Oklahoma Modernism Weekend events will take place in and around some of the city’s most vibrant shopping and dining districts. If you have some extra time, you might want to check them out.
Automobile Alley, so named because it was once where most of OKC’s auto dealerships were located, is now home to a plethora of exciting shops and restaurants. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop in and check out Urbane, an beautiful mod furniture and home decor store and Plenty Mercantile, which specializes in personally crafted items and home goods. And if you like breakfast, try the incredible hashbrowns at Hatch. Or try the pizza at the iconic Oklahoma eatery, Hideaway Pizza, the burgers at S&B Burger Joint, the delicious steaks at either Red Prime or Broadway 10 Bar & Chophouse, or south of the border delights at Iguana Mexican Grille.
If you’re looking for a little outdoor adventure, then the Boathouse District is the place for you. You can kayak, row, ride the rapids, brave the zip lines and ropes courses, or just enjoy a picnic along the shore.
Baseball games, movies, canal and carriage rides, live entertainment, and restaurants galore await in Bricktown, which is adjacent to downtown and is comprised mostly of old turn-of-the-century warehouses. Play arcade games and laser tag at Brickopolis, take in a Dodgers game at the ballpark, listen to live music at the Criterion or Chevy Events Center, or enjoy a tour of the American Banjo Museum then feast on a delicious meal at Mickey Mantle’s, the Mantel, or Bricktown Brewery. If you’re lucky, you might hear a very talented college student from the Academy of Contemporary Music at UCO playing somewhere on Bricktown’s streets or in its cafes. If dancing to ’80s music is your thing, check out Cosmopolitan, and if hanging out in a good dive bar is more your style, JJ’s is the place to go.
Located south of downtown, Capitol Hill is a thriving Hispanic district where you can find the most authentic Mexican food in town at such eateries as El Potosino, El Ranchito, or El Alex. Also stop by Grille on the Hill for breakfast or a diner-style lunch and to ogle at their huge collection of Capitol Hill history.
The city’s newest district is Chisholm Creek, which is currently being developed as the area’s first pedestrian-friendly, mixed use shopping and living area. Several restaurants and pubs are open, including Republic, Sidecar, Yokozuna, Firebirds, Chalk, and Fuzzy’s, and you can also enjoy the festivities and work up an appetite at Top Golf and iFly.
Classen Circle and Thereabouts
Two of the most authentic and original mid-century hang outs still exist along NW Expressway in the Classen Circle area. If you like swanky red wallpaper, a piano bar, and delicious steaks and fried chicken, then Junior’s, which has been a Metro mainstay since 1973, is a must for you. After your meal, drive down the road a bit to the perfectly preserved 1950s time capsule that is the Hi Lo Club. Every night is a different story here — it’s a local dive hang out, it’s a place to see great up-and-coming bands, and it’s also home to some of the city’s best burlesque and drag shows. If you’re not ready to call it a night, head over to Edna’s across the street for their iconic cocktail, the very tasty Lunchbox. After all of this partying, you might as well stay awake to see the sun come up and have some delicious breakfast and fresh squeezed orange juice at another local icon, Classen Grille. After your feast, walk next door and digest your breakfast looking through vintage jazz and blues albums at Charlie’s. Finally, head back towards Junior’s and check out OKC’s largest independent bookstore, Full Circle Books. They have the best selection of Oklahoma-centric, architecture, and art books in town, and you can certainly lose the day hanging out there.
Perhaps the most elegantly designed district in OKC is the very modern Classen Curve shopping center, which was designed by Elliott + Associates. There, you can find restaurants and bars like Republic Gastropub, 501 Cafe, Tucker’s Onion Burgers, and Upper Crust Pizza. If a sweetie is more what you’re after, try the delicious cupcakes at Green Goodies. For shopping, head over to On a Whim, Kendra Scott, or upscale Balliet’s.
Channel former Deep Deuce residents Charlie Christian and Ralph Ellison as you stroll through the district that was once OKC’s thriving African-American community. Every mid-century jazz great played at the Deep Deuce night spots, and Martin Luther King even applied for a minister’s position at the Calvary Baptist Church, which is now home to the Dan Davis Law Firm. You can still catch great music at the Deep Deuce Grille, which also serves up some tasty eats. Other eateries to check out include La Baguette and Anchor Down respectively. If pizza is your thing, you can’t go wrong at the Wedge If you’re aching to do a little shopping, check out the beautifully curated pickin’s at Bella Vici, and if you love art, one of the best galleries in the city is Artspace at Untitled — you can also shop at their incredible store, the Hive, which is filled with one-of-a-kind creations from local and national artists.
The Deco buildings along Film Row once housed movie studio offices and distribution centers, but now restaurants, local businesses, and shops call them home. Classic arcade lovers will delight in all of the ’80s video game machines at Flashback Retropub, and record lovers can spend hours drinking coffee and spinning albums from the cafe’s ample collection. Grab a pie at Joey’s Pizzeria then head to the 21c Hotel and check out their latest installation of modern art. For a late-night snack, check out Noir Bistro & Bar for cocktails and a tasty treat. The Jones Assembly offers up great food and drink in a friendly environment, while the Stonecloud Brewery, located in the old Sunshine Cleaners building, offers locally made craft beer of all kinds.
Packed with upscale restaurants and trendy shops on the outskirts of downtown, Midtown is a friendly, walkable district that is the perfect location for an evening pub crawl, a game of bowling at the gloriously retro ’70s Dust Bowl, a delicious food truck snack at the outdoor Bleu Garten, or a late-night match of ping-pong and beer tasting at Fassler Hall. Also, if you love retro decor, it’s imperative that you walk across the street and have a drink and snack at R&J’s Lounge and Supper Club, which is loaded up with ’60s kitsch, including the drinks and menu! Other popular restaurants include 1492, an upscale Mexican eatery in a great mid-century modern building, Stella, a modern Italian bistro in an old gas station, or Cafe do Brasil for authentic Brazilian cuisine located in a grand, Spanish-style former funeral home. You won’t want to miss a visit to the cafe’s cozy and relaxing rooftop bar, Bossa Nova, to enjoy one of the lounge’s yummy caipirinhas. Also stop in at McNellie’s, a pretty authentic Irish pub, for a tasty brew, or head over to Kaiser’s Grateful Bean for the best ice cream in town and hang out at their fun soda fountain. The back patio at Barrios is a great place to hang out and try a flight of the eatery’s vast array of tequilas, or walk next door and enjoy some delicious ramen at Tamashii Ramen. End your exploration of the neighborhood with a visit to the very swanky and loungy Nic’s Place in the basement. You will feel transported back to the 1940s and will never want to leave! If you’d rather be outside enjoying the night sky, stop for a drink and snack on the rooftop deck at Packard’s or head to the Ambassador Hotel for a drink at the lovely O Bar overlooking the downtown skyline.
If you need a coffee after a night out on the town, Hank’s, with its comfy mid-century decor and delicious cups of Joe, is certainly the place to go. After all of that eating and drinking, you might want to do a little shopping. Commonplace Books is a beautiful place to hang out on a cozy sofa perusing the excellent selection of art, clean living, and kids’ books. Also, for gifts and apparel, check out Black Scintilla, Opolis (which has the best t-shirt selection in the city), and Nhu Avenue.
The Plaza District
Just a few years ago, many of the buildings in this now-thriving area were crumbling and boarded up. Thanks to the efforts of many forward thinking neighbors, the area at NW 16th and Blackwelder has come to life in a big way and is now packed full with unique locally owned shops and restaurants. You will definitely want to visit Mike at RetrOKC, a mid-century modern shop that is so fun and funky and is just a few blocks from the district (see address at the end of this guide). If you like vintage clothing, you must stop and browse the aisles at Bad Granny’s Bazaar, Out on a Limb, and Dig It. One of the best galleries in town, Kasum, is also located here. And, you can’t visit the Plaza District without stopping in at Pie Junkie, which serves, hands down, the most decadent desserts in town. If you’re not quite ready for dessert, there are a plethora of good eateries to choose from in the Plaza District, from delicious pizza at Empire Slice House to a ramen feast at Goro to yummy sandwiches at The Mule delicious pub food at Saints. If you’re looking for a good selection of beer, then Oak & Ore should be high on your list of taverns to check out.
The Spanish-style buildings that make up the Paseo are OKC’s oldest shopping district. The charming Spanish Revival complex was built in the late 1920s and has evolved into the metro’s premier arts district, with 22 galleries calling the village home; definitely take time to stroll through the galleries and see what they have to offer. You can also find some funky shops in the Paseo, including ReModernOK, a mid-century modern lover’s paradise and Bone Dust, which offers an impressive collection of vintage clothing and cowboy boots, along with hand-crafted jewelry and leather goods. Also, check out Betsy King Shoes and Su Casa. After all of that shopping, you will be hungry and you have all kinds of dining options in the Paseo, from the delicious pizza at Sauced to the funky atmosphere of Picasso’s to the more elegant Paseo Grill to tacos at Oso on Paseo to delicious cocktails and snacks at Scratch to breakfast at Buttermilk or Holey Rollers — you can’t go wrong eating anywhere in the neighborhood.
Relive the area’s western roots in the still-in-use stockyards area, where you can spy cattle heading to market, shop at such outfitters as Langston’s Western Wear, and eat at OKC’s oldest restaurant, the century old Cattlemen’s Steakhouse. Yum!
Anchored by the newly repurposed Tower Theater, the Uptown 23rd district is abuzz with activity both day and night. It’s a great area to plan a pub crawl from the always hoppin’ and very retro Pump Bar to the swanky Drake, which also serves incredible oysters and fish dishes, to the ’70s-themed Rockford, which specializes in updated versions of your favorite disco-era cocktails. The Bunker Club offers the best eye candy of any bar in town … and the drinks are great, too. The district is also home to some of the city’s best restaurants, including hometown favorites, such as Cheever’s for fine dining, Pizzeria Gusto for authentic Neopolitan pizza, the retro-themed Mutt’s for the best hot dog in town, Thai House or Sala Thai for, duh, Thai, Tucker’s for a true onion burger, Back Door BBQ for a meat lover’s feast, Guyutes for the best rooftop drinking and dining in the district, or the nationally renowned Big Truck Tacos. After dinner, stroll to Cuppies and Joe for a tasty sweet or saunter over to the Blue Note for a game of pool and some rockin’ live music. As for shopping, check out Interior Gilt for home furnishings and decor.
One of the oldest neighborhood district in OKC, Western Avenue is a great place to shop for antiques and other one-of-a-kind treasures. Search for unique treasures at Antique Avenue and Mockingbird Manor, then head to local florist A Date with Iris, a shop that also carries fun knick knacks and gift items. If records are your passion, a stop at Guestroom Records is a must. After all of that browsing, stop and have a cold beer at one of OKC’s oldest watering holes, Cock o’ the Walk. Another OKC institution is VZD’s, which is a converted ’20s-era drugstore that features some pretty amazing food in a relaxed, neighborhood atmosphere. If fried chicken is your thing, then you will love the Drum Room. And you must stop by the Will Rogers Theater for a drink and snack and to check out the beautiful original murals in the lobby. Next door, grab some sushi from Sushi Neko or stroll across the street for a game of pool at Sipango Lounge. Finally, for a REALLY BIG treat, stop by Ketch Design Center and meander through the showroom to the overflow room in back. There, you will find nirvana … that is, roll upon roll of authentic vintage wallpaper. Foil, flocked, geometric prints, florals — you name it and they’ve probably got it. It’s the best vintage eye candy in town! Finally, head over to the beautifully mod Classen Curve, where you will find all kinds of great shops and eateries.
Located just south of the Oklahoma River, the newly created Wheeler District is a burgeoning enclave of homes, shops, and restaurants. Right now, you can check out the iconic ferris wheel that was perched atop the Santa Monica Pier for decades, ride bikes around the area, and stroll along the river and take in the gorgeous views of downtown. (Photo from the Oklahoman.)
Mid-Century Modern Shops and Vintage Clothing Stores
2725 NW 50th St
Oklahoma City OK 73112-8001
Tucked away in a small 1950s strip center, owner Tareq sells a wide array of classic mid-century modern pieces at all price points — his shop is such a visual delight that it’s impossible to walk away empty handed. As a bonus, Tareq is also a painter and sells many of his original works in the shop.
Bad Granny’s Bazaar
1759 NW 16th
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
405 528 4585
If you love vintage clothing and kitschy goodies at crazy good prices, you will definitely want to check out Bad Granny’s. It’s one of those places where you can spend hours looking and digging around and still feel like you haven’t seen everything.
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
405 205 7240
Located in the heart of the beautiful and hoppin’ Paseo District, ReModernOK is the Metro’s newest vintage shop, and it’s packed full with all kinds of treasures. Joe has a great eye for everything MCM, as you’ll see when you visit his beautifully curated shop. When you’re in the Paseo, also be sure to stop by the other shops and galleries in the neighborhood and pop by Picasso Cafe for a refreshing beverage and snack.
1740 NW 10th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
405 922 9981
Prepare to spend A LOT of time in Mike’s store ogling at every little fantastic thing. If you love vintage dishes, he has them; if you like funky art, you’ll find it; if you long for the perfect table or chair, it’s probably waiting for you here. Even better, Mike is always playing some kind of fun music, so pull up one of his vintage chairs and enjoy some tunes and lively conversation with Mike.
Space 20th Century Modern
3012 N. Pennsylvania
Oklahoma City, OK73107
405 923 8125
If you love designer mid-century modern pieces, then Koby is the man to see! He has a warehouse packed floor to ceiling with lovely Milo Baughman, Herman Miller, Warren Platner, and George Nelson originals that will surely have you salivating with desire.