[Photos: Meghan McCarron/EATX]
What do you do if your first, beloved bar must shutter to make way for condos? If you're Rainey Street nightlife maven Bridget Dunlap, put the entire building on a truck and move it.
Lustre Pearl launched the nightlife revolution on Rainey Street, transforming a quiet residential neighborhood to one of Austin's busiest bar districts. At the heart of that transformation is its owner Bridget Dunlap, who now operates three different bars on the strip. Ironically, Dunlap was able to build her Rainey empire because of the recession, when it was difficult for developers to secure loans. Now, high rise condos and hotels are going up all over the Rainey district; one of those projects is slated for Lustre Pearl's original lot.
Lustre Pearl's new home is behind a former auto shop at 3000 E. Cesar Chavez, another part of town not known for nightlife. Dunlap has long set her sights east. She called her restaurant Mettle her first east side "conquest," and has another restaurant in the works on East 6th. Lustre Pearl's move to far East Cesar Chavez cements Dunlap's role as a major East Side player.
That said, Dunlap is not abandoning Rainey Street, either. A new bar, also called Lustre Pearl, will open at 94 Rainey Street later this year. The original Lustre's new identity is still in the works. For now, take a look at its truly epic move below.