Critic’s choice: Berry Good Buys, 1701 W Berry St, FW
Operated by SafeHaven of Tarrant County, this modest shop near TCU does so many good things: It helps fund Fort Worth’s battered women’s shelter and other women’s services, provides a place for low-income families to shop, and, by the way, is an excellent place to find thrift-store bargains on boutique quality merchandise. Classic clothes, handbags, furniture — you won’t know if you don’t go.
Critic’s choice: K. Flories Antiques, 3915 Camp Bowie Blvd, FW
An inviting mix of period and vintage furniture, decorative items and jewelry at affordable prices, the shop does a brisk business and always seems to have fresh merchandise on view.
Readers’ choice: Kube’s Jewelers, 2700 W Berry St, FW
Critic’s choice: Uncommon Angles, Montgomery Plaza, 2600 W 7th St, Ste 159, FW
“Jewelry” doesn’t begin to describe this shop full of handcrafted treasures, from stained-glass windows to tableware, small furniture items, and keepsakes. But the jewelry cases display a particularly fine collection of wearable art by a long list of artisans, some of them local. Styles and prices vary widely enough to make this a “must” stop on any jewelry lovers’ shopping trip (or that of someone looking to please same). Around the holidays, why endure the crowds, long waits for service, and unimaginative offerings at department store jewelry counters, when this little store is so handy?
Readers’ choice: The Velvet Box, 2917 Morton St, FW
Critic’s choice: Park Place Smart Center, 5601 Bryant Irvin Rd, FW
You’ve seen them — the micro two-seater cars that look like shoes. You envy them, especially when you’re trying to park downtown or on West 7th. The Park Place Smart Center in Southwest Fort Worth is the only authorized Smart Car dealership in Fort Worth — actually, in all of North Texas. There are three varieties of the two-door cutie cars, including a convertible for when you feel like going topless. As of this writing, Park Place has a leasing deal of $99 per month for a basic coupe. If you’re still not convinced, wait until next year: Park Place plans to open a Maserati dealership nearby.
Critic’s choice: EntertainMart
The video game section of this store is home to tons of new and gently used titles for all the major consoles and some vintage ones as well. And as the signs throughout the store suggest, their “prices are crunk!” Need extra cash for the weekend? They’ll buy your used video games and consoles for a reasonable price. They also offer an impressive selection of (mostly) used DVDs, Blu-rays, CDs, and vinyl that makes it easy to lose track of time.
Readers’ choice: Pop’s Safari, 2929 Morton St, FW
Critic’s choice: Pop’s Safari
Pop’s is one of the oldest cigar shops around and still one of the best. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, the selection of booze and stogies exceptional, and the décor unique and utterly apropos –– the animal skins and warm woodwork would turn Ernest Hemingway’s perpetual frown upside down.
Future Garage Sale Items
Critic’s choice: Plato’s Closet, 4625 Donnelly St, FW
The store just behind and above Central Market off Hulen Street is stuffed to the gills with secondhand clothing at good prices, much of it trendy and cool. The merchandise in the shop is annoyingly arranged, and there’s often a wait for fitting rooms. The upshot: Prices are so low that you can take a few chances on whether you’ll like those jeans or t-shirts once you get them on. The ones that don’t work out? Put ’em in the garage sale or charity stack.
Readers’ choice: Thrift Town, 1517 E Abram St, Arl
Critic’s choice: Uptown Cheapskate Arlington, 1118 West Arbrook Blvd, Ste 200, Arl
Let’s face it: Despite the joy of the hunt commemorated in the Macklemore/ Ryan Lewis song “Thrift Shop,” the worst part about poppin’ tags in real life is sorting through a disorganized mess. Enter Uptown Cheapskate in Arlington. The national franchise’s only Tarrant County location is huge in comparison to most brand-name resale stores but still not as cavernous as Goodwill. The place is also well-organized, and the gently used trendy goodies sell for far less than retail prices. You might not find onesies with the socks on (sorry, Macklemore), but you’ll likely leave hella happy.
Place to Blow Lots of Money Accidentally
Critic’s choice: West 7th shopping district, FW
How could we ignore this slick, shiny urban-if-not-urbane outpost, a concatenation of tony bars, sit-down restaurants, chain eateries, music venues, clothing stores, a gym, a bowling alley, and an eat-in movie theater? Watch your money melt away as dirty martinis, gourmet chocolate, and designer clothes materialize in your hands. And if you buy a condo there, you may never have to leave. You’ll be poorer, but you’ll be entertained.