Best of Seattle: Shops and Services

Best Women’s Wear Designer: Mark Mitchell

In the past, Mark Mitchell’s designs have been over-the-top fabulous and flirtatious, borrowing concepts from his costuming education and background. With layers of tulle, yards of satin, massive feather accents, boldly girlish colors, and curve-hugging silhouettes, Mitchell’s work looks like a showgirl’s dream closet. With ... more

Best Game Maker, Analog: University Games

Seattle is a city of gamers, so it is no surprise that University Games was founded here in 1985. Started by lifelong gamers Bob Moog and Cris Lehman, University Games creates games for all ages that are both educational and socially engaging. They’re perfect for families and beginner gamers, but are not watered down ... more

Best Headstones/Monuments: Lundgren Monuments

Morbidly enough, perusing through Lundgren Monuments might make you a little excited to die. Unsatisfied with the “shocking amount of mass-produced, poorly conceived, and plain ugly designs” in the death-care industry, Lundgren Monuments committed itself to producing beautifully designed headstones and ... more

Best Gaming Store: Card Kingdom

Located near the heart of Ballard, Card Kingdom offers a huge selection of board games, ranging from family games to more intricate ones for the experienced gamer. Now you might be saying to yourself, “But I can just buy my board game online; why would I drive all the way to Ballard?” To that I say, “Clearly you’ve never ... more

Best Bookstore Chain: Kinokuniya

With its shelves packed to bursting, Kinokuniya is like the Mr. Creosote of bookstores: Just one more Haruki Murakami, you think, one more pink-covered tween fashion mag, and the place might explode. Tucked into a corner of the Uwajimaya complex in the ID, it’s an outpost of Japan’s largest bookstore chain ... more

Best Bike Shop: 20/20 Cycles

20/20 Cycles over in the Central District is an adorable shop full of exceedingly helpful employees. It’s also exceedingly badass. Shop owner Alex Kostelnik wasn’t content just selling bikes, so he decided to make his own damn bike. Kostelnik designed the “Sealth,” named after the Washington State Ferry of the same name ... more

Best Comic Shop: Zanadu

Superheroes are always looking out for the little guy. Zanadu does its best to imitate the heroes who populate the pages of its comics by doing the same. For indie comic-book artists and publishers, Zanadu offers some incredible deals. Accepting local comix with open arms, the Belltown-based shop offers consignments with ... more

Best Novelty Goth Shop: Gargoyles

A romantic tableau greets you in the front window of Gargoyles on the Ave: one skeleton on bended knee proposing to another. It’s always Halloween at Seattle’s prime emporium for goth decor, and the crumbled leaves scattered underfoot add to the autumnal atmosphere. Crammed like a macabre curio cabinet mostly with ... more

Best Hardware Store: Pacific Supply Co.

Recently I went into Pacific Supply Co. to buy some giant 2x4’s with the intention of turning them into sawhorses for a project I was working on. When I asked the man at the front desk a) how I should saw the wood and b) where I could find a saw, he realized I might need some help. He took the wood to the corner of the store ... more

Best Musical Instrument Store: High Voltage

It’s bewildering that it took as long as it did to put a music store in the Pike/Pine corridor. In a neighborhood where you can’t throw a happy-hour hamburger without hitting a musician, Capitol Hill is full of scuzzy long-haired shredders who probably break more than their fair share of strings. Enter High Voltage ... more

Best Mall: University Village

“The shopping mall is dead, bricks-and-mortar retail is over, Amazon has killed the shopping 3 mall.” So goes the conventional wisdom. Then you go to University Village, which is busier and more thriving than any other retail district in the city. Another new parking garage is being erected, and for good reason. Originally ... more

Best Contemporary Clothing Store: Craft & Culture

Favoring an edgy, gothic-chic aesthetic, Craft & Culture has done a stellar job of amassing a selection of brilliant independent designers, both local and international, in the short year and a half it’s been in operation. C&C’s founders, Jason Parker and Hana Ryan Wilson, cite their relationships with independent designers who ... more

Best Pop-Up Market: ArtAche

Walking through the doors of Chop Suey for ArtAche on the first Sunday of the month guarantees discovery. Delicate feather hair accessories, heavy chain-mail opera necklaces, and dangly earrings adorned with glittering gold teeth are just a small sampling of the handmade items available for purchase. The artists are close ... more

Best Vintage/Thrift: Lucky Dry Good

Looking for a pair of vintage ropers? An authentic airbrushed “spirit animal” T? A great floor-length ’70s sundress? Look no further than Caryn Cook’s Lucky Dry Goods, with locations in Ballard and the U District, furnished with only the finest retro threads. Styles range from “the 1800s to the early 1990s” and incorporate ... more

Best Move, Retail Division: Silver Platters

It wasn’t the Spartan, warehousy utilitarianism of Lower Queen Anne’s Silver Platters that gave it its irresistible pull, but the fact that it boasted the best classical CD department in town. I know, given the dire news you’ve heard about the recording industry, that that sounds like an accolade on the order of “world’s ... more

Best Pawn Shop: Barney’s Jewelry and Loans

Ensconced in a cubbyhole at the back of Barney’s Jewelry and Loans, owner Barry Steinberg takes out a file of pictures from the pawn shop’s early days. When exactly the pictures date from is hard to say. But as Steinberg, cousin of founder Barney Robbins, points out, the listed prices for food, which the store then served ... more

Best Dollar Store: Daiso

For us cheapos, the goods on offer at the Daiso—or Japanese dollar store, with locations at Westlake and in the International District—are simply nicer than the yellowed wrapping paper and plastic doodads that fill American-born stores. Ironically, most of the items are made not in Japan, but, as at the standard dollar store ... more

 
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