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Best Auction House

Sure, Christie’s and Sotheby’s offer blockbuster artwork, but do they also sell Barbies? (Hindman has a collection of the classic dolls up for bid from August 3 to 14.) If you want variety, this is the place: It sells everything from Audubon prints to Tiffany diamonds to the contents of Lilly Pulitzer’s estate. As one … Read more

Best Teashop

For the highest quality and widest selection (250 loose-leaf teas from around the world, including exotics such as Malawi Satemwa Zomba Pearls), head to these outposts—the only two in the country—of the posh German chain (pronounced tee-SCHWEN-dnar). Prices range from $8.50 to $80 (!) for 100 grams—but you can get a free sample if you … Read more

Best Dog Groomer

Owner Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins—one of the first certified master groomers in the nation—combines nearly four decades of experience and a gentle touch to treat your pup to what’s likely to be the best do of his life. A favorite of pet parents and vets on the North Shore and beyond, Bishop-Jenkins knows her way around all … Read more

Best Portrait Painter

This Chinese-born artist has been doing impressionistic oil portraits in Chicago for a dozen years. Don’t bother emailing a photo—Qian won’t paint from it. She requires at least six hours of live posing in her Bridgeport studio. “She is a master in painting the richness of the colors of the skin,” says Patric McCoy, a … Read more

Best Caterer

Whether Wendy Pashman is working a dinner for 10 (starting at $1,000) or a wedding for 400 (from $52,000), she overlooks no detail. She can match the cuisine to your china and crystal. (Got hand-painted dishes from Provence? Then foie gras it is.) And if you want the servers to be as beautiful as the … Read more

Best Car Service

Whether you want a chauffeured stretch to impress your rich uncle or just a ­hassle-free ride from the Loop to O’Hare ($75), this reliable car service offers the best variety of wheels for the buck, says local event planner Anthony Navarro of Liven It Up Events. (Other fans include the Chicago Fire, the Cubs, and … Read more

Best Art Restorer

When an expensive porcelain vase owned by Gary Metzner broke, the Sotheby’s senior vice president brought it here, to the largest art conservation facility in the nation. He calls the 32-year-old company a “one-stop shop”: It employs specialists in paintings, drawings, furniture, gilded frames, textiles, and much more.

Best Framer

The biggest difference between this frame shop and others may be its staff. Everyone touching your heirloom photograph, print, or other 2D treasure has been or still is a gallerist or artist and likely has more than a decade of framing experience. The skill of its people, combined with their patient advice regardless of your … Read more

Best Watch Repair

Kent Mikolite, the proprietor of this Jewelers Row shop, is one of only two people in the city certified as a master watchmaker by the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute. Rolex chronographs, Vulcain Crickets with mechanical alarms, ultrahigh-­frequency Bulova Precisionists—he knows them all. Mikolite charges $600 or so for the typical Rolex repair—including an inside-out, ultrasonic cleaning—but … Read more

Best High-End Florist

Those towering, flowering breathtaking spectacles in so many Gold Coast homes and hotels (Drake, Four Seasons) likely came from this century-old, family-owned florist. Mangel’s specialty: roses that would make Gertrude Stein gawk. If you’re looking to wow, this is the place. Prices start at $50 for a basic arrangement.