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Best of Nashville 2011: Home, Goods & Services Writers' Choice

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Super ’Villian

BEST PLACE TO GET AN OLD-FASHIONED SHAVE: MICHAEL MARTIN AT PARLOUR & JUKE
Ten years ago, when Michael Martin was still a touring bass player, he'd cut his bandmates' hair for fun.

"I enjoyed it, but I never considered going to cosmetology school," he says. "It seemed so girly."

Barber school was another story. After graduating from Genesis Career College in Lebanon, Martin joined the team at Parlour & Juke, the newish salon in Cannery Row where members of The Black Keys and the Third Man Records crew stop in for services.

The Louisiana native specializes in traditional haircuts, beard trims — "Nothing drastic: If it's too neat, it looks prissy" — and most notably, straight-razor shaves. The old-school style of de-whiskering has become increasingly rare in Nashville over the past decade, and until Martin began welcoming clients into his antique barber's chair, was virtually impossible to find practiced by someone under 60.

It helps that Parlour & Juke, with its pleasantly twisted take on classic Americana decor — think weird taxidermy, weathered flags and vintage rock posters — isn't a typical beauty shop.

"I can invite guys to come in for a shave and not worry that everything's going to be pink with techno music playing," Martin, 31, says of P&J's cool vibe and hip clientele. "It's pampering, but in the manliest way possible." LIBBY CALLAWAY


BEST FREE RIDE: MUSIC CITY CIRCUIT
There's no such thing as a free lunch, but there is such a thing as a free ride to lunch — and if your target meal is anywhere near downtown, hopping on the Music City Circuit bus is arguably your best bet. We at the Scene are lucky enough to have a stop for the Green Circuit (one of three downtown routes) less than a block from our office doors, but we'd gladly walk further to take advantage of the service, which runs a loop about every 15 minutes, takes the grind of parking out of the equation and, just as importantly, lets you sit back and watch the city go by. STEVE HARUCH

BEST THRIFT STORE: SOUTHERN THRIFT
High above the Charlotte Pike location of Southern Thrift is a neon sign featuring a radiating sun and the tagline "Just tryin' to make ends meet," shining like a beacon to Nashville thrifters. Southern Thrift is a longtime local favorite for many reasons, including the daily half-off specials and the clip-and-save coupons that run in fine publications like this one. But the thing that keeps folks coming back is the selection, which ranges from chic (Pucci nightgowns, Prada pumps) to freak (weird folk art, pottery projects gone bad-wrong) with plenty of old coffee makers and Herb Alpert albums in between. LIBBY CALLAWAY

BEST CLOTHING SHOP CO-OWNED BY A RAPPER: LOVE IS EARTH
"I grew up skateboarding and listening to hip-hop, and that's what shaped my world," says The Purple Monk, part-owner of the Church Street urban boutique Love Is Earth. He adds that he helped start up the Nashville outpost (there's another shop in Boone, N.C.) in order to "bring true street-wear fashion to Nashville, as well as building with the community and culture." The Purple Monk (not an actual monk) is also a member of the group/label Ziggurat, which has commanded stages all around town with rapid-fire rhymes and energy to burn, including an appearance at this year's SoundLand festival. So if you're looking for box-fresh threads — including brands like Mishka, HUF and Rockmith — served up by dudes who walk the walk, this is your joint. Oh, and another hint that the store is legit: DJ Kidsmeal works there. STEVE HARUCH

BEST ROCK 'N' ROLL HAIRSTYLIST: CHELSEA NICHOL
Finding the perfect hairstylist is harder than finding the perfect mate. (Hairstylists are also harder to break up with.) Those who have found themselves in Chelsea Nichol's capable, artistic hands know they've got a good thing going. Nichol — who looks like she should be fronting a band, or perhaps dating the guy who does — is a sheer genius with cut and color. She'll suggest a style you haven't even thought of, won't let you tread down the wrong path, and will always leave you feeling infinitely cooler. The conversation is pretty exceptional, too. ABBY WHITE PLACHY

BEST DENTIST: KATHERINE HALL, DDS
In the heart of downtown Nashville, in the old Doctors' Building, you'll find one of the city's best-kept secrets in dentistry. Katherine Hall is the kind of dentist you hope for, a genial pragmatist who doesn't turn a diagnosis into a sentencing. She's got a deft hand with sharp, pointy things and a killer wit. One of the many Nashville dentists who volunteers with the Interfaith Dental Clinic (a wonderful group helping the city's most endangered teeth), Hall has a lively office, a great staff, and an unswerving dedication to making your teeth look and act their best. JASON SHAWHAN

BEST COMBINATION GUITAR SHOP AND VINTAGE BOUTIQUE: FANNY'S HOUSE OF MUSIC/DIAMOND STAR HALO VINTAGE
What's better than a guitar shop and a vintage boutique in one? Nothing. Fanny's is a little piece of East Nashville synergy, where you can get your groove on trying out basses and guitars, and also get your style on trying out pristine vintage finds from Diamond Star Halo. They stock men's and women's clothing, so everyone can look good whatever the occasion. Fanny's is lady musician-owned, and they also offer lessons for anyone who needs or wants them. JO-JO JACKSON

BEST ECO-FRIENDLY BUSINESS IDEA: NASHVILLE FOODSCAPES
Many would-be locavores possess the seedlings of idealism, but don't know how to nourish them with the waters of know-how and practical experience. They've been totally thinking of planting some tomatoes or something — for the past 10 summers. If that's you, make a call to Nashville Foodscapes. Started by local horticulture guru Jeremy Lekich, this innovative business takes the trial-and-error out of turning your yard into a pesticide-free edible Eden. Set up a consultation, and they'll make a design to your specs, plant a veggie garden or fruit orchard, help with maintenance — even set up a compost pile. EMILY BARTLETT HINES

BEST CARGO CULT: TRADER JOE'S
True, Trader Joe's — "TJ" to my household, which should just mainline direct-deposit straight into its registers — lacks a lot of the amenities of a Kroger (24-hour convenience, pharmacies) or Publix (deli counters, on-site bakery). Nor is it nearly as dirt-cheap as its distant corporate cousin ALDI ("Where Belgian Chocolate Goes to Die"). But if boutique mega-markets such as Whole Foods traffic in what Michael Pollan called "supermarket pastorals" — green-leaning packaging that camouflages a product's true economic and environmental footprint — Trader Joe's tends to make even the stuff that's good for you seem as enticingly goofy as junk food, with its tiki-lounge motifs and kitschy sub-brands (e.g., spaghetti sauce from "Trader Giotto"). Walk in cold, and you'll feel like the guy who didn't get the memo about Talk Like a Pirate Day. Its products inspire a kind of cultish devotion, whether as gift items (the many plastic tubs of arcane international sweets) or household staples (try the frozen mandarin orange chicken bites!). Say, know what you get when you mix Trader Joe's Turkey Chili with a tub of spreadable Pub Cheese? Addicted. JIM RIDLEY

BEST PLACE TO BUY PLANTERS: OLD TIME POTTERY
From oversized outdoor pots with European glazes in a sophisticated range of colors to on-trend vases and modernist planters that at times recall the work of avant-garde artist Louise Bourgeois, Old Time Pottery offers chic on the cheap. It's no wonder local interior designers and set decorators are down with OTP: A visit to this warehouse-sized home store (two area locations stock dishes, rugs, lamps, artificial flowers and some furniture, too) lets them fill large orders without breaking the piggy bank — which, come to think of it, you can also find in the pottery aisle. LIBBY CALLAWAY

BEST GIFT-AND-ACCESSORIES SHOP: PANGAEA
A repository of trendy and offbeat gifts, Hillsboro Village staple Pangaea is stocked with clothing, decorations and jewelry. If you want a decorative magnifying glass pendant to help your grandma read or a children's book to help teach the tykes about vegetarianism, Pangaea's got you covered. The staff is friendly — including a couple resident doggies who trot around. And even though it's a small space, you can easily spend a good amount of time perusing their wares. JO-JO JACKSON

BEST HANDMADE JEWELRY: JUDITH BRIGHT
As you enter Judith Bright's storefront, you get an immediate sense of calm and spirituality. The clean lines, white walls and the presence of Bright and her staff are instantly welcoming — not to mention all the glowing, beautiful jewels. The craftsmanship and artistry behind the pieces speaks for itself: Each piece is hand-hammered or wire-wrapped in their in-house studio and can be custom fit or designed. Using a mixture of metals, woods and semi-precious stones, Bright makes jewelry with meaning — each collection is named after a teacher, friend or someone of importance to the Italian-trained designer. PRIYA MANI

BEST PLACE TO OPEN YOUR INDIE BUSINESS: EAST NASHVILLE
On the East Side, independent fashion boutiques are as bountiful as the hipsters who frequent them. Notable newbies include Art & Invention owners Meg and Bret McFadyen's new 5 Points Collaborative, a "retail incubator" on Woodland Street that's home to the Goodbuy Girls and Alegria. Several streets over, in the Porter East development (at the Porter Avenue and Eastland Avenue split), J+HP Clothing recently set up shop in the refurbished housing complex turned retail and restaurant space. Not too long ago, that strip was home to Made, the store that begat Old Made Good, the vintage and crafts-gone-rad boutique now relocated to Riverside Drive. LIBBY CALLAWAY

BEST NEW BOUTIQUE: J+HP
Husband-and-wife duo Jonathan and Holly Powell are no strangers to the design world. Both worked at Ralph Lauren in New York before moving here to merge East Coast and East Nashville in their unique Porter Road storefront. Jonathan creates tailored menswear, taking apart and re-creating pieces with a creative touch, and Holly focuses on sketching and manufacturing women's wear. The pair make all their collections in the intimate store-studio, which features a wall-size map of Nashville and a vintage motorcycle. Every piece consists of a size run ensuring it is one of a kind, just like the team who makes it. PRIYA MANI

BEST NEW STORE TO BUY RANDOM TREASURES: OLD MADE GOOD
Some people would hyperventilate at the idea of a store that sells everything from Steve Keene art to taxidermied stuffed animals, but Kate and Ashley, proprietors at Old Made Good, could probably convert them with a smile and a mimosa. Located in East Nashville's Riverside Village, OMG also stocks plenty of vintage, handmade and locally sourced clothing and accessories, imaginative furniture and home decor, and truly bizarre stuff you won't find anywhere else. On any given day, you might find a food truck outside or a gaggle of yoga practitioners on the lawn. ABBY WHITE PLACHY

BEST AMP REPAIR: MARC FERGUSON
Marc Ferguson runs an amp shop in Berry Hill. He specializes in old-school vacuum tube amps, such as vintage Fender, Marshall, Ampeg, Traynor, Music Man and Vox amps. Ferg's clients — many of whom are professional musicians — often need help in a hurry. Lucky for those clients, Ferg can usually make a 50-year-old beater amp come back to life in one day's time. The shop is home to a great many coveted NOS (new old stock) tubes. And yes, Ferg will work on solid-state amps, hybrid amps and various oddballs. He's also skilled at skinning shredded Tolex off old amps, and putting new Tolex — or for that matter, faux snakeskin — on an amp that needs some new clothes. WALTER JOWERS

BEST GUITAR REPAIR: JOE GLASER
Joe Glaser runs a seven-man shop in Berry Hill, with clients that include the cream of Nashville's guitar-player crop — Gill, Frampton, hillbilly acts, hat acts, hair acts and heck, probably all 1,352 of the guitar pickers from 1965. "There's human nuance," Glaser says. "They know that I care about the work." After the May 2010 flood, Glaser, his 30 years of experience and his seven-man band of guitar artisans repaired more than 100 drowned guitars. Joe also has some exceptional technology in his shop: a Plek machine, which measures every tiny bump, ridge and angle on a guitar, then points out — or corrects — any flaws. Ask any guitar-case toter who just got off the bus downtown, and they'll tell you Joe Glaser is Nashville's undisputed top-of-the-heap guitar fixer. WALTER JOWERS

BEST ARCHITECTURAL TROUBLESHOOTER: HARRISON McCAMPBELL
Sure, this town's full of folks who'll caulk up a hole or a gap, but few have the knowledge, skills and ethos of Harrison McCampbell. Over a fairly long span of years, McCampbell has studied and cured roof leaks, wall leaks, window leaks and leaks of unknown origin. He's worked as an expert witness in more than 100 legal cases, and he got the U.S. State Department's clearance to find and fix leaks on the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria. If you've got unknown or incurable wetness in your house, skyscraper or yurt, McCampbell's your guy. WALTER JOWERS

BEST NATURAL DEODORANT: STACEY'S SOAPS UNDERARM POWDER
For years I've hunted for a natural deodorant that works, and I found it at the Nashville Farmers' Market. Part of the beauty of Stacey's Soaps Underarm Powder is that it's made from things you'd find in your house: baking soda and corn starch. And while it can be tricky at first figuring out how to get the powder under your arm, there are step-by-step instructions on their website. JO-JO JACKSON

BEST WOMEN'S CLOTHING STORE: IVEY
Moving on up from downtown Franklin to quaint Edgehill Village, Ivey has upped its game and revamped its style. The mother-daughter team of Audrey Ivey and Megan Ivey Pitts have created a women's boutique with a fun and feminine approach and top-notch sales staff to go with its stock of fashion-forward clothing and accessories. From its vintage jewelry, belts, and bags to soft tanks, jackets, jeans and dresses, there's a lot to love when trying to find the right addition to your wardrobe. PRIYA MANI

BEST NEW YOGA STUDIO: STEADFAST AND TRUE YOGA
If there are any benighted souls around who still believe yoga is a serene, New Age-y chanting circle with stretching, a visit to Steadfast and True Yoga in Edgehill Village will banish that notion. A typical class will leave the visitor not just limber, but sweat-slicked and trembling after flowing (or attempting to flow) through scores of plank variations, backbends and one-leg balancing poses. Not that serenity is lacking — yoga/dance phenom Gillian St. Claire and her roster of enthusiastic teachers challenge students to maintain breath and balance even at the sweatiest of times. Their range of offerings has built a following among newbies and adept handstanders alike. EMILY BARTLETT HINES

BEST WOMEN'S SHOE STORE: THE PERFECT PAIR
Tucked away off Bandywood, Whitney Dunn and Casey Stribling's secret style oasis awaits, with a unique blend of shoes, jewelry and accessories assembled in a one-stop shop. Whether you're searching for a fancy classic stiletto or a rockin' funky boot, you're sure to find something here. And whether it's unique jewelry collections, Virgin Saints and Angels paired with an Old Gringo boot or a leopard pump or bootie — Dunn's and Stribling's individual styles combine to bring out the best of the best. PRIYA MANI

BEST LOCAL SECRET: THERAPY SYSTEMS' BETTER THAN COVER CONCEALER
Most girls love to talk shop about their favorite lip gloss or eyeliner, but ask her about her concealer, and she'll likely bat her lashes and play dumb. A lady never talks about her flaws! But the reality is many of us fight bipolar skin that can't decide if it wants to wrinkle or break out, so concealer is a necessity. Luckily, locally owned Therapy Systems has a 70 percent organic, imperceptible concealer that is impossible to screw up, whether you're masking spots or under-eye circles. Bonus: It travels in a handy chapstick-shaped tube. ABBY WHITE PLACHY

BEST PLACE TO GET A HAIRCUT AND SHAVE WHILE WATCHING ESPN AND ENJOYING A CIGAR: THE MOOSE ON MUSIC ROW MEN'S GROOMING LOUNGE
Forget what you hear on sports talk radio about Sport Clips being the best place for men to watch sports and get a haircut. (Unless they are a prominent advertiser in the Scene, in which case by all means patronize the heck out of them.) If you want to feel like a real rugged man while getting your steel-wool beard shaved or your Fabio locks trimmed, head to The Moose on Music Row, where April and Toni will give you a manly cut while entertaining you with ESPN on your own personal HDTV and offer you a complimentary Yazoo beer with your shampoo. There's even a cigar lounge if you want to delay your return back to the harsh reality of your own life after the pampering. CHRIS CHAMBERLAIN

BEST SKATE SHOP: ASPHALT BEACH
Here we are, decades after the rollerblading boom of the '90s has passed, but Asphalt Beach refuses to allow that fact to define them. Rather than a run-in with outdated gear and old farts on wheels, a visit to the Beach is almost a vacation, with their newly renovated building and a staff of certified skate instructors/heartthrobs. Providing Nashville with everything from roller-derby gear to hockey equipment to baby joggers and, of course, in-line skates, as owner Steve Larios puts it, "This isn't Dick's Sporting Goods." KARI AMES

BEST LOCAL DESIGNER: SHEA STEELE
The inaugural Nashville Fashion Week featured some big names — Christian Siriano, Betsey Johnson, Ben Sherman — but one name that was repeatedly whispered among the crowd was White Rabbit. And many insiders would say she stole the show. Shea Steele, the mastermind behind the brand, has advocated for local designers for years through her lovely vintage store, Local Honey. Now it's time for her unique, affordable and totally wearable creations to take center stage. ABBY WHITE PLACHY

BEST TAROT READING: GODDESS AND THE MOON
Southerners looking to satisfy their curiosity about the occult need look no further than this supernatural shop, which bears a name eerily similar to True Blood's own store of Wiccan wares: Moon Goddess Emporium. Owner Tish Owen offers skilled psychic readings — with the consultation of tarot cards — to customers searching for answers of any kind. To those nonbelievers who would frown and call this "hocus pocus," let it be known that Owen's success secured her a client list ranging from Nicole Kidman to the Queen of supernatural fiction herself, Anne Rice. MICHAEL SMITH

BEST TEMPORARY FOOD DESERT FIX: NASHVILLE MOBILE MARKET
Planned obsolescence is generally a bad thing, but when the plan also includes eliminating Nashville's food deserts — those tracts of the city with no nearby grocery store and/or limited access to public transportation — that's a different story. Developed by Vanderbilt medical student Ravi Patel to bring healthy options to these underserved areas, the Nashville Mobile Market hits the road several days a week, making fresh food and produce available in neighborhoods where it's usually much harder and more time-consuming to procure. Someday (organizers hope), this movable feast will be rendered unnecessary, once retailers move in and start offering nutritious options. Until then, this innovative rolling grocer functions as an ingenious stopgap. STEVE HARUCH

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