Best Of 2016

Sometimes the best way to get things is to rely on the tried and true, and that’s why David’s Bridal still reigns supreme when it comes to wedding dress shopping. The very first David’s Bridal opened in 1950 and they currently operate three stores in the Cleveland area. Consultants at each store can help with what you have in mind for the perfect dress on the perfect day.

Multiple locations, davidsbridal.com.

Shops & Services

Stephanie Sheldon, Founder, Cleveland Flea
You love your pup, and if you could, you’d take your four-legged pal everywhere you go. Sadly, you have to work for a living. And that probably means long stretches when your buddy is home, just sitting there waiting for you. Which is why you need a dependable dog walker. Enter Pet Zeppelin, which is, in fact, a pet-related business and not some animal-pun-loving cover band. Friendly, safe, affordable and, for your dog during the day, the next best thing to you.

3015 Church Ave.,  216-970-2856, petzeppelincle.com.

Part of the Ohio City landscape long before the breweries on West 25th, Unique Thrift Store is exactly what it says it is: unique. Filled to the brim with housewares, clothing, books and trinkets, you’ll never know what you might find when you step through its doors. It’s the perfect place to shop for a Halloween costume, find a vintage T-shirt, or stock up on some necessary items in a pinch. The coffee mugs and ballcaps are primo, and half-price Monday is practically a local institution.  

3333 Lorain Ave., 216-631-0205, uniquethriftstore.com.

Big Fun regularly wins this category for good reason. Located in Cleveland Heights’ Coventry neighborhood, the store stocks a slew of hard-to-find toys from both the past and present. If you’re looking for Star Wars, Transformers and G.I. Joe figurines, the place has got you covered. Items stretching from floor to ceiling, and new toys come in daily. Need a whoopee cushion for a prank? Chances are, you can find it here. Playboy once named Big Fun, a place that comes off like a toy museum, one of the “coolest stores” in America.

1814 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216-371-4386,  bigfuntoystore.com.

When former Clevelander Chad Bilyeu, a guy who runs a multimedia studio based in Amsterdam that delves into art, music, nightlife and publications, needed a local outlet to sell one of his cassette-only releases, he hit up this record store/coffee shop/art gallery. The folks there were happy to help him out as they specialize in hard-to-find releases. Well-stocked with new and used vinyl (and cassettes, too, which also are making a comeback), Loop caters to the discriminating music fan.  And the best thing? You can shop with a hot cuppa joe in your hand.

2180 West 11th St.,  216-298-5096,  facebook.com/loopintremont.

That mess of a salad you’re calling a hair style could probably use a bit of upkeep. And that corner barber shop that charges $6 to hastily run some scissors through your mop ain’t gonna cut it. You need some styling, maybe some color, and probably a whole lot of other help, to be honest. Crazy Mullets is a full service salon (they do nails too) that keeps guys and gals looking sharp. And with locations on each side of the river, you can’t use that lame old excuse.

Multiple locations, crazymullets.com.

More than just a store, Spin serves as a meeting place where cyclists of all levels can gather to go on evening rides. Stocked with all kinds of bikes, including fat tire bikes and single-speed commuters, Spin has everything a cyclist could want. It even carries chamois cream made by Ohio-based Ritual, a company that produces their product in Ohio from real ingredients. Cleveland has a slew of great independent bicycle shops that cater to both the bike nerd and the ardent rider alike, so Spin had to beat out some serious competition to take top honors.

14515 Madison Ave., Lakewood,  216-521-7746, spinbikeshop.com.

Everyone likes wine — even if you sometimes sort of fake your way through it — but not nearly enough of us know a shred of anything about the stuff. Some of it is red, some’s white. It’s good! But the Wine Spot, which can look intimidating in its great and varied selection, is a wonderful place to go to learn more about this fine nectar. You can pick up an old favorite, but do feel welcome to stretch your vino muscles a bit and experiment with a bottle that either “looks cool” or comes with the employees’ well-earned recommendation. Then the best part: Go home and drink it.

2271 Lee Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216-342-3623, thewinespotonline.com

Repping your city is easier and more fashionable than ever with help from CLE Clothing Co. Their motto says it all: “Spreading Cleveland Pride One T-Shirt At a Time.” Founded in 2008 by two guys with a cool idea, the company now has 25 employees and stores downtown on East Fourth Street, at Uptown on Euclid, and at the Native Cleveland boutique in Collinwood’s Waterloo District. If online shopping is more your thing, they also have a virtual store filled with Cleveland goodies. Chose wisely, and let people know you’re proud of your city with just a single glance.

Multiple locations, cleclothingco.com.

No bullshit: This is the perfect place to rest your ash. In need of a quick box on the way home or a full-fledged evening escape? Cigar Cigars is sort of a dream shop, because you can achieve anything you want here. The employees are top-notch, and they’ll lend an educated hand to anyone in need of tobacco-related assistance. There may be quintessential moments in life that distinctly call for a fine cigar — graduations, poker night, etc. — but there’s never a bad time to light up a stogie. For those nights, and every night in between, Cigar Cigars is the best local outlet.

Multiple locations, restyourrash.com