BEST WINE/LIQUOR STORE 2013 | Total Wine | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Size, selection, prices and location are our four chief concerns when it comes to choosing a liquor store, and Total Wine hits on all four cylinders. Don't let the name trick you into thinking it's a wine store, though the wine aisles are an oenophile's candy store. The beer selection is one of the best in town, and ditto for spirits. Frequent free classes, meet-and-greets and tasting events are excuses to go to this enormous booze-a-torium and, oh, as long as you're there you might as well pick up a bottle or two for the weekend. A relatively central and easy-to-access location makes it that much easier to pummel your liver while showing a bit of mercy to your pocketbook.

Ever wondered where all the best-dressed frontmen and -women in town buy their stage-wear? Well, we've bumped into several frequenting this 3,800-square-foot East Dallas vintage shop with arms full of clothes. With a wide range of sizes and styles to fit any look you're trying to put together – from a special soiree to your daily grind — you can always find something worth adding to your closet at Dolly Python. Owner Gretchen Bell signed the lease for the space located on one-way Haskell near Ross Avenue in 2005, and in the years since the spot's won dozens of awards from local publications. And we've given them titles ranging from "Best Vintage Wear" to "Best Vintage Shop" to "Best Source for Pack Rats." But what draws us back are the racks of hand-selected women's and men's clothing — from sequined gowns and Mad Men pencil skirts to pearl snaps and cowboy boots, plus loads of costume and custom jewelry.

At Dallas Camera anyone can indulge their inner photographer without dropping hundreds or thousands of dollars to snap some frames. And don't worry about pretentious attitudes found at some camera shops. Whether you're an amateur just starting to build your portfolio or a professional about to tackle your hundredth commercial shoot, the folks at the family-run camera rental shop have all your photo needs covered. If you need a 35-mm film camera or a top-of-the-line DSLR, Dallas Camera offers fairly priced rentals on cameras and everything most photographers will need to get a job done — from backdrops and lighting to lenses and Pocket Wizards.

Scoping out Milk and Honey's rapidly changing collection is inspiring for a few reasons. The shop has such reasonable price points you have no reason to doubt that you could, in fact, pull off those black leather hot pants with a fringe top — but do question whether or not you should. The buying is done so well at this boutique that you'll find clothes that seem made for you, many of which can actually fit a variety of body types. The biggest problem you have when leaving the dressing room is picking a favorite, which is refreshing when you've been through the retail wringer at the other usual haunts. Add on that the sales staff is not only helpful but genuinely looking out for you — eager to tell you how to dress up or down a look — and you wonder why anyone ever battles the mall gantlet.

Looking for the kind of mod leather couch upon which one should shag, not make love? Really, if you can swing it, Simply Austin has the clean lines and fundamental simplicity that interior designers salivate over. They have sleek acrylic chairs that are, by the way, totally transparent. They've got a sofa table made of clear, tempered glass, which you probably can't imagine ever placing a cup of coffee on. And they've got a sumptuous aluminum-framed coffee-brown rattan day bed. It's in the "outdoor" section, but it's so comely you'd be grateful if it were in your living room.

Letterpress isn't for everyone. Printing this way is a personal process, requiring time and attention to detail that is often lost in the digital age. But Lily Smith-Kirkley wouldn't want to do business any other way. Her one-woman company, Lilco, specializes in handcrafted branding, identity, stationery, wedding and collaborative efforts. From design to press, Smith-Kirkley will give you a one-of-a-kind badass product. This year, after winning $10,000 and a car through the national Scion Motivate award, Smith-Kirkley took the leap and left her day job to focus on Lilco full-time, so expect to be seeing even more of her work around town soon.

Your dog's got fleas, again. If he were a human, he'd be Perpetual Lice Kid, and you'd be The Mother of Perpetual Lice Kid. Sounds like it's time for a serious bath at Urban Dogg. This self-wash grooming headquarters costs $12.95 on weekends, which initially you might balk at. After all, he's a dog and garden hoses exist. But you live in an apartment, don't want your drains clogged with mutt hair cast-offs, hate chasing him around the bathtub and don't have one of those handy detachable nozzles. At Urban Dogg you harness your pup in what looks like an industrial kitchen sink with a drain-through bottom. The water is pleasantly warm and you can turn a dial to select from a few different shampoo options. Plus, there are a bunch of tools, like brushes, giant shop-vac-like blow dryers and yes, even a metal fine-tooth comb especially designed for flea removal. If you're not the DIY washing type, call ahead and schedule one of UD's ridiculously friendly groomers to do your dirty work. They won't judge you for hands-off parenting.

You could bathe your dog in the bathtub at home, then spend the next hour mopping water off the floor and plucking soggy fur from the drain. Or you can take them to Dirty Dawgz, hose them down in one of the walk-in tubs, then brush out a sweater's worth of fur and blow them dry. The staff will clip nails and clean ears at no cost. For those who can't face the chore booze-free, there's a wine night. Also, dogs get to bathe free on their birthday. Don't know your dog's birthday? Make one up. They don't check birth certificates.

Marie Tedei is a tireless advocate for the local food movement, and her words have the weight of a farmer behind them. Tedei is the person behind Eden's Organic CSA. Tedei is quick to mention that a CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture, is as much a relationship between the farmer and the customer as it is a transaction involving money and vegetables. As a member, you commit to a yearlong relationship with the farm. In exchange for your money Tedei puts together a basket of the seasonal vegetables when they are available, generally from October to July. Start and end dates vary from year to year because it's farming, not a factory. You can pick your share up on her farm in Balch Springs or at the Green Spot in Dallas.

Pittsburg, Texas, with its absurdly large pavilion bust of hometown chicken magnate Bo Pilgrim, is not the first place you'd expect to find a co-op dedicated to sustainable organic agriculture. But somehow, Comeback Creek Farm has managed to carve out a niche. You can find them sometimes at White Rock Local Market selling their excess carrots or kale, but the more reliable way to enjoy their bounty is to sign up for their community-supported-agriculture program. Pay for your share of the harvest in advance, then pick up every weekend at any of their numerous local drop-off locations.

This is where Whole Foods employees go when they decide their employer's too corporate. Rather than cater to soccer moms and organic-food faddists, the Colorado-based chain has clung to the unapologetic kookiness of the 1970s health food store. Care to engage in a spirited discussion on the relative merits of sprouted versus regular tofu? Curious about the immense health benefits of hemp seed oil, hemp seed milk and other hemp-derived products? Natural Grocers is the place to go. Even if you're not into any of that, it's a handy and affordable place to stock up on organic produce, pick up bulk nuts, grains and dried fruit, and soak up the health-food ambiance.



Curse you, Elements, for selling exciting, flattering looks by hard-to-find designers. And double curses for knowing exactly what from those collections would look perfect for exactly the right occasion. You're like ensemble wizards peddling thread-stitched wishes and you've cast a couture spell. From limited-run coats and dresses to decadent accessories, Elements keeps it pulled together showing designers from Australia, Europe and a few American cities, Dallas included. Well-ordered and affectionately displayed, there's a calming feeling when you step into the shop. That peaceful luxury only intensifies when those shop gals break down exactly what looks good on you — trust us, you'll want to take notes. You'll also want to take copies of your receipts to your accountant, just in case these investments are tax deductible.

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