Jules Design Bar, a unique décor-boutique-meets-upscale-bar concept, dazzles patrons with its posh style.

By Chantal Rice, Photos by Julia Keim

A girl walks into a bar, or so she thinks. Instead, she encounters a commercial space that feels it’s experiencing a bit of an identity crisis. This is definitely the case with Jules Design Bar, the Hill Country Galleria’s newest emporium. But sometimes a little blurring of the lines, a bit of dazzling ambiguity, is just what a girl needs. And when it comes to alluring enigmas, Jules Design Bar doesn’t disappoint. Part speakeasy, part home-décor showroom, part gift shop, part event salon and part club-style lounge, this swank venue is breaking all the rules, and doing it with a whole lot of saucy audacity.

The brainchild of Julie Smith, who’s been bringing her chic eye to the renovation and revitalization of residential and commercial spaces as an architectural and interior designer for many decades, Jules Design Bar opened in late December to immediate success.

Bedecked handsomely with lush furnishings, staple décor items and unique lighting pieces, and trimmed with eye-catching art, pillows, mirrors and accessories, the space is at once inviting and purposely functional. And if ever there were a shop to find that perfect gift, this boutique bazaar is it. Adorned with funky, sophisticated and ultra cool embellishments at every turn, Jules Design Bar oozes bespoke exceptionality, or, as Smith might say, “swelligance.” And best yet: Most of the shop’s design items are for sale, with the larger pieces available to order, as they get daily wear from the lounge crowd, and the array of accessories, gifts, art and snazzy adornments available for purchase on the spot.

While Smith’s exquisite hand-selected design pieces are stunning of their own accord and definitely prompt contemplation about, for instance, how spectacular that one-of-a-kind artwork would look hanging in your home’s foyer, they also provide the exemplary backdrop for in-shop gatherings, from casually sipping a glass of wine with girlfriends on a Tuesday evening to taking in some live music on a Sunday afternoon to more formal get-togethers, like Jules Design Bar’s informative and illuminating design and lifestyle classes.

Perhaps the most unexpected characteristic of this wonder, though, is the gorgeous, fully stocked bar. A virtual treasure trove of exotic barware hedged in a wall-sized display piece sparkles behind a massive L-shaped bar, where visitors happily sip smoked Old-Fashioned cocktails and hard-to-find wines and specialty spirits.

While the bar is certainly a draw for the business, Smith never expected it to become so popular.

“I have designed many retail stores, bars and restaurants, but never really with the intention of owning a bar. I partially fell in love with this space just because I knew I could design an amazing bar here,” Smith says. “I was using the bar as an amenity for my clients and did not anticipate the popularity, but…I do my best to open myself up to new opportunities and really am not surprised when unexpected things happen. It’s the beauty of passion and energy.”

Whether a visit is driven by a desire to redesign an entire home space, to procure a special décor piece, to discover bijou curios or simply to lounge with a cocktail in hand while taking in a fabulously fashioned boutique, Jules Design Bar offers a special experience for everyone.

As Smith simply puts it, “We love the story, emotion and connecting with our neighbors.”


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