When Bridget Dunlap opened Lustre Pearl on Rainey Street in 2009, no one could have predicted that it would single-handedly turn the sleepy neighborhood full of ramshackle bungalows into a downtown destination.
In just five years, the tiny street has exploded with the addition of a sausage and beer joint, a whiskey bar, a critically-acclaimed interior Mexican restaurant and an impressive craft cocktail lounge, just to name a few. But, in a poetic twist, one that mirrors a changing Austin in so many ways, Lustre Pearl is set to close this weekend to make way for a 250-unit condominium.
The Millennium Rainey, as the building will be called, is set to join at least two other major construction projects slated for 2014. Construction is already underway on a Kimpton hotel called Hotel Van Zandt at Red River and Davis Streets. The Van Zandt will have 300 rooms and a restaurant.
Also on the horizon is the Waller Center, as it is now called, a $500 million mixed-use complex which could boast the highest tower in Austin upon its completion, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Lest you feel bad for Dunlap, don't worry. Her moniker as the Queen of Rainey remains in tact as she still owns three bars on the street: Clive, Bar 96 and newly opened Container Bar. And she's not letting Lustre Pearl shutter without a little celebration of her very own. According to Lustre Pearl's Facebook, Dunlap will top a weekend of musical celebrations with a special engagement where she'll perform dressed up as Stevie Nicks.
Lustre Pearl officially closes its doors on Sunday, March 30.