- Bryan Rindfuss
In the market for a bronze chandelier with alabaster bobesches? Desperately seeking a pair of Wonder Woman-inspired go-go boots? This short list will help you find them (and lots more you never knew you needed) in the surprisingly eclectic bubble surrounding Alamo Heights, Olmos Park and Terrell Hills.
When you think of “hobbies,” needlepoint and bird-watching might come to mind before scouring Europe for antiques and shipping them to Texas in 40-foot containers. Yet that’s the hobby that birthed Charlott’s Antiques—an Austin Highway landmark boasting one of the city’s most diverse treasure collections. Living up to its tagline (“recycling San Antonio since 1966”), the 7,000 square-foot gold mine offers a long walk down memory lane you’d be wrong to rush. While well-kept relics from the swinging ’60s (from $8 hats to $80 Barbie dolls) and an extensive array of china, cookie jars and costume jewelry make it an excellent destination for unusual gifts, Charlott’s is distinguished by such historic showpieces as a $45,000 grandfather clock once belonging to Prince Eugene of Sweden. 2023 Austin Hwy, (210) 653-3672, charlottsantiqueshop.blogspot.com.
Debbie Silver Vintage Consignment
Whether you’re looking to harness your inner cowgirl, prom queen or flapper chick, Debbie Silver’s got you covered. Packed with bedazzled gowns, Western shirts and accessories in all flavors, it’s no wonder the compact Olmos Park shop functions as a costume closet for theme parties and theater productions. In fact, the most coveted items (namely a Wonder Woman-inspired pair of go-go boots and a white tux straight out of Saturday Night Fever) are only available as rentals ($35-$60). While prices climb higher than an ordinary thrift store, there’s plenty in the $20 to $40 range and nothing’s more than $250. On our visit, a lace frock from the 1940s ($240) and a black fringed dress fit for a Great Gatsby moment ($125) stood out as lovingly preserved bits of fashion history. 248 W Olmos, (210) 214-3989.
Land of Was
Danny Spear bought his first antique at age 10 and now owns Land of Was, a fascinating store his mother and sister opened in 1960. A spell with Spear can entail antique pearls of wisdom, sound bites from worldly adventures and jokes that’ll have you laughing long after you’ve left. Although known best for lighting and decorative accents (there’s rarely a chandelier or sconce shortage), Land of Was features an eclectic mélange built around European and Mexican aesthetics. While some of the pieces are purchased elsewhere and trucked to SA, the pioneering shop also snaps up worthy treasures from folks in the area looking to sell heirlooms, jewelry, paintings and furniture. Here, whether it’s a 15th-century English chest ($11,000) or an antique salt spoon ($8), it’s likely to have a story attached. 3119 Broadway, (210) 822-5265.
Lion & Eagle
Housed in a former apartment complex outfitted with Murphy beds and steam heat, Lion & Eagle is the only place in town you’ll find a sign designating a “Curbside Lamp Drop-off.” Established in 1972, the store deals in 18th- and 19th-century European furnishings and doubles as a lamp repair service. When asked to identify a few noteworthy pieces, owner Billy Gardner pointed out a bronze chandelier with alabaster bobesches ($4,685), a 19th-century bookcase ($16,000) and an English mahogany partners desk adorned with lions’ heads ($25,000). Gardner said a portion of the inventory comes from his customers downsizing. For all your fixtures on the fritz, Lion & Eagle charges between $15 and $30 for basic repairs, from $28 to $53 to rewire a chandelier and also offers cleaning, delivery and installation. 3511 Broadway, (210) 826-3483.
Since opening in 1981 in the quietly cool structure that’s now home to H-E-B #1 (nostalgic ’09ers still call it Handy Andy), Second Looks has established itself as San Antonio’s oldest men’s consignment store. Stylishly appointed with vintage accents, luggage and taxidermy, the shop (now situated in Carousel Court) has a clubby, old-school appeal that’s reflected in the tidy racks of tailored suits, preppy oxfords and creased slacks. Though it’s an established destination for emergency suiting on the fly ($125-$225), Second Looks also stocks an ever-evolving selection of cowboy boots (often encompassing both $70 Justins and $295 Luccheses), bow ties ($18-$25) and suspenders ($14.50-$25). As for those gently worn Polo shirts hiding in your closet, this is the spot to cash them in. 1804 Nacogdoches, (210) 826-6121, secondlooksformen.com.