — oh, seven, or eight — years later, Michel's little T-shirt store that could, Rina Wear, is going gangbusters online. Dude's got two new cheeky screen prints a week to choose from.… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Used Clothing

    Timeless Authentic Garments

    Fashionistas, rejoice! Laney Stout and Jenna Manges, who opened Timeless Authentic Garments (tag) in April, are able to offer something larger-scale vintage clothing suppliers and consignment stores don't: a personal touch. Tag is not a consignment store — Stout and Manges personally select all of their pieces from wholesale suppliers, and they write descriptions of each item's particular appeal (as… More >>
  • Best Green Store

    Home Eco

    In a way, a first visit to Home Eco feels like a rude awakening. Taking in the earth-friendly cleaners, the kitchen and bathroom gadgets that save water, the cork and bamboo flooring that hail from sustainable forests — "guilty" doesn't even begin to describe it. But that's OK, all is well within minutes of your arrival. This wonderful green store,… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store

    Goodwill

    There are a lot of Goodwill stores in the metro area, but it's worth holding your nose as you drive past the hazardous basements of Hartford, Illinois (they have their own EPA fact sheet), to get to the one in Wood River. Is it the poisonous air that makes the thrift shopping so darn good here? We can only surmise.… More >>
  • Best Delicatessen

    Gioia's Deli

    Everything old is new again: Gioia's Deli has been a fixture on the Hill for 90 years — first as a grocery store, then in its present form — but in recent years, it has risen quite high on foodies' must-visit lists. The reason? Gioia's famous "hot salami," or Salam de Testa. Made from scratch each day, Salam de Testa… More >>
  • Best Gift Shop

    Missouri Mercantile

    You've seen the headlines and probably heard the news on television: "Big box" is out, "local" is in. Now take note that Missouri Mercantile is a great place to get hip to the trend. Located in the St. Louis Mills mall, Missouri Mercantile has something for every type of friend, from the foodie to the goofy. Recent crowd-pleasers include a… More >>
  • Best Boutique

    Femme

    HEY, MAN! Don't skip over this item! Femme, in French, means "woman." And Femme, in Maplewood, means the place you should be shopping for your woman, regularly. Femme stocks the racks with indie lines including Mixie, Free People, Tulle, Petit Pois, Chasen Sully, Voom and — OK, sounds like gibberish, yes, but you'll learn your woman's favorite label, quickly. For… More >>
  • Best Lingerie

    Jule

    You went and did it, girl — you finally got around to meeting a man who makes you feel like a natural woman. No more too-tight bustiers, no more squeezing your badonkadonk into an uncomfortable thong for the sake of feeling sexy, because this guy's the one who made you realize that nothing's sexier than feeling comfortable. But you still… More >>
  • Best Bridal Shop

    Berrybridge

    Mother-daughter duo Marie Brauer and Janey Thompson, the owner-operators of Berrybridge, only took over the shop this past December, but you'd swear they've been at it a decade. The women make an immediate and inviting impression: Come in, have a glass of wine, stay awhile. The racks are the bride's (or her mom's) to browse, with selections from quality designers… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Sex Toys

    Pure Pleasure Adult Megacenter

    There was a time when you thought that anybody who needed sex toys suffered from a severe lack of imagination. That was when you were in the middle of the Sahara Desert of dry spells and your imagination was pretty well developed because, hey, it was about all you had. But then you hooked up, fell in love, got married… More >>
  • Best Adult Video Store

    Pure Pleasure Adult Megacenter

    It's a typical Tuesday afternoon downtown. Businessmen and -women are packing into the elevators of the skyscrapers, Cardinals fans are looking for a good bar to pass time before the game and just up Broadway, Pure Pleasure Adult Megacenter is getting its afternoon rush. Don't let the fact that you need to be buzzed into this adult video store concern… More >>
  • Best Pawn Shop

    AJ & R Pawn Shop

    Stepping into a pawn shop can be a daunting experience for the uninitiated. AJ & R Pawn Shop's friendly neighborhood vibe makes things easy and entices you to take a look around. Staffers chat with customers, many of whom seem to be regulars. You came to sell some no-longer-loved jewelry, maybe, but then you glance over at the DVDs and… More >>
  • Best Dollar Store

    Deal$

    Hello. I am a bottle of Everfresh brand apple juice. I am 32 ounces, and I sell for 100 pennies at Deal$. Now, you must be aware that selling for only a dollar can lead to a fairly serious identity crisis. Do I not taste as good as the name-brand apple juice that sells for more at the local grocery… More >>
  • Best Gun Shop

    Uncle Sam's

    It seemed narrow-minded, in our survey of gun shops in the St. Louis metropolitan area, to concentrate only on guns that fire bullets. The world is full of so many other kinds of guns — guns that don't kill but merely injure your enemies, maim them, stop them in their tracks, intimidate them, douse them with water, turn them different… More >>
  • Best Tattoo Parlor

    Cheap TRX

    While Cheap TRX is known and lauded for its stellar piercings, for the past four years the shop's tattoo artists may have been St. Louis' best-kept body-mod secret. Yes, the "Cage" downstairs is a mysterious bastion of adult toys and clothes, but the upstairs is an airy, open workspace where a corps of artists ply their craft. Here you can… More >>
  • Best Antique Store

    Warson Woods Antique Gallery

    The booths in the Warson Woods Antique Gallery all have a curated look, unlike the usual hoi polloi hodgepodge of lesser antique malls. "Mall" really isn't a classy enough word for this place, or for the dealers here, whom you can sometimes glimpse as they replenish their stock — cardigans tied around shoulders, headache bands clamped in place, tennis whites… More >>
  • Best Body Piercing

    Allstar Tattoo

    Allstar has been known in St. Louis since 2002 for its stellar tattoos, but the studio, located on Olive Boulevard not far east of I-170, also offers piercings at competitive prices. The shop is comfortingly spotless, the piercers friendly and willing to talk even the most nervous Nelly through the piercing process. The shop's motto is "Art for Life," and… More >>
  • Best Tobacconist

    JR Cigars

    Let's say you've just engineered a massive corporate coup, a brilliant secret merger that started a trickle of sweat into white collars across the globe. Let's say it's the last game of the season and you're listening to it on a float trip down the Meramec River. It's poker night. Congratulations, it's a boy! What do you do to celebrate?… More >>
  • Best Ice Bong

    Harvey Iceman

    By day Harvey Iceman is a champion ice sculptor at Just Add Ice Productions in south St. Louis County, crafting everything from six-foot statues of Rapunzel trapped in a castle to those swans you see at weddings. By night he makes the coolest bongs in town. Literally. Using a chain saw, chisels and Dremel tools, the Iceman molds solid blocks… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    Friar Tuck

    OK, so Friar Tuck is in a strip mall. Yes, there's an Applebee's and an Ace Hardware. But look beyond that and you'll find a selection of beer, wine and spirits that ranges from old standards (Bud Light, Schlafly) to hard-to-find (Hite Korean beer, Connemara whiskey). With four locations in Illinois, Friar Tuck has already established itself as the place… More >>
  • Best Wine Store

    33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar

    Americans love wines that feature animals on the label. Penguins, kangaroos, frogs — it doesn't matter what the animal is, really, as long as the logotype is distinctive. Some of those wines are OK. A lot of them suck. But you can't blame us for being drawn toward the cute and cuddly. Wine is an intimidating subject. Have you ever… More >>
  • Best Pet Store

    Lola & Penelope's

    "Isn't it true that dogs can sometimes detect cancer?" a friend asked. He paused, then added, "I really have no idea where I heard that. That probably sounded completely insane." Actually, the notion isn't crazy at all. We've heard it, too. Specifically, we heard it at Lola & Penelope's, during a fundraiser honoring heroic animals. One pup — a tiny… More >>
  • Best Hardware Store

    Hanneke Hardware & Industrial Supply

    To enter the store from the street you have to walk up a long ramp. At the top of the ramp sits a rack full of sledgehammers. Even if you don't need one, you stop and look: Those are some nice hammers. Shiny. Sturdy. Honest. You pull one halfway out to test its weight, and put it back when you… More >>
  • Best Hardware Store with a Grain Elevator

    Valley Park Elevator & Hardware

    Where can you get a new key cut, purchase pig chow, catch up on the local gossip and take a romp around a 132-year-old (and still serviceable) grain elevator? Valley Park Elevator & Hardware, that's where. Opened in 1876, it's an institution. Richard "Judge" Grellner bought the store back in 1976. He died this past April, but the Elevator &… More >>
  • Best Garden Center

    Bowood Farms

    Perhaps it is our love for all things bison that continually draws us back to Bowood Farms. Or maybe it's that after a long afternoon of trying to decide if the garden would be better served by the Clarksville-grown sweet coneflower that is so fetching or the French lavender that'll draw the hummingbirds, we know we can drag our weary… More >>
  • Best Flea Market

    Fairmont Flea Market

    Held every weekend, this is not one of the area's giant, overwhelming flea markets. It's manageably old-school, held in the parking lot of a former car dealership, where half the vendors just pull up, pop the trunk, and pile their wares on top of card tables. A fine example of mom-and-pop capitalism at its most laissez-faire. The sights are as… More >>
  • Best Local Invention

    The FURminator

    Most pet owners are familiar with the scenario. Hair covers the bedspread, the couch, the bathmats. Giant balls of fur roll, tumbleweed-like, across the hardwood floor. These clumps of hair could intimidate even the most robust dust bunny. Shedding is constant, unavoidable — and really pretty gross. Enter the FURminator. This local invention addresses a global problem, and its effectiveness… More >>
  • Best Bike Shop

    Mesa Cycles

    Gas prices are sky-high. The environment ain't doing so hot, either. Mesa Cycles feels our pain. "If you've got more people that ride, the better off everybody is going to be," says co-owner Adrienne Murphy. This is a serious cyclery, though, so come ready to ride. Prices start at around $370 and, depending on the level of customization, can be… More >>
  • Best Golf Shop

    Golf Discount Superstore

    Amid golf's distinguished history, swathed as it is in emerald greens and peopled as it is with dapper gentlemen, something is seriously lacking: laffs. Golf Discount Superstore recognizes this whiff on the part of other pro shops and fills the divot with, among other novelties, trick golf balls that giggle, jump, explode or shoot out a trail of ribbons, giant… More >>
  • Best Sporting Goods Store

    Dick's Sporting Goods

    If the nation's ever-expanding waistline is any clue, the average American spends more time distinguishing between Ho Hos and Ding Dongs than between shoes for trail hiking versus shoes for backpacking. So it's a good thing Dick's Sporting Goods does it for us. The Dick's outpost located in West County Center is a two-story behemoth accessible via an escalator from… More >>
  • Best Running Store

    Big River Running

    If this was the year you finished the St. Patrick's Day five-mile race, decided to go for a half-marathon and suddenly discovered that running in whatever was on sale at Marshall's wasn't very kind to the feet, it's time to check out a specialty shop. You don't have to travel far these days to find a runner's oasis. Most offer… More >>
  • Best Skate Shop

    Plan Nine

    Skate shops, much like the punk bands their clientele shred to on their iPods, tend to grow out of a DIY aesthetic. Most come from humble beginnings and are forced to embrace the business side of things as their reputation and demand increase. This, of course, is where most fail. Luckily, this has not been the fate of Plan Nine.… More >>
  • Best Computer Repair

    Mac Headquarters

    Every time someone walks through the doors of Mac Headquarters, the trademark hum of an Apple computer booting up plays through the store's speakers. It's almost as if an awakening has taken place, a hard drive in the brain that has sprung to life upon discovering computer care that is efficient, friendly and, relatively speaking, cheap. Not only are there… More >>
  • Best Electronics for the Audiophile

    The Sound Room

    It's tough being an audiophile. We totally understand. All your friends have learned to run the moment they hear the word "analog" come out of your mouth, in order to avoid the twenty-minute tirade they know is coming. No one in your family cares a fig about the great new tracking scale you bought, and your significant other has threatened… More >>
  • Best Home Theater Store

    Hi-Fi Fo-Fum - CLOSED

    What separates a great business from the pack is the people who work there. You can walk into any big-box electronics store, ask a question of any of the 115 college-sophomore salespeople and what you're going to get is one of three things. One, you could get a shrug. Two, you could get an explanation of a given product that's… More >>
  • Best Musical Instrument Store

    Saxquest

    The saxophone is an instrument that oozes cool: The sexy curves, the glistening metal and that soul-stirring tone all add up to one defiant, hard-to-ignore piece of equipment. And while it might seem strange to have a music store that only specializes in saxophones, such niche expertise has made Saxquest one of the best-known horn shops worldwide. Husband-and-wife duo Mark… More >>
  • Best Furniture Store

    Niche

    Here's the problem with shopping for furniture: Nothing you see in the store will ever look as good in your own home. After maybe a day in your living room, that lovely, nubby velvet couch will be encrusted with cat hair. And forget the cashmere throw and elegant arrangement of vases and beeswax candles that go with it. At your… More >>
  • Best CD/Record Store

    Euclid Records - CLOSED

    With music so easy to obtain today via the Internet — whether via legal or, ahem, not-so-legal means — the act of buying an album at an actual brick-and-mortar record store is almost quaint. But Euclid Records resists obsolescence by stocking nearly as much catalog as any online retailer, meaning you can fulfill your every purchasing whim even quicker than… More >>
  • Best CD Store (Used)

    CD Reunion

    Among music hounds, this much is true: A record store is only as good as its dusty bargain shelves. The cardboard boxes crammed into every conceivable empty space at CD Reunion are a treasure hunter's dream. The store's beyond-cheap selection of CDs, label promos and cassettes(!) aren't picked over — and because organization is often haphazard, the odds of discovering… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Vinyl

    The Record Exchange

    Here's a fun little activity you should try sometime: Make a list of ten or twelve records you'd really like to own. Doesn't matter what genre — just stuff that you really like. Then, head to the Record Exchange. When you come back out three hours later, look at the bagful of records in your hand. Now check that against… More >>
  • Best Video/DVD Rental

    Family Video

    Now that most of us who consume movies as if they are a food group subscribe to Netflix, one might find it hard to believe that Family Video, the chain with the 1970s forest green-and-orange color scheme and a name that doesn't exactly shout "foreign films," would be worth a trip to Maplewood (or one of several other suburban locations).… More >>
  • Best Book Store (Independent)

    Subterranean Books

    Writer Luc Sante likens looking around a room full of books to taking a journey; as your eye skips from title to title, images spring to mind and connections are made, snippets of data about the author bubble to the surface, times distant and long gone snap back to the present. It's one of life's greatest pleasures, walking into a… More >>
  • Best Book Store (Chain)

    Borders - CLOSED

    The Borders in Brentwood gave us quite a fright last spring, closing up for three months after a water main break ruined the first floor and café. Three months! Valentine's Day to Memorial Day is a long and gloomy stretch. It would have been such a comfort to idle away those long wintry Sundays curled up in one of the… More >>
  • Best Used Book Store

    Greater St. Louis Book Fair

    Here's an existential dilemma: Can a store be a store if it has no walls or regular business hours but has existed for 60 years, stocks 1 million items and regularly turns a profit of more than $250,000 (which it donates to charity)? The inspiration for this question was this year's Greater St. Louis Book Fair, held the first weekend… More >>
  • Best Newsstand

    World News Ltd.

    Another year has come and gone and, for now at least, the venerable 41-year-old World News Ltd. is still standing at its longtime downtown-Clayton location. Wherever it ends up, there's no doubt that World News will land on its feet. Where else in St. Louis can one find newspapers from around the world, the best British music mags and every… More >>
  • Best Comic Book Store

    Star Clipper Comics

    Perennial winner of this particular honor, Star Clipper has a very fine staff, an excellent selection of comic books and graphic novels (duh) and a beguiling array of toys that have nothing to do with comics but are fun to poke through nonetheless. Let us talk now about Star Clipper's art gallery, which has gained renown for the quality of… More >>
  • Best Yarn Store

    Knitorious

    Knitters just sit there twiddling their fingers and soon socks or shawls or opera gloves magically fall off the ends of their needles. But a knitter without yarn is a witch without a spell. Cast on your next project with yarn from Knitorious in St. Louis Hills, the best LYS around. Owner Sandy Kulash's two-part secret to success? 1) Scads… More >>
  • Best Paperie

    Vellum

    Dear Vellum: Some people say sending paper invitations and thank-you notes is so last-century. And then there are those lonely, wintry hearts who think some thingamajig called a "txt" passes for a love letter. We, however, want you to know how much we dig the crisp feel of your card stock in our hands — how much we love it… More >>
  • Best Stationery

    Cheree Berry Paper

    There simply is no substitute for the handwritten note. Many of us long for the days when correspondence was not heralded by a digitized "bing!" When greetings were not wearisome variations on "wut u doin txt me back thx." The stationery from Cheree Berry Paper is so singularly gorgeous that it could singlehandedly bring back letter writing. The delightful Ms.… More >>
  • Best Frame Shop

    Pace Framing

    For a small space, Pace Framing packs a big punch. The always-charming Sandra Marchewa (who is also an accomplished artist) and her business partner Paul Young have operated Pace at its Grand Center location since 2007, after first occupying a basement space in the Philip Slein Gallery for two years. Since its relocation, Pace has truly blossomed. The shop offers… More >>
  • Best Car Wash

    Gas House Car Wash

    Some of us remember Saturday-morning car washing as a chore to be feared alongside lawn mowing, weed whacking and gutter de-funking. So it comes as a shock that getting one's car cleaned can be a pleasurable, satisfying, and — dare we say? — psychedelic experience. The Gas House on Forest Park Avenue is a combination filling station/car wash equipped with… More >>
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