The best hardware stores have exactly what you need to finish a project—and all the curious enticements to start three new ones. They've got the knowledgeable staff to help you get out the door but also the nail buckets, hinge rooms, apothecary drawers, and chock-a-block aisles to draw you back in with the lure of discovering a latch you've never imagined or a salvaged glass doorknob that hasn't turned a spindle in over a century. Their inventories surprise not only their customers but also their owners. Take Garber's, perhaps New York City's oldest hardware store, where co-owner Nathaniel Garber Schoen once opened a small cabinet to discover buckshot sold by his great-great-grandfather, from a time when you could hunt waterfowl in northern Manhattan. Like the other four stores here, Garber's has helped countless customers fix household problems—and also procrastinate, inviting them, as we are you, to browse all their enchanting wares.
New York, New York
Since opening, in 1884, the store has been able to adapt to the needs of an ever-changing neighborhood. It has sold paint to generations of local artists, including Roy Lichtenstein.