Shelby's Social Diary
For a tequila launch party at one of Washington Avenue's new hot spots, the Pura Vida bash at TQLA on Thursday night was surprisingly civilized. Perhaps it was the two uniformed cops out front or the carefully-curated guest list compiled by hosts Billy Gibbons and Stewart Skloss. Perhaps though it was the gentrified nature of the new intoxicant.
In any event, it was a lively gathering of 200 or so ZZ Top fans, Skloss buddies and Pura Vida supporters, including rock guitarist Carlos Munguia, who flew in from Mexico for the party with his wife Jolanda to celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary. And to get a Gibbons autograph on his guitar.
Restaurateur Arturo Boada, playing hookie from his popular Arturo's in Uptown Park, explained that he stepped out on a busy Thursday night because, "It's important to support your friends." Developer Frank Garvey, owner of the Franklin Lofts, and steady squeeze Heike Fuchs made the scene with Boada and his special lady Julie Blessing. Also from the restaurant world was John Moore, owner of the Palazzo's Cafes.
While Gibbons posed for photos and signed autographs, Skloss, wearing his signature Clark Kent glasses and perfectly laundered guayabera, oversaw the flow of guests and the flow of TQLA concoctions, all made with Pura Vida.
"I told them not to open another label tonight," he said. For the purists there was a table for tasting the three varieties. As a hedge against intoxication, TQLA chef Tommy Birdwell kept the yummy samplers flowing from the kitchen.
Lucky Carolyn Farb departed with a wooden box of Pura Vida, her name inscribed. Equally lucky was that Gary Ross, with his wife Holly, was along to help Farb haul the gift from Skloss.
The most unusual sight of the night was Roger Sommerstedt holding a shot glass in one hand and a glass of Coke Zero in the other. "I like to alternate," he explained, adding, "And one of us is going to have to drive home."
The party mix included a few retired baseball players in Ryan Thomas, Brandon Caraway and San Diego Padres' Mike Bynum. Also in the party crowd were Jody McCord, Carolyn and Jimmy Robertson, Wendy Phillips, Grant Robertson, David Thomas and Crystall Porter, Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia, Miya Shay, Marcy de Luna, Dick Dace and Barry Bertin, a schoolmate of Gibbons from the second grade through high school.