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Pearl Power

The 19th century cowboy beer makers are long gone, but their brewery lives on. Reimagined as the heart of a 16-block, mixed-use, new urban neighborhood, the formerly abandoned Pearl Brewery, set riverside in downtown San Antonio, flourishes anew. Ever growing, the circa 1881 complex prevails as a burgeoning residential and foodcentric commercial enclave that redefines how Texans want to live. Here are five reasons to visit Pearl today.

 

Hotel Emma
The 146-room Hotel Emma garnered immediate applause when it opened in 2015. Playing up to the site’s brew-making past, designers Roman and Williams, in their first Texas project, integrated old-world comfort with fanciful accents. Weaving industrial artifacts into the interiors, Hotel Emma takes full advantage of its stellar bones. Lavish textiles, leather-sheathed furniture and sumptuous carpets deliver magnificence, while tin ceilings, chipped plaster walls and concrete tiles add personality. Head in for clubby Sternewirth’s new lunch menu, which showcases German-influenced dishes such as pork bratwurst flavored with Pearl beer. Rates from $350 per night 

Hiatus Spa + Retreat
Airy Zen comes to River City with Hiatus, a Texas-owned day spa with a membership wellness plan. Designed by architecture firm Clayton&Little to stay true to the brewery’s soul, its interiors—a series of nooks and crannies—allude to the factory’s industrial past by way of whispered steel accents. Throughout, light colors combined with wood and stone create a sense of calm, while paintings by Austin artist Jan Heaton touch the heart. Triangular tile in the entry and nail room, glazed in brand colors, references and reinterprets San Antonio’s favored colorful encaustic tile. H-Circle membership $69 per month

Bottling Department
Following the culinary theme that has driven Pearl since its inception (an outpost of The Culinary Institute of America helped launch the district’s success), Bottling Department, San Antonio’s first food hall, opened in July. Occupying the original Pearl Bottling House, which was destroyed by fire in 2003, this five-restaurant gourmets’ sanctuary received its redesign from Clayton&Little. Relying on historic photos and salvaged relics, the architects crafted a 5,500-square-foot space adjacent to Pearl Park. Diners and imbibers can enjoy Bud’s Southern Rotisserie (shown here), Fletcher’s Hamburgers, Maybelle’s Donuts, Tenko Ramen and The Good Kind, indulging in fare ranging from fried pies to chicken fajita karaage.  

Cellars
Capturing the opulence of a luxury hotel, Cellars, a 10-story, 122-unit apartment complex, brings residents to the nucleus of Pearl. Local architect Don McDonald incorporated a plethora of historical elements into a design that includes locally crafted tile, native stone, salvaged hardwood, longleaf pine floors and reclaimed brick. With a library and map room (containing antique tomes and maps curated by local celebrity Alice Carrington Foultz), a private dog park and personal concierge services, flats here range from intimate pied-à-terres to expansive lofts. Embracing a polished authenticity and respect for the past, Cellars, which asks some of the city’s highest rents, eschews that cookie-cutter look to make a statement about responsible design. One-bedroom apartments from $1,830 per month, penthouse from $13,975 per month 

High Street Wine Co.
Cozy chic and rustic elegance collude to make this wine buffs’ saloon Pearl’s trendiest living room. Created by San Antonio’s Dado Group, the interior scheme of High Street Wine Co. references the historical setting with deliberately rough-hewn details, such as an exposed concrete floor. In a nod to the Alamo City’s growing cool-kids hum, bright gold clips and block foil print flirt with masculine wood and stone surfaces. A slatted wood ceiling draws the eye vertically, while the nostalgic long bar successfully anchors the room. Oenophiles will delight in the seasonal wine list compiled by sommelier Scott Ota, who serves tipple in flights, by the glass and from a bottle.