Best Store on Broadway 2023 | The Wizard's Chest | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
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By Lonnie Hanzon, courtesy of the Wizard's Chest

The Wizard's Chest is celebrating its fortieth birthday this year, but the family-owned store has more youthful exuberance than ever. Witches, wizards, squibs, Muggles and everything in between are welcome at this 16,000-square-foot wonderland of toys, costumes, games and collectibles, as long as the adults check their prudence at the door. If you've seen it on the big screen or want to come up with your own creation, chances are the Wizard's Chest's costumes, masks, makeup and props will get you there. Need something to spice up game night? The bottom floor has a vast collection of puzzles and board games that go far beyond Monopoly, with themes centered around Harry Potter, Star Wars, creature features and other sci-fi and fantasy favorites. Magic is in full force year-round here, but it gets extra special and spooky around Halloween, when the Wizard's Chest serves as a popular spot to watch the annual Broadway Halloween Parade.

Sure, you can now grab basic beer and wine at the grocery store, but can you pick up a set of vintage glassware while chatting with knowledgeable staff members about their favorite bitters for an Old Fashioned? You can at Bottle Shop 33, a swanky store named for the year Prohibition ended that specializes in mixology and entertaining. Here the employees know regulars by name and are always quick to offer up suggestions for a funky wine to take to the park, the perfect beer to take to a dinner party, or the best gin for your ideal martini.

1080 South Gaylord Street
303-722-2129
bottleshop33.com

Indie bookstore lovers are still mourning the loss of BookBar — which is all the more reason to rally around its cozy sibling, a local institution that's been serving up children's books and other family-friendly fare for more than half a century. The Bookies shows a lot of love for the community with storytimes, a gift registry for teachers, events featuring local authors and more, and the community loves it back.

4315 East Mississippi Avenue
303 759-1117
thebookies.com

A Denver institution of affordable reads for over forty years, Capitol Hill Books might as well be rooted into the ground at East Colfax Avenue and Grant Street, right across the street from the State Capitol. A truck has taken out the front of the building, COVID-19's financial chaos threatened its future, and protests in 2020 were a tumultuous storm for the building's windows. Despite all of the recent challenges, however, Capitol Hill Books owner Holly Brooks has kept the store open and shelves full with a smile. Sci-fi readers, comic book fans, history buffs and new families will all find something worth taking home, whether it's a crisp copy of Dune, a how-to book for gardening, or a stack of old National Geographics from the 1980s. You can find Capitol Hill Books' inventory on Amazon, but nothing beats the smell and serenity of a quiet, well-stocked book store — especially when you can walk out with multiple reads for less than $15.

Calling Mile High Comics a comic book store is technically correct. It is a store, and it mostly sells comics. But that would be like calling a great white shark a fish, or the Amazon simply a stream of water. There's more to this place than the label, which is evident the second you step inside the 45,000-square-foot warehouse dedicated to comics, superheroes and much, much more. Classic and limited-edition comic books, old copies of magazines like Heavy Metal and Fangoria, and ridiculously fun pieces of pop culture can all be found here, as can the latest graphic novels and single-issue releases. We've walked in on card-game tournaments and lucha libre wrestling matches, and walked out with comic books about Charles Barkley vs. Godzilla. This place is an OG for seasoned comic lovers, and a spark of light for those lacking imagination.

Jon Solomon

Wax Trax Records is a musical nirvana. The longtime Capitol Hill landmark offers multiple formats, even offering walls of cassette tapes. But it's the vinyl — still the best way to listen to music — that makes the space so divine. No matter the genre, Wax Trax has it, with bins of world and classical records nestling up against rows of blues, jazz and country. Of course, you'll find also rock and its many subgenres, including heavy metal. The local music section is a gem and is as eclectic as Denver's scene. Turntables allow people to check out any records they want, and Wax Trax staffers are always on hand to provide a deep-cut recommendation or ten.

Courtesy Goldmine Vintage Facebook page

You'll find a true treasure trove of vintage goods at Goldmine Vintage, which moved to Denver from Boulder in 2017 and has been a hit on Broadway ever since. Get lost in the selection of invaluable records from the Beatles, Jethro Tull, Thelonious Monk and more, or find yourself with a pile of wacky T-shirts with bizarre slogans. Cowboy boots and quality leather jackets are consistent finds here, as are flannels, dresses, purses and jewelry. All in all, the store's name says it all.

Rosey's may be a one-woman affair, but vintage picker Rosey Floyd goes overboard to help a customer, a skill she learned while working in customer service for the tech industry. She keeps a list of specific items people might be looking for, practices fair pricing (even with pricey brands) and adds a little TLC to all of her finds, fixing and upcycling to bring out the best in each piece. Find Rosey at the Lafayette Flea on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on Etsy and Poshmark.

Lafayette Flea, 130 East Spaulding Street, Lafayette
720-838-0758
thelafayetteflea.com

It can take hours to make your way through all the goods at this sprawling store, where you never quite know what you might find on any given visit. Sure, there are some firmly worded rules (cashiers will refuse to price any item without a tag, for example) and no dressing rooms, but it's a total adventure digging through the housewares, decor, shoes, color-coded clothing and everything in between at Mile High Thrift. It also offers 50 percent-off deals every day of the week (though Wednesday specials are limited to seniors), and while it used to be cash-only, it takes plastic these days. Go big or go home!

Planning a wedding can feel as stressful as being in charge of the nuclear football, but brides who are ready to tear their hair out will find a moment of calm at the Wedding Seamstress, which truly exemplifies the idea that a bride deserves the best on her wedding day. An experienced team of seamstresses will make every dress fit perfectly, for a cost that's agreed to up front. The only tears at this wedding shop are those of joy.

6520 Wadsworth Boulevard, #209B, Arvada
720-435-1004
theweddingseamstressarvada.com

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