For some people, “breaking out the bubbly” means uncorking fine Champagne. For others, it means popping the top of excellent soda pop. Fans of sweetened, carbonated goodness flock to Galco's Soda Pop Stop in Highland Park to pick up the rare, the delicious and the downright weird. Peruse the aisles of this small-supermarket-sized structure, with its down-home, Middle American feel. You'll find Virgil's Micro-Brewed Real Cola, Reed's Raspberry Ginger Brew and AJ Stephens Olde Style Sarsaparilla. There's Jeff's Orange Dream Egg Cream Soda, Manhattan Special Espresso Coffee Soda, and something just called Delaware Punch. There's also a fairly impressive collection of obscure and not-so-obscure high-quality beers, candies from yesteryear and a plain Jane–looking but reliably good deli counter that has excellent, inexpensive sub sandwiches. Galco's started as a downtown grocery in 1897 and was moved to H.P. in 1955, where current owner John Nese still presides daily and diligently over his magical soda-pop kingdom like the Willy Wonka of nonalcoholic bubbly. 5702 York Blvd., Highland Park. (323) 255-7115, sodapopstop.com. —Adam Gropman
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