Goods and Services

  • Best Candy Store: Charm City Chocolate

    Best Candy Store: Charm City Chocolate

    809 W. 36th St., (443) 449-5164, charmcitychocolate.com Maybe the death of Gene Wilder has us feeling a bit nostalgic, but there's something about the quaint Charm City Chocolate that reminds us of the corner shop in the "Candyman" sequence from "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory." The store...

  • Best Music Store: Brothers Music

    Best Music Store: Brothers Music

    2112 N. Charles St., (667) 212-5328, brothersmusicbaltimore.com North Charles St. above North Avenue but before 25th Street was awarded "Best Confusing Shopping District" two years ago because of the baffling array of stores and because it's a kind of in-between area: part Charles Village/Charles...

  • Best Cheap Haircut: Hair Cuttery

    Best Cheap Haircut: Hair Cuttery

    1607 Whetstone Way, 410-685-0516, haircuttery.com Sure, sometimes we want to blow some cash on a salon haircut that makes us feel pretty, but sometimes our wallets are as thin as our patience, and we just want someone to clean up the edges and take a little off the top for under 20 bucks. For those...

  • Best Bookstore: Red Emma’s

    Best Bookstore: Red Emma’s

    30 W. North Ave., (443) 602-7585, redemmas.org If woke was a place, it would probably be Red Emma’s. Not only is the combination bookstore and coffeehouse packed with plenty of books and zines to help open your mind—the staff schedules so many author talks, poetry readings, and political discussions...

  • Best Book Cart: Jay’s Books

    Best Book Cart: Jay’s Books

    (718) 669-8225, 400 W. Lexington St., lexingtonmarket.com/vendor/jays-books Posted up in Lexington Market right near Super Deli and Gordon’s Jamaican is Jay’s Books, a cart that offers up a mix of populist favorites (you know: bestsellers past and present, street fiction, etc.), kids books, lots...

  • Best Comic Book Shop: Collectors Corner

    Best Comic Book Shop: Collectors Corner

    403 N. Charles St., (443) 682-7261, collectorscornermd.com This clean, well-lighted Midtown shop is welcoming and the staff do not judge, whether you are a novice or expert, Marvel or Image, Archie or Batman. The staff is knowledgeable and offers great advice for those looking to go old school...

  • Best Hybrid: Baby’s On Fire

    Best Hybrid: Baby’s On Fire

    1010 Morton St., (443) 885-9892, babysonfire.com Trust us when we say it is extremely satisfying to dig through records breaking only to either sip on a nice latte or sit down at a table and enjoy a sandwich. We only came to this conclusion through the existence of Baby’s On Fire, a record store...

  • Best Used Record Browsing: Protean Books and Records

    Best Used Record Browsing: Protean Books and Records

    836 Leadenhall St., (410) 227-3006, facebook.com/ProteanRecords Ever since this Federal Hill shop moved from South Charles Street to its new Leadenhall warehouse space in March, its stock seems to have grown exponentially. So while the store’s book browsing remains a nerdy snob’s friend, especially...

  • Best Record Store: Celebrated Summer Records

    Best Record Store: Celebrated Summer Records

    3616 Falls Road, (443) 866-9988, celebratedsummerecords.blogspot.com Tony Pence’s Celebrated Summer has long been a favorite record store in Baltimore. The store-—which began in a bathroom-sized room in the back of Legends, a comic book/role-playing game store in Towson, and moved into the back...

  • Best Alternative to Spotify: True Vine’s Membership Program

    Best Alternative to Spotify: True Vine’s Membership Program

    3544 Hickory Ave., (410) 235-4500, thetruevinerecordshop.com Spotify is fine, but for $10 a month who needs access to music everyone else has already heard? Hampden record shop True Vine, a perennial reader favorite, offers three levels of yearly membership to keep you ahead of the curve. For a...

  • Best Nerd Temple: Geppi’s Entertainment Museum

    Best Nerd Temple: Geppi’s Entertainment Museum

    301 W. Camden St., (410) 625-7060, geppismuseum.com Geppi’s Entertainment Museum flies under the radar—probably in part because notoriously gregarious Steve Geppi is involved, but also because it eschews the highbrow for allegedly lowbrow comic book and pop culture of the past. You can roam its...

  • Best Vintage/Consignment: The Zone

    Best Vintage/Consignment: The Zone

    813 N. Charles St., (410) 539-2817 Nothing beats walking into a vintage wonderland and having a shop assistant hand-pick a polyester wrap dress based on your body type and style that fits you perfectly. It’s the feeling that you’re going over to your cool aunt’s house to pick up a sequined top...

  • Best Shop for Bargain Hunters: Wise Penny

    Best Shop for Bargain Hunters: Wise Penny

    5902 York Road, (410) 435-3244, jlbalt.org Thrift stores are abound with old sports jerseys, jeans, and decades-old clothes with a certain level of kitsch. But for shoppers with more discerning taste, there’s the Wise Penny, a thrift store boasting some of the top designer names at prices comparable...

  • Best Textiles: DeBois Textiles

    Best Textiles: DeBois Textiles

    1835 Washington Boulevard, (410) 837-8081, deboistextiles.com Probably a candidate for Best Thrift Store, too, (and arguably, Best Thrift Store in the whole country) DeBois Textiles not only offers plenty of nice cheap clothes and shoes complete with a curated vintage boutique section, but gives...

  • Best Rebirth: Leather Underground By Maus

    Best Rebirth: Leather Underground By Maus

    136 W. Read St., (667) 212-4446, facebook.com/Leather.Underground.by.Maus Just when it looked like Midtown would be losing its one fetish shop, Chained Desires, which closed in August 2015, in comes Justin Lewis, a maker of kink gear as well as other leather goods, to save the day. And the name...

  • Best Cobbler: The Cobbler Shop

    Best Cobbler: The Cobbler Shop

    219 W. Saratoga St., (410) 234-2959 Stepping into the dinky Cobbler Shop tucked between a barber shop and a body oil store downtown, you get the sense that nothing here has changed for decades. In fact, last time we had our shoes repaired there, we found a man waiting for his loafers, dressed like...

  • Best Tailor: Stephen Wise Baltimore

    Best Tailor: Stephen Wise Baltimore

    216 N. Paca St., (667) 309-6021, lexingtonmarket.com/vendor/stephen-wise Stephen Wise is a fashion designer, master tailor, and teacher, and a trip to his shop outside Lexington Market is a chance to see an artist at work. Wise is an artist, and it shows not only in his fine tailoring, but in the...

  • Best Grocery Store: Punjab Groceries and Halal Meat

    Best Grocery Store: Punjab Groceries and Halal Meat

    345 E. 33rd St., (410) 662-7844 When the Giant on 33rd is sold out of black-eyed peas for New Year’s Eve, check with Punjab. No matter how you bean, this snug Indian grocery bursts at the seams with thirty different kinds of everything. Dried legumes for days, spices alone or in mixes up to the...

  • Best Neighborhood Store: Everyone’s Place African Cultural Center

    Best Neighborhood Store: Everyone’s Place African Cultural Center

    1356 W. North Ave., (410) 728-0877 Not too far from the epicenter of last year’s uprising, Everyone’s Place African Cultural Center has been a staple in West Baltimore for 30 years. A far cry from the despotism of less-than-noble big book stores and online retail sites whose slogans parrot the...

  • Best Head Shop: Docs smoke shop

    Best Head Shop: Docs smoke shop

    3721 Eastern Ave., (410) 327-3676, docssmokeshop.com Like any upstanding Maryland head shop in the post-decriminalization era, Docs carries everything a law-abiding reefer consumer may need: vaporizers, pipes, rolling papers, screens, water pipe cleaners, and CBD and other vape oils. What sets...

  • Best Sensory Deprivation Tank: Be Free Floating

    Best Sensory Deprivation Tank: Be Free Floating

    2118 W. Pratt St., (443) 418-3105, befreefloating.com Be Free Floating is tucked away in a row house on the very western corner of Pratt Street. You’ll know you’re there when you see the ornate gate flung open onto tall wooden doors, mosaics of glass lining the front of the building. Step inside...

  • Best Swimming Hole: Baltimore City Public Pools

    Best Swimming Hole: Baltimore City Public Pools

    All over town, (410) 396-3835, bcrp.baltimorecity.gov/recreation/aquatics It has been a hot summer. Sure, we could drive out to Patapsco or sneak into Loch Raven for a rogue swim or two, but we prefer to stay in town and pony up our $2 a visit and take a dip in the many pools run by the Aquatics...

  • Best Neighborhood Market: DiPasquale's

    Best Neighborhood Market: DiPasquale's

    3700 Gough St. (410) 276-6787, dipasquales.com It’s been more than 100 years since the DiPasquale family opened their Italian market on Gough Street in East Baltimore. Back in the day, that section of Highlandtown had a large Italian immigrant population. Now the neighborhood’s a little more diverse,...

  • Best Communal Atmosphere: Lemlos Barbershop Studio

    Best Communal Atmosphere: Lemlos Barbershop Studio

    1120 Hollins St., (443) 794-9241, lemlosdesigns.wixsite.com/lemlos Nestled across from Hollins Market, LemLos.com Barbershop Studio acts as the hub of social interaction in Southwest Baltimore. LemLos is the archetypical barbershop filled with a host of welcoming, dynamic personalities. The laughter...

  • Best Hairstylist: Zarah Charm

    Best Hairstylist: Zarah Charm

    7 E. Franklin St., ZarahCharm.com, zchairloft.com It’s not easy to find a natural hair stylist who actually cares about keeping your hair healthy, in addition to looking good. Zarah Charm does just that, making sure your edges remain intact and your hair stays strong and moisturized. Plus, she...

  • Best Stuff For Your Hair: Oyin Handmade

    Best Stuff For Your Hair: Oyin Handmade

    2103 N. Charles St., (410) 601-3198, oyinhandmade.com When we first heard about Oyin Handmade and their life-saving (or at least hair-saving) line of conditioners, creams, and pomades, you could only find them in their store located off N. Charles Street, in some Whole Foods, and online. Since...

  • Best Spa: Seoul Spa

    Best Spa: Seoul Spa

    Seoul Plaza, 6901 Security Blvd. #3058, Windsor Mill, (410) 277-3939, seoulspausa.com Finding the Seoul Spa takes a committed traveler. You must go all the way out to Security Boulevard, circle around the main mall there only to find yourself in a second, smaller dilapidated mall. Most of the stores...

  • Best Reason to Stop Texting: Write Notebooks

    Best Reason to Stop Texting: Write Notebooks

    writepads.com Third generation bookbinder Chris Rothe, founder of Write Notepads, encourages people to pick up the pen and pencil and write longhand. Handmade at a workshop in South Baltimore, the pads are gorgeous to look at and durable. The best part? For every Write Note Pad sold, a Baltimore...

  • Best Bike Shop: Baltimore Bicycle Works

    Best Bike Shop: Baltimore Bicycle Works

    1813 Falls Road, (410) 605-0705, baltimorebicycleworks.com Our worker solidarity first got us through the door of this worker-owned and -operated bike shop, but its fair prices, steady stock of dependable parts, and impeccable customer and shop service keeps us coming back. Whether you need the...

  • Best Dog Rescue: Dogs XL Rescue

    Best Dog Rescue: Dogs XL Rescue

    (410) 929-5847, dogsxlrescue.org There are some folks who like to run with the big dogs. The 50-pound dogs to be exact. For people with sizable hearts for sizable dogs, Dogs XL Rescue is the place to find the right companion. Large dogs are often the first to be euthanized, so this animal rescue...

  • Best Computer Repair: CapitolMac

    Best Computer Repair: CapitolMac

    714 South Broadway, (410) 657-8000, capitolmac.com Like you, we hate trucking it out to Towson Town Center whenever we have a problem with our beloved MacBook. CapitolMac in Fells Point is a saving grace. They have a repair shop on hand and will walk you through your issues like a good mechanic...

  • Best Auto Shop: Gerry’s Tire Auto Service

    Best Auto Shop: Gerry’s Tire Auto Service

    39 S. Central Ave., (410) 685-4330, gerrystires.com Don’t let the name fool you–Gerry’s is so much more than throwing new tires on your ride. The shop covers brakes, engines, drive lines, radiators, and basics such as oil changes, all at reasonable prices. Every time we’ve taken our family car...

  • Best Exterminators: Brody Brothers

    Best Exterminators: Brody Brothers

    1430 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, (410) 650-4266, brodybrotherspestcontrol.com Because their slogan used to be “nice Jewish boys licensed to kill;” because they care enough to write a blog detailing the Baltimore area’s uneasy history with rats (Did you know a Towson psychologist studying rats...

  • Best Hardware Store: Falkenhan’s Hardware

    Best Hardware Store: Falkenhan’s Hardware

    3401 Chestnut Ave., (410) 235-7771, falkenhanshardware.com When the over-staffed and over-whelming big-box Home Depots or Lowe’s get you down—alas, they have plenty of help but few employees who actually know their stuff—Baltimore’s best local hardware store, Falkenhan’s steps in to fill the gap....

  • Best Lawyer: Deborah Levi, Assistant Public Defender

    Best Lawyer: Deborah Levi, Assistant Public Defender

    City Paper decided to give this year’s “best lawyer” award to a public defender. Many members of the public defenders office have been kicking some serious ass in 2016, from Jenny Egan who works with juveniles, to Todd Oppenheim, who made a rather heroic run for judge, and Natalie Finegar, the...

  • Best Advocate: Jacqueline Robarge, Power Inside

    Best Advocate: Jacqueline Robarge, Power Inside

    325 E. 25th St., (410) 889-8333, powerinside.org Power Inside describes itself as a “human rights and harm reduction organization that serves women and girls who are survivors of gender-based violence and oppression,” and Jacqueline Robarge, who runs the group, takes the verb in that sentence “serves”...

  • Best Jewelry: Bottle of Bread

    Best Jewelry: Bottle of Bread

    229 W. Read St., (443) 963-9388, shopbottleofbread.com, @bottleofbread This tiny Midtown vintage shop packs a punch but it never feels overcrowded or overwhelming. Instead, owner Morissa Rothman-Pierce carefully curates all of the pieces in her store—and we could say more about the apparel and...

  • Best Non-Profit: Free State Justice

    Best Non-Profit: Free State Justice

    231 E. Baltimore St. #1100, (410) 625-5428, freestate-justice.org This year, FreeState Legal and Equality Maryland merged to form Free State Justice and become, in their words, an even more "unified advocacy organization that seeks to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and...

  • Best Way To Get Punched In The Face: Baltimore Boxing Club

    Best Way To Get Punched In The Face: Baltimore Boxing Club

    506 ½ South Broadway, (410) 375-9175, baltimoreboxing.com For 20 years Baltimoreans have literally been getting a bang for their buck in Fells Point’s Baltimore Boxing Club. Children, adults, and seniors keep fit by training in this Olympic sport while gaining confidence through the ancient art...

  • Best PR Person: Jamie Curtis of Royal Farms Arena/SMG

    Best PR Person: Jamie Curtis of Royal Farms Arena/SMG

    Although we’ve long appreciated Meaghan Young’s work at RoFo procuring us press tickets and answering emails on time, we’ve recently worked with Jamie Curtis and found just as much to appreciate and then some. She can be spotted moving around backstage and in the crowd during events at Royal Farms...

  • Best Baltimore Development: City of Gods

    Best Baltimore Development: City of Gods

    1118 Hollins St., (410) 685-4637, city-of-gods-shop.com While mostly dedicated to streetwear fashion, the Hollins Market collective is looking to develop to be more than just a clothing brand by slyly reinventing itself and trying new things. The City of Gods basketball team had a deep run in this...

  • Best Yarn: Neighborhood Fiber Co.

    Best Yarn: Neighborhood Fiber Co.

    700 N. Eutaw St., (410) 989-3770, neighborhood-fiber-co.myshopify.com Everything is political, including yarn. Karida Collins established the Neighborhood Fiber Co., located in a firehouse on Eutaw Street, to provide hand-dyed yarn that's not only of high quality, but also brightly colored, delicately...

  • Best Programming: Sugar

    Best Programming: Sugar

    1001 W. 36th St., (410) 467-2632, sugartheshop.com In our reader’s poll last year, Sugar, the Hampden establishment that proudly touts itself as a “lesbian owned, multi-gender operated, for profit, mission driven sex toy store,” beat out the motherfucking Internet as Best Sex Shop and was also...

  • Best Cross-Promotion: D. Watkins and Taharka Brothers Ice Cream

    Best Cross-Promotion: D. Watkins and Taharka Brothers Ice Cream

    taharkabrothers.com We feel very strongly about ice cream. We’ve already declared our love for Taharka Brothers Ice Cream—the local social justice-oriented company whose pink truck you may have already seen out in these streets won a Best Of award in 2013. And It also goes without saying that we...

  • Best Roller Rink: Shake & Bake Family Fun Center

    Best Roller Rink: Shake & Bake Family Fun Center

    1601 Pennsylvania Ave., (410) 669-9100, skatenbowl.com Shake & Bake has been around so long (over 30 years), that it’s easy to take it for granted. However, we gave it another look after Stacia Brown’s great podcast, “Baltimore: The Rise of Charm City,” dedicated its first episode to the West Baltimore...

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