Houston native, Bridget Dunlap has been nicknamed the Rainey Street Queen. She acquired that title by opening up a bar in a rundown Austin neighborhood that was anything but hip. Yet, with determination and a keen eye for relaxed, southern style, she transformed Rainey Street into the trendy social district it is today.
The first of four bars she has opened in this neighborhood is Lustre Pearl, named after a woman who threw caution to the wind and pursued her dream to sing by hitchhiking a ride to Reno. In no time, Lustre found a gig- and a man named Clive.
Lustre and Clive eventually found their way to Austin where Clive bought her this house on Rainey Street. Years later, Bridget transformed the home into a place for locals to gather and unwind, without pomp or pretense. (Lustre & Clive would've liked that)
Indside or outside Lustre Pearl has a cozy, no-fuss feel. There's picnic tables and ping pong...even a taco truck parked on the property for those late night munchies. I like that Bridget follows the mantra that decor doesn't have to be expensive to be hip...it's all about creating a mood and telling a story.
A savvy business woman, Bridget has opened two more bars in the same area, Bar 96 & Clive. Container Bar is next, an ambitious bar to be built from refurbished storage containers. Next time you're in Austin, take some time to visit Bridget's cool haunts. They tend to get in and under your skin for a bit...and in the best way possible.
Photos: Annie Ray; Lustre Pearl/Bridget Dunlap Content: Sweet Peach