Gorgeous antiquities of every conceivable form and function can be had between these two venerable establishments. Offering radically different approaches, Whit Hanks is a purveyor of polish and pedigree, while Uncommon Objects takes a more whimsical but always sophisticated approach to collecting. Uncommon is an integral part of the chic SoCo style, while Hanks is a star of the Central Design District organization.
1009 W. Sixth
For the second year in a row, our readers have picked the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport as the best place to get souvenirs. No kidding: The airport itself screams Austin from the Barbara Jordan Passenger Terminal's rafters with its live music stage, local food outlets (Amy's Ice Cream, Wok & Roll, the Salt Lick ... ), and retail featuring Austin and Texas themed T-shirts, fridge magnets, food stuffs, shot glasses, and the like. Nothing says "Wish you were here," and "Y'all come back now, y'hear?!" quite like our beloved airport.
The new store on Lamar is a work of art itself, and the window displays are just a glimpse of the chic interior. The racks read like a who's who of high fashion designers such as Jean Carl, Kenneth Cole, Diesel, and French Connection. By George also has a great sales racks with as much as 75% off for those of us who can't spend $100 on a shirt.
Austin Books gleefully touts the motto "Helping Austinites dispose of their income for over 20 years," and it's obvious that they are quite good at it. Along with comics, Austin Books is a purveyor of collectible games, trading cards, books, artwork, and movie posters at the physical location. Anything not in stock can be ordered by one of the knowledgeable and friendly sales people. They love to talk shop and perhaps will muse along over that age-old comic book question: Who is stronger, Superman or Spider-Man?
With two locations, a wide selection of reasonably priced software, and a focus on service, CompUSA has found a loving home here in Austin. It's built to serve both the computer novice and the extreme geek equally well, and their selection will satisfy both hardcore gamers and database administrators. Their Web presence isn't shabby, either.
This good old-fashioned drugstore has been the set for film scenes, the stage for first love, and a great place to grab a burger and a milk shake in Clarksville for ages. The pharmacy also sells gifts, candy, and some hard to find personal hygiene products. We love this place, and apparently, so do you. Plus, they have an ancient picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger pinned to the wall that is always good for a laugh.
Nau's Enfield Drug, 1115 W. Lynn, 512/476-1221
From the average computer user to small businesses to behemoth corporations, dell.com is ready, willing, and able to serve the needs of the consumer. Offering servers and storage, desktops and notebooks, networking, software, and support services, Dell is an important part of Austin's economy, and the e-commerce Web site is an important part of Dell's overall domain.
Since 1980, this firm has been Austin's answer to Ikea. With contemporary styling at reasonable prices, Eurway provides excellent transitional furniture for the student set and young homeowners.
From picture frames and whatnots at Emeralds, to Baccarat and Versace at the Cadeau, these two contestants run the gamut of gift-giving for all occasions. Whether for yourself, or others, each provides a vast selection catering to every taste.
Austin's Yang & Yin of the nesting set: On the Yang side, you got paint thinner, garbage cans, PVC, electrical tape, Swiss Army everything ... you know, your traditional hardware racket. On the Yin side, there are garden supplies, stoneware, silverware, shower curtains, and candles, candles, candles. With this open-minded approach toward exploring one's inner other side, no wonder Breed & Co. keep winning, year after year after year.
From fashion jewelry to fine jewelry, ankle bracelets to earrings, dichroic glass to diamonds and pearls, Clarksville Pottery has it all. For 25 years, their unique offerings have epitomized Austin style.
The law-abiding folks at the aptly (and deliciously) named Forbidden Fruit have been advocating healthy Austin sex lives and your God-given right to Get It On for the past 20 years. They carry an amazing, horizon-expanding array of educational items geared toward your sexual health at three locations: the Intimate Items & Educational Center on Neches; the Fetish Boutique on North Loop; and the Body Arts Salon on Sixth. God bless America, and God bless Forbidden Fruit!
As with other readers' choices, Twin Liquors is a widespread presence in Austin, making it possible for it to be your "neighborhood" liquor store. Twin Liquors does have one of the best wine selections in town, though - a lot of liquor stores don't. For that matter, a lot of other liquor stores don't have a selection of liquor, either. In particular, the Twin on Bee Caves has an impressive stock of those increasingly popular, single malt Scotches. Cheers.
1000 E. 41st, 512/451-7400
519 E. Seventh, 512/476-9982
8030 Mesa, 512/346-1861
3652 Bee Caves Rd., 512/327-0315
5505 Balcones, 512/323-2775
850 N. Bell Blvd., Cedar Park, 512/335-4244
12400 Hwy. 71 W., 512/402-0333
701 Capital of Tx. Hwy. S., 512/347-1299
Main office: 107 W. Stassney, 512/442-8395
Being voted best music business year after year as Strait has is really saying something in a town like Austin. Those in need of music equipment should go straight to Strait Music. Selling everything from synthesizers to Stratocasters, it is a one-stop music shop with an experienced sales staff and a dependable repair department. So whether you tickle the ivories or beat the skins, Strait is the place where musicians win.
Could also be called "Best Place to Spot an Out-of-Work Musician," as it is a favorite place to "store" equipment during the lean times. With friendly, professional service for sellers and astounding selection for buyers, Doc Holliday's provides everything a great pawn shop should, with no hassles and no attitude.
Doc Holliday's Pawn Shop/Cash America
611 S. Lamar
This beloved independent Central Austin stalwart is an endangered breed: a self-styled, non-chain, neighborhood center for all your pets' needs. From food to grooming, and excellent service, Bark 'n Purr offers just about everything -- including the best rhinestone collars in town.
From dirt cheap Red Barn to the gloriously extravagant Great Outdoors, these two winners offer an amazing selection between them. With knowledgeable staffs and good customer service, each has something very different to offer, and each offers excellent quality.
Red Barn Garden Center
12881 Pond Springs
Waterloo wasn't around when Austin was called Waterloo, but this perennial "BOA" Best Record Store winner has been a staple of music fans searching for Tex-o-centric recordings for the past 19 years. CDs are filed alphabetically, so don't be surprised to find Frank Sinatra side-by-side with the indie band of the week: This place doesn't segregate. Their top-50 list occasionally finds its way into Rolling Stone, and their in-store record release parties are popular with natives.
What does the name imply? Duh. Women. Yet Book Woman carries an impressive stock of books dealing with a whole host of non-gender related social issues such as classism, racism, and immigration. The children's book section deals with such issues as uncomfortable touch and sexism. Recently released books by Austin and Texas authors, a generous used section, and video lending library are among their other specialties.
Rack it up to good clothing selection! The well-heeled babes at Austin's Junior League gets kudos from our readers here and in Kids Clothing Resale (their second year in that category). So it's not just togs for tots that get the nod. Pick up a copy of their latest fundraising cookbook, Austin Entertains, while you shop. The League shares the crown with our venerable Goodwill, with their many convenient locations, weekly vintage auctions, and color-coordinated clothing racks.
Junior League of Austin Resale Shop
Cheapo moves so many CDs that they initially have to organize new incoming titles by the day they arrived. Regulars know that's the spot to check first. Of course, these "day" bins are heck to sort though, especially if you are looking for a specific disc. Fret not - once a few days pass, the CDs move through their natural course, and the ones that don't get snatched up in the first few days get filed alphabetically by artist. The variety blows the mind. And did we mention "cheap"?
Save yourself the work of sifting through rack after rack of thrift store threads and head straight to Blue Velvet. The 1960s dresses are to die for, and if you need big white go-go boots to go with it they'll sell or rent a pair to you. If you don't need any more dresses, they also sell menswear.
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