Goods & Services - Staff Picks
Published: July 18, 2012
Best selection of gold by the pound
2155 W. Colonial Drive
Nameplates! Doorknockers! Gucci bamboo hoops! Cuban links, herringbones, dookie ropes! Medallions! Dog tags! Caps and grills! On strictly utilitarian purchases like these, it just makes sense to seek out rock-bottom prices. To ensure you're not getting ripped off, hit one of the many gold stalls at the Magic Mall and pay by troy weight, with no poncey designer markup.
Best 24-hour gym for nerds
1355 Bennett Drive, Longwood 407-406-5946, familab.org
Familab is a "hackerspace": a tool-stocked workshop where creative thinkers of all stripes can come together to teach and learn. Software coders, makers of robots, steampunk solder-monkeys – all can meet for classes in microcontroller platforms and Python programming language, or slip in at any hour to use the 3-D printers, laser cutters and power tools. (It's like the best shop class ever, minus the angry eight-fingered teacher.) If you would prefer to geek out over Arduino and RFID technology rather than kettlebells and endurance gels, this is the 24-hour-access key card to have in your wallet.
Best party venue you never knew existed
4421 Edgewater Drive, email@example.com
There's probably a reason you don't know this place exists, and it's because, by and large, only those in the know have used it as the rustic-in-all-the-right-ways venue for parties, festivals, photo shoots and celebrations. It sounds trite to say it, but trust us, this place is magical. It's a little compound in College Park comprised of quirky and rough-hewn garages, barns and outbuildings that have been restored and landscaped just enough to give the place class, but not enough to make it feel generic or precious – instead, it kind of feels like an eccentric neighbor's backyard retreat, a cross between a serene commune and an artist's studio. Owner Tim McMahon has been working on the place diligently, and he hopes to use it to host weddings, shows and parties. If you're not into the outdoors, and the idea of having your guests wander through various buildings, as if in a half-awake dream, sounds more like a nightmare than a party, this place is not for you; but if the idea of holding your wedding/birthday party/whatever in a sterile hall or hotel ballroom makes you cringe, you probably want to check out the Acre.
Best selection of bike messenger bags
Ace Metric Cycles
444 W. New England Ave., Winter Park
There's nothing more perfect – or important, if you're using your bike for more than just recreational riding – than a well-designed bike messenger bag. You want something lightweight, but sturdy. Comfortable, but practical. And of course, you want it to look cool. Ace Metric carries a small but well-curated selection of some of the most well-designed and fashionable bags we've seen – Burro out of Jacksonville, Makr bags (made in Winter Park) and a handful of structured, minimalist bags made by the makers of Linus bikes with padded sleeves so you can safely transport your laptop. Now you have no excuses not to bike to work.