720 Red River Street, Austin, Texas 78701 // Metal and Lace Steampunk Lounge is the former Headhunters bar and live music club on Red River, and oversized clock dials and other steampunk-themed décor has replaced the space’s former tiki-punk look.
Featured on Bar Rescue – “There’s a steampunk niche scene in Austin there’s an audience. We don’t make these decisions in a dark room. It’s a neat concept, and in a city like Austin fit really well.”
The improvements to the bar, however, were not coupled with improvements to the owner’s attitude. “It’s very hard for me to say this,” says Taffer, “but candidly, I wanted the employees all to leave and go work for someone who would treat them better.”
He explained that the biggest satisfaction in doing “Bar Rescue” comes from helping struggling business owners learn how to be successful, and that he’s always rooting for the owner. In this case, his satisfaction only came from helping Headhunters’ employees learn new skills that may help them find new and better jobs elsewhere.
“So, at end of the day the work was not for naught,” says Taffer. “But it goes to show, you can’t fix stupid, you can’t fix a jerk.”
Steampunk has always been first and foremost a literary genre, or least a sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy that includes social or technological aspects of the 19th century A.K.A. the steam usually with some deconstruction of, re-imagining of, or rebellion against parts of it. Unfortunately, it is a poorly defined sub-genre, with plenty of disagreement about what is and is not included.