Tribeza Talk: Neighborhoods
An insider’s guide to what’s buzzing around Austin
by Nicole Beckley
Better Believe It
The former site of an Enterprise rental-car facility might be the last place you’d think of transforming into a hip coffee and cocktail bar. But for the team behind Better Half, the Clarksville café that opened in February, it just clicked. “We’re stoked to be in the Clarksville neighborhood,” Better Half co-founder Matthew Bolick says. Bolick, along with his Brew & Brew partners, revamped the space and built out a full restaurant, with the help of Josephine House’s Rich Reimbolt and pastry chef Jennifer Tucker, and have future plans to open a full brewery.
“We’ve got the nice patio out back where the lights are strung through the trees, and it’s kind of like you’re not in Austin almost, because it’s sort of tucked away by this little train yard,” Bolick says. “It’s hard to find that sort of zone in town anymore, especially this close to downtown.” Photograph by Alison Narro.
In Good Health
Head toward the Hill Country for some much-needed relaxation and refreshment at the newly opened wellness center Alive + Well. Designed by Matt Fajkus Architecture, the small gardens in the middle of the facility are flanked by health-focused services, including an infrared sauna, yoga studio, cleansing foot baths, and immersive float tank. The healthy vibe extends into the on-site restaurant, Elle’s Cafe & Coffee, featuring veggie-heavy fare like quinoa and kale bowls from the team behind Contigo. Photograph by Chase Daniel.
Where can you climb through an obstacle course, slam-dunk a basketball, and play dodgeball on a trampoline, all in one location? Opened in April, the family-friendly Urban Air Adventure Park invites kids and parents to bounce off the walls at its 30,000-square-foot Cedar Park location. There’s also a ropes course, climbing walls, and an indoor roller coaster, so your feet rarely have to touch the ground.
“I think that a lot of people really closely follow national news … but people tend to ignore what’s happening in our own backyard,” Amy Stansbury says. As a journalist covering local issues and city council meetings, Stansbury wanted a way to bring broader attention to the impact of local government. Teaming up with designers Hal Wuertz and Jordan Shade, the trio created “A Beginner’s Guide to Local Government,” an illustrated activity book that breaks down the basics of civic engagement. “We settled on a book because we thought it was this really scalable way that we could get information out,” Wuertz says. Plus it comes with stickers.
“It’s the local level that’s passing the policies that most affect you, like affordability and gentrification and traffic,” Stansbury says. “Even if you feel like you can’t effect change at the national level, there’s a whole world of opportunity right here in Austin for you to be engaged with and really be a leader.”
Cause for Celebration
Commemorating Emancipation Day in Texas, first celebrated in 1865 with a proclamation declaring all slaves free, this year’s Juneteenth is observed June 16 with a parade and festival. The parade route extends through East Austin, beginning near Comal Street at East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and ending at Rosewood Park, where vendors and food stands will be set up through the afternoon.
Beauty and Bubbles
“Being a local Austin brand, I really wanted to be able to interact with customers and give hands-on, one-on-one tips and advice,” Gertie Wilson says. After founding Elevé Cosmetics in 2015, Wilson and her sister, Ginger Averitt, opened a South Austin storefront in March, creating a stylish lounge space to try on products from the nontoxic beauty brand and sip on Champagne. “I know we all experience the girls’ night out where we all get ready together and just glam up together, so I wanted to bring that experience to the store,” Wilson says. “We’ve had lots of support from the neighborhood and lots of people dropping by. We’re just so happy to be in this area.” Photograph by Twinty Photography.