While South Congress (SoCo) may have a larger number of shops, the 100 block of North Loop (MoFoNoLo) is my neighborhood hub of interesting retail experiences.
Last nite I attended the latest Alleycat Crit Race, this one hosted by The Peddler. The crit had 25 racers peddling as fast as they could on all kinds of bicycles around a few blocks for 20 minutes. About 100 folks gathered for beer & spectating. Unfortunately, the Austin police showed up after the first lap and the race was cut short. I hope no one got ticketed for running stop signs on their bikes and I’m looking forward to the next Alleycat. Urban bike riding is a very good thing that we should all encourage & support in whatever ways we can.
Anyway, back to the North Loop area shops, there are great vintage furniture, clothing, etc. at Room Service and Hog Wild, and you’ll find erotic novelties at Forbidden Fruit. Ararat has great middle eastern cuisine and, on some nights, belly dancer entertainment. The Parlor (aka the Punk Rock Pizza Place) serves beer, loud music, & kickass homemade pizza. And don’t forget to visit Monkey Wrench Books and the Musical Exchange. There are other shops east of the 100 block on North Loop that also should be checked out, such as Austin Modern.