Best Video/DVD Store 2002 | Blockbuster | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

What? How can the Dallas Observer give Best Video Store to Blockbuster, that evil, excessive-late-fee-charging corporate Godzilla? Simple. For one thing, convenience counts, and we don't have to explain why this company edges out its competitors on that note. Sure, Premiere Video, which has owned this award since 1907, has a better, more eclectic selection. But not everyone lives off Mockingbird Lane, we have to remind ourselves, and convenience does count. While it may be true that Blockbuster recently fought off complaints about its late-fee policy, at least you can still rent videos that don't have to be returned the next day. And you have to give the Dallas-based company credit for evolving: Although the store still focuses on the latest blockbusters, its new releases now include a much broader selection of independent films. If you missed that Spanish thriller that was recently playing at the Angelika, chances are good you can now rent it at Blockbuster.

Tucked away in a little shop next to the Hong Kong Market, P.J.'s Salon isn't hip or swanky, and it isn't expensive or pretentious, either. They won't offer you white wine and cheese, but they will give you a good haircut that's cheap and fast. And if you need more than a haircut, P.J.'s can also give you perms, colors and highlights. Don't be afraid to bring in pictures of your desired styles, either. You may not leave with J. Lo's booty or Britney's belly, but you can have their hair. Fave stylist Ming has been known to work wonders. And another plus: Next door there's a pretty decent Asian restaurant that's used to salon traffic. So if you get the munchies while you're waiting for that perm solution to kick in or for your dark brown locks to go blond, give this place a try. They won't care about the plastic cap on your head or the 45 foil pieces protruding from your scalp.

Do they have the best prices, the best selection, the best trade-ins? We're too busy hunting down baddies in Max Payne to take the time for a survey. We just shop here. A lot. Why? Discounts and variety are part of the reason, but what we like best is the fact that the clerks are players, too. Want to know which of the latest half-dozen NFL games deserves your 50 bucks? Ask the guy behind the counter. Chances are he's played most of them, and when you're checking couch cushions for change to feed your gaming jones, that kind of firsthand advice is invaluable. They also stock new, used and refurbished consoles and a slew of accessories at their 90-plus metroplex stores, as well as DVDs, including the occasional rare anime feature. Become a member of their Game Informer club and earn another 10 percent discount over already marked-down prices. You might just save enough to buy the jumbo bag of Chee-tos.

Not since Annie Sprinkle and Tim Miller graced the stage at Kitchen Dog Theater has there been such an outpouring of LOVE for the bedroom behaviors of all sorts of alternative lifestyles. New Fine Arts East has the best a big city can offer in gay-porn videos, DVDs, magazines, lubes, toys, costumes and games. Look carefully for single servings of "video-head cleaner."

This cool little hole-in-the-wall in the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff sells quality cigars, vintage smoking accoutrements and what has to be the most complete selection of rare and select drinkable (as opposed to collectible) soda pop on the planet. Their brand list of cold drinks is waaay too long to repeat here, but it includes A&W Root Beer in rare longneck bottles, A.J. Stephens Root Beer and Birch Beer, Baron's Boot Hill Sassparilla, Big Red in the 10-ounce original heavy glass bottles, Blenheim Red Hot Ginger Ale, Frostie Blue Cream, Henry Weinhard's Orange & Cream and Vernors Ginger Ale in longneck glass. Did we mention Moxie Original Cola Elixir? And dozens and dozens more. It ain't cheap, but if it's the taste you crave, Ifs Ands & Butts is the deal.

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