Ruby Joule: Glamma Gal’s Guide to Austin

CiscoRubyRedincarWe asked Austin native Ruby Joule, The Gem You’d Love to Polish, to put together her Glamma Gal’s Guide to Austin to help you get the most out of your visit to Texas Burlesque Festival!

I grew up in Austin, and though I’ve traveled ‘round the world, I love coming home to “The Violet Crown” as it was once called.  The city has many treasures and breathtaking vistas, but here are a few of the essential highlights…

The Austin Chronicle – To get acclimated to the city and its vibe right away, I’d recommend picking up a copy of this free weekly paper.  It’s available at over 1500 locations around town; cafés, shops, groceries, etc.  It has all the music listings, a killer horoscope, and all the current issues the cool kids are buzzing about.

Coco Coquette

2109 E. Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78702

Coco Coquette is run by Allyson Garro, former member of Velvet Hammer Burlesque in LA and The Shim Shamettes in New Orleans, and boy does she know what a glamma girl wants!  Her little place is home to a salon, vintage clothing, and some of the most imaginative, magnificent handmade wigs, accessories, and perfume you’ll find.

Lucy in Disguise

1506 S. Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Described as “Woodstock meets Las Vegas,” this is hands-down the best costume shop in town. No flammable catalogue costumes here, this is the real thing available for rent or purchase.  They carry a staggering array of costumes for any theme; accessories, even special effects makeup and masks.

Amelia’s Retro-Vogue & Relics

2213 S. 1st St., Austin, TX 78704

The Best Vintage Shop award goes to Amelia’s.  Specializing in vintage fashion from the mid-1800s to mid-1900s, Amelia’s has long been used as a resource for designers in the film, theatre and fashion worlds.  The high quality of its stock has garnered an international reputation, and there seems to be a growing selection of hats and incredible handbags.

The Bazaar/The Bazaar Backstage

1609 E. Riverside Dr., Austin, TX 78741

Off-the-rack costumes aside, The Bazaar is my favorite “stripper store” in town, offering unique accessories, great selection of stockings and some wonderful gowns for après show. The Bazaar Backstage, located in a little building right next door, has a huge selection of wigs and all the glittery, shimmery stage makeup you’d ever need.

Designer Exchange

7739 Northcross Dr., Suite S, Austin, TX 78757

I admit, I hesitated one moment before letting you in on this one, but I just can’t keep this place all to myself! This consignment boutique outlet has the best value in designer formal gowns I’ve ever found. They also have furs, jewelry, and casual wear, but it’s the gowns I’m interested in! Bridal gowns, pageant and formal gowns, cocktail dresses—whether for stage or après show, you’ll find something stunning and cost-effective here.

Once all that shopping works up an appetite…

Justine’s Brasserie

4710 E. 5th St., Austin, TX 78702

Old fashioned French comfort food served alongside decidedly glamorous cocktails.  A converted 1937 bungalow, part of the mystique of Justine’s is the sense that you’re in the middle of nowhere, yet you’re surrounded by an international and chic crowd of other folks “in the know.”  Try the duck confit, it is superb!

The Good Knight

1300 E. 6th St. Austin, TX 78702

Classic cocktails and comfort food for the gourmand, this little hideaway conjures images of a Parisian rendezvous with its secluded dark little booths hung with drapery.  The lighting is very flattering, the food is delish and not too pricey, and the cocktail mixology is delightful. One of my favorite spots!

Rio Rita

1308 E. 6th St., Austin, TX 78702

A coffee shop that also serves champagne? Yes please! Described as “a mild mannered coffee shop by day, swanky lounge by night,” this place lives up to the tagline. It is one of my favorite cafes, with darling themed retro seating areas and even a giant painting of Audrey Hepburn a la Holly Golightly. Just look for the antique 7-Up sign and you’re there!

Swan Dive

615 Red River St., Austin, TX 78701

A true glamma girl’s haven, with a charmingly distressed finish.  This bar and live music venue invites you into an ethereal dream world of all-white décor, soft light, and delicious cocktails—many of which are served in old-fashioned champagne coupes.  Have the French 75!

The Highball

1142 S. Lamar, Austin, TX 78704

This is a “diner” as the Rat Pack would have imagined it, swanky mid-century modern décor and all.  Sure they serve great food, but there’s also a huge bar, 8 lanes of bowling, a ballroom for live music and dancing and themed private karaoke rooms upstairs.

You may also need…

Zilker Botanical Gardens

2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, TX 78746

If you need to get back to the beauty of nature or restore your inner “fairy princess,” this is the place.  I grew up in a neighborhood close by and remember magical hours spent here.  Created in 1955, the gardens now include a prehistoric garden, herb and fragrance garden, butterfly garden and trail, rose garden, and my favorite, the Isamu Tanaguchi Oriental Garden—all flowing seamlessly one into another under a lush canopy of live oak trees.

24-hour eateries:

In the wee small hours, you needn’t resort to IHOP or Denny’s.  Just punch this into your GPS or tell the Cabbie:

Magnolia Café (the spinach artichoke dip is divoon!)

1920 S. Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

2304 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

Kerbey Lane

2700 S. Lamar, Austin, TX 78704

2606 Guadalupe, Austin, TX 78705

3704 Kerbey Lane, Austin, TX 78731

Star Seeds

3101 N. I-35, Austin, TX 78722

Diner 24 (a bit fancy for a diner, but good)

600 N. Lamar, Austin, TX 78703

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