Two openings. One small, one large. One of Austin, the other from elsewhere.
Both on Burnet Road. And both predicated on the presence of celebrity.
At the opening of the Austin School of Fashion Design, great-hearted Daniel Esquivel of "Project Runway" fame was the main attraction. His fans filled the Brentwoood-area school tucked in a vintage strip center at 6001 Burnet Road, tiny enough to fit in the studios of the reality fashion show.
(Patricia? Really? Fabric-maker Patricia? How did she edge out Daniel? Ah well. He’s got the fans and the offers.)
Mary Margaret Quadlander , the designer, teacher and author who might be the only Austinite who thinks it hard to reach me, smiled broadly as young and old alike toasted her tidy hive of creativity and skill.
Farther up Burnet Road near the Domain, TopGolf Austin was hard to miss. Like its predecessors in Houston and Dallas, this high-end driving range crossed with a nightclub is nested in nets that look tall enough to snag passing planes.
The place was mobbed, not only for NBA veteran Robert Horry, who towered over other guests and graciously posed for pictures with anyone who asked.
At first, the place seemed a maze of VIP rooms and restricted areas, not much help for an intrepid social reporter. Yet as soon as I explored the double tier of driving boxes — each outfitted like a lounge with flat-screen TVs and comfy furniture — I ran into friendly folks. It is Austin after all.
It was quite the party. Judging from the rate of observed consumption, TopGolf should rise quickly in the ranks of TABC’s tax roles in Travis County. Besides the dozens of mini-lounges, there are several bars and a rooftop terrace with a stage for musical acts.
I didn’t try the food or drink, but both were popular with the scores of mostly male guests, who looked like they would feel comfortable in a suburban sports bar. (As would I, for the record.)
Everything is designed to keep you there and entertained for hours. Since I don’t golf, I was missing a key element. But it is, nevertheless, an impressive place.