Best Bicycle Shop 2021 | Bike Mart | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Courtesy of Richardson Bike Mart

It's been centuries since bicycles were first invented, and we're still waiting for a more practical replacement. Segways may have impressed us back in the day (before proving they were just for show), but bikes have always been dependable, allowing us to never have to worry about fluctuating gas prices. Whether you dream of competing in the Tour de France or intend to fill your bicycle's front basket with fresh flowers and pretend you're in a perfume ad, you'll find what you need at Bike Mart. The specialized shop has rare contraptions that cost more than your piece of crap car, and affordable bikes for those with simple tastes and riding needs. They also have a long list of services to keep you on your wheels.

Brady Littleton

Let's be honest, most of us buy our gifts one hour before we have to be at whatever party and stuff a bag with tissue paper in the car at the red lights on our way there. It's OK. It's the gift that counts. Read Between the Lines has moved to Legacy West after closing their Victory Park location and is still offering clever birthday cards, bath salts, coffee table books, chocolate, candles — all the best for that special person in your life you don't know too well to get what they really want. You can't go wrong with any of these things, though. The shop's specialty is stationery, and their notebooks are so perfect they might've inspired that film about that lady with dementia trying to remember her days with Ryan Gosling. We're not sure.

Success is 10 percent inspiration, 90 percent good hair. A signature haircut can take you from mere mortal to household name (just look at Farrah Fawcett, Jennifer Aniston, Anna Wintour and Dennis Rodman) and make you such an icon you can win the highest office in the world with absolutely no qualifications. You can keep super-cutting and great-clipping your hair or become envied and admired for no great reason, which is where Johnny Rodriguez's salons can help. The salons are high quality and specialize in color correction and services including makeup, microblading and lash tinting. To see Rodriguez himself is pricier, but cut and color with any of his hand-picked stylists are reasonably priced.

Sydney Dickerson

2021 is not going to go down in history for its fashion. Then again, defying all odds (and any measure of taste) the 2000s are making a comeback. While everyone is wearing the same ripped blue jeans and little white tee, you want clothes with personality. That's what you'll find at Beatnik: quality, distinctive pieces that are breezy-cool and modern, without falling into any niche era like a TikTok clone. The overall vibe is fancy hippie, a much more original version of chain Urban Outfitters, with housewares, jewelry and other accessories.

Best Liquor Store for Sophisticated Boozers


Leslee Lovos

Some of us became a more zen version of ourselves this year and picked up yoga and other healthy habits, but what really got us by was liquor. And picking our preferred brand of poison at a fancy store makes us feel more sophisticated than making a last-minute gas station run for boxed wine. That's why liquor store Biagio has become an endless source of personal happiness. The Victory Park spot has rare wines, artisanal liquors and other gems for real connoisseurs who know what really matters in life.

The Dallas store Dolly Python has made our list seemingly every year as a destination for vintage clothing, but we can't emphasize enough just how much weird shit there's also to be found among its booths. Every type of collector will find their personal brand of weird. From taxidermy inspired art to antique purses, cat-eye sunglasses to old photos, it's a spilling treasure trove of valuable, meaningful cool stuff, a perfect spot to find original gifts for your impossibly artsy friend who's normally unimpressed by anything material. Get that friend the fetal artwork that's on sale right now.

A long-standing Dallas institution, Utay was founded in 1930 when watchmaker Oscar Utay opened up shop on Main Street. The business was passed onto his son Eddie, and since his retirement it has been owned by Misti Gryder. The mom and pop store is now a female-owned and female-run business, a shining effort between Gryder and master jeweler Hailey Guild, who specialize in custom jewelry — making one-of-a-kind bits of luxury that are as exquisite as they are personable. It's also a great spot to repair your family jewels; the shop is all about legacy.

Getting married requires more than swiping right on the right person. You also need to be a wizard accountant and skilled event planner. That's why it's important to find a dress that's Marchesa-chic on a non-Marchesa budget. You'll do more than enough overspending on flowers. Though there's something for every kind of bride whether classic or boho, Lovely Bride is known for its modern bridal couture — no-frills, with flattering construction and tastefully sexy, because your pastor and/or grandma will be present. The store also stands out for its customer service. Salespeople aren't pushy (you'll get enough of that from parents pressuring you into inviting relatives you've never met), making at least part of your wedding planning stress-free.

Dallas has plenty of vintage stores to indulge your greatest style fantasies, but we're stuck on Rare Heart. The Oak Cliff store is a whole mood — a goldmine for timeless fashionistas, with plenty of That '70s Show-like costume finds (you know, vintage band tees, denim) and retro dresses for those outdoor picnics you've been meaning to throw to keep a social (distanced) life. But we left our heart on the racks that hold the store's best offerings: a selection of beautifully delicate slip dresses. Rare Heart is a bit pricier than your standard second-hand jumble sale of old clothes, but it's worth it for its excellent curation. These aren't merely clothes; they're investments that'll pay off from eternal wearing.

These days, there's only one style that matters to teens: anything '90s. (Yes, we refuse to acknowledge the early 2000s). Who would've thought that our worst looks — mom jeans and general Larry David vibes — would be all the rage again? Some of the decade's looks do hold up, though, and Lower Greenville's Buffalo Exchange is on it. If you're going for a Manson-inspired look (either Marilyn or Shirley) this is where you can find your Docs, platform black boots or plaid minis. The store's selection, of course, isn't only limited to the Sassy and MTV era, but you'll mostly only find only what's hot right now. You can also trade or sell your own clothes, as long as they're cool, of course. The kids approve.

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