1996 Readers Poll
1996 Critics Picks
Best Adult Bookstore

Since 1994, Dreamers has taken the honors as your favorite place for viewing and reading pleasure "intended for mature audiences." While old fave AAA News made a good show, the upset was second-place winner and veritable newcomer Lobo Books, a gay & lesbian book and trinket store with an extensive video rental collection.

3401 N. I-35

Best Antiques

It's no wonder Whit Hanks, the granddaddy of Austin antiques, sweeps this category yet again. With 70 different dealers, you can outfit your boudoir from French Provencial to Kilim and even combine them if you choose... but you may not want to tell that to the sales staff since they really know how horrible that would look.

1009 W. Sixth

Best Art Supplies

A three-way race between Michael's, Hobby Lobby, and Asel was decided by a few votes. It's been this way for two years. Miller Blueprint and Co-op East made notable showings.

Best Audio Equipment

The chains made out with the top honors as Best Buy just tweaked Circuit City out of range. But business is booming for High Fidelity and Custom Sounds, which both made sound showings.

Best Bookstore

The super indie on Sixth and Lamar received twice as many (and we mean many) votes as second-place mega-chain Barnes & Noble. Bookstop and Half-Price tied at third.

603 N. Lamar

Best Card/Poster Shop

For the last two years, Sparks has ignited this poll. Celebration, the small women's specialty shop, can have one in honor of its second place, while Ecoworks, formerly Vertu (and before Vertu, Nuvo) comes in third.

Sparks Cards & Gifts
1014 W. Sixth

Best Coffee Store

Austin's coffee market extends beyond the goatee and bookworm fray. Some folks just want to sit home alone with their addiction glued to Regis & Kathy Lee. Anderson and Trianon are the perfect outfitters for the home perker.

Anderson's Coffee Co.
1601 W. 38th

Best Comic Book Store

This dynamic duo took on the able Booksource, last year's winner and this year's runner-up, and prevailed.

Austin Books & Comics
5002 N. Lamar

Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy
2438 W. Anderson Ste. B-1

Best Consignment Store

The first time in this category is the charm, though and Second Time had some hefty competition in Baubles & Beads (second) and Baraka (third) in a category which sees a different winner each year.

Best Costume Shop

The girl with kaleidoscope eyes meets the little wing and together, they take the top in a classic rock frenzy, a tradition now, four years running.

Lucy in Disguise
1506 S. Congress

Best Cowboy Boots

Saddle on up to this category, pardners, new for 1996. Allens takes the lone star, while Cavendar's and Shepler's meet at high noon for second place and Tiny's Boots rustles up third.

Allens Boots
1522 S. Congress

Best Factory Outlet

Hey! This is supposed to be Best of Austin. Locally, Harold's, Neiman Marcus Last Call, and Dell Outlet showed well.

Best Gift Shop

The urbane outfitter of many a fresh(wo)man's domicile, this drag cornerstone beat out Cornerstone hardware and Possessions for first place. Originals came in third.

The Cadeau
2316 Guadalupe

Best Hardware Store

The margin in this talley is a testimony to four-year winner Breed & Co.'s staying power. Even the big chains like second place Home Depot don't come close. For its relatively new place on the scene, Cornerstone made a solid showing at third.

Breed & Co.
718 W. 29th, 512/474-6679
3663 Bee Caves Rd., 512/328-3960

Best Jewelry (costume)

Possessions narrowly beat out last year's winner Originals for first. Ec*lec*tic and Lucy in Disguise followed.

Best Jewelry (Fine)

Russell Korman took most of the votes in this category, with Americus and Benolds close in line.

Russell Korman Jewelers
3806 N. Lamar

Best Lingerie Shop

Upon close investigation (yes, please!), it is revealed that while the gender breakdown for first place winner Victoria's Secret and second place winner Tabu ran about equal, mostly men voted for third placer Forbidden Fruit!

Victoria's Secret
various locations

Best Liquor Store

You can't beat Wiggy's. And no one has in four years. Reuben's and Centennial take two and three respectively.

1130 W. Sixth, 512/474-9463
1104 N. Lamar, 512/479-0045

Best Lumber

Last year's winner Stripling Blake ties for second along with Furrow's, as the readers go against the grain and put Home Depot in first.

Home Depot
1200 Home Depot Blvd., Sunset Valley, 512/892-3035
7211 N. I-35, 512/458-8012
10515 Mopac N., 512/338-1001
3600 S. I-35, 512/693-9811
13309 N. I-35, 512/989-6650
8801 S. I-35, 512/291-0153
7900 FM 620 N., 512/258-7914
2551 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/238-0820
11301 Lakeline Rd., 512/331-4436

Best Music Business

Straight to first again for the recently relocated Strait Music superstore. MusicMakers took second and Black Market, Rietz, and One World tie for third.

Strait Music Co.
3201 Bee Caves Rd., Suite 140
13945 Hwy. 183 N., 512/918-3743

Best Pawn Shop

Doc's clocks in another winner for the third year in a row. 1993 winner EZ Pawn comes in a distant second.

Doc Holliday's Pawn Shop/Cash America
611 S. Lamar

Best Periodicals Rack

From Z Magazine to Newsweek,Book People's monolithic periodicals rack is outsized in range and volume only by the store's mind-boggling book selection. Barnes & Noble and Bookstop tie for a close second.

603 N. Lamar

Best Pet Store (chain)

This megastore of the puppy/kitty set takes the first place again. Petco makes its mark in second.

1628 Ohlen, 512/835-7221
5400 Brodie, 512/892-3297
2601 S. IH-35 Pad E, Round Rock, 512/218-1816

Best Pet Store (Local)

The first appearance of this category shows customer loyalty to be quite dog-like for Bark & Purr, one of our personal faves. Local chain Tomlinson's placed second.

Best Pharmacy/Drugstore

The noble Nau's gives the big chain stores bitter medicine. Austin is loyal to the classic drugstore with the soda fountain in the back.

Best Record Store (Chain)

The location and the in-stores speak volumes as Tower wipes out the competition in this survey.

photo by John Anderson

Best Record Store (Local)

While the margin between contenders in the vinyl division was not so great -- Sound Exchange and Antone's both made great showings -- the Local Record Store prize battle was a veritable, er... Waterloo.

Waterloo Records
600-A N. Lamar

Best Record Store (Vinyl)

While the margin between contenders in the vinyl division was not so great -- Sound Exchange and Antone's both made great showings -- the Local Record Store prize battle was a veritable, er... Waterloo.

Waterloo Records
600-A N. Lamar

photo by John Anderson

Best Shopping Center

The big, green gateway to the northwest takes first again. 1994's winner, Central Park, holds on in second.

The Arboretum
10000 Research

Best Specialty Bookstore

The sisters are not only doin' it for themselves but for everybody else as well from the looks of this landslide. Europa (R.I.P.) and Book People, while not actually specialty stores, garnered votes, perhaps for their attention to detail and selection.

5501 N. Lamar #105

Best Subculture Store

The other-orbital subculture kings ask the P.K. Dickian question, "Do Rubber Toys Dream of Plastic Sheep?" 1994 winner, Oat Willie's came in a distant second. Also-rans include: Atomic City, Lobo, and Fringeware.

Planet K
1516 S. Lamar, 512/443-2292
3227 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/252-2080
9407 N. I-35, 512/832-8544
11657 Research, 512/502-9323
3700 Guadalupe, 512/371-1920
10938 Research, 512/342-9088
3111 E. Cesar Chavez, 512/247-2222
727 W. Stassney, 512/707-9069
10730 S. I-35, 512/233-4300
12701 Hwy. 71 W., Bee Cave, 512/263-9945
2409 Manor Rd., 512/474-2010

Best Thrift Store

Public servant resaler-rehabilitator Goodwill led the second-place Thriftown by a 2:1 margin. Project Transition's Top Drawer, quickly becoming one of Austin's fave li'l thrifties, placed a hearty third.

Main office: 1015 Norwood Park Blvd., 512/637-7100
2800 S. Lamar, 512/442-8802
836 Airport, 512/389-3277
Main office: 1015 Norwood Park Blvd., 512/637-7100
13096 Hwy. 183 #104, 512/258-5898
8965 Research Blvd., 512/832-0004
5555 N. Lamar, 512/451-2306
9801 Brodie, 512/280-8037
701 Newman, 512/478-6711
7100-C W. US Hwy 290, 512/288-7700
3910 Far West, 512/795-6387
6505 Burleson, 512/681-3301
7727 Burnet, 512/374-0260
1819-B S. Pleasant Valley, 512/389-0547
1700 W. Parmer #101, 512/719-4119
9111 S. First, 512/280-2204
1420 Wells Branch Pkwy. #300, 512/251-2777
2814 Bee Caves Rd. Ste.2814-B, 512/329-8771

Best Toy Store For Grown-ups

Sure, take the kid. See how much stuff you get for yourself. Forbidden Fruit tempts with a different kind of toy and joy in second place. And Sharper Image takes third.

Toy Joy
403 W. Second

Best Used Book Store

This is as close as a ballot came to a unanimous vote. We concur; Texas-owned Half Price rules!

Half-Price Books
3110 Guadalupe

Best Vintage Clothing

This is a first appearance for Blue Velvet in this category, previously held by now second-place Flipnotics and Amelia's.

Blue Velvet
217 W. North Loop

Readers: Services
Critics: Architecture & Lodging

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