The Class Room
     

The Class Room

Houston, Texas

We love clever store names, and The Class Room is no exception. Serving notice that this Rice Village shop both A) sells classy wares and B) is available to share its knowledge about style, the moniker does double duty in a smart way. Of course, a name gets you only so far, so it's a good thing the store also features a friendly staff, clean, bright sales floor, and a terrific range of quality goods from brands like Gitman Village, A.P.C., Freshjive, Naked & Famous, and Shwood. Oh, and be sure to watch out for their Whiskey Wednesday events, which give you yet another reason to drop some cash.

Photos: Paolo Sagullo, Ryan Plett
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Renown
     

Renown

Tampa, Florida

Ybor City is known for its lively party scene, but if you're planning a night out on the town, you'd best first find something suitable to wear. Renown can help. Serving the area for over 5 years, this men's shop offers quality clothing and furnishings from the likes of Baldwin, Slvdr, The Hill-side, Willamsburg Garment Co., and more. Their helpful staff is more than capable and ready to make suggestions should you have trouble making a choice, or you could always take our approach — head over to one of the many local bars and mull your purchase over a drink.

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Andreas Murkudis
     

Andreas Murkudis

Berlin, Germany

The tagline states "Exclusive Goods - Rare Clothings", and that's a pretty good place to start when attempting to understand the awesomeness that is Andreas Murkudis. This massive, 10,000 square-foot-plus space was formerly home to a newspaper printing press, but now offers high-end, ultra-minimalist wares ranging from little-known clothing brands, accessories, various home wares, and even some select booze and food products, to a store-within-a-store for Mykita sunglasses and an entire level devoted to furniture from the German brand e15.

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Amoeba Music
     

Amoeba Music

Los Angeles, California

It might not be the original location, but for sheer selection, you can't beat the Hollywood outpost of Amoeba Music. Hailed by the owners as the "biggest, broadest, most diverse collection of music and movies ever seen on under one roof," this massive store occupies a full city block, and offers two floors of media goodness. Inside, you'll find row after row of CDs, movies, and, of course, plenty of vinyl, as well as one of the most knowledgeable staffs of any store anywhere. As you'd expect from a record shop this size, it also serves as a venue for live bands and release parties, having hosted The Flaming Lips, The Roots, The Raconteurs, and many other artists over its 10+ years of operation.

Photos: John L
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The Belmont Barbershop
     

The Belmont Barbershop

Chicago, Illinois

You won't be getting a manicure at The Belmont Barbershop. Nor can you order up a facial treatment, or lie down for a massage. But what you can get is a fantastic haircut. In business since 2005, this Roscoe Village haunt accepts appointments and walk-ins alike, and is staffed by six licensed barbers that are great at one thing: cutting hair. They also offer straight razor shaves. And that's it — but that's really all you need.

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Miomia
     

Miomia

Brooklyn, New York

It's not strictly for men, but the selection at Miomia is so outstanding that it simply doesn't matter. The owner, Katie, wrote her Master's thesis on men's grooming — so there's no doubt she knows her stuff — and has assembled a knowledgeable staff to help things run smoothly. Whether you're looking for help with your face or skin, shaving gear, hair product, or even some smell-good liquid, they have you covered with a hand-curated selection of goods that features a good mix of old favorites and more specialized brands.

Photos: Eugene L.
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Friday Next
     

Friday Next

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Looking to do a little shopping on your lunch break? Take care of both with one stop into Friday Next. Located in the heart of the city, this unique shop combines a store with a great selection of furniture, housewares, and smaller items like bags, books, and knick knacks/gifts with a relaxing cafe and outdoor terrace with ideal Overtoom people watching. The cafe serves coffee, cappuccino, and lunches; and in the afternoon offers snacks and wine, which make hopping on the free Wi-Fi to check your email a little more relaxing.

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Pilgrim Surf + Supply
     

Pilgrim Surf + Supply

Brooklyn, New York

Okay, so it's not really close to any surfing — unless you're thinking of throwing your board in the East River — but that doesn't stop Pilgrim Surf + Supply from being worth a visit. This Williamsburg shop stocks a surprisingly robust selection of boards, as well as trunks, hoodies, shirts, pants, jackets, bags, and other essential gear. And should you feel like a bit of spontaneous shopping when you're closer to the shore, stop by their new shop in Amagansett, which offers just as impressive a selection with an even beach-ier vibe.

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Excelsior
     

Excelsior

Milan, Italy

Okay, so only four of its seven floors are of interest to guys, but when you consider that's more than half of the 43,000 square feet, we figure that's plenty. Excelsior is a must-see megastore near the Duomo, offering a third floor with an amazing sneaker selection, excellent suiting — this is Milan, after all, and outstanding leather goods, a ground floor overflowing with the latest gadgetry and fine fragrances, a mezzanine "food court" that will have you rethinking your concept of the term, and a bottom floor grocery store that puts your local Whole Foods to shame. Just don't forget to bring your wallet — odds are you won't be leaving empty-handed (or empty-stomached, for that matter).

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Groove Merchant Records
     

Groove Merchant Records

San Francisco, California

It's not the place to go buy the latest and greatest releases. Nor is it a place to go buy CDs, DVDs, or other hard plastic discs. But if you're looking for vinyl, Groove Merchant Records is the place to be. This collectors haven has been operating in the Lower Haight for over two decades, dedicating itself to finding the best rare and obscure vinyl from around the world, then tossing it onto the shelves for your amusement. As you might imagine, the staff — including owner Chris Veltri, aka Cool Chris — are highly knowledgeable and friendly, so even if you're new to record buying, you'll feel right at home.

Photos: Sean O'Sullivan
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Bota Bota
     

Bota Bota

Montréal, Canada

The natural movements of water can be quite relaxing. So can a day of spa treatments. Combine the two with a trip to Bota Bota. Located in a transformed former ferryboat, this Old Montreal spa features five decks, housing two saunas with river views, a eucalyptus steam bath, outdoor whirlpool baths, cold showers and baths, chillout areas, a garden, various terraces, and a restaurant. While you're there, indulge in massages, body and facial treatments, manicures, pedicures, yoga, and pilates. And should you begin to feel a bit too feminine, just order up a martini and remember: you're on a boat.

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Redeem
     

Redeem

Washington, DC

Don't go searching through the brand names at Redeem if you're looking for reassurance that you're buying the right thing — selling established names isn't their mission. Instead, this independent boutique specializes in up-and-coming designers, and as such is stocked with names you might not be familiar with. Fear not, however, as the shop does a great job of curating only quality goods, most of which will normally leave you looking far more fashionable than anything you're going to find at the local mall.

Photos: Elvert Barnes
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