Readers’ Choice | Shop Local For Fashion
BEST WOMEN’S CLOTHING
This boutique has been a Brew City stalwart for nearly 30 years. And the merchandise – a curated mix of dresses, separates and accessories – is just as on-trend now as it was when the store first opened. Consider it a great go-to for fashion-forward brands like Desigual and Nicole Miller.
BEST MEN’S CLOTHING
This luxe Third Ward store is as well-designed as the clothing inside it. And the knowledgeable sales staff are always available to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
BEST VINTAGE SHOP
Why pay full price for your designer duds when you can buy them gently used for a fraction of the cost? At this upscale thrift store, you can find men and women’s clothing from brands like Michael Kors and Kate Spade for much less than what you’d spend at their flagship stores. You can also pat yourself on the back for shopping sustainably.
Readers’ Choice | Home
This Brown Deer firm’s interior designs have been featured in Architectural Digest and range from contemporary to classic, condominium to cabin, and everything in between.
Duvall has been a licensed Realtor since 1991 and specializes in the North Shore and East Side, two of the most popular markets in the area.
David J. Frank, who started the company in 1959, passed away last year, but making homes and businesses beautiful runs in this family’s blood. The company’s current president is David R. Frank, the founder’s son.
Bartelt, which was started by husband and wife Rick and Chris Bartelt, has a team of designers, carpenters and more, who work closely with homeowners at every step of their remodeling journey.
Tom Langan has designed homes at Badger Home Builders across southeastern Wisconsin for nearly three decades now, and he offers an in-depth view of his impressive models on his YouTube channel.
Readers’ Choice | Best Stores
This local company sells both brand new and lovingly restored vintage furniture – plus light fixtures, textiles and home decor.
Whether you’re looking for a housewarming gift for a friend or a birthday gift for your mom, you’ll find something worth buying at this Third Ward boutique.
It’s a one-stop shop for just about everything you need for your home – from food and drinks to flowers and home décor. And nearly every store-brand product is top-notch.
Your pet deserves the absolute best. Fortunately, the owners of this local, independent store stock only the highest-quality pet food, treats and supplies.
LAW AND GARDEN
Open since 1946, this Milwaukee-based Wisconsin chain is a great resource for gardeners of both the budding and fully bloomed varieties.
Microscopes, models and DIY experiment kits that are both fun and educational? We’re sold!
Readers’ Choice | Personal Care
The two locations (Third Ward and Shorewood) tailor each hair treatment to a man’s specific grooming needs, whether that’s a simple clean-up with a hot lather shave or a haircut with the works: scalp massage, brow and ear trim, and neck and shoulder rub.
This long-running, locally owned business knows how to roll out the red-carpet experience, from the aromatic towel and beverage service to the menu of aesthetic services, including hair care, massage, makeup application, eyelash extensions and more.
With a staggering number of amenities available for your nails, including some incredibly indulgent services (think sugar scrub and moisture-rich mask), there is nothing that stands between you and perhaps the best-looking digits in town.
When you descend to this facility in the Pfister Hotel’s hushed lower level, you feel like the demanding, cacophonic world is completely shut out. That exhilaratingly restful feeling is achieved through the little touches, from heated robes to champagne.
Known for precision and knowledge, the eyebrow, lash and facial service pros who work here are all about achieving that certain, hard-to-match glow. Amenities include henna brow tinting, micro- needling and lash lifts.
Readers’ Choice | Work Outs
BEST FITNESS STUDIO
If you’re yearning for a fitness program that’ll make you feel 2 inches taller, with thighs as tight as Misty Copeland’s (Google her), barre is the fitness regimen for you. This national chain (with a location in the Third Ward and Brookfield) combines workouts focusing on cardio, strength and restoration. Members also have access to online barre classes.
Some like it hot. Literally. This sanctuary for yogis offers multiple styles, including HOT 26 – which uses 26 postures and two breathing exercises – lead in a studio heated to 95 to 105 degrees. Live-streamed classes (plus several free short ones online) are available daily for those who feel more comfortable sweating at home.
Editors’ Picks | Pandemic Awards
The late, great Fred Rogers used to say that when he was a kid and he saw something scary in the news, his mother would tell him to “look for the helpers” – people going out of their way to make life a little easier for the rest of us. During the pandemic, some of those helpers here have been local artisans Madam Chino, Artery Ink and FlyBlooms, who quickly began making affordable, reusable masks to keep Milwaukeeans safe.
HOME IMPROVEMENT INSPIRATION
Being stuck at home makes you hyperaware of your living space’s flaws but doesn’t give you the gumption to fix them. For inspiration, look no further than Alicia and Zach Meyer. In 2018, they bought a 1913 home on Sherman Boulevard and began the massive project of restoring it to its century-ago glory. The Meyers chronicle the paint-peeling, tile-swapping, fixture-installing journey on their Instagram @brewcityfoursquare, and the feed just might have you finally getting down to fixing up your own place.
GARDENING CENTER PIVOT
In the 88 years that Minor’s has been in business, it never dealt with anything quite like 2020. When safer-at-home hit in March, people searched for ways to pass the time in lockdown, and Minor’s provided, while still staying safe. The popular spot quickly instituted curbside and delivery options. Their quick turn salvaged the key spring gardening season and helped make the transition to pandemic living a little easier.
TAKE HOME ARTISTRY
The Farmhouse was known for “Paint and Sip” events back in the pre-pandemic days – something that wasn’t remotely an option when COVID first arrived on the scene. Faced with the need to change, they developed one of the best take-home options in the city. They sold at-home painting kits and offered online livestream classes every week with enjoyable themes, such as learning how to paint the Milwaukee skyline in the style of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.