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Big Al's Smoke and Gifts

If you're the kind of person who names their bongs, then you're probably going to want to stop by Big Al's Smoke and Gifts on Telegraph Avenue near UC Berkeley. It has built a solid reputation by selling high-end glassware from Toro, ROOR, Illadelph, JBD, Lux, and Zong, packing the top-shelf items into its narrow little shop alongside some of the best local and national glass artists including Eusheen Goines and Mike Fro. Big Al's is family-owned and -operated, and down to haggle over its affordable selection. And like a true mom-and-pop, it carries plenty of replacement downstems, bowls, and other parts when your piece breaks. It doesn't reek of incense, or deal in much else besides smoking goods, and the staff is quite friendly and knowledgeable if you're not a jerk. As the high-end glassware market reaches new heights, Big Al's will be there, showing newbies and veterans the way.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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