Best Place to Get a Haircut and a Bean Pie 2011 | Supreme Styles Barber Shop | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Pictures of Minister Louis Farrakhan adorn the walls, and a chorus of warm chatter greets each person who enters Supreme Styles Barber Shop. There are chess tables in the foyer area, where children are usually crowded around, and couches for those who are waiting. And in addition to books, oils and incense, the shop also sells bean pies — a specialty long associated with the Nation of Islam. The shop was founded by Herman Muhammad in 1996 as a means of developing a different barbering experience, one infused with culture and community. The barbers that maintain the space offer as much rhythm and flavor as the music that's often playing throughout the shop. Whether you're looking for a haircut, a book or a strong dose of community, Supreme Styles is a cut above the rest.

Best Place to Get Hair Products and African Masks

Akente Express

Step over the threshold from Park Avenue into Akente Express, and it's likely you'll be greeted by the warm and calming presence of Ron Springer, the longtime owner of what he calls the most "complete African experience" in Denver. Springer runs Akente with the fervor and understanding of someone who has clearly found the treasure in the magic of ancient traditions. There are African masks whose refined, hand-sculpted faces speak of long-ago times amid throngs of other materials. Hair and skin-care products, especially those for African-Americans, adorn the shelves in such variety that you'd be hard-pressed not to leave with an armload of things, while incense, rare jewelry, bangles and other artwork are tucked into the store's many corners. It's a business from another time and place.

Sentiment only goes so this case, as far as William Crow, a jeweler that's been in business downtown since 1924. Other jewelers in town told us they couldn't repair an old coral necklace with a broken clasp without restringing the whole thing for several hundred dollars. William Crow's repair department, though, told us they could simply repair the clasp and add a chain guard — for less than fifty bucks. The shop has tackled other repair jobs just as helpfully...and reasonably.

The Wilson family has run a service station in Bonnie Brae since 1946 — and they've learned a thing or two during that time. Customer service, for example. After struggling to replace a flat with the spare, our operative dropped the errant tire off at Bonnie Brae Conoco, returning a few hours later to pick up a tire that had not only been repaired, but had the mag chloride sanded off the rim. And when the crew replaced the tire, they checked all the other ties for proper inflation, adding air where needed — and then fixed the balky trunk lock as they replaced the spare. Final price? Twelve bucks. That's the kind of service that makes the world go 'round.

Granted, Japanese pop fashion is an acquired taste and hard to pull off if you're not too young and bug-eyed cute beyond belief. But it's okay, too, to love it from afar, just as a phenomenon, which it is, if the phenomena in question happen to eat nothing but cupcakes and come bedecked in plastic hair ornaments, Hello Kitty paraphernalia, Victorian ruffles, hamster pajamas and samurai swords. It was all there when the Tokyo Extreme Fashion Show unfolded on a runway down the middle of Mod Livin' this winter, and if you were curious enough to have been there that night, you'll never be the same. Now, pass the cupcakes, please.

We can all thank Samuel Schimek, Brian Corrigan, the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs and, during the last year, Wendy Manning and the Denver Pavilions, for creating a shop that spoke "Denverish" in whole palettes of objects and media. The latest version of YesPleaseMore, which recently closed after an extended run at the Pavilions, changed the way we looked at downtown tourist gift shops by selling design-minded, hand-screened "Coloradical" T-shirts, laser-etched wooden dog tags by local manufacturer Omerica, repurposed clothing by Denver designers, wry Horndribbles plush toys, DVLP jeans and all manner of affordable art by Colorado artists. Falling on a rung somewhere between the Colorado Collection and the Denver Art Museum gift shop, YesPleaseMore invited shoppers to look into the city's soul, not something one usually does in a gift shop. Until it pops up again, YesPleaseMore is one beautiful memory.

OMG! During its short run earlier this year at Mod Livin', the Gimme Gimme Pillow Toast pop-up was so full to the rafters with things that were, well, so cute and ruffly and adorned with little SAD kittens and bunny ears, it was enough to make anyone who walked up the stairs into the shop-within-a-shop feel like they'd suddenly swallowed a hundred very sugary cupcakes in rapid succession. But the Japan pop emporium run by Andrew Novick and Janene Hurst had plenty of other stuff, too: non-sequitur tees and platform Mary Janes and other accoutrements of Japanese street fashion in all its many strict personae. Finally, they topped off the shop's run with an awe-inspiring fashion show that doubled as a primer of those myriad styles, and then it was over. Where will they pop up next?

The Polish Pottery Outlet offers an incredible array of colorful ceramics, all imported from Poland. The store has everything you could possibly want to outfit a kitchen counter, dress up a dinner table or even feed your dog; the pieces are all oven-, microwave- and dishwasher-safe. This is functional art at very fun prices: legalized pot we can all get behind!

Credit cards are useful for lots of things: paying for groceries; proving your identity; breaking and entering. But what do you do with the expired ones (besides using them for breaking and entering)? For the past few years, designer Kelly Campbell has been cutting up old credit cards and turning them into colorful jewelry: chunky bracelets, funky necklaces and dangly earrings made from circles punched out of an old MasterCard or long plastic strips sheared from a spent Starbucks gift card. The result is whimsical and stylish, not to mention earth-friendly. Go ahead, charge one.

Best Replacement for Saks Fifth Avenue

H & M

The cat is more or less out of the bag that popular Swedish retailer H&M is sniffing around Denver for a good fit. Specializing in fresh and extremely affordable casual separates with a youngish skew, it's the secret dream store to which many fashion-forward Denverites crave local access. So, hey, H&M — we know of a big empty space in the state's hippest mall. Do you? We'd put our money on this match; they can't get in here quickly enough.

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