New Central East Austin shop Vintage Bookstore and Wine Bar combines two of the world’s best things — books and wine — in a gorgeous and cozy space starting this month. The 1101 East 11th Street spot opened on Saturday, October 15.
Vintage owner Jean Elizabeth Buckner opened the bookstore/wine bar, a dream of hers, within the historic landmarked Haehnel Building, which lends the business a regal air. The split-two-level building contains multiple rooms offering readers various areas to set up shop for reading, drinking, nibbling, and connecting with people. “Just go and make yourself comfortable wherever you’re going to sit and hang out,” she says.
Buckner designed the space herself with help from her mother. Luckily, the space came with teal trims and curtains and a dark blackish-blue ceiling (most recently, it had housed a bunch of law firms; the colors date from the building’s restoration in 2001). That made the color theme easy, and she chose to round it out with ample amounts of floral wallpaper from the product brand Rifle Paper Co.
For furniture, Buckner and her mother rummaged through estate sales, marketplaces, and the Austin Antique Mall for what they could find. They bought a 105-year-old piano from an Austinite who claims it spent time in New Orleans. The bookcases, stages, and bar were created by local carpenter Jesse Nebus of Shineshop Woodworks. The cafe room features tables assembled by Buckner’s father. The other furniture was sourced through antique dealer Tamara Taylor, who helped find red velvet couches seen in the salon room. There’s a room dedicated to Austin authors. Outside will be a lending library cart. Throughout the space is hanging art by local artists selling their work.
And then there’s the food and wine. Buckner made a point of highlighting women-owned businesses. There’s a fridge setup with grab-and-go snack boxes from Austin-based company Cultured Grazing Company, run by Colette Weitzel. There’s a cheese and charcuterie option, as well as hummus and crudites, available in small or large sizes.
Austin bakery the Fika Table, run by Laura Galos and known for its Nordic sweets, will be providing the pastries. This means buns in cardamom, apple-cinnamon, and lavender-honey flavors. There are also a variety of kolaches.
The wine was the other important component to Buckner. She worked at Dripping Springs winery Bell Springs in the fall of 2020 to learn more about wine as preparation for opening the bookstore/wine bar. Her curation meant a global-spanning list of reds, whites, rosés, and sparkling wines, all with an approachable selection with a good variety of price points. These range from France, New Zealand, South Africa, Israel, Washington, California, and, yes, Texas options, including William Chris Vineyards’s Skeleton Key bottles.
There are also offerings from Austin-based subscription boxed wine company Boxt, non-alcoholic canned cocktails by Crisp & Crude, beers from Central Texas breweries Family Business Brewing Co. and Bell Springs Brewing Co., and nitro cold brew from local Tiny House Coffee.
Another fun merging of Buckner’s interests is showcased in the staff book endorsements, which all include wine recommendations.
Despite the name, Vintage will not stock used books. Rather, Buckner wanted to focus on newer selections. “When you’re stocking a bookstore for the first time, it’s very intimidating,” she says, She knew already in the Austin book scene, there’s BookPeople and the reliance people have on Amazon. So she wants her shop to become the place where people browse and stumble upon books that sound interesting to them, including an emphasis on fantasy, her favorite genre.
Vintage’s opening day on Saturday was so successful, it had to close earlier the next day in order to restock books. Its usual hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, and then Tuesday through Thursday, and then from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.