1998 Readers Poll
1998 Critics Picks
Best Antiques

Whit Hanks has won this category so many times it's getting old. Fitting,wouldn't you agree? Both of their stores on West Sixth offer a variety of styles and services, seven days a week. The location at 1009 features the prize finds of over 70 dealers, while nearby at 1214, Whit deals in consignment of homes and estates across the state. In a city with ever-growing competition, WH continues tokeep a firm clawfoot hold on the gorgeous-old-stuff market.

1009 W. Sixth

Best Art Supplies

Texture. Ahhh. Color. Ahhh. Brushes, paints, papers, pens, pencils. Ahhhh.Those squishy rubbery gummy erasers. Ahhh. Every type of fine art supply to paint naked ladies or trees - not to mention an amazing array of handmade papers and free art demos. The Co-Op is open to the public, not just limited to university patronage.

University Co-Op
2902 Medical Arts, 512/472-6156
2244 Guadalupe, 512/476-7211
2246 Guadalupe St

Best Bookstore

It's real big. It's not a chain. You can drink coffee there. They don't yellat you for sitting around for hours and hours. And there is always somereading going on. Did we even mention the incredible kids' section?

603 N. Lamar

Best Comic Book Store

Out of nine years of BoAs, Austin Books has activated its superpowers to take seven in this category. They've got not only stacks of the faves (enough to keep any kid in Spider-Man or Archie for weeks), but their selection of "indie" or mature-themed comics and graphic novels is impressive. They also house one of the meatiest pop culture book sections in town. This year, they Zowie! Oof! and Pow!ed Dragon's Lair and South Austin's Comics & More, who each made heroic showings.

Austin Books & Comics
5002 N. Lamar

Best Drugstore

Are we all nostalgia freaks? Maybe. Who cares? Readers continue to concur that there is no chain drugstore remotely like the beloved Nau's. That soda fountain in the back with those egg sandwiches and gut-busting sundaes bring tears of joy to the eye everytime. The wacky wordsmiths with the clever signs at People's Pharmacy come in second.

Nau's Enfield Drug, 1115 W. Lynn, 512/476-1221

Best Furnishings/Decor

Okay, so techinically it's not really your living room, it's their living room. But you'll wish it was your living room. And they'll even sell it to you so it can become your living room. Even the window display is always divine, featuring their latest in contemporary digs crafted by Texas artists.

Your Living Room
220 S. Congress

Best Gift Shop - High End

Repeat winner Cadeau thrills returning students (and addicted regulars) withnot-to-be believed shower curtains and sundry other stuff you probably nevereven thought existed but suddenly feel an absolute burning need to possess.For those of you who think stepping into Target with a credit card isdangerous ... just try to wisk through the fancy-schmancy gift shelves andclothes racks here without buying anything. Ha.

The Cadeau
2316 Guadalupe

Best Gifts - Novelty

The nun collection alone (including the spark-spitting Nunzilla) is enough tohypnotize you. But wait, look over here at these weird lizard hand-puppets.No, no, come over here, check out this dogs-on-TV thingie. We can't! We're toobusy trying to figure out this 3-D lamp. Hey, and they gift wrap for free,too.

Toy Joy
403 W. Second

Best Hardware Store

It smells good, it looks good, there's practical stuff, there's frivilousstuff, readers like it enough to keep voting for it ... Heck, you can even buya big bag of fine cow crap out back. Don't just think hardware, think awesomewedding and birthday gifts, think gorgeous floating candles, think of it as apleasant excuse to go get that extra set of keys made and then shop happilywhile you wait.

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

Best Jewelry (costume)

No matter how she transforms herself, we always know that Lucy will show up at the party that is the Readers Poll. Sure enough ... here she is again ... in disguise with faux diamonds and every other sparkling fake you can imagine. This queen of costumes, then, according to our readers, is also the queen of costume gems.

Lucy in Disguise
1506 S. Congress

Best Jewelry (fine)

Odd thing about James Avery jewelry - lots of people seem to have the same pieces, but somehow they always look unique. Simple yet elegant, with a number of real specific designs - wedding bands, teacher-targeted rings and pendants, ornaments for everyone. We especially dig the St. Francis medals.

James Avery Craftsman
Barton Creek Square Mall, 2901 Capital of TX Hwy., 512/327-6342
Harper Rd., 830/895-6800

Best Lingerie Shop

This is not what your mother meant when she was suggesting what type ofunderwear to wear "in case you get hit by a car." But apparently, your motherdidn't vote in the readers poll, and so Victoria safely wins the contestagain, panties down.

Victoria's Secret
various locations

Best Liquor Store

Hey, a cigar store Indian! Oh yeah, we'll drink to that. Again. And if we want to drink to that but shouldn't, Wiggy's has one of the largest selections of non-alcoholic beer. Five years on the top of the list - Skol! They got cigars, too ....

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

Best Music Business

Also for the fifth Strait year on the list. Locally and, dare we say, "organ"-ically grown and expanded over the years, Strait Music remains a favorite in a town full of folks who know from music. Ray Hennig shows that reader's hearts are with him enough to vote his Heart of Texas into second place. And SAM the dog will be happy to know that enough readers thought about him and his home at South Austin Music to place third.

Strait Music Co.
2428 W. Ben White, 512/476-6927
13945 Hwy. 183 N., 512/918-3743

Best Naughty But Nice

"Hmm ... I wanna do something different today. Shall I get my labia pierced or buy me a nice new - ahem, educational model? Decisions, decisions." For those of you in touch with your deepest, um, thoughts. For those of you in touch with your partner's deepest, um, thoughts, forget Eve's apple, there's a lot more growing on the tree of knowledge these days...

Best Pawn Shop

Aside from a few disappointed transplanted New Yawkers who think this placesells X-rated movies or Western tack (or both?), most everyone else agrees that Doc is the man to take that unwanted stuff off your hands in order to sate the landlord or fill the fridge. And with nine locations open early and late seven days a week, that's a lot of stuff!

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

Best Periodicals Rack

Nosh and niche the afternoon away just trying to work your way through the80 gazillion mainstream and specialty mags and zines heaped, overflowing,upon the shelves at BP. Congress Avenue Booksellers show up in second place.

603 N. Lamar

Best Pet Store (local)

Two paws up for last years' returning victor. In a world full of mambo petemporiums, readers still like to know there's your friendly neighborhood poochpalace. Take a left at the fire hydrant, pee on those two trees, lunge forwardon your choke chain and you're there .... Tomlinson's gets a steady sniff, as does Amazonia.

Bark n Purr Pet Center
4604 Burnet Rd.

photo by John Anderson

Best Record Store (Local)

No, it is not just the free beer and ongoing in-store concerts. Well, okay,maybe that has something to do with it. But beyond that, there's thisinimitable something, a je ne sais quois that is comprised of the wacky worker attitude, the history of it all - six Best of Austin's in six years. And, oh, yeah, the incredible selection. That's what it is.

Waterloo Records
600-A N. Lamar

Best Specialty Bookstore

BookWoman has broken last year's tie with BookPeople, once again taking solo honors (as was the case in \'95 and \'96.) For Grrls who wanna have fun and be serious and augment their chick-book collection as well as their chick-T-shirt collection, BookWoman will not only fill those needs, but will give you plenty of alternatives to the word "chick."

5501 N. Lamar Ste. 105-A

photograph by John Anderson   John Anderson

Best Thrift Store

In a town as crammed with thrift stores as your Aunt Fanny's attic is with junk, it's cool to see this category go to a public service thrift. Goodwill is more than just a junque shoppe. With 10 locations/drop-off points, they give Austinites opportunities to shop and do good all at the same time. Employment/empowerment programs assist the disenfranchised, the color-coordinated fashion displays help the style-impaired, and those reasonable prices help everyone! Goodwill's newly expanded Computerworks computer store is a welcome addition to the family. Tell Aunt Fanny you got it at Goodwill.

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 Used Book Store

Half the price, all of the quality. An Austin tradition and a place to unloadall your unwanted books, to make room for the new ones you won't be able toresist buying while you're there. And an Austin Chronicle tradition, as this place has swept this category for as long as it has existed!

Half-Price Books
3110 Guadalupe

Best Vintage Clothing

Our readers have loved the folks behind the Blue Velvet curtain enough to have voted them tops in the past. They must like the well-organized racks: Hawaiian shirts are with other Hawaiian shirts, Western snap-downs are hung with other Western snap-downs, Plaid pants - you get the picture. And the array! Whether you want to swing, two-step, lei down, or make up a look and mood to reflect your own personal style, Blue Velvet is a smooth place to put it all together.

Blue Velvet
217 W. North Loop

Best Western Wear Store

Git along little dogies, and steer yourself right on over to this bastion ofboot-scootin' hat-waving shoppin'. Fer real cowboys and cowgirls and those who just want to pertend, Shepler's has been selected more than once as the Austin locale for a full (home-on-the) range selection of western duds. They know this is where readers bring all o' them Yankee out-of-towners, 'cos they've got one of Austin's finest Texas-themed gift selections, to boot. And when you're edging out competition like Callahan's, Cavender's, and Under the Sun, son, you'd better be dern rootin' tootin'.

Shepler's Western Wear
6001 Middle Fiskville

Readers: Services
Critics: Architecture & Lodging

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