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The ten best stores on Tennyson Street

Tenn Street Coffee and Books
Tenn Street Coffee and Books

It's ironic that nearly all the businesses mentioned when we named Tennyson Street the best neighborhood shopping district in 2011 have left the block or closed their doors (see the link below), including some that were strangled by prolonged street construction in the heart of the district. But now that the street's been put back together, the new Tennyson is blossoming with both new and renewed businesses. Healthy commerce is returning to Tennyson, and here are ten reasons why.

See also:

- Best Neighborhood Shopping District - 2011: Tennyson Street, Berkeley

- The Bookery Nook, an independent bookstore and ice cream parlor, is closing

- Tennyson Street businesses creating promotions to offset disruptive construction

The ten best stores on Tennyson Street

10. Flesher-Hinton Music Company

Flesher-Hinton is the old man of Tennyson: The old-school, family-owned music store opened in 1951 and still offers the same kind of customer service that people took for granted decades ago. The store keeps a reputable library of both standard and hard-to-find sheet music, and offers instrument rentals, sales, repairs and in-house instruction, making it a go-to for families with an ear for music.

The ten best stores on Tennyson Street

9. MODesTEA

If a perfect cuppa is what you desire, Tracy and Emily Frickey's little side-street shop will ease your jones: A hand-picked, global selection of loose-leaf teas of every ilk -- eighty brands in all -- forms the cornerstone of MODesTEA's mission, accentuated by a savvy selection of brewing accessories and accoutrements to ensure the best tea experience.

The ten best stores on Tennyson Street

8. Alice's Secret Garden

Alice's has the best yard on the Tennyson row, filled with garden whimsies of every size and style. That was reason enough for us to tout the shop as our Best Yard Art Store in 2013. Here's what we said:

Indoors, Alice's is filled with nooks and crannies full of bohemian gowns, beaded evening bags, baubles and bangles, antiques, fleece dolls and sweet-smelling toiletries. But it's outside, in the beautiful front garden, where Alice's really blooms. Among real trees and blossoms enclosed by a cast-iron fence is a trove of fantastical yard art for sale: gazing balls and fabulous, rustic topsy-turvy birdhouses made by Crooked Creations, whimsical sculpted-tin farm animals and fanciful flower stakes. Step inside the gate, and you might come away with something lovely with which to decorate your own garden.

Continue reading for more top shops on Tennyson Street.

The ten best stores on Tennyson Street

7. Covered Wallpaper

Covered specializes in wallpaper for the 21st century, as we noted in this

Best Wallpaper award from 2012:

In case you haven't noticed, wallpaper is making a comeback, and that truth wasn't lost on wallpaper aficionados Ashley Allen and Carrie Dailey, who were blogging about the home-design tool long before they opened Covered. They also discovered that the kinds of modern wall coverings they preferred -- clean, easy, natural prints and updated retro looks -- weren't easy to find in Denver showrooms. Much like the fabrics carried at stores like Fancy Tiger, the artful new-look wallpaper designs come more often than not from independent sources. Obviously, the two saw a niche, and Covered was designed to fill it. Which it does, beautifully and with a nod to folks willing to do their own work in order to produce a fresh new look. The small shop's walls, lined with a mixture of vintage and contemporary patterns, are guaranteed to get ideas flowing, and catalogues are provided to help DIYers in their searches; Allen and Dailey are there primarily to give and take as folks dream, and they hope you'll drop in and stay a while. For now, Covered is open only on weekends or by appointment.

The ten best stores on Tennyson Street

6. Proper Barbershop

"Grooming for the Greater Good" is the motto of this retro barbering emporium, which prides itself on old-style service and such manly perks as a cold beer to quaff while you're being properly groomed.

The ten best stores on Tennyson Street

5. Mouthfuls

Follow any slobbering dog down Tennyson Street and you'll likely end up at Mouthfuls, a favorite with pets and their people, all of whom appreciate the selection and the hospitality extended at this shop. Here's why we awarded Mouthfuls a Best of Denver nod for Best Pet Boutique and Bar in 2009:

Deb Dempsey and Tonya Payne have created a place where the eats are all natural, unprocessed and delish. New restaurant, you might ask? Not exactly: Mouthfuls is where Berkeley Park denizens and their pets try out a smorgasbord of doggie munchies, from hand-baked cookies and scrumptious training treats to bags of chow from makers like California Natural, Candidae and Nature's Variety Raw Frozen Diets. Canine or feline, pets all inhale the store's exclusive dehydrated chicken chunks, and the toy selection would fill many a doghouse with hours of indestructible fun.

Continue reading for more top shops on Tennyson Street.

The ten best stores on Tennyson Street

4. Clotheshorse Consignment Boutique

Quality consignment is Clotheshorse's forte. For that reason, we lauded the shop as Best Store on North Tennyson Street in 2009:

This sister act, owned by Wendy and Sue Sjogren, is a veritable slice of resale heaven, stocked with a goldmine of beautiful bargains that change with every week and season, are chosen with care and are impeccably, immaculately clean. Cashmere? Piles of it. Coach? Buttery bags hanging from the rafters. High-end, unscuffed pumps? In the house. Scarves? Designer jeans? Business suits? Yes, yes and yes. It's all there, and if you're patient, you could just see the price on your favorite item drop, thanks to a store policy of reducing the cost by increments if something languishes on the racks too long.

The ten best stores on Tennyson Street

3. Jolly Goods

A relative newcomer to Tennyson Street, Jolly Goods brings good-humored

charm to the neighborhood. We gave the shop an award for Best Eclectica in 2013; here's why:

Nicole and Simon Woolsey-Neech, a young couple with modern tastes, have created a primer in homey hipster interior design out of this unassuming Tennyson Street storefront that's a little bit cozy cottage and a little bit retro space-age. Inside, you might find a child-sized diner-style table and chairs or a package of wooden chip clips hand-painted with pooch designs; jewelry ranges from recycled bike-chain bangles to bright enameled blossoms by Doozie. And for the beer aficionado in the house? How about one of HandySam's wall-hung bottle openers decorated with vintage beer cans that catch the falling caps? As HandySam Creations crows on its Etsy page, "No man room is complete without one."

The ten best stores on Tennyson Street

2. EvB Studio

We've given community-minded ceramic artist Marie Gibbons's clay studio many Best of Denver awards over the years, especially in appreciation of her First Friday "mini-shops," where anyone can walk in and make a themed work for an affordable fee. Our most recent accolade was this one, for Best Shop Windows in 2012:

As if Marie Gibbons wasn't already busy enough in her Berkeley clay studio, planning and giving workshops, promoting her work and making ceramic artworks uniquely her own, this dynamo always seems to be in mid-morph, creating change at every turn. Example A: her wide, wonderful, south-facing window. Like everything else in her studio, the window seethes with ideas boiling over into more ideas to create an ever-changing pastiche of what's going on in the artist's head. Just in the past few months, she's decorated the opening with variations on a theme, using book and magazine pages rolled into cylinders, which, when stacked, create a honeycomb effect. But sometimes she turned the cylinders into hanging paper lamps, and when she wanted to advertise a finger-puppet workshop, she posed some finished ones among the paper bundles. Gibbons just proves that talent knows no boundaries: Whatever she touches turns to gold.

The ten best stores on Tennyson Street

1. Tenn Street Coffee & Books

Tenn Street weathered the hard times with variety, service and such good vibes that we awarded the bookstore/coffeehouse top honors as Best Store on Tennyson Street in 2013:

Every neighborhood needs a cozy place where people can meet and kick back over coffee, and the multi-tasking Tenn Street -- stocked with Dazbog java, Bluepoint pastries, Udi's sandwiches and other notable treats -- fills the bill. When the weather's nice, the street-side patio bustles with chatting friends and folks with their noses buried in books or the Internet; inside, there's a sweet and well-curated used-book store. Folksy live music is also an option at Tenn Street on weekends and selected weeknights, and so is art: The coffee shop hosts monthly curated and interestingly themed gallery shows with a focus on artists of every stature -- young, seasoned, local, international, high-profile and emerging.