May 29, 2009
Playboy's A-List: America's Coolest Stores
By Jeff Ruby Conventional wisdom says that men don't like to shop. But the truth of the matter is: Our time is valuable. We don't want to hit three or four different places for a pair of shoes or spend an entire afternoon looking for new clothes. When it comes to stores, it's more about the quality of the merchandise you find than the time spent looking for it.
We scoured the country for America's 20 coolest stores and found the places worth both your time and money, whether you're looking for a rare guitar, a replacement for that comic book your Mom threw away all those years ago or a hat worthy of Sinatra himself. Even if you're trying to find an unusual item like a handmade hammock or a koa-wood ukulele, we've got the store for that, too. With a list like this, you might even start to like shopping. (Don't worry, we won't tell anyone.)
In this era of MP3s and iTunes, record stores like Amoeba are a dying breed. But this massive store in an old Haight-Ashbury bowling alley continues to charm everyone who walks in the door—and cause first-timers momentary paralysis at the overwhelming breadth of the place. It's got new and used discs of all genres from around the world, plus the kind of obscure out-of-print stuff that makes even the most hardened music geek squeal with pleasure—most of which you can listen to before buying.