Cleveland’s Best Shops
Best Used Vinyl Shop: When a shop features a cat named Vinyl, it must take music seriously. Fortunately, the friendly folks at Music Saves (15801 Waterloo Rd., 216/481-1875, www.musicsaves.com, Tues.–Thurs. 2–10 p.m., Fri. 2–11 p.m., Sat. noon–11 p.m., Sun. noon–6 p.m.) are serious only about the selection of used indie rock. About everything else they are refreshingly genial.
Best Place to Discuss Kerouac: Visible Voice Books (1023 Kenilworth Ave., 216/961-0084, www.visiblevoicebooks.com, Tues.–Fri. 2–10 p.m., Sat. noon–10 p.m., Sun. 12–8 p.m.) owner Dave Ferrante can discuss Boho lit with the best of them. And because his shop is just 2,200 square feet, he likely has the time and inclination to do so.
Easiest Place to Buy a Hostess Gift: If it’s cheesy postcards you seek, Banyan Tree (2242 Professor Ave., 216/241-1209, www.shopbanyantree.com, Mon.–Wed. 11 a.m.–7 p.m., Thurs.–Sat. 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–4 p.m.) will likely disappoint. But if you’re looking for home-decor gifts that will be appreciated and adored, this modern boutique will make short order of your gift list.
Weirdest, Wackiest, Nerdiest Novel-ties: Coventry Road has always been home to eccentrics, and thanks to Big Fun (1814 Coventry Rd., 216/371-4386, Mon.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–7 p.m.), those wack-doodles have a shop to call their own. For decades, Big Fun has tickled us silly thanks to its cosmic collection of vintage toys, campy gifts and nerd-approved clothing.
Best Place to Sweat: Apart from the neighborhood around it, little has changed at the Russian-Turkish Baths (E. 116th St. and Luke Ave., 216/561-0578, hours vary; Oct.–June) since it opened in the late 1920s. Known simply as “the Schvitz,” this is where in-the-know men come to steam, sweat, kibbutz, and eat steak.
Best Shop for your Drama Queen Teen: Nicky Nicole (28601 Chagrin Blvd., 216/464-4411, www.nickynicole.com, Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Thurs. until 8 p.m., Sun. noon–5 p.m.), an oh-so-hip kids’ boutique, sells merchandise for girly girls, fashion mavens, and drama queens. With tie-dyed tees, designer jeans, and hot bags, tweens will be in glam heaven.
Best Place to Mortify Your Pet: Pet-Tique (10906 Clifton Blvd., 216/631-2050, www.pettique.com, Sun. 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m., Mon. 3–8:30 p.m., Tues.–Fri. 11:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m.) carries all matter of ridiculous doggie duds, making it super easy to embarrass the little ones. Of course, most of the giggles will be directed toward the other end of the leash, especially if the outfits match.
Fanciest Multiplex: Most malls are as unique as a McDonald’s hamburger. But Eton Chagrin Boulevard (28601 Chagrin Blvd., Woodmere, 216/591-0544, www.etonchagrinblvd.com, hours vary by shop and restaurant) is loaded with scores of independent fashion-forward shops that are found nowhere else on the planet, and the national stores that are here are actually worth checking out.
Best Chocolatier: Willy Wonka has nothing on Amanda Montague. At her urban confectionary emporium, Lilly Handmade Chocolates (761 Starkweather Ave., 216/771-3333, www.lillytremont.com, Tues.–Sat. noon–7 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–2 p.m.), she crafts delicious works of art from fine chocolate and fresh ingredients. Handmade truffles, bars, and candies all seem to come with a golden ticket.
Best Source for New-Old Things: The folks at Reincarnation Vintage Design (7810 Lorain Ave., 216/651-9806, Sat.–Sun. noon–5 p.m.) don’t just resell old stuff, they transform it into cool new home furnishings. Visit this two-level New York–style loft showroom to see what’s currently on display.
© Douglas Trattner from Moon Cleveland, 1st Edition