Goods & Services

Writers’ Picks

Steve Sylvester is the keeper of the treasures at The Antique Company.

Steve Sylvester is the keeper of the treasures at The Antique Company.

Photo By Anne Stokes

Best labyrinth of treasures

The Antique Company
A stained-glass window with the image of Wonder Woman, fantastical furniture and antique beaded handbags are just a few majestic finds you can score at The Antique Company. You can’t miss the big blue building that usually has enough teaser pieces scattered on the sidewalk to lure in any antique enthusiast. Inside, everything seems a bit jampacked, but that only adds to the excitement. This place is just overflowing with timeless pieces—all over the walls and arranged every which way to create a sort of maze. Let this store take hold of your imagination for an hour or two. 2100 X Street, (916) 457-1099,

Best place to get over your massage complex

Bodywork Balance
Between you and me, massages can be really creepy. You know, all the hands and the oil. The mere mention of a massage makes me want therapy. Never one to turn down a gift, I went to Bodywork Balance after running The San Francisco Marathon and received an hour-long rubdown. Massage therapist Robert Head was pleasant right off the bat. He asked me what I needed and how much pressure to use. He massaged each sore spot until I walked out of there feeling like I’d just meditated for a good day-and-a-half. Not only did he take care of my muscle soreness, he took care of the massage complex in my brain. 2410 K Street, Suite C; (916) 764-6014;

Best place to find a gift for a bibliophile

Barry Cassidy Rare Books
You may have thought books were just for reading, yet for book lovers and collectors, their value not only comes from the words on the pages, but the condition of the pages, possible signatures by the author, the printing date and the history of the copy itself. Since 1975, Barry Cassidy Rare Books has offered an extensive collection of books, letters, manuscripts, prints, paintings and photographs, which includes $15 purchases and others of $2,000 or more. You may need to save your money, but you’ll be giving a truly one-of-a-kind gift. 2005 T Street, (916) 456-6307,

Best place to get a hole put in your body (and have something for that hole custom-made)

Sub-Q Piercing and Tattoos
Sub-Q has long been a mainstay in Sacramento for sticking needles into places, then replacing them with other metal stuff. The recent addition of tattoo artists means those needles can also leave colorful ink in their wake. Owner Scot Rogers (whose life story, as relayed in his online bio, bears a striking resemblance to Johnny Depp’s) has established Sub-Q as one of the most reliable, friendly and knowledgeable businesses of its kind in the area. When you’re dealing with 10-gauge hollow stainless-steel sharp things near your unmentionables, those qualities count. Whether you’re a dilettante or a seasoned pro, expect more than well-designed jewelry and quality work: Expect an education. 1715 I Street, (916) 446-9777,



Best place to buy a Saturday night special

North and southeast Sacramento
According to a study by the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program, “North Sacramento and the East Broadway area southeast of central Sacramento” are probably the best places to find a Saturday night special in the Sacramento area, although so-called “junk guns” “were confiscated in 85 of the city’s 86 census tracts.” Heck, that means you can get an illegal firearm just about anywhere in the city! Is this a great town or what?


Best place to fuel your 11th Step growth

Sunlight of the Spirit Books and Gifts
Unlike many “recovery” stores, Sunlight of the Spirit puts the emphasis on spiritual development. Sure, you can pick up anniversary chips to celebrate abstinence from whatever ails your soul, but the real focus is to provide books, art and thought-provoking objects to assist spiritual seekers on their journey. Looking to improve your conscious contact with a power greater than yourself? They’ve got books, CDs and DVDs—and a few ideas—to help. Want a new focal point for your meditation? There are plenty to choose from. What’s more, owners Karen Dotson and Ed Connolly are working out their karma—and their gratitude—by donating 75 percent of the store’s net to social-justice and addiction-recovery efforts. How often do we get a chance to improve our spiritual life and improve the world at the same time? 2522 J Street, (916) 440-1533,

Best way to get dusted

Shopping at Records
The future doesn’t need more shiny stuff. It’s a cliché. We’ll go as far as to say that, in the future, we’ll prefer things a little old and dusty. Records has loads of good vinyl, but they also carry stacks of shiny CDs and DVDs. If you like the vibe of garage sales, no-pressure browsing and nostalgia, you just might be in this store for hours. Records is the kind of place out-of-town deejays come to find rare dance-floor gems. Records is not shiny. It’s actually a little drab, but in the future, we’ll be hungering for that kind of thing. 1618 Broadway, (916) 446-3973,

Jen Ayers caters to the stars, and the rest of us, at Thunderhorse Vintage.

Photo By Anne Stokes

Best back-room fashion

Thunderhorse Vintage
You walk into Bows and Arrows hoping to score some rad vintage loot. While skimming the shoe shelf, you notice a big arrow pointing down that long hallway you kind of thought was off-limits. You enter the door at the end of the hall and find a vintage haven. Thank you, big arrow, for the guidance! All praise the big arrow! Thunderhorse Vintage is a small space with big heart, plus clothing and accessories fit for a VIP—or even Chloë Sevigny. Thunderhorse always has fresh stock, an awesome selection of dresses (one of which Sevigny purchased) and a collection of shoes and bags that will make you a regular. 1712 L Street, (916) 444-3606.

Best way to give a dozen roses

Visual Impact Design
You hate to admit it, but you secretly enjoy receiving the occasional flower bouquet from a suitor. You thought you were more evolved than that, but you don’t have to feel guilty the next time someone gives you flowers. Especially if they come from Visual Impact Design, whose Midtown shop offers an eco-friendly approach. The shop sells the usual European style hand-tied bouquets and offers intricate floral designs for weddings and corporate functions, but it also delivers Midtown orders on cruiser bikes and encourages customers to reuse vases by offering discounts on future purchases. The shop hosts Second Saturday receptions and “Wacky Wednesdays” lunchtime events where jugglers, hula-hoopers and musicians delight customers. 1729 L Street, (916) 443-2600,

Best way to save on gas if you have places to go and people to see

Buy a moped
Waiting for buses or getting sweaty biking around the city can ruin one’s social life. Enter the moped. Not to be confused with scooters that have a floorboard, mopeds are like bicycles with a lawn mower engine. (Think Little Miss Sunshine.) OK, so they only accelerate up to 30 mph. That’s the maximum speed limit in the grid anyway. Besides, if you have places to go and people to see, you should be fashionably late. Mopeds cost about $1,000, plus around $100 in insurance per year, and they get up to 100 miles per gallon. All that money saved can go towards nights out. Party on!

Best Place to Get the obama cut

Capitol Barber Shop
A friend of mine went to a barber shop downtown and had his head butchered. Bummed out, he wandered the streets looking like Jim Carrey in Dumb & Dumber. He finally walked into Capitol Barber a few embarrassing hours later. “Can you fix it?” he asked, pointing to his ragged dome. Carlos Romo, the guy behind the barber chair, not only fixed it, he made an expertly tapered, finely lined-up masterpiece. Capitol Barber Shop is a low-key joint right near The Press Club that’s hard to find at first. But if you wander in, you’ll be greeted and chatted up like an old friend. It’s like getting a haircut at your uncle’s house. If you want a clean haircut without any attitude, check it out. 1606 21st Street, (916) 446-3319.

A Side Show Studios tattoo makes your skin the main event.

Photo By Larry Dalton

Best place to ink up

Side Show Studios
When you’re lost in a land of tattoo shops and the staff at most places looks like the cast of Grease, don’t fret. Side Show Studios has a completely different vibe than your average rockabilly nightmare. There’s a great array of Second Saturday artwork hanging on the walls, nice red couches to lounge upon, and a staff that’s friendly and more than willing to walk the tattooed-to-be through the process of sticking a needle into the skin and drawing a picture. Get in there and meet the artists; they’ll show you how fun pain can be. Yeah, it hurts, but it’s a good kind of hurt. 5635 Freeport Boulevard, (916) 391-6400,