You can’t say that you didn’t expect this ugly dog to awaken from it’s slumber, and rekindle the flame that brings the much heated, frequently addressed debate between the residents of our neighborhoods and the businesses that work to support the city’s self appointed title of “Live Music Capitol Of The World”. It reared it’s ugly head on Red River years ago, and on South 1st at Freddie’s Place, and not too long ago struck down one of the giants KGSR’s Unplugged At The Grove. Follow the ever changing trends in hot spots in town, and you are sure to find this debate lingering in the shadows waiting for the perfect moment to resurrect itself. The increasingly popular, newly developed Rainey Street area which houses Lustre Pearl, Clive Bar, Bar 96, and a handful of popular rolling eateries, with more projects in the wings, is the battle ground currently. Heating up the debate is the lingering SXSW festival which would find the Rainey Street area a prime destination for all things SXSW and non-SXSW related IF they can continue on with their pursuit of providing live music.
Personally, I tend to favor the live music scene (obviously), but I find myself thinking that I should have a better understanding of the ordinances and zoning issues involved in this process, which admittedly I don’t. If you find yourself in the same boat, there’s an opportunity for you to learn a bit more by attending the City Council meeting this Thur 1.13 @ 4 p.m. to hear the owners of Clive Bar, Lustre Pearl, and Bar 96 plead their case. The following is a letter that has been released by the owners of these venues.
January 9, 2011
Dear Rainey Street Patrons,
This letter is a request for action and support from you, the patrons who gather on Rainey Street. Please
come to the City Council meeting and voice your support on Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 4:00PM.
It has been a pleasure taking care of your food, drink and entertainment service. The growth we’ve
experienced over the past year and a half is due largely to high-quality customers like you who faithfully
support and promote our business.
I immediately saw the potential on Rainey Street when I drove through your neighborhood in December of
2008. This historic neighborhood looked like it had fallen on hard times and needed some fresh investment
to help in its regrowth. The neighborhood was already Commercial Business District (CBD) zoned. I brought
my vision and confidence to the neighborhood and opened Lustre Pearl in April of 2009, a time when other
investors were hesitant to bring business into your neighborhood to boost an economic revitalization. Since
then we have grown, and the old Rainey Street has a fresh vibrancy. While growing Rainey Street, we have
always followed the rules, complied with the city, and tried very hard to be a good neighbor.
We have earned and kept our clientele by paying attention to detail, demanding excellence, and providing
the quality service that you have come to expect from Lustre Pearl, Clive Bar, and Bar 96. As a small
entrepreneur, I incorporated Austin’s fun and intriguing character into the design and upkeep of our bars.
Our quality business in your neighborhood is at risk due to the concern of other neighbors about the
Outdoor Music Venue (OMV) permit Lustre Pearl applied for and received. I want to keep in mind the
interests of the people within the 650 foot radius noted in the guidelines for this permit while also increasing
my investment in your neighborhood. While some are concerned that by offering live music, we will attract
too many guests, but the size of the crowd at Lustre Pearl will not change, as the Austin Fire Marshall has
already established capacity limits for this business.
We are more than happy to work with the DANA association and other neighborhood associations to do
what we can to come up with a fair and amicable solution.
I would like to ask for you again to give us your support by coming to the City Council at 4:00pm, Thursday,
January 13, 2011 meeting and speaking out in favor of the Rainey Street revitalization.
We appreciate your continued trust and business, and we’ll keep working hard to give you the outstanding
service you have come to expect of us.
Thanks again for your business and your support. Please feel free to contact myself at
firstname.lastname@example.org or Scranton Twohey at Scranton.Twohey@gmail.com.
Owner of Lustre Pearl, Clive Bar and Bar 96