Shopping & Services

  • Best Bridal Shop

    Chatfields Bridal Boutique

    Attention, future brides: The 2011 Vera Wang catalog is out, and there is nary a spaghetti strap, let alone a sleeve, to be found in the whole damned thing. And as Vera Wang goes, so goes the bridal nation. If you do not have Michelle Obama's upper arms, prepare to attach yourself to a pair of dumbbells for the length… More >>
  • Best Almost Antique Store

    The Future Antiques

    Call it retro, call it vintage, just don't call it old, because the wares at the Future Antiques, or TFA, are anything but outdated. You could easily lose yourself in room after room of furniture, clothes and decorations as classically American as June Cleaver's pearls. After sixteen years of business, TFA has perfected the art of finding the diamonds in… More >>
  • Best Mall

    West County Center

    Successful hostesses will tell you that it's essential for any great party to have a mixture of guests from a wide range of backgrounds. A great mall is sort of like that, too. It shouldn't just specialize in stores full of things the average person could never afford to buy — or stores full of cheap crap that the average… More >>
  • Best CD Store (Used)

    Euclid Records - CLOSED

    Euclid Records has had a busy year. The record store opened a second outpost in New Orleans, released the debut CD from Troubadour Dali on its newly formed record label and continued with its Euclid Sessions series of limited-edition 45s. What's lost in the hubbub? Its selection of used CDs continues to be the best in the city. Although the… More >>
  • Best Paint Store

    Paint Supply Co.

    Paint Supply Co. already has a pretty plain name, but those who frequent it tend to simplify that even further: the paint store. It's that essential. The Ash family has operated out of this old-school building in Tower Grove South for more than half a century, and even though they're crowded on one side by big-box home-improvement stores and on… More >>
  • Best Adult-Video Store

    Spankys Video

    Amateur porn sucks. Someone had to say it. A decade-plus of Internet porn — free or almost free, easily accessible from the privacy of your own home, of seemingly infinite variety — has convinced some viewers that lumpy, pimpled everyday Janes and Joes are just as sexy as the stars of the adult-film business. But it's just not true. For… More >>
  • Best Frame Shop

    Great Frame Up

    The terminology of framing can be frightening if you don't get things framed much — and that applies to most of us. So it's nice to go into a frame store and meet a guy like Dave at the Great Frame Up in the Central West End. He doesn't hold your hand literally, though it can feel that way as… More >>
  • Best Tattoo Parlor

    Trader Bob's Tattoo Shop

    If getting your first tattoo is a physically harrowing experience, then choosing which shop to go to for it is nearly impossible. What if the artist laughs at you? Is the shop clean? Can you trust them? While touring St. Louis' many ink shops, it's easy to get caught up in the details. The argument for Trader Bob's Tattoo Shop,… More >>
  • Best Book Store (Independent)

    Pudd'nhead Books

    Don't walk into Pudd'nhead Books looking for an indiscriminate hodgepodge of every book ever written on a particular subject, piled up like so many boxes of drill bits at the Home Depot. Owner Nikki Furrer and children's and young-adult buyer Melissa Posten have carefully edited their stock, so they sell only the most essential books in every category. And, oh,… More >>
  • Best Gift Shop

    The Basement of the Bug Store

    The plantation-style chairs and heavy wood-carved wall art on the top floor is handsome. The mermaid rain gauges and Airstream birdhouses on the main floor are whimsical — funny, even. But the oversize flowerpots and out-of-season holiday decorations are why you're here. Or should be, anyway. The Bug Store's cellar is an ever-changing trove of one-off clearance, discontinued or occasionally… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Vinyl

    Record Exchange

    Perhaps you've heard the news: Vinyl is back. Yes, the oversized circular slabs tossed aside in favor of shiny, portable CDs are trendy again. New bands are moving units like hotcakes, and labels are pressing seminal catalog items and re-releasing them in deluxe packages. Sometimes, though, all you want is a gently used, well-loved copy of a Dan Fogelberg record,… More >>
  • Best Hardware Store

    Kirkwood Hardware

    Twin brothers Bob and Jim Margherio opened their Kirkwood Hardware store three decades ago, yet it's still humming. How can a 5,000-square-foot retailer survive in the age of the big-boxes? Simple, says manager Jeff Armstrong: customer service. Whether it's painting, plumbing or electrical, he and his staff have done it all with their own calloused hands, and they'll always slow… More >>
  • Best Costume Shop

    Vintage Haberdashery

    Who do you want to be? A game-show host? A flapper? Dracula? Do you need it for a play? A murder-mystery party? Halloween? No matter what the answer, Jolie at Vintage Haberdashery, just south of Tower Grove Park, is your girl. Tell her what you need. She'll disappear into her back room and come back with exactly the right wardrobe… More >>
  • Best Art Supplies

    Upcycle Exchange

    There's no earthbound address given for Upcycle Exchange, the greenest and most fun place to "buy" art supplies in town, for a very good reason: The post office doesn't give out addresses to Rubbermaid totes. Conceived by brainiac crafter and 2010 MasterMind Award recipient Autumn Wiggins — who also masterminds Strange Folk (named Best Craft Festival by the RFT in… More >>
  • Best Pawn Shop

    Maplewood Pawn

    It seems counterintuitive, but at Maplewood Pawn, the most interesting stuff in the store is not for sale. Sure, the storefront has all the usual goods — jewelry, electronics and a good selection of quality musical gear — but the walls are peppered with a tantalizing selection of items that, sadly, have no price tag. Above the glass display case… More >>
  • Best Book Store (Chain)

    Barnes & Noble

    If you're going to be holing up in a bookstore for a while, catching up on your reading, you might as well choose one with comfortable chairs. After an exhaustive search, we have determined that the Barnes & Noble in West County Center has the most abundant collection of squashy armchairs of any bookstore in the area. Even on a… More >>
  • Best Yarn Store

    Knitorious

    During the Industrial Revolution, textile manufacturing moved from family spinning wheels and looms to water-powered factories. Men have made their fortunes off clacking machinery and quickly assembled knitwear. Yet we still crave a human touch, the clicking needles of our mothers and grandmothers, afghans with a story, sweaters with the weight of personal dedication. The yarn store provides the inspiration… More >>
  • Best Musical Instrument Store

    GoMusicSTL

    With all due respect to the big-box retailers of the world, the best music-gear stores aren't those with the biggest showrooms and the newest, shiniest stock. You want a shop with personality, with character and with an ever-changing collection of old and new gear. The Loop's GoMusicSTL offers a mixed bag of gear-head delights: guitars, woodwinds, melodicas and a nice… More >>
  • Best Gun Shop

    Mid America Arms

    There are two types of gun shoppers: the excited and the intimidated. Mid America Arms welcomes both. The excited will be, er, blown away by the impressive selection of handguns, hunting rifles, semi-automatics and more, all arranged in orderly fashion along the store's back wall. (The rest of the store is chock-full of accessories, from the latest in tactical wear… More >>
  • Best Car Wash

    General Grant Car Wash

    The hassles of car ownership are many: car payments, insurance premiums and being party to our nation's dependence on oil are all tempting reasons to sell the four-wheeled beast and take the bus. But St. Louis is not a commuter-friendly city, and you probably need the car more than you'd like to admit. So take pride in your set of… More >>
  • Best Wine Store

    Grapevine Wines and Cheese

    Are you intimidated by wine? Fear the salesperson will make you feel stupid or force you into busting your budget? Head to Grapevine Wines. Mike and Bob Gray co-own the joint, along with Mike's wife Diana, and these guys truly have a gift for helping their customers, rather than merely selling them wine. Whether you need the basics explained or… More >>
  • Best Baby Store

    City Sprouts

    City Sprouts maintains the funky feel of its neighborhood with gifts such as Rockabye Baby!, a CD that features lullaby renditions of Bob Marley songs, and the "Diaper Dude" for diaper- and bottle-carrying dads. It also carries trendy boutique brands, such as Tea, that would otherwise require a drive to Chicago. Don't miss the thoughtful selection of parenting and children's… More >>
  • Best Pot Dealer

    Gringo Jones Imports

    When Leon Jones makes a pot run to Mexico, the border guards don't even bat an eye. That's probably because Jones' trips down south yield legal pot(s) — beautiful, hand-painted pieces that lend even more charm to his already-charming south-side import business. As any Shaw resident or Missouri Botanical Garden visitor can tell you, Gringo Jones' appeal is undeniable. There's… More >>
  • Best Retail Trend

    "Deal-of-the-Day" Coupons

    Ugh, the economy. Sure, some academics out there may be making optimistic prognostications, but anyone outside the ivory tower will tell you that times are still pretty tough. When faced with the reality of eating Top Ramen for the 45th day in a row, buying something fun seems about as likely as stumbling across a field of unicorns. Cheer up,… More >>
  • Best Newsstand

    Sue's News

    Nestled in Kirkwood is a mecca of the written word. More than 1,500 magazine titles lurk behind the glass of the Sue's News storefront, alongside a small selection of books (mostly New York Times bestsellers and their ilk). And what self-respecting Vogue Japan reader wouldn't want to pick up a can of Pringles and a cup of coffee to enjoy… More >>
  • Best Antique Store

    George Street Antique Mall

    Alton is one of the most haunted towns in America for a reason. The antiques there have bound the spirits of their former owners to this plane: Who could leave such lovely items behind? A good portion of the ghost magnets can be found at the George Street Antique Mall. If you ever make it to the far reaches of… More >>
  • Best Pet Store

    Treats Unleashed

    Anyone who thinks all dogs are created equal has never been within 100 yards of a dog. Like finicky children with smaller vocabularies and better toilet training, dogs possess a long list of individual likes and dislikes. The same holds true for cats, who are harder to read yet just as choosy. Cater to your beloved pets' whims by shopping… More >>
  • Best Sporting Goods Store

    Olympic Sporting Goods

    Olympic Sporting Goods looks like somebody took the entire inventory of a Sports Authority-type chain store and stuffed it into a closet: Gear for a half-dozen sports is crammed into a single room on Hampton Avenue in south city. The shop has occupied that location for the past 8 years and been in business for more than 40. The store… More >>
  • Best Junk Store

    Cranky Yellow - CLOSED

    Cranky Yellow chief proprietor David Wolk and his coterie of inventive spirits do a fantastic job of curating the mass of marvels in this strange Cherokee Street emporium. The junk for sale here is standard thrift-store pickings — '70s ceramic spice mushrooms, spindly legged doe figurines, fat little plaster-cast Friar Tucks — but its proximity to art on Cranky Yellow's… More >>
  • Best Bike Shop

    Maplewood Bicycle

    We know this guy — let's call him "Tom." He can't stop talking about how he got his new bike. See, the last time Tom had plunked down money for a bike — a used Motobecane he got for about $200 at Maplewood Bicycle — he was in high school. Now fast-forward to 2010. Tom was thinking about getting back… More >>
  • Best Dollar Store

    Dollar Tree

    The stacks of shopping baskets placed sporadically throughout the Dollar Tree in St. Peters are adorned with a confident tagline: "Take a basket, you'll need one." While seemingly cocky, the basket placement is actually a convenient gesture to save customers from backtracking to the entrance once their bounty grows larger than two arms can contain. Nestled humbly into a strip… More >>
  • Best Green Business

    Herb'n Maid

    A dirty home can be scary. Dust, dander, bacteria of all stripes — the stuff is everywhere, and getting rid of it can seem like an insurmountable task. But you know what else is scary? Kitchen cleaners with 25 completely unpronounceable ingredients and bottles of shower-scrubbing foam that just might also have the power to strip your car and/or help… More >>
  • Best Body Piercing

    TRX Tattoos and Piercing

    A piercing is not something to be undertaken lightly. That's the first thing the staff at TRX Tattoos and Piercing wants you to know. Sure, they'll pierce anything — they even do the notorious "Prince Albert," and do it far more frequently than you'd think — but they want to be sure you know what you're getting into. If you… More >>
  • Best Place for a Kid's Birthday Party

    Demolition Ball & Adrenaline Zone

    The pizza, arcade games and pool table at Demolition Ball & Adrenaline Zone are what you'd expect at any good family-fun center. And while the laser-tag arena is huge, at the end of the day, it's still laser tag. The real star here, and the reason to make the trek out to DB-AZ over any other fun center, is a… More >>
  • Best Runners' Store

    Big River Running Company

    Let's be honest: Any yahoo with a shoehorn can sell you a pair of running shoes. However, it takes a fellow runner to sell you the right pair of running shoes. The experts at the three Big River Running stores will examine the wear and tear of your old shoes and watch your gait to help you avoid blisters, shin… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Sex Toys

    Hustler Hollywood

    "Relax — it's just sex." So proclaims a banner hung inside Hustler Hollywood, and damned if the sentiment isn't contagious. Even the most furtive seeker of cock rings, dildos or something as prosaic as a foot pedestal to make sex in the shower easier — seriously, who knew? — will be put at ease by the attractive, brightly lit displays.… More >>
  • Best Golf Shop

    Dick's Sporting Goods

    When you don't know your sand wedge from your pitching wedge, the last thing you want to do is walk into a high-end golf boutique, bluff your way though a conversation about your handicap and leave with a cartful of junk you don't even like and will never use. Helpful yet utterly lacking pretension, Dick's Sporting Goods is where you… More >>
  • Best Flea Market

    Riverside Flea Market

    There's nothing like a cool breeze off the Mississippi to add sparkle to a day of junk-hunting. The aptly named Riverside Flea Market in Grafton, Illinois, is held in the old Boatworks building, a high-ceilinged, breeze-filled space so close to the water, it's sometimes in it. (Seriously: Check your flood stages before heading north.) Vendors offer everything from collectible McCoy… More >>
  • Best Used Book Store

    Dunaway Books

    You know you've found a great bookstore the moment you lose yourself in it, and it's certainly easy to get lost in Dunaway Books. The muted lighting has a make-yourself-at-home vibe and encourages extended marathons of bargain book-hunting, which is good since the narrow aisles here are stuffed with used novels, biographies, poetry anthologies, antique volumes and every imaginable subgenre… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    The Wine & Cheese Place

    What's not to love about the liquor selection at the Wine & Cheese Place's flagship location? The numbers themselves are impressive: 252 liqueurs, 215 single-malt scotches, 171 vodkas, 102 American whiskies, 102 tequilas, 75 rums, 50 blended scotch whiskies and 42 gins. Plus, there are dozens of other bottles that don't fit into any of those categories, and new offerings… More >>
  • Best Electronics

    Hi-Fi Fo-Fum - CLOSED

    In the history of St. Louis advertising, there have been plenty of memorable campaigns. Steve Mizerany on his roller skates. Home Furniture and its promise of No Monkey Business. The Schweig-Engel trio slapsticking it up during late-night Three Stooges marathons. And when it comes to jingles, three have stood the test of time better than all others: Johnny Londoff Chevrolet,… More >>
  • Best One-Stop Shop

    Rock N Roll Craft Show

    Is there anything more soul-sucking than elbowing your way through a crowded mall the day after Thanksgiving, kicking other parents in the shins in a desperate attempt to get This Year's Hot Toy? This holiday season, avoid the gridlocked parking lots and take your shopping list to Rock N Roll Craft Show instead. The R N R Craft Show, now… More >>
  • Best Place for A Grown-Up's Birthday Party

    Lazer Force Lazer Tag Zone

    Growing up ain't easy, and celebrating with that stuff hanging over your head can be just as hard. Whether it's a nudge toward a strip club, a dinner party at home or the typical bar birthday bash (yawn) — as if getting older didn't already make you want to shoot something, you're expected to put on a happy face and… More >>
  • Best Skate Shop

    Infinity Skate Shop

    Skateboarding came perilously close to going mainstream for a minute there. Businessmen saw dollar signs in them thar X Games, and suddenly you could find "skateboarding shoes" at Target and skateboards at [Generic]'s Big-Box Sporting Goods; seemingly every department store young men's section had hooded sweatshirts with "Skate This" or "Grind That" or "Skate Rock Tickle Party" emblazoned across the… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Used Clothing

    Retro 101

    Vintage clothing comes with serious expectations. Take a look, for instance, at that blue wool bespoke suit with its matching overcoat and sewn-in label from a Hong Kong tailor. And imagine how, if you put it on, you'll become the chic, well-traveled woman who once wore it — or at the very least assume her spirit. The aforementioned suit-and-coat combination… More >>
  • Best Comic-Book Store

    All American Collectibles

    Poking around the racks of garishly hued new comics, a brash teen blurts out, "How much is Spider-Man #1 worth?" Mark Farace, the charismatic owner and frontman for All American Collectibles, shoots back with perfect comic timing. "About a buck and a half," he says. "Spider-Man was the title of Todd McFarlane's 1991 relaunch. If you mean 1962's Amazing Spider-Man,… More >>
  • Best Tobacconist

    Hill Cigar Co.

    Smokers love company. But while a cigarette is good for a quick chat in the doorway of an office building or between beers at the bar, a cigar is a more serious undertaking, requiring at least an hour and a comfortable chair. That's what the front room of the Hill Cigar Co. is for. Then there's the back room, which… More >>
  • Best Florist

    Geechi's Florist

    The Arch may be one of the world's most distinct civic landmarks, but we can all agree that even the homebodiest hoosier is not about to mistake it for the Eiffel Tower. The Mississippi is not the Seine. Horse-drawn carriages, cobblestone streets, fleurs-de-lis plastered on practically every building? Yeah, we have those, but the only place downtown where you're likely… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store

    Value Village Thrift Department Store

    You know a thrift store is prime when your lips get numb within five minutes of entering the place. Every branch of Value Village could have this dangerous side effect: There's just so much exciting stuff in stock, you simply can't forget to bring a paper bag to assist with breathing during the inevitable hyperventilation. Plus, the stores are all… More >>
  • Best Toy Store

    Circle of Knowledge

    Circle of Knowledge eschews flashy whiz-bang toys in favor of products that make you think and create: brain-bending 3-D puzzles, a kit for brewing your own soda pop, a box of detective instruments. The Erysian family has been filling this niche in St. Louis' toy market for seventeen years. They offer items from about 350 vendors, with a preference for… More >>
  • Best Computer Repair

    MacHeadQuarters

    Nobody likes computer-repair stores. The average consumer feels both clueless and helpless when the guy behind the counter examines a broken machine, spouts some condescending tech jargon and then quotes a non-negotiable, wallet-draining price to fix the problem. Luckily, MacHeadQuarters is a less-painful alternative to the price-gouging status quo. Unlike the Apple Store at the mall, there are no lengthy… More >>
  • Best CD/Record Store

    Apop Records

    Record collecting can be as frustrating as it is rewarding. For every well-preserved circle of vinyl awesomeness, you'll likely sift through hundreds of copies of dog-eared Chicago LPs. (How many albums did those guys put out, anyway?) Thankfully, Apop Records has come to the rescue. Open since 2007, Tiffany Minx and Dustin Newman's ode to esoteric media has quickly become… More >>
  • Best Place for Role-Playing Games

    Fantasy Shop

    You can keep your Xboxes, your iPhones and your big-budget 3-D movies — not a one of 'em has as powerful an AI as the human imagination. That's why when we're looking for a little fun in the form of wholesale orc slaughter, we head to the St. Charles Fantasy Shop to see what's new in role-playing games. The venerable… More >>
  • Best Lingerie

    Beverly's Hill

    It's owned by a woman named Beverly. It's located along a slight incline on Washington Avenue. Voila! It's Beverly's Hill, an intimate downtown boutique now in its fifth year of business. Beverly's Hill features all the accessories a pampered lady needs — from bras to panties to purses, sleep masks to negligees to swimsuits. Designers include Diesel, Calvin Klein and… More >>
  • Best Garden Center

    Worm's Way

    Looking to set up a basement hydroponic system for your cherry tomatoes? When the Miracle-Gro laden bags of vermiculite at other chain gardening stores won't do, the Missouri outpost of Worm's Way is where you'll find a host of tools for the organic indoor gardener, including high-intensity indoor light sources and instructions for creating a custom light system. Worm's Way… More >>
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