BEST PLACE TO FIND A PAPER MÂCHÉ SNAIL
More akin to a party than a traditional craft show, Crafty Supermarket’s innovative and trendy market showcases crafts, trinkets and artwork by local and regional artists, who have all been through a juried selection process. The market provides a place for artisans to connect with consumers and educate the public about conscientious consumption and craftiness. Also, there’s always a DJ and food. Next show is April 27. Clifton Cultural Arts Center, 3711 Clifton Ave., Clifton, craftysupermarket.wordpress.com.
BEST CONTEMPORARY KIDS’ SHOP
The gift shop at the Contemporary Arts Center has loads of creative and well-designed goodies for adults, but their collection of children’s products is hard to rival. Educational, clever, witty and artistic, the gift shop’s products geared toward the little ones — such as their re-colorable placemats and uber bright topsy-turvy stacking blocks — definitely take a cue from the CAC’s UnMuseum, a gallery of interactive art commissioned by the museum and designed by first-rate artists to offer children and parents an innovative museum experience beyond learning stations. 44 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-345-8400, contemporaryartscenter.org.
BEST STORE TO FILM A DRESSING ROOM MONTAGE
What can we say about the incredibleness that is the House of Adam? Founded in 1955 and nestled in some prime downtown real estate, this men’s clothing store has a fantastic array of window displays boasting brightly colored suits, hats and crocodile shoes, all lining the walkway to the back-set front door. With the promise of finding unique and flare-filled outfits inside, who can resist the call of Adam? 622 Vine St., Downtown, 513-241-0542.
BEST FASHION-FORWARD VEGAN PURSE PURVEYOR
Not every vegan wants to carry a hemp tote. Luckily, Substance boutique’s collection of animal print clutches, brightly colored leatherette bags and faux-ostrich purses look and feel better than the real thing. And with a large selection of other sustainable clothing items mixed in with their own one-of-a-kind recycled “The Design Lab” collection (created by in-house designers using discontinued or overstock styles) and other trend-based stock, Substance is a must-stop on Main. It’s also the second Ohio location for the boutique, which has roots in Columbus. 1435 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-0545, shopsubstance.com.
BEST SELECTION OF CHARLEY AND EDIE HARPER ARTWORK
The family-owned and -operated Fabulous Frames and Art has been providing full-service custom framing services for more than 30 years, but they also happen to run the Charley Harper Store (charleyharper.com), which is the largest Charley Harper art dealer in the world. Charley, an Art Academy of Cincinnati graduate who went on to illustrate for the likes of The Golden Book of Biology, Ford Times and the National Park Service, was known for his highly stylized geometric reductions of wildlife, and Edie, his wife, was well-known for her whimsical depictions of cats and Christian imagery. Fabulous Frames offers a huge selection of both Harper’s seriographs, lithographs, giclées, posters and prints. They also offer a ton of other Harper merchandise, including iPhone cases. Multiple locations, fabframes.com.
BEST WAY TO SAY I’M THINKING ABOUT YOU
Try a greeting card from The Library Friends’ Shop at the main branch location of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. This gift shop, located on the mezzanine level, carries a ton of interesting products pertaining to the library, literature, Cincinnati and the surrounding area. There are great literary-themed products, geneaology materials, toys for all ages, Charley Harper and pig-themed items, new books, old books and a huge selection of beautiful greeting cards. Thoughtfully selected, the cards cover all the bases — birthday, sympathy, thank you — with special displays for holidays. With an intelligent, DIY aesthetic, there are no corny cards here; just funny, well-designed ephemera anyone would be happy to get in the mail. And all profits from the shop are used to help fund the activities and programs sponsored by The Friends of the Library, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the library make information and knowledge accessible to the communities it serves. 800 Vine St., Downtown, 513-369-6920, friends.cincinnatilibrary.org.
BEST WAY TO MID-CENTURY MODERNIZE YOUR HOME
Left Coast Modern is the newish décor depot for all things modern from the design era of the 1950s through the 1970s. An extension of their Florida warehouse, which wholesaled furniture, pottery and all things Mid-Century, LCM’s shop on Fourth Street has an ever-changing inventory of sought-after designers including Milo Baughman, Knoll Bitossi, Raymour, Paul McCobb and Dunbar furniture. Look for tulip tables, metal rod Diamond Chairs, Danish loungers, artwork, side tables, glassware and more. 323 W. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-288-2364.
BEST SEWING SPACE
Sewn Studio modern fabric shop and sewing lounge offers completely unique sewing supplies and fresh fabrics from designers such as Amy Butler, Tula Pink, Moda and others you won’t see anywhere else in town along with a large selection of monthly workshops for everyone from beginners to advanced sewers. Learn to make everything from quilts and clothing to bags and dolls or join a sew-in, where you can enjoy snacks, space and assistance with a project in their sewing studio. Studio time, which includes use of space, machines and tools, is also available when classes and events are not in session. 3212 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-321-0600, sewnstudio.com.
BEST PLACE TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT BAD EYES
Hip and friendly Holte Eyewear on Hyde Park Square stocks funky frames not found at optician chains. Ryan J. Holte knows just how far to push you out of your comfort zone while making shopping fun. He’ll even order in frames just so you — and he — can see how they look, without pressure to buy. With this service, you’ll feel like a celeb (and you might even spot one through your new lenses; we saw Bengals QB Andy Dalton stop in). Open daily, and there’s meter money on the counter if you’re out of change. 2727 Erie Ave., 513-321-4000, holteeyewear.com; Harper’s Point Eye Associates, 8211 Cornell Road, Suite 510, Symmes Township, 513-489-4000.
BEST PLACE TO SHOD YOUR PAWS
Morrison & Me owners Amy Gaudio-Morrison and Tim Morrison met when they were sales reps at BCBG and, as the website adorably states, that’s when they “decided to be a ‘pair.’ ” As the only exclusively haute couture shoe store in Cincinnati, Morrison & Me offers high fashion footwear and unique pedi-pieces at reasonable prices. You’ll find stock from House of Harlow, Jeffrey Campbell, All Black, TOMS, Frye and so many more that you’ll never need to shoe shop at the mall again. 2643 Erie Ave., Suite B, Hyde Park, 513-232-7463, morrisonandme.com.
BEST SUPPLY OF KIDS’ CLOTHES YOU WISH YOU FIT IN
When kids dress like tiny adults, it’s hilarious. And The Spotted Goose outfits kids of all ages — infant through 12 — in unique and trendy clothing, just like mom’s (or how mom wishes she dressed ... or at least how we wish we dressed). Upscale apparel, accessories, fabric teepees and more fill this store where parents and children can shop, play and learn. The Goose even offers a variety of classes and events such as sign language for babies in addition to their merchandise. 3048 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-351-9600, thespottedgoose.com.
BEST SECONDHAND FURNITURE FINDS
Legacies in Hyde Park Plaza has upscale furniture, accessories and unique art at resale prices. The inventory changes from day to day (or more like moment to moment) but it’s always a treat to see gently used furniture, home goods and jewelry displayed with the flair you expect from high-end vendors. And the best part is that all proceeds benefit the Cancer Support Community, a resource center providing free support services to cancer patients and their families throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. 3854 Paxton Ave., Hyde Park, 513-871-8899, legacies.biz.
BEST STATIONERY WITH STYLE
Poeme Stationary Boutique brings shoppers back to a time when personal correspondence happened over paper and pen instead of screen and keyboards.
The store carries a wide range of beautiful note cards, thank you cards, stationery sets, journals, planners and lovely, quality pens with which to write on them. Our favorite? The Retro 51 Tornado Monochrome collection stainless steel pen finished in bubblegum pink. They also have unique paper-inspired gifts along with whimsical wrapping paper. They even offer custom invitation design services. 3446 Michigan Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-4999, poeme-online.com.
BEST PLACE TO OUT YOURSELF AS A CRAZY CAT HUMAN
If you’re a cat lover and stumble into Oakley’s Confetti Cats, it might equate a certain amount of danger. They have oodles of cat paraphernalia, from cat figurines, cat mugs and cat socks to cat T-shirts for humans, and they also sell catnip and toys for your feline pals. The best part is they donate a lot of their money to shelters. 3184 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-533-9996, confetticats.com.
BEST MAVERICK BRIDAL BOUTIQUE
The Reading Bridal District and the shops and services of the Covington Wedding District have a monopoly on local matrimonial necessities. And while the all-in-one mentality is great, sometimes it’s nice to step away from the pack. Enter Amanda’s Hyde Park Bridal, the new specialty bridal boutique in the heart of Hyde Park — going literally where no bridal boutique has been before. As a graduate of DAAP who has worked for magazines such as Glamour and Elle, the owner, Amanda Topits, provides an exclusive selection of designers including Badgley Mischka Bride, Lillen Collection, Hayley Paige, Blush and more, with dresses ranging from $1,500 to $9,000. Each bride-to-be gets the royal treatment with the store all to herself and the staff’s undivided attention when she makes her individual appointment. And all appointments include special parking, champagne and cupcakes. A separate bridesmaids boutique is also available. 3319 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-1800, hydeparkbridal.com.
BEST PLACE TO DRINK NEAR SCISSORS
Parlour offers a modern twist on a typical hair salon as creativity blossoms throughout the industrial-esque space. A salon and gallery hybrid, you’ll find art, locally made jewelry/accessories and grooming all tied into one location. Services include customized haircuts, color, waxing, nail treatments and more, so take a look at some art or shop from your chair while you’re getting your highlights. And if getting your hair done isn’t relaxing enough? No worries, a complimentary cocktail is included with every service. FREE DRINK! 2600 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills, 513-961-4247, salonparlour.com.
BEST PLACE TO PREPARE FOR OUTDOOR ADVENTURE
Whether you need equipment for kayaking, camping, hiking, backpacking or other adventures, Roads, Rivers & Trails has the experience and equipment to help. RRT is owned by four young locals who live the life and stock stuff they know. They also took the storefront next door and made it Studio E, where they have classes in first aid, disaster preparedness, talks from local adventurers like a National Geographic expedition participant, as well as yoga, dance, etc. They also have a Green Umbrella team, a local campaign to move residents to adopt behaviors that will positively impact the environment. 118 Main St., Milford, 513-248-7787, roadsriversandtrails.com.
BEST SPLURGE-WORTHY BOUTIQUE
The Wardrobe in Madeira carries an impressive list of international and updated traditional designers: M Missoni, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Rebecca Minkoff, Red Valentino, Ted Baker London and many more. With a focus on luxury fashion, the prices are a bit steep, but the quality of clothing and customer service make up for it. They offer a full selection of apparel, shoes, handbags and accessories as well as personal styling and private appointments. All clothing is tailored, free of charge, and the owners wi ll schedule in-home and private appointments (and home delivery) if you can’t make store hours. They also offer advanced styling services with Wardrobe Therapy (wardrobetherapyllc.com), where stylists come to your home and work with you and your closet to reimagine your clothes for everyday outfits and special occasions. 6904 Miami Ave., Madeira, 513-271-4800, thewardrobecincinnati.com.
BEST COMPREHENSIVE BOUTIQUE FOR MEN
It seems like men are seeking the boutique treatment more and more these days, and flow: a shop for men is a simple yet sophisticated answer for the local gentleman. Carrying clothing and accessories from independent designers such as comune, DAAP grad Kristy Nguyen and awesome sock brand Richer Poorer as well as select handpicked vintage items and quality consignment, flow is a complete outfitter for the modern man. And with an economically designed, rugged-ish storefront, men will feel comfortable going out for an afternoon of shopping. 621 Scott Blvd., Covington, 859-291-3569, facebook.com/gentlemanflow.
BEST NO-FRILLS CAMERA SHOP
Established in 1975, K&R Photographics was one of the first high-end digital professional suppliers in the country. Built upon a foundation of integrity, they sell the newest and most trusted equipment and offer dependable service; they never sell gray market or alternative import items. Along with selling new and used products (covered by the manufacturers’ warranties and K&R’s experience), they also rent studio space, lights, grips and other assorted equipment and offer independent consultation services to help with digital workflow and color management problems. 538 Terry Lane, Fort Mitchell, Ky., 859-341-6986, krphotodigital.com.
BEST DECADES-OLD ANTIQUE MARKET
Ten minutes south of Cincinnati, you’ll find the Burlington Antique Show, the Midwest’s premier antiques and vintage collectibles only show. With more than 200 antique dealers peddling architectural salvage, old books, furniture, antique jewelry, glassware, military items, vintage toys, basketware, cooking utensils and a whole lot more, it’s no wonder the market was recently featured on PBS’ Market Warriors. With all the time it takes to wander around the indoor/outdoor booths, factor in a food stop. There are food booths dotting the market expanse serving up yummies such as country ham sandwiches and pulled pork BBQ, as well as Hawaiian ices and freshly popped popcorn. Held the third Sunday of the month April-October; $5 admission. 5819 Idlewild Road, Burlington, Ky., burlingtonantiqueshow.com.
BEST HAND-SEWN DENIM FOR DUDES
Every man wants a pair of hand-sewn, quality jeans — even if he doesn’t know it. And that service and expertise is what NOBLE Denim provides. Each pair of jeans is handmade and tailored for the person who wears them. Founder, creative director and jeansmith Chris Sutton sets his brand apart by using organic, reclaimed and responsibly sourced American-made materials to craft his jeans. And by focusing on producing quality and sustainable denim rather than on production costs, he’s able to create ethical, small-batch jeans with an emphasis on the product, not the bottom line. 2929 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, 513-560-5640, nobledenim.com.
BEST HOMEMADE MAKEUP YOU DON’T HAVE TO MAKE AT HOME
Handmade, hand-mixed and hand-selected cosmetics ensure high-quality bath and body products at Blink Makeup Studio. Defying rules and limits, owners Niki McClanahan and Megan Kelly believe the number of combinations and colors you can create with cosmetics are endless. Blink takes pride in offering all-natural ingredients to create customized beauty and bath products based on your personal tastes and color preferences. Northside International Airport, 4029 Hamilton Ave., Northside, email@example.com.
BEST ONE-STOP LOCAL HANDMADE SHOP
Sometimes buying stuff off of Etsy is irritating because you have to wait for delivery and pay for shipping, but, happily, Fabricate has taken those two elements out of the equation. The boutique and gallery hybrid focuses on carrying local unique and handmade/upcycled items and art in their Northside storefront. With products including jewelry, clothing, stationery, accessories, soap, housewares, plush, furniture, lighting, prints and more from your favorite local artisans,
Fabricate makes shopping local easy. 4037 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-407-6057, fabnorthside.com.
BEST HISTORIC GREENHOUSES
For five generations, the A.J. Rahn Greenhouses have been providing Cincinnatians with annuals, indigenous perennials, houseplants, culinary herbs, vegetables and fruits plants. Open year-round, each plant is grown on location — including the rose bushes, which are grown from roots — in the property/family’s 10,000 square feet of traditional, historic glass greenhouses, which shoppers are free to wander. See the plants’ growing progress firsthand and get lost in the maze-like wonderland of Victorian-esque glass. 4944 Gray Road, Northside, 513-541-0672, ajrahngreenhouses.com.
BEST PLACE TO FIND PABST BLUE RIBBON IN A BOTTLE
As tenured bartenders, the owners of The Listing Loon, Beth Harris and Dave Mikkelsen, have a vast working knowledge of specialty beer and wine and have hand-selected the vino and microbrews that line the shelves of their Northside carryout. Opened to satisfy their own desire for a place that carried the kind of beers they wanted to drink — for Harris, it was Pabst Blue Ribbon in a bottle — The Listing Loon carries beers they like and are familiar with, as well as beers they know their customers want to drink; part of the driving force behind the selections at the store are customers’ suggestions and requests. And now they even carry wine. 4124 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-542-5666, listingloon.com.
BEST RESIDENT DOG IN A SHOP
Looking through the glass front door of Atomic Number Ten, you can catch a flash of caramel and white and a pinkish nose out of the corner of your eye. And that waggy flash is Scout, owner Katie Garber’s sweet, loyal and adorable furry companion. Scout hangs out in the front of the store by the collection of vintage boots or on the welcome mat, waiting to greet passers-by and for a daily treat from the mailman. Scout might be a secret ploy to get people to stay and shop Atomic’s stock of vintage for “him, her and home” a bit longer, making customers more likely to buy, but with that wiggly butt and a love of tummy rubs, we certainly don’t mind. #scoutlove. 1306 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-226-0252,
BEST DRESS UP BOX FOR ADULTS
Looking for a consignment shop with vintage items at reasonable prices? Maybe items that lean heavily toward psychedelic colors, flashes of sequins and nostalgic trends while maintaining a fashionable sensibility? Check out Chicken Lays an Egg in Northside, where the majority of items are $5-$25. You’ll find a colorful, eclectic mix of just about everything at this store, including apparel, jewelry, board games, shoes, toys and more. As one shopper said, “Chicken Lays an Egg is what it looks like in John Waters’ brain,” and don’t we all want to go to there? 1608 Chase Ave., Northside, 513-834-9268.
BEST WAY TO REP OHIO
In 2009, designer/DJ/businessman Floyd Johnson began printing his trademark “Ohio Against the World” T-shirts as an appropriation of a Nike slogan — “Brooklyn Against the World” — in order to respond to and affirm the capability and creativity of those of us in the Midwest. His street style brand has since expanded/exploded to include oversized tank tops, leather caps and sweatshirts that play off other brands and designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Givenchy, Chanel and Hermes. The latter influence brought his brand to the attention of Pop star Rihanna, who has been photographed out and about by paparazzi wearing her OATW Hermes-inspired hat. (Johnson mimicked the fashion house’s Collier de Chien gold spiked hardware and affixed it to a leather hat.) He was also recently featured in Jet magazine and a publication in Japan. So Ohio’s not only against, but also all around the world. oatw-usa.com.
BEST PLACE TO FIND A STATUE OF BUDDHA
An exotic storefront in the heart of Over-the-Rhine, The Little Mahatma is full of artifacts, jewelry and folk art from far-off lands. Open for more than 20 years, the ownership has recently changed hands but that won’t change the heart of the store. Inside you’ll always find religious notions from the world’s traditional cultures such as miniature wooden figurines of Ganesh, hamsa amulets and Our Lady of Guadalupe paintings. You’ll also find beautiful metalwork, colorful hangings, an excellent selection of turquoise and amber and any other exotic find you desire. 1205 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-723-1287, thelittlemahatma.com.
BEST GLOBAL FABRIC SUPPLY
St. Teresa Textile Trove is a fabric supply source that carries Mexican oilcloth, mud cloth, African cotton prints, batik and other uniquely patterned fabrics along with buttons, beads (vintage, German glass, hand-dyed bone), workshops and a fun quilt pack of the month club. Join the club to receive quilting fabric and coordinating embellishments (beads, buttons, etc.) themed by color, pattern, country of origin, designer, company or season. Pendleton Art Center, 1310 Pendleton St., Pendleton, 859-380-2833, sttheresatextile.com.
BEST LETTERPRESS AND DESIGN
Steam Whistle uses carefully restored vintage letterpresses, such as their 1891 Chandler & Price printing press, to print their full range of custom designed invitations, stationery, announcements, art pieces, business cards, posters, notebooks and more. With more than 100 cases of wood and lead type, this print shop is on point in catering to today’s interest in a blend of historic and contemporary. They also offer workshops for those who want to learn how to handset type to create print media such as wood type postcards, letterpress business cards and broadside posters. 1342 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-621-6800, steamwhistlepress.com.
BEST DUDES MAKING STUFF
The Losantiville design collective brings together a diverse group of people to share space, tools and a storefront showroom in Over-the-Rhine. Inside the storefront, you’ll find any number of members from the following budding businesses toiling away: Such + Such, Dixon Branded, Ampersand, The LaunchWerks, Chris Heckman and Ian Keller. All members work creatively to blend function, design and innovation in all of their products ranging from wood clocks to cardboard wall pockets to lighting sculptures. 1311 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-214-7732, losantivilleltd.com.
BEST PLACE TO MEET OTHERS WHO ENJOY COST-EFFECTIVE SUNDAY MORNING WINE TASTINGS
After meeting wine representatives at his part-time job in a liquor store in college, Michael Maxwell was hooked. He moved to Cincinnati and worked in the wine department at Party Source before opening Market Wines at Findlay Market. Maxwell provides a relaxed, bar-like feel to his shop of more than 500 wines and variety of beer from around the world. Market Wines also offers everyone’s favorite $5 weekend wine tastings. Maxwell and his staff never over-describe the vino and you’re likely to run into some local politicians, musicians, bartenders, writers and other well-known people along with some new friends. Findlay Market, 128 W. Elder St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-744-9888, findlaymarket.org/merchants/market-wines.
BEST BASEMENT IN WHICH TO WILLFULLY DRAIN AWAY AN HOUR OR THREE
Another Part of the Forest is a used record/bookstore on Main Street in the thick of Over-the-Rhine (a couple doors down from Iris Bookcafe) that’s really easy to miss. It’s totally dingy inside and there’s no semblance of any kind of organization, which gives it a lot of charm. Prices are really reasonable and the basement is literally overflowing with vintage, hard-to-find magazines and books. There’s a little area with a couple of stools so you can plop down and soak in everything around you. Reminds us of something the High Fidelity dudes would appreciate. 1333 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/anotherpartoftheforest.
BEST PLACE TO KNOCK ON WOOD
Brighton Exchange is a contemporary furniture and accessories brand handcrafted by Hayes Shanesy and Rosie Kovacs, the team behind design studio the Brush Factory. Their wood works of furniture and household items are more like works of art because of the material-focused, simple, sustainable and functional approach they take toward craftsmanship. Everything they make is handmade with heart and the appropriate amount of time; there is no mass production. Taking orders for individuals and businesses, Brighton Exchange recently completed a custom order of walnut serving boards for the new Brooklyn bar, Tørst. Popular items in their online store include maple coffee scoops; maple and cork Bottle Rocks, which are reusable wine stoppers; and beautiful white oak tabletop valets to use to display or store linens. 1102 Harrison Ave., Brighton, 513-703-3494, brighton-exchange.com.