Downtown San Angelo

Boots, boutiques, and a brothel along the city’s oldest streets.
Downtown San Angelo
Miss Hattie’s Bordello Museum
Photograph by Adam Voorhes

1. LEGEND JEWELERS

Even if you’re not in the market for a diamond ring or custom piece, duck into this gallery of fine jewelry and treat yourself to a Concho pearl. Found only in mussel shells from nearby lakes and rivers, the lustrous beauties come in an array of pinks, purples, and peaches. Ask to see the thirteen-millimeter whopper that’s been appraised at $50,000. Or walk out with a fourteen-karat gold Texas-shaped pendant with a more modest pearl that will set you back just $118. 18 E. Concho Ave., 325-653-0112, legendjewelers.com

2. MISS HATTIE’S BORDELLO MUSEUM

Don’t look so disapproving: You know you’ve always wanted to peek inside a house of ill repute. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday afternoons, curious tourists can explore the nine-room brothel, which was open for business from 1902 until
the Texas Rangers raided it in 1952. While the former home of working girls like Miss Goldie (so in demand she could charge $2 a favor) has been redecorated, some original items—a hip bath, a burgundy corset, a fainting couch—remain. 18 1/2 E. Concho Ave., 325-653-0112, misshatties.com

3. J. WILDE’S BOUTIQUE

If you’re allergic to color or put off by kitsch, you won’t appreciate this riotous bazaar of women’s clothing, accessories, decorator fabrics, vintage furniture, and delightfully tacky doodads for the home. Few places let you snag a ruffled pastel-print Ya-Da blouse, a sofa re-covered in a floral cut-velvet fabric, refurbished lamps and hand-painted shades, a circa-fifties pillbox hat, and a black ceramic panther all in one fell swoop. 20 E. Concho Ave., 325-655-0878

4. MISS HATTIE’S CAFÉ AND SALOON

During Miss Hattie’s heyday, the building that now houses this popular restaurant and watering hole was a bank—and also the covert entrance to the famed madam’s brothel a couple doors down. As you enjoy your 21-day-aged steak or your tenderloin Gouda tower, a waiter will gladly grab a dinner knife and tap the floor to prove the existence of underground rooms that once allowed clients discreet passage to visit the women for whom the entrées are now named. 26 E. Concho Ave., 325-653-0570, misshatties.com/saloon

5. EGGEMEYER’S GENERAL STORE

With its broad spectrum of frivolities, this sprawling 25-year-old shop has the feel of a sophisticated five-and-dime. Knickknacks like handblown glass ornaments, Madame Alexander dolls, build-your-own Pandora charm bracelets, and made-fresh-daily fudge take up half the square footage, while the other half is devoted to culinary pursuits—you can sample Texas vino at the wine bar, pick out Le Creuset bakeware, and nibble on samples of the owners’ famous homemade sweet and hot sauce, the runaway best-seller. 35 E. Concho Ave., 325-655-1166

6. M.L. LEDDY’S BOOTS AND SADDLERY

M. L. Leddy’s granddaughter, Beverly Franklin, will likely greet you with a frank assessment of your podiatric short-comings. Overpronate? Have bunions? Let her talk you into some bespoke boots made completely by hand and measured to conform perfectly to your feet. The wait for custom kicks is nearly a year, but you can snap up a pair of black, full-quill ostrich stunners from the showroom. The budget-strapped can dream on while watching the boot-makers painstakingly craft each pair (which start at $900) in the on-site workshop. 222 S. Oakes, 325-653-3397, leddys.com

7. MESQUITE BEAN CAFÉ

At first glance, the soups, salads, and panini at this corner cafe in the 1929 Cactus Hotel seem standard, but the deliciousness is in the details. Sandwiches are strategically enhanced with wheat berry bread, Shiner-sautéed onions, or balsamic mayo. Drink a glass or two of the signature sweet tea made with prickly pear fruit syrup; the subsequent visit to the rest-room will give you the chance to cross through the old hotel’s majestic lobby to see intricate chandeliers and blue-and-gold Spanish tiles. 36 E. Twohig Ave., 325-617-2078

Tags: SAN ANGELO,

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