Funky Town Tulsa

On the prowl for eclectic fun in savvy Tulsa, we find an assortment of hipster spots perfect for merrymaking.

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Dive into a slice of scrumptious carrot cake at The Coffee House on Cherry Street.
Photo Credit: Shauna Lawyer Struby

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On our funky night out in Tulsa town, my friend Sandy and I wanted to hit a collection of distinctly eclectic destinations for a little bit of shopping, fun and, of course, feasting all in one night. What did we discover? Simmering beneath Tulsa’s sophisticated veneer, this legendary city formerly known as the oil capital of the world has a decidedly saucy scene perfect for all ages.

First, we stop by Ida Red, a Cain’s Ballroom Rock N’ Roll Boutique in Tulsa’s voguish Brookside District, for unrestrained lusting after rock ‘n’ roll swag. Not content with being a mere purveyor of Cain’s Ballroom merchandise and assorted musical T-shirts and baubles, Ida Red, named for a tune recorded by Western swing legend Bob Wills, rocks the Brookside world. It boasts a gallery displaying the work of local artists, free Wi-Fi and coffee and a retro snack and soda collection bound to satisfy discriminating snacksters and pop-a-holics alike.

Add swing music and rock ‘n’ roll shrine-style wares to the inventory, and you’ve got a kicky, irresistible mix. Best gift discovery: For those hard-to-buy-for new parents, we’ve got two words for you – radical onesies – and if you just can’t make it to the store, soon you’ll be able to nab all the cool stuff at the Ida Red website.

Owners Alice and Jim Rodgers also own the infinitely cool and much-vaunted historic Cain’s Ballroom, located just a little north of downtown Tulsa in the Tulsa Arts District. The grand old rock space boasts a robust schedule of local, regional and national acts and is managed by the Rodgers’ sons, Chad and Hunter. Selected as one of America’s 40 best music venues by Paste, an international independent music news magazine, Cain’s is a definite best bet for rocking the night away.                   

The call of tea leaves and yummy confections leads us to The Coffee House on Cherry Street for dessert edification, where smiling baristas woo us with chai and carrot cake. We hone our people-watching skills in a cozy cubbyhole and follow an in-progress Monopoly game, as an intriguing mix of folks use the free Wi-Fi or kick back on plush couches and big chairs for java-infused chats in a no-place-like-home atmosphere.

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