Shopping & Services

  • Best Pet Boutique

    Natural Pawz

    The melamine pet food scare has made many a dog owner a little paranoid. But you can go natural at Natural Pawz, which offers human-grade food produced in the U.S. or Canada (no, it's not Soylent Green; it's just good enough for humans). Our senior dog transitioned to an all-natural brand owners Nadine Joli-Coeur and Biff Picone recommended. Plus, the… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Music

    Cactus Music

    What more can you ask from a record store than free beer and free concerts? Every weekend, Cactus Music offers up heaping cups of suds from Saint Arnold's and lively, intimate sets from some of the best touring acts in the land. Just this past May, Steve Earle pounded out an hour-long set of his own tunes and those of… More >>
  • Best Vintage Clothing Store

    The Way We Wore

    Like going through a dead person's closet, a trip through this dank, overstuffed resale mecca is both slightly unsettling and morbidly fascinating. Most of the digs are so dated even the hipsters wouldn't dare to try and pull them off — glittery space boots, flower-power clothes-traptions, blue tuxes, furry vests, Hunter Thompson-esque vacation shirts. There are surely salvageable items buried… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Socks

    American Apparel

    Admit it, one of the best things about American Apparel is the ads featuring scantily clad hipster chicks in big glasses sporting vacant glares. The Los Angeles-based clothing chain caters to the young and irrational, who are more than willing to pay close to $40 for a mere plain white T-shirt. We love going to AA to pick up socks… More >>
  • Best Local Clothing Designer

    Chloe Dao

    Houston watched proudly in 2006 as fashion designer Chloe Dao went on Bravo's hit series Project Runway and, beating out 15 other designers, emerged as the winner. (One guy had rudely dismissed her as a "pattern-maker, not a designer." He later took home third place for his trouble.) Soft-spoken and mild mannered in a horde of drama queens, Dao let… More >>
  • Best Laundromat

    D & S Coin Laundry Wash-Fold

    Nothing fancy here — and we appreciate that. It's $1.25 per load in (often) old machines that can shake like they're possessed, and three or four quarters in the scalding hot dryers usually gets the job done fast (careful about burning your threads, though). The set-up is drab; the arcade games are kind of depressing. But here's what makes the… More >>
  • Best Dry Cleaner

    Eagle Express

    One thing to remember about a dry cleaner: Absolutely no one achieves 100 percent customer satisfaction. There's just something about clothes and stains and expectations. If you praise an establishment, someone will fire back with a "lost my buttons" story. Eagle Express in Montrose no doubt has its share of disgruntled former customers, but we're guessing it has fewer than… More >>
  • Best Video Store

    Movies! The Store - CLOSED

    Okay, cue that movie trailer voice-over guy...In a world where Netflix and dollar-a-day DVD kiosks seemingly rule the world, one man has the guts to open an independent video store and actually interact with customers. All right, we just had to get that out of our system. The first time we walked into Movies!, owner Rob Arcos greeted us with… More >>
  • Best Clothing Store for Rappers

    SF2

    When out-of-town rap stars find themselves in Houston, their itinerary might include a stop at SF2. Owner Teresa Waldon travels far and wide (okay, mostly New York City and Los Angeles, but still) to get the scoop on what's hot, and her stores (there's also a smaller one near Sharpstown Mall) carry a selection of brands and styles diverse and… More >>
  • Best Hobby Shop

    G&G Model Shop

    Hobby shops have become huge chain stores these days. Rice Village has become a charmless strip of overpriced Gap-like outlets. So it's a little bit surprising that tear-it-down Houston has a charming old-timey hobby shop, and that it's in Rice Village. G&G has been around since TV was new (it has the retro sign to prove it) and specializes in… More >>
  • Best Tobacco Shop

    The Briar Shoppe

    The Briar Shoppe, a perennial Best of Houston® winner in tobacco-related categories, has all the things a tobacco shop is supposed to have: a great selection of cigars in nice humidors, a wall stocked full of pipe tobacco and tobacco for rolling your own cigarettes, and the complete spectrum of smoking supplies. But what sets this place apart is the… More >>
  • Best Dog Walker

    The Dog Walker

    It's not easy to trust someone to walk, feed and truly care for your furry little four-legged baby while you're away. But the folks at The Dog Walker, owned and operated by Ben Louis, make it as easy as possible. Fully bonded and trained in pet CPR, Louis, a former Rice student who turned his sideline job into a full-time… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Cigars

    Cigar Cigar!

    It's worth the drive to Sugar Land to check out Cigar Cigar!, located in the city's Town Square. The place may seem a bit small, and the hand soaps and lotion for sale are an odd addition, but the roomy humidor is one of the best around. You'll find all the standards at standard prices, along with an array of… More >>
  • Best Licensed Plumber

    Professional Drain Inspectors

    So you're buying a house, or need someone to check work done by someone else on your digs. Michael Busch, a licensed sewer inspector, has got the camera equipment to ease your mind. He even takes smaller plumbing jobs on a case-by-case basis, with the caveat that he may be called to bigger, filthier emergencies at any time. Busch jokes… More >>
  • Best Mohawk Technician

    Ambrose Cardenas, Joe Lee's Barber Shop

    Marines, skinheads and head-lice victims all agree: There's nothing like having your head shaved. The warm lather, the feel of a razor (preferably a straight razor) scraping over your scalp, the sting of the post-shave tonic on your freshly shaved pate — it's the tonsorial equivalent of a deep-tissue massage. For those of us who prefer to leave an inch-wide,… More >>
  • Best Barber

    Nish at Miracle Hair

    As the only woman on a large staff in a popular shop in a Fiesta shopping center, where guys in wifebeaters congregate outside in the middle of the afternoon, Nish has to be good. Loyal patrons say her female touch creates a cut like no other. Laid-back and reserved, Nish listens carefully to her clients, then adds a woman's perspective… More >>
  • Best Chiropractor

    Philip Cordova, Core Chiropractic

    Who would think that a chiropractor could solve a lingering migraine headache that no other doctor could fix? That's exactly what happened to a patient of Dr. Philip Cordova, who runs Core Chiropractic — not far from the Galleria — along with his wife Natalie, whom he married the day after the couple graduated from chiropractic college. Cordova gets "adjusted"… More >>
  • Best Dentist

    Houstonian Dental

    No one, except maybe the Bill Murray character in Little Shop of Horrors, likes going to the dentist. So "Best Dentist" doesn't necessarily mean a place where you'll enjoy yourself; it just means the utter annoyance of it all will be kept to a bare minimum. And that's what you get at Houstonian Dental, conveniently located at Greenbriar and 59:… More >>
  • Best Cosmetic Dentist

    Ronald Konig, DDS, FAGD

    You might want to don sunglasses before walking into Ronald Konig's cosmetic dental practice: The smiles there are dazzlingly bright. One patient reports that losing a front tooth — horrifying, yet not uncommon when an old root canal mummifies — was made far less traumatic by Konig and his team, who produced a comfortable and attractive "flipper" (mini denture) before… More >>
  • Best Veterinarian

    Westbury Animal Hospital

    It says a lot when you take your doggie back to an animal hospital that fed him poison — only for him to wag his tail, happy to see the staff again. (The poison was a form of arsenic, used to treat advanced heartworms, and the caring crew at Westbury successfully nurtured pet and owner through the ordeal.) The staff… More >>
  • Best Realtor

    Mike Copenhaver

    For more than 25 years, Houston native Mike Copenhaver has been getting people into homes and leaving behind him a trail of satisfied buyers, sellers and renters. Energetic, honest and deeply knowledgeable about Montrose, Bellaire, West U and other parts of town, he's become the go-to guy for people seeking a guide through the current economic minefields of homebuying. Yes,… More >>
  • Best Astrologer

    Kim McSherry

    If you're tantalized by astrology but just a wee bit embarrassed about it, it's time to take your curiosity out of the realm of gypsies and freaks and go all academic. Enroll in the Houston Institute of Astrology, which is taught by a real college instructor, Kim McSherry, and structured like "higher" learning coursework: Astrology 103, etc. McSherry teaches English… More >>
  • Best Camera Store

    Houston Camera Exchange

    This store sells everything a photographer — either a novice or the ultimate pro — could ever need. It's got new cameras, old-fashioned cameras, tripods, lights and more. It even has its own photo lab for both digital and film processing. But what makes this place an "exchange" is the fact that if the owners can sell it, they'll buy… More >>
  • Best Toy Store

    Lakeshore Learning Store

    This is where a kid can not only be a kid but be a smart kid, too. The store's shelves and aisles burst with colorful and fun games aimed at teaching and helping children develop their language, math, science and social studies skills. There are no video games or war toys here. Instead, shoppers find puzzles and books and every… More >>
  • Best Vintage Record Store

    Black Dog Records

    The name on the building isn't just a nod to the epic Zeppelin riffer; there's an actual black Labrador in the back room snoozing while his owners hold court for Houston's vinyl lovers. The little store located on South Shepherd caters to the classic rock vinyl fetishist, with a collection of Beatles and Stones memorabilia that would make your dad… More >>
  • Best Chocolatier

    Kegg's Candies

    Kegg's has been serving up delicious handmade chocolate crafted right here in Houston for more than 60 years. This place has it all, from chocolate truffles and chocolate-coated nuts to oversize peanut butter cups and fudge. Everything comes in both dark and milk chocolate. And if buying in bulk is more your style, Kegg's can easily accommodate; the chocolatiers can… More >>
  • Best Bakery

    Flying Saucer Pie Company

    Nestled between an air-conditioning repair business and an auto garage in an industrial part of north Houston, this pie bakery has been around for more than 40 years for a reason. The owners keep a no-frills shop, prices are low and they make mouthwatering, addictive pies that literally have customers lined up outside the door waiting for their very own… More >>
  • Best Adult Video Store

    Megaplexx North

    We like to think of Megaplexx North as the "Walmart" of pornography. A destination for perverts and couples the city over, this particular location in the Megaplexx chain takes its name to heart. Toys and strange apparatuses ensconce one section of the store, with a menacing swing as the centerpiece. One feature we really dig is the vintage magazine collection.… More >>
  • Best Farmers' Market

    Canino's Produce

    We were as excited as anyone else about the early 2000s boomlet in farmers' markets all over Houston. Sadly, each of them disappointed us. Yeah, we're down with the whole "support the American farmer" and "buy local produce" movements, but when all you've got are a few tables with piles of chard, artisanal cheese and arugula on them, it reminds… More >>
  • Best Psychic

    Diane Gremmel

    You usually have to be a psychic to find a good psychic — but we've done the legwork for you: Diane Gremmel, a medium who teaches psychic development courses at Edgar Cayce's Association for Research and Enlightenment Health Center & Spa, really cares about mentoring people. "There's no such thing as bad info, just info that's out of time," she… More >>
  • Best Flea Market

    Traders Village

    At Traders Village, you can buy a Chihuahua, get your hair cut, drink a beer, arm yourself with nunchakus and a samurai sword, and then buy a dress for a quinceañera. Not to mention, all the friendly vendors are truly the salt of the earth. One image that sums up Traders Village is a life-size statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger from… More >>
  • Best Novelty Store

    Sig's Lagoon

    Besides being one of Houston's finest record stores — and, with all due respect to Cactus Music, Sound Exchange, etc., the finest when it comes to hard-to-find and out-of-print Houston and Gulf Coast musical memorabilia — Sig's Lagoon is the place to go when you're looking for a genuine tiki mug, skull-and-crossbones bath mat or Darth Vader bobblehead doll, part… More >>
  • Best Birthday Party Supplies

    Any Occasion Party Rental

    The Houston Press doesn't want anything fancy for its birthday party. Just a massive pit barbecue that we have to tow over with our pickup. Then we'll need some tables and chairs, plates and napkins, and a frozen margarita machine. A hot-dog roll-cart (with sneeze guard), maybe a nacho cheese warmer. Definitely karaoke. At Any Occasion Party Rental, it's strictly… More >>
  • Best Oil Change

    Shepherd Square Tire & Auto

    Getting an oil change usually means having to endure some mechanic trying to upsell you on parts or services you don't need. Not at Shepherd Tire & Auto. These guys do an extremely thorough oil change; they check all your fluids, but it's not with an eye to spin you. If there's a problem, they'll tell you; if there isn't,… More >>
  • Best Auto Repair

    Autohaus K&H

    K&H always goes the extra mile. (Pun? What pun?) No matter the issue, owner Markus Drunk makes sure all your needs are met — even if you mention you're looking for an aftermarket stereo or a late-model, gently used European car. He's also happy to refer you to equally conscientious — and honest — business owners. Best of all, customers… More >>
  • Best Pool Service

    Sweetwater Pool & Patio

    Sweetwater Pool & Patio is aces at pool cleaning, repairs or remodeling. Need a pool refinished, but dread the ordeal of draining, refilling and all the horrendous chaos in between? Manager Cesar Tena and his crew sweep in and out, leaving nothing behind but a sparkly, concave pearl of a hole in the ground. Tena will patiently walk his clients… More >>
  • Best Antiques Spot

    Westheimer Antique Flea Market

    Located in the heart of Montrose, this place is a twisting, turning, never-ending trove of antiques and furniture to fit any budget. With the relaxing sounds of Jimmy Buffet and Bob Marley in the background, cruise the aisles past a vast array of sofa tables, mahogany vintage mirrors, English cocktail bars and Victorian music cabinets. They've got all the usual… More >>
  • Best Newsstand

    Books a Million

    Get us into a bookstore — especially one as conveniently located as the new Books a Million in downtown's Houston Pavilions development — and there go at least a couple of hours down the drain. With an entire wall of publications ranging from The Nation and Mojo to Guns & Ammo and Vanity Fair, Books a Million is a magazine… More >>
  • Best Nail Salon

    Miracle Nails & Spa

    There are no garish posters here. Miracle Nails & Spa, near Meyerland, is simply yet tastefully decorated, and your hands will be too. Miracle is spotlessly clean, with cozy and vigorous spa massage chairs and — miracle of miracles — an actual man doing nails. Aaden's female colleagues – look for Lisa, Cindy and Nancy – also are adept, and… More >>
  • Best Bookstore

    Blue Willow Bookstore

    Finding a friendly neighborhood bookstore is a welcome respite from the mega-stores and online warehouses that have become the norm. As it happens, "friendly" and "neighborhood" are two words that describe Blue Willow Bookstore perfectly. It's as much a gathering place as it is a retail shop. Sure, books get sold — they also get talked about (several book clubs… More >>
  • Best Comic Book Store

    Third Planet

    There are cleaner, more organized comic book stores, sure. There are also cooler ones, which specialize in hipper, more underground comics. But let's not kid ourselves: A comic book store needs to cater to people who love comic books (it seems so simple), and that's what Third Planet does, by virtue of sheer volume. Entering the store, you are greeted… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Good, Cheap Art

    Premium Goods

    You can buy art and tennis shoes at this year's winner for Best Place to Buy Good, Cheap Art. Premium Goods has built a reputation for regularly having exhibits of cutting-edge outsider and urban art. (A new show goes up every four months or so.) The artists here (Melinda Mosheim and Y.E. Torres among them) show work that has a… More >>
  • Best Pawn Shop

    Wolf's Department Store & Pawn

    With an exterior that probably hasn't changed much since the place opened in 1955, and right across from regal St. John the Baptist Church, Wolf's (the apostrophe is a diamond) is an island of old-time Main Street in a sea of drab urban sprawl. Inside, the staff and patrons are neighborhood-friendly, and the atmosphere is dated to the type of… More >>
  • Best Costume Shop

    Vintage Oasis

    When Halloween rolls around, or any event when a costume is needed, there are two ways to go. The first is the slut-and-companion method. Slutty nurse and patient. Slutty cop and criminal. That kind of thing. The other route is to get creative, and if that's the way you roll, there's no better place than Vintage Oasis, a Montrose shop… More >>
  • Best Massage Parlor

    Massage Envy

    After a long week at work, an hour on the massage table could be your cure. Finding a masseuse, however, is another matter. Your best bet is to check out Massage Envy, a national chain with 26 locations in Houston. We're familiar with the store at Buffalo Speedway and Westpark Drive, where "membership" costs about $50 a month. That gets… More >>
  • Best Apartment Finder

    Jen Payne, Impression Realty

    Jen Payne was with another realty company when we went to her (twice, two years in a row, on opposite sides of the city), but both times she managed to find apartments within our price range that met our expectations and suited our changing needs. We had virtually no problems at either place, and the problems that did pop up… More >>
  • Best Department Store Cosmetics Team

    The Chantecaille reps at Neiman Marcus

    Got a big date or speech coming up? Visit the Chantecaille desk at Neiman Marcus. The cosmetics team will wave the gorgeous wand over you. The glamorous but definitely down-to-earth J.R. Johnson and Darlene Gillespie keep customers updated about special complimentary events such as makeovers or facials with them or Greg Messer, the line's L.A.-based esthetician. While the goods are… More >>
  • Best Convenience Store

    Pak's

    Pak's sells all the convenience-store staples like milk, bread, radiator fluid, candy, smokes, 12-packs of Lone Star and what have you, but the quirky food mart near the border of Midtown and Montrose (a.k.a. the 527 Spur) also has a decent selection of $15-and-under nonrefrigerated wines and a $1.29 coffee-and-pastry special that makes an excellent breakfast. Although the store seems… More >>
  • Best Spice Shop

    Lone Star Culinary

    Located just across the street from the open-air vegetable market on Airline in the Heights, Lone Star Culinary has more than enough spice to complete any meal. There are troughs of dried chiles, shelves stacked with hard-to-get items like Steen's cane syrup, and a wall that stretches the length of the warehouse-like building piled high with dried spices and roots.… More >>
  • Best Candy Store

    Chocolat du Monde

    From the outside, this place in Rice Village may not look like a chocolate shop, with its display window filled with toy dolls, but it sure smells like one when you get inside. The shelves are filled with chocolate powders and mixes and oversize glass jars of chocolate-covered coffee beans and peppermints. But a giant display case filled with nearly… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    Spec's Liquor Warehouse

    How many different ways can you riff on the reasons why Spec's downtown is the best liquor store in the city? Not many, because the store continues to be the best for the same reason: Whether it's beer, wine, whiskey, rum or scotch, Spec's will have it. Almost guaranteed. Not to mention a deli and cheese selection that's ridiculously large.… More >>
  • Best Car Wash

    Mister Car Wash

    You can get a cheaper wash at Mister Car Wash, but the $19.49 package is worth it for the number the place does on your car. It's a full-service wash — inside and out — that leaves your ride shimmering clean and, almost more important, spot-free. There's a quasi-gift shop inside, and with all the aromatic candles and cards, it's… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Guns

    Collectors Firearms

    Chances are, if you buy a lot of guns, you probably have a favorite gun shop, but even if you do, you'll be doing yourself a favor by checking out Collectors Firearms. The place is stocked full of any pistol, rifle or shotgun you could want and a whole bunch that you probably didn't know existed. If you're the militia… More >>
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