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  • Best Cigar Shop

    Red Cloud Fine Cigars and Tobacco

    Enter Red Cloud's walk-in humidor, perpetually set at a balmy 70-percent humidity, and your pores will open and inhale the earthen nuance. In other words, you'll soon smell like a stogie. But that's not a bad thing, especially if you're a fan of $60 Partagas 160s or the Fuente Fuente OpusX, which are only occasionally available and sell for around… More >>
  • Best Toy Store

    Toy Boat, Toy Boat, Toy Boat

    Locally owned and operated, Toy Boat (for short) carries the kinds of toys that get short shrift in the Xbox era. For parents interested in raising their children with slightly more thoughtful playthings, Toy Boat carries a wide range of well-made, stimulating and/or educational toys, re-emphasizing the brain in children's entertainment. With free gift-wrapping and free in-store assembly of trikes… More >>
  • Best Used Book Store

    Once Read Books

    Located in Long Beach's nearly hidden Parkview Village Triangle, Once Read Books seems to be going strong even as other local used-book stores are going the way of . . . well, functional literacy in general. Anaheim's Book Baron is closing its doors, and Long Beach's historic Acres of Books is next on the list, if the developers have their… More >>
  • Best Shooting Range

    Evan's Gunsmithing Shooter's World

    Range Master Pat Potvin says what sets Evan's apart from the rest is they won't just treat you like well-armed cattle. Flexibility is the key, Potvin says, and Evan's can help you do anything with a firearm within the limits of the law. That means patrons can buy custom-built assault weapons, and then test them out with hollow-point bullets. A… More >>
  • Best Dollar Store

    99 Cents Only

    The 99 Cents Only chain may have outlets around OC, but the best sits right next to OC Weekly Headquarters on Main Street in downtown Santa Ana. The long lines that greet the counter clerks daily (even at noon, when folks should be having lunch) stand as testament to the small fact that the locals know it, too. The massive… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Ass-Kicking Supplies

    OTM Fight Shop

    Bashing people's brains out with your fists, knees and elbows isn't just a hobby for assholes and short guys with an unscientifically diagnosed "syndrome" anymore; it's gone mainstream. And whenever something goes from underground to mainstream, you can bet there's an entrepreneur ready to capitalize. Nowhere is this more evident than at OTM Fight Shop, a retail store dedicated to… More >>
  • Best Smoke Shop

    Hi-Time Wine Cellars

    Part of the draw is the fact that Hi-Time is probably the county's biggest and best-known wine cellar and liquor store (see Best Liquor Store), which means you can always count on finding the right sherry, brandy, or aquavit to go with your stogies. But what really makes this the best smoke shop in the county is the huge, walk-in… More >>
  • Best Shoe Shop

    Rainbow Sandals

    Established in San Clemente by Jay "Sparky" Longley, Rainbow Sandals stands proud on its own two huaraches. Rainbow's flip-flops are guaranteed to last for life, and they are so freakin' comfortable you might just wear them forever. Longley started Rainbow sandals by assembling 15 pairs of the sandals per day out of his garage, bringing his creations to the 1974… More >>
  • Best Car Wash

    Checkered Flag Hand Car Wash

    Do yourself and your car a favor and say no to the mechanical drive-in car wash at the gas station. Sitting in line doesn't do much for sanity, and the rotating buffers will almost always scratch up your ride. The hand car wash is definitely the place to go for quality, and the ultimate hand wash experience can be found… More >>
  • Best Place to Waste Six Hours and Possibly Sprout a Pimple

    Cyber Cafe Express

    The Cyber Cafe Express doesn't actually have coffee, but it does serve up a huge bank of gaming computers, all of them with high-speed connections and loaded with the hottest, geekiest video games on the market. Bring some friends, then gun them down in the Star Wars universe or team up for some hot wizard-on-orc action in World of Warcraft.… More >>
  • Best Pawnshop

    Uncle Bob's Pawnshop

    There's an old saying that goes, "If it ain't been in a pawn shop, it can't play the blues." If a horn or a guitar is in a pawn shop, that instrument has likely followed one of two paths: It was either purchased for a child who simply grew tired of the pursuit and gave it up, or it once… More >>
  • Best Guy-Friendly Mall

    The Westminster Mall

    Let's face it, men, most modern-day malls are not for you. If they have stores specializing in anything other than female fashion, it tends toward the blah, metrosexual style. Remember how awesome malls used to be, when you could buy videos (what a concept, huh?) and cool man-stuff ranging from an obscenely shaped beer mug to a talking Freddy Krueger… More >>
  • Best Way to Make Your Car's Exhaust Smell Like Onion Rings

    Convert to bio-diesel at Beach Benz

    Stewart's is practically the last bastion of surf wax and other assorted surfing needs in Orange County. Owner Bill Stewart has been shaping and selling boards in Orange County for decades. His designs have not only had a wide influence in the world of all surfboard construction, but they have also basically defined the industry standard in longboard design. Go… More >>
  • Best Health-Food Store

    The Living Temple

    If you can get past the strange medieval architecture that characterizes the Old World Village shopping center in Huntington Beach, you're in for an unusual treat at the Living Temple, where you can munch on gogi berries or raw cacao while thumbing through the eclectic book and DVD collection maintained by owner and health guru Robin Arthur Jones. He's usually… More >>
  • Best Place for Musicians

    Gogo Guitars

    Well, let's face it: eBay is slowly putting everyone out of business. And that includes specialty music equipment shops. But really: You can't test out that '59 Fender Tweed Amp, or see if that Gibson Ripper really doessound like Rick Danko's online. And why is it going for a $2,000 Buy It Now price anyway? Meet Gogo Guitars, the Orange… More >>
  • Best Record/CD Store

    Fingerprints

    In this dire age of freeloading downloaders, crap major-label product (okay, some things never change) and clueless RIAA machinations (suing potential customers = bad policy, generally speaking), massive respect must go to any independent record shop that's still in business. Since 2003, about 2,700 music emporia have become defunct. So it is especially heartening to visit Fingerprints, which seems to… More >>
  • Best Skate Shop

    Liberty Board Shop

    Liberty may be pretty cozy inside, but the knowledgeable staff makes up for the cramped quarters. Unlike many other skate shops—or any other specialty shops, for that matter—the employees never exude that snotty you're-not-a-real-skater-and-I'm-better-than-you-anyway attitude: They are always friendly and helpful, whether you're a novice or pro. And as a bonus? Good music is always playing overhead.… More >>
  • Best Sex Shop

    Wicked Chamber

    Most adult shops throw the sex right in your face and make you feel dirty about it. It's common practice to display rows and rows of obscenely oversized appliances right over the $1.99 bin of discounted VHS tapes with the phrase "cream pie" in the title. Ick. Between the greasy guy behind the counter and the two-for-one anal-trainer sets, shopping… More >>
  • Best G-String Shop

    Strings By Judith

    Why bother with the overpriced delectables at Victoria's Secret when OC has its own 29-year-old G-string shop? Founded by Judith Hill and her husband, the small shop offers a slew of other naughty products but is best known for its line of "strings." The original designs are still made by the shop's three veteran seamstresses.… More >>
  • Best Book Store That's Not Open Anymore

    Book Soup

    You know how (mostly) everything in Orange County is a chain? Book Soup wasn't. (Well, their former "sister store" is located on LA's Sunset Strip . . . but that doesn't count anyway.) We mourn you, Book Soup. Not only did you always, always, always have great music playing—ranging from Gainsbourg to indie bands du jour, the perfect accompaniment to… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    Hi-Time Wine Cellars

    Even the mighty Beverages and More chain has nothing on this virtual mini-mall of vice under one roof. The claim to fame, as the name suggests, is an underground wine cellar some 3,000-square-feet in size that resembles a massive shoe store, with wine bottles on display instead of sneakers. There's a tasting bar, open in the afternoon, that occasionally goes… More >>
  • Best Place to Soil Yourself

    The Plant Stand

    Located around the corner from the Camp, the Plant Stand blends in with the crowd of other bland, concrete structures on a street of mainly office buildings and industrial warehouses . . . but don't let that fool you. Once inside, you'll discover that the huuuuge warehouse is full of indoor and outdoor nurseries housing thousands of different types of… More >>
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