Best Of :: Shopping & Services
Austin is just close enough to Dallas that the time and hassle of flying isn't worth it. And you never know when I-35 construction or traffic will turn a three-hour drive into four-and-a-half (or longer). Megabus offers a convenient, cheap way to make the trip. The interstate under the wheels might still be a mess, but at least you're not behind the wheel. Read or get some work done, thanks in part to the Wi-Fi, power outlets and restrooms. The buses are spacious, the seats are comfortable, and so far the element of crazy among passengers is less than on the competition. Tickets start at $13. Buses leave from Market and Young streets in downtown Dallas.us.megabus.com
Beverage Depot is the size of a grocery store, but the food groups here are "vodka," "whiskey" and "Scotch." Checkout lines are long and aisles crowded on Friday nights as customers load up on bargain booze from the well organized selection of wines, beers and spirits. Imported wines at low prices are a specialty. Looking for a fine Australian vintage? They have more than 25. We'll drink to that, mate.
Occupying prime retail space in Deep Ellum, Epocha boutique and art gallery specializes in men's hard-to-find sneakers. Rare editions of Pumas and Asics are there, along with lesser-known brands. Steps from the colorful shoe rack hang a large selection of men's vintage coats. Shop here for unique streetwear and hip-hop looks and quality goods from the recent past. Epocha sometimes hosts events, serving drinks to Dallas' most fashionably offbeat folk. If you can't afford the footwear, you can at least enjoy the free people-watching.
Oliver Peck is the local ink star who founded the Friday the 13th tattoo marathons. On those nights on the calendar, Peck and his coworkers at Elm Street Tattoo put on a show. With lines snaking out the door, people wait to get a tattoo for just $13 — on the condition that it must have the number "13" somewhere in the design. (The store also asks for a $7 tip, so it's a $20 deal). The bargain night has become a rite of passage for body art enthusiasts. Peck's the top talent but his assistants are masters, too. You're lucky to get ink from any of them.
One Saturday a month, the back room of the independently owned Pet Supplies Plus on Lower Greenville offers discount vaccines, drawing lots of dog owners and yapping, furry friends who sense that something's up. Be assured that the vets here work with sensitivity, patience and care. This store is open every day of the week and often holds adoption events.
Jewel Ybarra is a Dallas cyclist who taught herself to sew. She is the creator of Ellum Bag Works, selling handmade, locally sourced gear and apparel to local bike shops and from her Etsy page. Her specialty is cycling caps — light, breezy caps that absorb the sweat under a helmet. No corporate logos on these, just Ybarra's unique fabrics (batiks, tweeds, moleskins) and designs that appeal to all sorts of riders. Good stuff for getting your head straight and keeping it dry for a long ride.Transit Bicycle Co., 1915 Greenville Ave., 214-219-2453 (and other dealers), ellumbagworks.com
The restored 1946 Belmont Hotel was essential to the revitalization of its West Dallas neighborhood. It has a great, mid-century cool bar and spectacular views of downtown. It's a terrific venue for weddings, anniversaries and other celebrations, and Barefoot at the Belmont, Dallas' best outdoor concert series, happens there. Check it out. Or just check in.
You're never fully dressed without a muumuu, a mink hand-muff and a pillbox hat. You'll find all of these and much, much more on the racks at Vintage Martini. After just a year in Dallas, this has become the go-to shopping destination for keen lovers of all things grandma (but grandma when she was a stylish, sexy young broad). You'll find everything from a sable fur wrap to a light blue Escada sweater to a pair of drool-worthy cowboy boots. And the shop is so immaculate, the clothes smell like new. It's divided into a men's and a women's section, but it's not important to adhere to such labels — use your imagination.
Before you've even entered The Spa at the Joule, you'll get a nose full of eucalyptus. Between Main and Commerce streets, attached to the Joule Hotel, this day spa smells luxurious. Sure, everything on the menu strains the purse strings, from a foot massage ($80) to a treatment known as The Joule ($295), which includes a body scrub and full massage. But nowhere else does treating yo'self feel quite so special. It's a mini vacation where you step off the streets, kick your feet up and splurge.
If an unassuming 1958 Cardinal travel trailer is parked at the next event you attend, don't hesitate. Hop inside, grab an American flag or a pair of oversized sunglasses and flash a smile. You're at the coolest photo booth in town. It pops up at some of the city's most fun events, from Record Store Day at Good Records to Gorilla vs. Bear at the Granada Theater, and if the Photowagon is there, then you're hanging with the cool cats. The mobile photo booth, affectionately known as Lady Bird, is in such high demand the owners are adding a new trailer to the family, making it twice as likely they'll be at your next party.972-352-3765, photo-wagon.com
You've probably noticed that a new "luxury" apartment community is under construction in Dallas on just about every corner. They all promise the same overpriced granite countertops, a pool with swanky-looking fountains and the chance to live in the next cool neighborhood. Of course, you can't afford it. Neither can we. And it's not conveniently located near a highway. Plus, that dog friendly one-bedroom unit isn't available anymore. But it is available at The Village, one of the city's largest apartment communities. There are multiple swimming pools, running trails and duck ponds, not to mention numerous apartments cheap enough that you can pay your rent on time and furnish your living room. With convenient access to Greenville Avenue and Central Expressway, your getting to work on time will be a breeze.
Nail treatments are a luxury, but that doesn't mean all nail salons are relaxing or spa-like. We eschew the salons where apathetic nail techs blab on cellphones or to each other as they're filing our toesies. If you're looking for something more soothing, give the almost unsettlingly quiet Inwood Village Nailery a visit. The decor is minimal (no fancy massaging recliners, just regular chairs). It's clean, too, and the technicians concentrate on the little details. Nothing nicer than some peace and quiet with the polish.