Friday, July 6, 2012

Hang Outs - Extra Large Gallery & Stardust Lounge

Custom spray paint cans at Extra Large Gallery
By Ryann Lugo

Last month’s article on the Twelve21 Gallery, focused on the many possible daytime shenanigans within the Ivanhoe District. This time, just a hop and a skip away, are two places within the Eola District that I stumbled upon while in search of a night-life gem in this area. I was hoping to find either a really eccentric bar or another small gallery that regularly features local artists. Well, I found both! Just off of Central Ave are Extra Large Gallery and Stardust Lounge, two neighboring businesses by the same owner that are sure to leave a huge impression. Though their doors are literally five steps away from each other, both entertain totally different themes.

Extra Large Gallery
Decked with urban artwork, Extra Large Gallery is not only home to many local artists but it’s also the spot for many barflies and social butterflies. Though its name suggests a giant venue, it’s actually rather small. It’s certainly not cramped and what it might lack in space, it makes up for in personality. Its walls ornamented with cool artwork and a red brick wall serve as the background for the actual bar, adding to that metropolitan flavor. Like all really awesome hang out spots, this place has plenty of couch space for lazing around with your specially made drink-age – mixed by the super sweet and spunky Suzanne, if you go on a Monday night. An excellent “mixologist” and hostess, Suzanne was eager to make me something I’d never tried before. “We get all sorts of different people,” she said, when I asked her what kind of crowed typically hangs out there. “It’s always a blast no matter who walks in!” And she’s right. Even for a Monday night, the menagerie of people and artwork is alive with excitement.

Inside Extra Large Gallery

The current exhibit “Faces”, curated by Patrick Fatica, just opened up on June 30th. It’s a collection of strange and beautiful works of, well, “faces” that are just as dynamic and engaging as the people that are drawn to the gallery. Fatica, who’s work was first to premiere when Extra Large opened last year, decided to do something different for this show. Instead of featuring his own art, he put together a collection of works by artists from all over the world, of which he says are “some of the very best in contemporary art.” The exhibit will remain until July 28th, so definitely come check it out. Extra Large Gallery is also fast approaching their one year anniversary on July 23rd , so get out there and celebrate 365 days of art and good times!

Billiards and beautiful seating at Stardust Lounge
Stardust Lounge
If you’re feeling lucky, grab the gang and get out to Stardust Lounge in downtown Orlando (not to be confused with the Stardust Video & Coffee in Winter Park). This Las Vegas inspired bar is as “underground” as they get. No, really. You have to go down-stairs to go there – a characteristic that most certainly adds to the appeal.

Walking in, the first thing I noticed was the relaxed, red velvet lighting, the immense amount of seating and open space, which almost made the place look empty even though there were plenty of people there. So, if you have a big group, you can chill at their huge L-shaped bar, lounge in the oversized crimson couches, or mingle at the tables (with retro, white bucket seats) in the middle of the spacious front room. And if you are looking for something low-key, you can tuck away into one of their cozy, candle-lit booths. Wait, there’s more! In the back room, you will find yet another area with even more comfy seating and zebra print pool tables. After scoping the place out, my group and I sat down at the bar, where we met the lovely bartender, Katie, who is just as entertaining as the décor. As she poured us some mean and delicious cocktails, I asked her about the events they have at Stardust Lounge.

Seating at Stardust Lounge
Aside from the obvious lures of Stardust’s charm – yummy drinks, attractive bartenders, and fun events – I'm especially happy to learn that they also regularly give back to the community! Stardust Lounge will be hosting another benefit event on July 8th, “Go to Church", “a free monthly gathering for people who need some Sunday fun that inspires!” There will be music by Bobby Jones and Ms. Sue Love and all proceeds go to The Barber Fund to help care for people fighting cancer.

Thanks to these wonderful places, my Monday night was well spent. I definitely loved the fact that I could hop back and forth between the two venues and the bartenders, Katie and Suzanne, were so much fun to hang out with. Come with me to one or both of these upcoming events: “Go to Church,” at Stardust Lounge, and Extra Large Gallery’s one year birthday, featuring the collection of “Faces”.

Artwork and couches at Extra Large Gallery

Next month, I’d like to review something a little more interactive – perhaps something to “do” or a creative summertime activity that will help bring relief to some of these really warm weeks we’ve been having. Have any ideas? Be sure to post them in the comments below.
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1 comment:

  1. Lake Eola Farmer's Market - Sundays. Amazing.

    -Andy Sva

    Miss you guys!!! <3