The greatest finds come from cloistered shops presided over by quirkily obsessive collectors -- in other words, you don't stumble on a Mogwai at Wal-Mart. For rare and excellent discoveries in alcohol, hit Drinks Over Dearborn, opening today
A burgundy & yellow walled 2nd floor operation accessible only by buzzer, DOD stocks an impeccable collection of hooch curated by the founder of the groggily encyclopedic TheBoozeHound.com. In stock are 50 different spirits (from North Shore Distillery's entire lineup to 1/4 bottles of Buffalo Trace finished in chardonnay or zin barrels), 100 globally sourced wines, and 100 bottled beers ranging from the familiar (Two Brothers French Country Ale), to the ancient (Lammin Kataja Olut, a Finnish sahti that's unfiltered and unpasteurized), to the ludicrous: "Honey Sun Iqhilika African Birds Eye Chili", South African mead that stings like cayenne, then kisses like honey -- like the gifts you receive from women at bars, except in reverse. There's also a 10-seat classroom that'll see the likes of Bellagio vet Bridget Albert teaching fresh-from-market cocktails, and the Map Room guys teaching homebrew -- mess up, and drink some Hamm's to feel better
Soon, DOD will launch a webstore, and'll also start a hyper-local delivery service via an oversized yellow tricycle -- though it won't feed you after midnight, for fear that you'll turn evil, and terrify Phoebe Cates.